1. Call the green goddess
For those times when the most you can do is open a can of tuna, why not give your tuna mayo a green goddess glow-up? Simply chop up any soft herbs you have available (such as basil, parsley and coriander), fold into mayo and combine with half a chopped garlic clove and a squeeze of lemon juice. You could even halve the amount of mayo and freshen things up further with a blob of plain yoghurt. Now, your tuna sandwich doesn’t feel like such an afterthought. While we’re on the subject of pimping things up with herbs, you could apply this process to any grilled meat or veg you want to use up. Omit the mayo and yoghurt if you like, and blend in some olive oil and lemon juice and you’ve got a zippy dressing to drizzle over everything.
2. Throw it in a quesadilla
Chances are you’ve got some wraps knocking about in the freezer, right? If so, you’re pretty much halfway to the ultimate ‘non-recipe’ recipe of all time: quesadillas. Essentially, a quesadilla is a folded tortilla stuffed with cheese and pan-fried, and the options to riff are endless. Leftover roast chicken? Cooked steak? Ham? A bit of that bean stew you couldn’t quite finish last night? Throw it into a quesadilla! Here’s a basic recipe to give you a bit of guidance, but if you can make a toasted cheese, you can make a quesadilla and fill it with any number of delicious things.
Get the recipe for these cheesy chicken quesadillas here.
3. Make cheese toasties even easier
Hear us out on this one – we know you’ve likely already made cheese on toast for every meal of the day, but here’s way to transform it into an acceptable meal: turn it into a Welsh rarebit. Naturally we don’t mean you should stand over the stove making a white sauce (unless you really want to, that is), just pop the grill on and place your cheese-topped toast under there for a minute or two and let things get a little melty. Serve with chutney on the side for extra indulgence.
Find the recipe for this ultimate grilled cheese here.
4. Put an egg on it
Eggs are perfect for those ‘can’t-be-bothered-to-cook’ times, and having a few extra boiled eggs in the fridge is always a good idea. Making some two-minute noodles? A splash of soy and a 6-minute egg move this into the ‘almost ramen’ realm. Remember your quesadilla skills? Add a fried egg or even scrambled eggs with a splash of hot sauce to make a breakfast (or anytime) burrito. And the simple addition of an egg will make even a salad feel substantial.
Find the basic recipe for jammy eggs here.
5. Go crackers
Instead of just swiping peanut butter on toast, make a snack board of crackers. Mashed avo and sliced cucumber? That herby tuna mayo you made earlier? That would be excellent on a cracker. Cream cheese and sliced tomato; hummus, cucumber and feta… the options are endless! Think of your cracker as the base of an open-faced sandwich and garnish it as such, and you’ll never feel like you’re copping out ever again.
6. Make olive oil and garlic pasta
Pasta is likely already on your list of meals to make when you want something low-effort and fast, but have you ever made the undisputed non-recipe pasta of all time, aglio e oglio? Basically, this is just olive oil and garlic, but the best part about aglio e oglio is that it can take on any flavours or ingredients you throw at it. Kale wilts down beautifully, you can melt in some anchovies, or toss in chopped tomatoes right at the end. Whatever you’ve got, this pasta can handle it. Here’s a basic recipe for guidance, but trust us when we say you won’t need to follow this at all, it’s that easy.
Find the recipe for this spaghetti aglio oglio here.
7. Embrace tapas
If all of the above suggestions still feel like too much work, then our last piece of advice would be to make yourself a tapas plate. A few slices of cheese, perhaps some toasted bread or crackers, a couple slices of ham or charcuterie and a handful of olives will not only make you feel like you’re on holiday in some fabulous locale, but it will fill you up without any actual effort required. Salut!
Find the recipe for this Spanish tapas platter here.