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11 Easy Meals for When You’re Too Tired to Cook

Food52 logo Food52 3/12/2018 Katie Macdonald
a bowl of food on a plate © Provided by Food52

When I’m in a foul mood, my sister will always ask me two questions: “Are you tired?” and “Are you hungry?” It’s almost always a “yes” to one or the other—and on days following the switch to Daylight Saving Time, it’s usually both. Tonight, I don’t want to mess with 15-step recipes or tons of dishes. I want a meal that requires only a handful of ingredients and minimal active cooking, like speedy grits, bubbly bakes, or done-in-a-flash fish. That way I can chow down, jump in the shower, and then into bed.

If you’re looking for your own easy dinners, check out these 11 short, simple dishes. And then get some rest.

a close up of a bowl of food: Sabrina Ghayour's Persian "Adassi" Lentil Stew © Provided by Food52 Sabrina Ghayour's Persian "Adassi" Lentil Stew

Sabrina Ghayour's Persian "Adassi" Lentil Stew by Ali Slagle

The stew starts simple: oil, onion, lentils, tomato paste, curry powder, salt, water. And the process involves chopping one vegetable, pouring some stuff in a pot, and stirring every so often. Really, that’s it.

a plate of food on a table: Sally Schneider's Slow-Roasted Salmon (or Other Fish) © Provided by Food52 Sally Schneider's Slow-Roasted Salmon (or Other Fish)

Sally Schneider's Slow-Roasted Salmon (or Other Fish) by Genius Recipes

This “slow” roasted technique takes 30 minutes, tops, and results in a beautifully tender, evenly cooked, not-one-bit-dry piece of fish.

a close up of a plate of food: Creamy Goat Cheese Grits © Provided by Food52 Creamy Goat Cheese Grits

Creamy Goat Cheese Grits by Merrill Stubbs

Goat cheese makes the dish creamy and soft and adds a bright, tangy flavor. Feel free to add fresh herbs, or top your grits with spinach, tomatoes, or leftover roasted broccoli.

a box of pizza: Tahini Roasted Broccoli © Provided by Food52 Tahini Roasted Broccoli

Tahini Roasted Broccoli by Laurie

Honestly, a bowl of this crispy, garlicky broccoli is all I need as a main course, but if you’re looking for a little more oomph, top it with a fried egg.

a plate of food on a table: Crispy Kimchi and Cheddar Omelette © Provided by Food52 Crispy Kimchi and Cheddar Omelette

Crispy Kimchi and Cheddar Omelette by alison roman

High heat browns the eggs’ exterior and crisps up the cheddar, while the kimchi helps keep the insides nice and runny. If it’s been a looong time since lunch, feel free to add another egg in there.

a plate of pizza: Tots & Cheese © Provided by Food52 Tots & Cheese

Tots & Cheese by Emma Laperruque

Macaroni, make way for tater tots. For this dish, you smother your tots in cheese sauce, then broil until bubbly and golden.

a plate of food on a table: J. Kenji López-Alt's Butter-Basted, Pan-Seared Thick-Cut Steaks © Provided by Food52 J. Kenji López-Alt's Butter-Basted, Pan-Seared Thick-Cut Steaks

J. Kenji López-Alt's Butter-Basted, Pan-Seared Thick-Cut Steaks by Genius Recipes

If steak’s not one of the fastest ways to improve someone’s mood, I don’t know what is.

a plate of food: Scamorza alla pizzaiola © Provided by Food52 Scamorza alla pizzaiola

Scamorza alla pizzaiola by Emiko

Creamy scamorza cheese melted obligingly into tomato sauce and slathered onto toast is basically lazy (but oh-so-satisfying) pizza.

Sue Kreitzman’s Lemon Butter Angel Hair Pasta © Provided by Food52 Sue Kreitzman’s Lemon Butter Angel Hair Pasta

Sue Kreitzman’s Lemon Butter Angel Hair Pasta by Genius Recipes

“This is a dinner you can fish out of your bare kitchen and cook in 10 minutes that will make you feel whole, with nothing more than modestly proportioned dry pasta, butter, chicken stock, pepper, and lemon.” —The Genius herself, Kristen Miglore

a piece of pizza: Roasted Sweet Potato with Chickpeas, Goat Cheese, and Coriander © Provided by Food52 Roasted Sweet Potato with Chickpeas, Goat Cheese, and Coriander

Roasted Sweet Potato with Chickpeas, Goat Cheese, and Coriander by Renee Kemps

Creamy sweet potato and tangy goat cheese get a little help from chickpeas to make a flavorful, belly-filling meal.

a plate of food with a slice cut out: Gabrielle Hamilton's Grilled Cheese Sandwiches © Provided by Food52 Gabrielle Hamilton's Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Gabrielle Hamilton's Grilled Cheese Sandwiches by Genius Recipes

Okay, maybe you want something really easy, like a sandwich. That’s fine! Make this golden grilled cheese, no regrets.

Related gallery: 25 Recipes for When You Don't Feel like Cooking

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