25 Recipes for When You Don’t Feel Like Cooking

What do you cook when you just can’t? That is, when you can’t handle doing much of anything—whether that’s thinking, watching the news, scrolling through Facebook, or just following an elaborate recipe with perhaps one too many steps and ingredients.

These 25 recipes are for when you can’t: ones that require little attention after they’re on the stovetop, in the slow-cooker, or in the oven, or have so few ingredients they come together without much thought.

We know, sometimes everything is too much. These aren’t. We promise.

JUST LET IT GO, LOW AND SLOW

Ground Meat Ragu ("The Butcher's Ragu")

Ground Meat Ragu (“The Butcher’s Ragu”)
Jamie Oliver's Chicken in Milk

Jamie Oliver’s Chicken in Milk
Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Soup

Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Soup
Braised Oxtail Ragu

Braised Oxtail Ragu
Marcella Hazan's Rice and Smothered Cabbage Soup

Marcella Hazan’s Rice and Smothered Cabbage Soupby Genius Recipes

Carrots Cooked Forever, à la Roy Finamore

Carrots Cooked Forever, à la Roy Finamoreby Merrill Stubbs

Short Rib and Pumpkin Chili

Short Rib and Pumpkin Chili
Whole Slow Cooker-Poached Chicken

Whole Slow Cooker-Poached Chicken
Southern Slow Cooker Choucroute

Southern Slow Cooker Choucroute

THINGS THAT ROAST FOREVER (SO YOU CAN FORGET ABOUT THEM)

Pernil

Pernil
Sweet and Savory Overnight Roast Pork

Sweet and Savory Overnight Roast Pork
Chicken Thighs Confit

Chicken Thighs Confit
Pork Belly Carnitas

Pork Belly Carnitas
Slow Roasted Lemon Chicken

Slow Roasted Lemon Chicken

FEWER INGREDIENTS, IPSO FACTO LESS TIME

Victoria Granof’s Pasta con Ceci

Victoria Granof’s Pasta con Ceci
Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter
Maria Speck's Shortcut Polenta

Maria Speck’s Shortcut Polenta
Parker & Otis' Pimento Cheese (+ Grilled Sandwiches with Bacon & Tomato)

Parker & Otis’ Pimento Cheese (+ Grilled Sandwiches with Bacon & Tomato)
Grilled Chocolate Sandwiches

Grilled Chocolate Sandwiches
Diane Kochilas' Pasta with Yogurt and Caramelized Onions

Diane Kochilas’ Pasta with Yogurt and Caramelized Onionsby Genius Recipes

Daniel Patterson's Poached Scrambled Eggs

Daniel Patterson’s Poached Scrambled Eggsby Genius Recipes

Sally Schneider's Slow-Roasted Salmon (or Other Fish)

Sally Schneider’s Slow-Roasted Salmon (or Other Fish)
Canal House's Chicken Thighs with Lemon

Canal House’s Chicken Thighs with Lemon
Roger Vergé's Fried Eggs with Wine Vinegar

Roger Vergé’s Fried Eggs with Wine Vinegar
The Best Pan-Roasted Potatoes

The Best Pan-Roasted Potatoes

What do you make when you don’t want to think about cooking? Tell us in the comments.

7 Easy Veggie Chili Recipes That Prove You Don’t Need Meat to Make It Hearty

Chili is one of those cozy dinners we make once a week come wintertime. We’re pretty much always craving a spicy, warm bowlful. Bonus: It’s one of the easiest dishes to make vegetarian without changing much flavor or texture. So if you’re trying to cut back on meat or just get in more veg on a regular basis, veggie chili recipes are a must-have. These nine vegetarian (and some vegan!) chilis are just waiting to be made.

Red lentils and beans make for a super-filling chili that’s the best possible solution to warm up a cold winter’s night. The thick, stewy texture won’t leave you hungry for a second dinner either.

