During the weekend, I feel more adventurous in my cooking adventures. Longer recipes + longer cooking times aren’t keeping me from diving in.
After a draining day at work on a weeknight, however, it’s a different story. I want something I can whip up quickly, but I also want it to taste good and provide leftovers for the inevitable evening when I don’t want to set foot in the kitchen.
In my back pocket, I have several meals in the rotation that I typically will make at least once a week. If you need some ideas or want to switch them up, these recipes/ideas keep it simple, are tasty, and will contribute to your healthy lifestyle & goals.
Here are five quick meals I will throw together that meet my criteria for being high in protein, well-rounded, and flavorful.
1. Sheet Pan Protein + Veggies
Sheet pan meals are one of my favorites. They’re easy, they’re fast, they’re minimal clean-up, and they’re versatile.
Grab some veggies (red pepper, broccoli, sweet potatoes), and some protein (I always use chicken sausage), throw it all together with some oil and spices, and have a meal. To make it extra hearty, I’ll sometimes add in some rice as well.
If you want specifics, this recipe is one of my sheet pan favorites, and I probably made it over 100 times over the last few years.
2. Soups soups soups
When summer comes around, I still have moments where I don’t care and make soup because it’s so good.
Skinnytaste has an AMAZING lightened-up broccoli cheddar soup that I always make and my husband loves. I’m also making lightened-up versions of Chili, minestrone, Italian wedding soup; you name it and
Pro tip: the leftovers are even better than the first day you cook them, and I’ll usually add extra chicken broth because it’s so thick, making even more soup.
For some reason, tacos are not typically considered a “healthy” food when there are many ways to make them a well-balanced dinner.
I love Misson’s low-carb tortillas, which don’t taste like cardboard; I get some reduced-fat cheese which also tastes the same (in my opinion, but DON” T do the fat-free, that tastes like garbage)
Tomatoes, lettuce, onion, avocado, lime, salsa, and many toppings can be light and healthy, and before you know it, ta-da! Behold, an easy meal that everyone is pumped about. After all, who doesn’t love an ol’ taco Tuesday?
4. Chickpea Pasta
Banza products have been among my favorite new finds over the last few years.
For me, it’s more filling than just eating regular pasta (more protein!), and I like the taste of it. If I make the mac and cheese, I’ll pair it with chicken sausage and a side veggie, and if I do the plain pasta, I’ll do ground turkey and spaghetti sauce with a side salad.
Side note: I am not saying that you should NEVER eat authentic pasta. I indulge occasionally and wouldn’t give it up unless I suddenly developed a horrible gluten intolerance. Still, ultimately, chickpea pasta keeps me more full/satisfied during regular weeknight dinners.
5. Chicken Tikka Masala
My instant pot is one of the kitchen devices that I cannot live without. I’m obsessed with it, and although there are certain things I don’t cook in it (for some reason, instant pot pasta weirds me out), it’s been a game changer.
Well-Plated’s instant pot chicken tikka masala recipe has been a hit with friends and family. I’ll usually make it and add a side of roasted veggies and rice, but I’ve also paired it with some homemade naan when I’m feeling fancy, which also turned out amazing.
If the food that I ate weren’t enjoyable, I wouldn’t be able to have a healthy and balanced lifestyle. I’ve gone through days of deprivation and boiled chicken and brown rice, and life is too short not to utilize our taste buds.
Remember, eating healthy doesn’t need to be boring. Find foods you enjoy that taste good to incorporate into your lifestyle long-term.
Comment below with any quick meal wins you’ve discovered that I should check out/add to my rotation!