Easy five-ingredient meals

A new school year has begun, bringing with it the very busy and somewhat stressful student life. It can be hard to find time to make meals that are both satisfying and nutritious when we’re preoccupied with academics, extracurriculars and part-time jobs.

In the midst of all this activity, it’s easy to resort to eating foods like Kraft Dinner or Mr. Noodles every night because they take little time and effort to prepare. Lucky for you, there are easy and quick alternatives available to replace those less healthy choices.

Here are some examples of dinners that require five ingredients or less:

Parmesan bow ties
Ingredients:
1/8 cup of zesty Italian salad dressing
1/8 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
dash of salt and pepper
½ tbsp minced parsley
1 cup farfelle pasta

Directions:
1. Cook noodles according to package directions and then transfer to a serving bowl.
2. Add remaining ingredients, toss to coat and serve.

This recipe is adapted from food.com.

Easy creamy potato leek soup
Ingredients:
2/3 lb of potatoes
1 leek
1 ¼ tbsp butter
dash of salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Bring water and salt to a boil. Meanwhile, peel potatoes and cut into slices.
2. Wash leeks and chop into medium-sized pieces.
3. When water is boiling, add potatoes and leeks.
4. Turn down heat and simmer. Cover for 30 minutes.
5. Put the contents of the pot into a blender or food processor, saving some of the cooking water. Puree until smooth. Add butter and blend until smooth.
6. Return soup to pot and bring to a boil. Add reserved cooking water until soup reaches desired consistency.
7. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then serve.

This recipe is adapted from food.com.

Black bean quesadillas
Ingredients:
1 15 ounce can of black beans
½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
salsa
4 whole-wheat tortillas
1 ripe avocado

Directions:
1. Combine beans, cheese and salsa in medium bowl to create the filling.
2. Place the tortillas on a flat surface. Spread the filling on half of each tortilla.
3. Fold tortillas in half, pressing gently to flatten. Cook quesadillas in a large oiled skillet over medium heat, turning once.
4. Remove when they’re golden brown on each side. Serve with avocado and remaining salsa.

This recipe is adapted from eatingwell.com.

Penne and alfredo sauce
Ingredients:
⅛ cup of cream
½ cup of butter
half a glove of minced garlic
1 cup of penne pasta
green onions (desired amount)

Directions:
1. Combine melted butter, cream, garlic and green onions in a saucepan over high heat. Stir to desired thickness.
2. Cook penne noodles according to package directions.
3. Pour sauce over cooked pasta and serve.

Lemon chicken
Ingredients:
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
lemon juice (desired amount)
flour (desired amount)
paprika (desired amount)
dash of salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Sprinkle both sides of chicken breast liberally with lemon juice.
2. Dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess. Season with salt, pepper and paprika.
3. In heavy skillet, heat butter and/or oil over medium-high heat.
4. Cook chicken until browned and no longer pink inside. Serve with desired sides, such as roasted vegetables.

This recipe is adapted from The Canadian Living Rush Hour Cookbook by Margaret Fraser and Food Writers of Canadian Living Magazine.

With a little bit of research you can find a variety of meals that require few ingredients and simple preparation. Trying new recipes is always fun, so give one of these a shot. You’ll be surprised that something so simple can be so delicious.

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