easy meals

Written by Foost volunteer Laura Pacella in collaboration with the Foost tem

We all have “I can’t be bothered cooking” nights. The nights that follow a busy day at work, when all you want to do is collapse into the couch and never get up again, despite the audible tummy grumbles.

When the thought of cooking is so unappealing that you find yourself reaching for your phone to order takeaway (even though you don’t really feel like it) STOP RIGHT THERE.

Save your hard-earned money with these healthy, easy meal ideas that require less time to prepare than it takes for takeaway to be delivered!

1. Toast with all the toppings

How good is avo toast? With a few tweaks, you can turn a piece of toast from a simple snack into a filling and nourishing lunch or dinner.

Start with some good quality bread and a basic spread – think avo, hummus, peanut butter, ricotta and vegemite. Then pile on the additions! This is your chance to be as creative as possible.

For a sweet combo that contains a balanced mix of fat, protein and carbohydrates, pair ricotta or peanut butter with fruits and seeds/nuts of your choice.

Top savoury bases with veggies (can’t go wrong with mushrooms or tomatoes), greens (spinach, rocket etc), an egg cooked your favourite way and garnish with seeds, herbs and a dash of pepper or lemon juice. Or, just throw on the comfort meal classic of baked beans and cheese for a serious childhood flashback.

2. Porridge

A classic winter morning warmer. But porridge doesn’t have to be confined to breakfast time. With its nourishing and filling properties, porridge can be eaten at any time of day. It can also be made with a variety of ingredients – quinoa, buckwheat, millet or really any grain/pseudo-grain you can find.

For a sweet fix, top your porridge with fruits and yoghurt. For something that feels indulgent, mix in nut butter and cocoa powder.

You can even make savoury porridge! Try mixing in shredded zucchini, carrot or potato into your porridge while it is cooking. Or (here’s where things get really crazy) throw in a cut up sausage, some onions and peas, then garnish with herbs and cheese.

3. 2-minute sushi

Healthy, nourishing and with an endless list of fillings, it’s no wonder sushi is such a popular takeaway option. But did you know you can whip up your own in two minutes with an easy cheat’s version! All you need is some nori sheets, an instant rice sachet, and either some hummus or rice vinegar to make it stick. Plus fillings of course!

Whack that rice in the microwave, lay out your nori sheets, once the rice is done either stir through a bit of vinegar to help the rice stick or you can use my life hack and spread hummus along the nori sheet (helps it stick together just the same). Then spread on a layer of rice, top with fillings, roll it up and…you’re done. How easy was that?

4. 2-minute burrito

Surely not another two-minute meal I hear you cry in disbelief! You bet! And it’s a Mexican classic.

Again, whack some instant rice in the microwave and chop up some veggies. Then simply heat up a tortilla/wrap/taco, spread with taco sauce/salsa or tomato pasta sauce, pile on the rice, canned beans, add some veggies (canned corn is effortless), and top with avocado, herbs, greek yoghurt (it’s healthier than sour cream) and some cheese. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

5. Baked sweet potato

Now this one does require some forward thinking. You will need to allow about an hour cooking time for the potato – meanwhile you can watch that tv show, do the washing, check your emails.

Simply pop a whole potato straight into the oven on a tray for about 45 minutes. Once baked, slice the sweet potato down the middle, drizzle over some olive oil and fill with any toppings you desire.

For more of a snack, cinnamon pairs beautifully with sweet potato. I love sprinkling some over the inside of the potato then topping with some tahini. Yum!

6. Quesadillas

Back on the Mexican theme, quesadillas require almost no effort and are lots of fun to eat. Just place your choice of filling between two tortillas and either grill, pop in a sandwich press or toast in a pan on the stove.

Filling options are (once again) endless. Try a combo of chopped fresh or (thawed) frozen veg, beans, cheese or any leftover meals you have lurking in the fridge. Pasta sauce is always a good base, but pesto will bring even more flavour. These quesadillas are also great dipped into a fresh yoghurt sauce.

(recipe inspiration here)

7. Omelettes

Another leftover champion. The humble omelette is a recycling guru, turning last night’s feast into another family feed. Throw potato, veggies, chicken, onion, herbs, spices (whatever you fancy, you know the drill) into a pan, crack some eggs over the top and before you have time to set the table, dinner is done. Pair with a simple side salad and this 10 minute ‘lazy’ dinner is good enough to serve to guests. (Recipe here) 

There you have it! Seven easy meals that require hardly any effort in the kitchen, yet provide a nourishing meal that is sure to be better for you (and your wallet) than a take-away splurge.

What’s your go to quick meal?

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