Expand your chili-horizons and throw cubed sweet potato and quinoa into a black bean-based veggie chili. For added easiness, the whole recipe can be dumped into a slow cooker and forgotten about until it’s time to eat.

Classic chili minus the meat doesn’t taste like it’s missing anything, so you best put on a pot of this pinto bean chili ASAP. A side of cornbread is definitely not optional.

Nope, that’s no typo: This chili has miso paste in it, and it is awesome. The savory paste adds a level of depth to the broth—other veggie versions just can’t compete.

While beans seem a no-brainer for vegetarian chili, give lentils a chance this time. Their quick-to-absorb tendencies make for a super-flavorful base to tomatoes, onions, pepper, and garlic. Our favorite part is that it’s self-thickened: Blend a few cups of the cooked chili until smooth, then stir it back into the pot.

White chicken chili is a classic, but who says chickpeas can’t take chicken’s place every now and then? This way-too-easy recipe uses a jar of salsa verde (which you might even have in your kitchen cabinet right now) and spices galore.

This smoky tempeh chili is best served with a bowl of rice and a dollop of zingy cashew cream. But TBH we’re ready to grab a bag of chips and start dunking, how about you?

 

11 Nutrition Myths That Cause Weight Gain

Losing weight is a journey, a confusing one at that. End the confusion with these myth-busting tips from Shape!

1. Going vegan is a healthy way to lose weight.

“While various research shows that vegetarians and vegans, on average, consume fewer calories and less fat than omnivores (a 2009 Oxford study found that vegetarians weigh 3 to 20 percent less than their meat-eating counterparts, and a National Cancer Institute study found that subjects who consumed four ounces or more of red meat weekly were 30 percent more likely to die of any cause than those who ate less), these numbers may be misleading,” says Rania Batayneh, MPH, a certified nutritionist and owner of Essential Nutrition for You.

Going vegan solely for weight loss can backfire, big time. If you aren’t vigilant with a vegan diet, it’s easy to lack in vital nutrients, vitamins, and proteins, which give you energy and help keep your metabolism stoked. Many first-time vegans may also find themselves reaching for more processed foods like vegan cookies, chips, or even ‘ice cream’ more often with such a restricted diet, and many end up packing on the pounds instead.

If you do decide to adopt a vegan diet, be sure to keep the ‘treats’ to a minimum and plan balanced meals. “Aim to get about 10 to 20 percent of your calories from protein (or about 1 gram per kilogram of body weight), replacing animal protein with healthy plant proteins, like those found in beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and soy products,” Batayneh says. “And, whether you are vegan or not, eating more green, leafy vegetables is great for your health and your waistline.”

2. Cut all carbs to shed pounds.
Your body needs ‘carbs’ for energy, and many carbohydrate foods are rich in essential vitamins, nutrients, and dietary fiber that help you stay full and fuel your workouts. “Eliminating carbohydrates not only reduces whole grains, B vitamins, and a good source of fiber, but it also reduces your body’s feel-good capacity (it’s no wonder that most comfort foods are carbohydrate based),” Batayneh says.

Plus, cutting out food groups may only make you crave them more, and you may find yourself finishing off an entire bag of chips in a moment of weakness. “Starches and carbs are actually an important tool in weight management,” Batayneh says. “They provide belly-filling fiber, complex carbohydrates to keep your engine running all day, and they stimulate the production of serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter that regulates mood.”

Stay healthy, full, and happy while dropping the lbs. by swapping out processed carbs for fiber- and nutrition-filled foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

3. Diet drinks are a good way to cut calories.
You may think you’re doing yourself a favor by sipping artificially sweetened drinks, but recent research says you may just be setting yourself up to crave sweets even more. ‘Fake’ sugar can trick our bodies, since we aren’t actually providing it with any calories to back up the sweetness, causing a vicious cycle of cravings. “Artificial sweeteners tend to trigger your appetite, making you want more and more sugar, but without actually satisfying a desire for sweets like normal sugar does,” Batayneh says. “Diet soda-drinkers may end up eating tons of sugary and fatty snacks in order to satisfy their cravings.”

