I hate to be the embodiment of my generation’s stereotype, but I am not a very skilled cook. Being in the kitchen is mostly overwhelming and I have an irrational fear of slicing off my finger or accidentally burning the house to the ground. I’m someone who, when asked to help with dinner, is usually relegated to peeling potatoes and opening cans, or setting the table and refilling drinks. On the other hand, some of my best friends are one step away from full-blown Julia Child status. It seems we millennials have been pigeonholed into two culinary camps, haven’t we?
But recently I have undertaken the gargantuan task of trying to better myself in the kitchen, you know, for like, basic survival and life skills. Baby steps, but I have it on good authority that Darwin himself would be proud. I’ve started small with really easy recipes that don’t require a ton of prep or cooking time, and I already feel slightly smugger— it’s fantastic. Some of these recipes have been shown to me by my mom, an expert in the kitchen, while others in my repertoire have been whipped together by whatever ingredients I happened to have in the fridge at the moment.
To try and help you get along in this little thing we call life, we’ve put together for you a list of a few simple, but yummy, recipes that are sure to impress even your toughest critics. Say goodbye to Kraft Dinner, and hello to easy Insta-worthy recipes!
20 Roasted Panko and Parmesan Veggies
This is a personal favourite of mine. It’s simple, easy and actually really healthy. You can switch up the vegetables to your liking, but I usually have a combination of Brussels sprouts, carrots, chickpeas, sweet potato or regular potatoes. Chop your veggies up, toss them in a bowl and drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil. Along with salt and pepper, I like to season my veggies with thyme, oregano and rosemary. Finally coat it all with Panko breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese, roast them in the oven for about a half hour, and voila! Dinner is served. Pro tip:for extra protein, toss some sausage into the mix.
19 Baked Chicken Drumsticks with Roasted Carrots
Another easy peasy lemon squeezy recipe. The best part about this one is that you can buy the drumsticks already marinated, so seasoning will be extra simple—just make sure to add a little extra olive oil to ensure the drumsticks stay juicy before baking in the oven about 40 minutes. Carrots are an obvious staple side dish, but we’re going to kick them up a notch here by adding maple syrup. Drizzle on olive oil, salt and pepper, roast about 20 minutes, and now you’ve elevated your side to main-worthy status.
18 Coconut Curry Lentil Soup
This is a winter favourite; hearty and fragrant, this coconut curry lentil soup just warms the soul. It also just so happens to be completely vegan if that’s your jam! Here we’re using a red lentil, but you can use whichever you like, really. Before adding vegetable broth and our legumes to the pot, make sure you melt some coconut oil, and sauté some garlic and minced ginger for a pop of flavour. Then, add the delicious quartet of red curry paste, garam masala, curry powder, and turmeric, and in 20 minutes, your lip-smacking coconut curry lentil soup is ready to be devoured.
17 Roasted Veggie and Black Bean Taco
As a wise Forever 21 t-shirt once said, “I love tacos.” Tacos are always delicious and always so diverse, so if you want to opt for a vegetarian version, this recipe has got you covered. Roast some diced tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash and onions, then add corn and black beans to the mix. It’s recommended to season with cumin, but you can add any other favourites to get the flavour just right. Top off the tortilla with some cilantro, queso fresco and lime juice and you’ve got a masterful vegetarian tortilla, dressed to impress.
16 Avocado Toast with Fried Egg
Embrace the millennial stereotype with this recipe, let it wash over you like a comforting bubble bath. This recipe is so easy, that Antoni Porowski will cry if you mess it up. Mash up your avocado, add lime juice, salt, pepper and chili flakes and set aside for a minute. If I need to explain how to fry the egg, we need to have a separate, more serious conversation. Spread a generous amount of avocado over the bread of your choosing (I like rye) and then simply add your gorgeous fried egg on top. This recipe is great for when you have a little extra time for breakfast, or when you’re feeling extra lazy for lunch or dinner.
