We all have one: The dish we’ve made up over the years (or our parents, friends, or family members passed along), that doesn’t necessarily count as a real recipe, but we make it ALL the time anyway.
It’s super simple to execute, especially during the week when the fridge is looking seriously scarce, plus you always have the ingredients on hand to whip it up. The problem is, whether it’s pasta or grilled cheese, that go-to meal can get old fast. And it’s often hard to find backups that are equally as simple.
We asked around at the office for our coworkers’ super quick eats, so now we have plenty of fresh new ideas to add to our last-minute weeknight arsenal.
Ahead, check out 10 easy meals that Refinery29 staffers really, truly make when we are pressed for time and are probably hangry as f*ck.
Zoe’s Avocado “Hummus” Rollups
“My dad taught me this trick once when I was home for a visit and needed lunch ASAP, but couldn’t find anything good in the fridge. It will now forever be my fallback meal, and trust me, it’s way better than turning to a PB&J.”
½ can chickpeas, strained and rinsed
½ lemon (or more, to taste)
1 handful cilantro leaves
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Mini corn tortillas
Hot sauce (optional, I use Cholula)
1. In a bowl, mash together avocado and chickpeas with a fork. Mix in lemon juice, cilantro leaves, salt, and pepper.
2. Heat up corn tortillas in the microwave or in a pan.
3. To assemble: spread a spoonful or two of “hummus” mixture onto a tortilla and pour on some hot sauce. Then roll, eat, and repeat!
Christina’s Quick Curry
“Besides the rice, it takes all of 15 minutes to make. Perfect for when you are feeling lazy and have no time to cook, but still want something homemade and wholesome.”
1-2 cups rice, cooked (you can use instant to speed things up, or prep some in advance in a rice cooker or slow cooker)
½-1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
1 onion sliced
1-2 bell peppers sliced (or use a frozen veggie mix)
1 packet curry mix
1. Brown your ground beef in a pan. Add onions, peppers, or frozen veggies.
2. When meat is done cooking, add the curry mix. Cook for 5-10 minutes, stir, and you’re done! Serve over rice.
Julie’s Bacon Pasta
“I always keep onions, bacon, peppers, and pasta around. It’s not the healthiest thing, but it’s satisfying as hell and delicious.”
1-3 slices bacon, chopped into pieces
½ small onion chopped (or however much you want)
½ bell pepper chopped (or however much you want)
Approximately 1 cup pasta, cooked
Parmesan cheese, for serving
1. Cook the bacon in a sauté pan. Remove the bacon and cook the onion and pepper in the bacon grease.
2. Then mix everything together with a serving of cooked pasta. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
Piera’s Tuna White Bean Salad
“My whole family makes this recipe…it’s intergenerational. Nonna made it, my parents make it, my bro and I make it, and have passed the recipe to tons of friends. And now it’s YOURS.”
1 can tuna, drained (can be regular or fancy in oil kind)
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
¼ red onion sliced into long thin pieces
Extra virgin olive oil (to taste)
Juice of a half lemon (approximately tbsp) or a few tbsp of red wine vinegar
Fresh parsley and/or basil chopped (can also do chives)
Halved cherry tomatoes, optional
Chopped cucumber, optional
Arugula or lettuce, optional (you can serve as a salad or put in a sandwich, it’s so versatile)
1. Mix all ingredients together.
2. Serve as is, over a bed of lettuce, or on a sandwich.
Alex’s Greek-Style Quinoa
“My go-to is quinoa with some cut up tomatoes, feta, and cucumber. If I’m lucky I have a can of black olives (whoa). I always have quinoa in my apartment and it goes a long way. Just add some olive oil, balsamic, and salt and pepper, and I’m set.”
1 cup quinoa, cooked
Chopped tomatoes, to taste
Chopped cucumber, to taste
Crumbled feta, to taste
Canned, black olives, to taste
Olive oil, to taste
Balsamic vinegar, to taste
1. Prepare quinoa according to package instructions. Chop veggies and olives and add to quinoa. Add olive oil, balsamic, salt, and pepper, to taste.
Marshall’s Makeshift Nachos
“This is a go-to easy dinner for my roommate and me. Usually when we have one of the items required (some tomatoes that need using up, leftover cheese from a recipe) we’ll devise a plan over text: You grab some avocados from a produce cart, I’ll grab some chips from CVS. These are best served with beer, though, in the spirit of the dish, we’ll usually wind up drinking whatever we have around — a bottle of red wine someone gave us at a party or gin and tonics with the last little bit of tonic water about to go flat.”
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 bag shredded cheese, to taste
Salsa, to taste
Sliced avocado, to taste
1 bag tortilla chips
Sour cream or Greek yogurt, to taste
Chopped onions, optional
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Sprinkle the chips on a cookie or baking sheet. Cover in beans and cheese, and bake for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese melts.
3. Remove from oven and add desired toppings. Devour.
For the rest of the recipes, visit Refinery29.
By: Zoe Bain