Whether you’re short on time or low on motivation, there are some days you just don’t feel like cooking. I get it, I feel the same way sometimes, especially during the summer months when the weather is hot and humid and the last thing I want to do is add more heat to the kitchen. Unfortunately, our appetites rarely take a day off. When hunger strikes, take inspiration from these simple, no-cook meals that require minimal prep work to get you in and out of the kitchen quickly. You can make these any time of day, for lunch or dinner, and have them on their own, as a side salad, or sliced veggies.
Cuban-Style Baked Sweet Potato – Poke small holes in the sweet potatoes (or white potatoes) with a fork and cook in microwave for 5-6 minutes (oven times will vary). Drain a can of black beans and place in a pot with 1 teaspoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon chili powder, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir until ingredients are combined and heat on low until warmed through (alternately you can microwave the beans). When cool enough to handle, cut open potatoes, and spoon beans over the top. Add diced avocado, a plop of plain Greek yogurt, and sprinkle with chopped cilantro, if desired.
Cobb Salad Wrap – Using leftover chicken or a store-bought rotisserie chicken, chop chicken into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl. Microwave 4 slices of bacon and allow it to cool and then crumble, adding it to the bowl of chicken. Add 1 diced rib of celery, 1 diced avocado, 1 diced tomato and 4 tablespoons of blue cheese to the bowl and stir to combine. Place 4 whole wheat tortillas on the counter and shred four large leaves of romaine lettuce over each tortilla equally. Place a heaping spoon full of the chicken mixture on each tortilla and top with your favorite dressing. Wrap each tortilla and enjoy!
Chicken Lettuce Wraps – Wash several leaves of Bibb or Boston lettuce and set aside. Chop half an onion and 2 cloves of garlic (alternately you may use onion powder and garlic powder) and add to 1 lb. of ground chicken or turkey. Place poultry mixture in a pan and cook on medium heat until the chicken is no longer pink. Add 1 chopped red pepper and 1/2 of a zucchini during the last few minutes of cooking. Add 2 teaspoons of soy sauce to the mixture and stir. Place cooked chicken in lettuce cups and serve.
Grain Bowl, Your Way – You may use any grain of your choice such as quinoa, brown rice or farro. Place about 1 cup of cooked grain on one side of the bowl. Add a handful of arugula lettuce to the other side of the bowl. Add your favorite beans (rinsed and drained) – black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, or lentils (about 1/4 cup each). Plop 1/4 cup of hummus (any flavor) and add chopped cucumbers, bell peppers and any other veggies you like. You may also add any cooked protein you have in your fridge: hard boiled eggs, chicken, or veggie burgers. Top with your favorite dressing and serve.
Open-faced Sandwiches – Toast whole wheat bread or sprouted grain bread and set aside to cool. Use the following varieties to make it a meal:
- Spread your favorite hummus on toast and top with a slice of tomato, a slice of avocado and sprinkle feta cheese over the top. You may also add sliced turkey or chicken.
- Spread mashed avocado on the toast, add sliced cucumber, sliced, hard-boiled egg and a pinch of salt and pepper. You may also add sliced turkey or chicken.
- Spread your favorite nut butter on the toast such as almond, cashew or peanut and sliced banana coins on top.
- Spread cottage cheese on the toast and sprinkle with blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries.
- Spread toast with cream cheese and top with sliced peaches. Add a drizzle of honey and sprinkle of cinnamon on top of the peaches.
- Spread cream cheese on the bread and top with romaine leaves, cooked bacon, and sliced tomatoes.
Chicken Salad with Grapes and Walnuts – Using leftover cooked chicken or store-bought rotisserie chicken, chop chicken to equal 4 cups and place in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup mayonnaise and 1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt to the chicken (alternately you may use just mayo). Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper then stir to combine. Chop 1 cup of red seedless grapes in half and dice 2 celery ribs then place with chicken mixture. Add a 1/2 cup of walnuts and mix well. Top whole wheat bread with lettuce of your choice and top with a scoop of chicken salad.
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