15 15-Minute Lo Mein
Forget take-out: this homemade Lo Mein will be ready in half the time it’ll take to get delivered. Easy and delicious, this recipe calls for a happy little rainbow of different chopped vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, bok choy, green onions and cabbage, as well as the protein of your choosing like chicken, pork, shrimp or tofu, and then noodles. The key to this recipe, though, is getting your sauce right; go too heavy on the soy and it can overpower the whole dish. Sauté all these elements together and you’ve got dinner ready in less time than it takes to watch an episode of The Office.
14 Zucchini Chocolate Chip Breakfast Muffin
Scrambled eggs and toast get old after a while, so trying something new for breakfast can really brighten your whole day. This recipe weaves together healthy elements like grated zucchini; but then these angelic chocolate chips sneak up on you and it’s perfection in a muffin cup. You’ll also need cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and your usual butter, flour, baking soda and powder to complete the muffin dream team. This recipe makes a dozen muffins which you can easily freeze and save for later, so don’t feel obliged to eat them all at once. Unless you want to; do you, boo.
13 Honey-Glazed Salmon with Asparagus
Don’t you just love easy recipes? Some days you just want a no fuss no muss meal and this one fits the bill. Salmon is chock-full of vitamins and Omega-3 fatty acids, so there’s really no need to feel bad that we’re glazing this little fishy with delicious honey. Your glaze will also need some green onions, soy sauce, sesame seeds and a little ginger and chili flakes for added kick. Asparagus is always a good choice for a yummy and healthy side dish, so toss some onto the same pan, and bake the whole thing for 20 minutes.
12 Creamy Lemon and Garlic Pasta with Shrimp
Literally just reading the name of this recipe makes me drool. You’ll need a half hour tops to make it (unless you get distracted by your fab cooking playlist aka the Mamma Mia soundtrack), which makes it a great weeknight recipe. Start by picking your pasta: I like pappardelle but any kind works, really! Then combine your butter, lemon zest and juice, minced garlic, white wine and cream in a pan for your sauce. Thicken it up with some flour, then add parmesan—lots of it—before tossing in shrimp and spinach. Garnish with parsley, and then add a little more parmesan; you deserve it.
11 Loaded Sweet Potato
If someone tries to tell you that a sweet potato is not a meal, don’t feel bad about cutting that person out of your life: you don’t need that kind of negativity bringing you down. This recipe requires almost no cooking and you can top it with literally anything. Poke a bunch of little holes into the sweet potato, top it with bacon bits, shredded cheddar, and whatever else you have on hand that might work, and then just pop in in the microwave for a few minutes. That’s it; you now have dinner in under 10 minutes. You are welcome.
10 Blueberry and Banana Pancakes
Cue the Jack Johnson, y’all, because we are about to make some banana pancakes up in here. Who doesn’t love a good pancake; especially when it’s overflowing with fruity goodness? For this recipe you can make your batter from scratch (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, egg, milk, oil) or skip a step and use the boxed batter. What really makes this recipe great are the blueberries, mashed up banana, cinnamon and just a hint of vanilla extract. Combine these with your batter, pour onto a griddle or stove top pan at medium heat, flip, serve, and you’ve single-handedly won breakfast.
9 Veal Piccata
This dish is just like mama used to make! (I hope you read that last part with the hand gesture or else it just doesn’t work). Regardless, this classic meal is simple but looks like it was hard work, which is basically all we really want out of a dish. You’ll need some essentials like olive oil, garlic and white wine. After you’ve pan-seared your veal to perfection, it’s time to cook your pasta—because what great meal doesn’t come with a side of pasta? The veal piccata is the star of your dish, so a simple spaghetti or linguine aglio e olio should do the trick here.
8 Vegetarian Naan Bread Pizza
No millennial recipe list would be complete without a pizza entry. Regular pizza dough is great and all, but why not switch it up? The beauty of this meal is that you can cater it exactly to your liking. You can get some really great store-bought naan bread, slather it with tomato sauce, and then add a medley of toppings like red peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, onions, and shredded cheese. Drizzle some olive oil and add basil for an added pop of flavour. Pop it in the oven for about 8 to 10 minutes, and that’s all she wrote, folks!
7 Mixed Bean Salad with Tuna and Feta
You might be saying, “Really, this salad? Bean there, done that!” But rest assured that this easy dish is a surefire way to pack a ton of protein into your lunch. Grab whatever combination of beans you have on hand (chickpeas, white beans, kidney beans…) and toss them into a bowl along with cherry tomatoes, red onion, yellow peppers and parsley. You’ll of course need the eponymous tuna component, but don’t forget to add some feta for your mandatory cheese factor. For the dressing, I usually stick to a Greek salad-type (think lots of lemon juice, olive oil and oregano).
6 Chocolate Whoopie Pies
Instead of buying a boring ole’ dessert at the bakery next time you’re invited for dinner, impress your friends with this ridiculously easy whoopie pie recipe. You’ll need four ingredients and I kid you not, like 10 minutes to make them. We’re going to cheat just a little bit and use a store-bought soft chocolate cookie for the sandwich component. For the smooth filling, mix and beat together cream cheese, butter and marshmallow cream. Spread that onto a cookie and you’ve got a delicious dessert on your hands. This is literally impossible to mess up, I promise you.
5 Red Curry Chicken with Veggies and Rice
Anything curried is amazing, especially when it’s this easy to make. Get your hands on a few different veggies like broccoli, red bell peppers, bok choy and eggplant, and cook them in coconut milk and red curry paste. (A little tip: depending on how spicy you want your dish, you can switch up your red curry for green or yellow). Add your chicken to the pot and cook another 15 minutes or so. Serve over rice, toss a little cilantro on top and the only thing left to do is dig in. Make a little extra so you have the best lunch of all tomorrow: leftovers.
4 Chocolate Mug Cake
Chocolate cake is unanimously loved and is unquestionably delicious, but who has all that time or patience to just whip up a fresh dessert when you’re having a chocolate craving. Enter the mug cake. This recipe is so simple you don’t even need to use the oven, or cook anything at all really. Combine and whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar, salt, milk and vegetable oil in a mug, and for la piece de résistance, add some chocolate chips (you’ll thank me later). Microwave that all up, and POOF, one amazingly dessert at your fingertips.
3 Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
I am obsessed with this appetizer. It is so easy to make and will earn you serious brownie points at any dinner party. Although there are minimal ingredients involved, picking the right hot sauce is key. You can stick to Frank’s, but I suggest trying something different like Piri Piri sauce to really spice things up. Essentially you’re just going to coat the cauliflower with your hot sauce and seasoning, flour, and a touch of honey and butter to balance it out. Bake for about 10 minutes, garnish with a smidge of parsley, and that’s it, that’s all! You’ve elevated appetizers to a whole new level.
2 Egg Fried Rice
Fried rice is an essential and delicious part of takeaway dining, but sometimes getting to a restaurant to have it is just a hassle. Who has the time or energy to put pants on?! Good thing egg fried rice is super easy to cook at home when you’re feeling a little lazy. You’ll need eggs (duh), rice (double duh), red onions, frozen mixed veggies, scallions, soy sauce and sesame oil. Honestly the hardest part of this entire recipe is trying not to get any shell in your yolk when you’re cracking your eggs. It’s that simple.
1 Cheese Plate/ Antipasto
Okay, so technically this isn’t a recipe, but just hear me out: everyone loves cheese. Yes, even those lactose intolerant friends of yours can’t resist it. Put some Brie, Manchego and Gouda on a plate with prosciutto, olives, nuts and bread, and do you know what you get? Heaven, that’s what you get. Anyone who tells you they don’t appreciate a beautiful cheese spread or antipasto is straight up lying to your face. Also, arranging your plate is an art unto itself, so make sure you plate it like your social media clout depended on it.