Case in point: One University of Texas study found that people who drink diet soda regularly (more than two per day) had a 70 percent greater waist circumference than those that don’t. Not to mention, diet sodas are also often loaded with additives, including caramel coloring, which is made by reacting sugars with ammonia and sulfites, resulting in two compounds that have been found to cause lung, liver, and thyroid cancers in mice, Batayneh says.

4. Fat-free snacks are better for your waistline.
“Reduced-fat versions of snacks typically have been stripped of one quarter of their original healthy monounsaturated fats, and to replace that flavor, the brand adds in fillings, additives, and sugar — all for the same amount of calories,” Batayneh says. “Picking reduced-fat products may even end up hurting your waistline: in one study, average-weight participants ate 22 percent more calories if the food was labeled ‘low fat’ and overweight participants ate up to 50 percent more.”

Your body needs fat to absorb vitamins, and it may also help you shed pounds — a recent Stanford University study found that people on a moderate-fat diet lost twice as much weight as subjects eating a low fat diet.

So skip the highly processed, fat-free snacks that are basically empty calories and fill up on healthy, whole foods that will help you stay satisfied on a lower-calorie diet such as avocados, nuts, and coconuts.

5. Fruit has too much sugar to be healthy for weight loss.
With all the sugar that is added to processed foods, the sugar in fruit is the least of your worries. Getting rid of fruit means you are losing out on valuable vitamins and nutrients that your body absorbs easily since they’re found in their natural, whole state.

“Eliminating fruit from your diet when trying to lose weight makes no sense,” Batayneh says. You’ll miss out on a whole lot of filling fiber, which studies have directly linked to long-term weight loss, and you may be more likely to reach for other processed, empty food items instead.

6. Protein shakes will help you lose weight.
Drinking protein shakes alone can’t help you lose weight, but replacing a meal with them could. The trouble is, many would-be dieters make the mistake of adding in a shake to their current daily intake, which can pack on the pounds (this is why bodybuilders trying to gain size use them often).

If you want to add protein shakes to your diet, look for a mix that is low in sugar and has a short ingredient list. Depending on the calorie count, and what you add to it (Batayneh recommends whey protein, milk, and fruit), you can substitute a shake for a snack or a meal to help move the scale down, not up.

7. A high-protein diet is the best way to shed fat.
While protein is important for weight loss, eliminating other food groups (like carbs) for the sake of eating more protein could be setting you up for a carbo-loading binge later. Plus, you may be missing out on the fiber, vitamins, and minerals found in unprocessed carbohydrates, and you run the risk of eating too much fat in your diet, which can lead to high cholesterol and triglycerides, Batayneh says.

Skip the yo-yo cycle and round out your meals with a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. “When you have all three macro-nutrients in your diet, you are less likely to feel deprived and may experience less cravings.”

8. Swear off all your favorite fattening foods to lose weight.
Anyone who has ever sworn off pizza, chocolate, or chips knows that as soon as you tell yourself you can’t have them, you start dreaming of swimming in gooey, cheesy pizza or rich, dark chocolate cake. “Moderation is key. We tend to be in ‘all or nothing’ mode when we diet. And while you can’t have pizza, french fries, and chocolate cake all in the same day, with careful planning, you can still enjoy them in moderation,” Batayneh says. Have your cake, and eat it too — just share it with a friend or save the other half for another day.

9. Eating after 8 p.m. makes you fat.
Eating after a certain hour won’t necessarily mean you’ll pack on pounds, just as staying out after midnight won’t turn you into a pumpkin. This Cinderella-esque fat fairy tale continues to exist, but the bottom line is that your metabolism doesn’t know what time it is, Batayneh says.
Skip the mad rush to consume as much food as you can before the clock strikes 8:00.

“Calories are calories, no matter when you eat them, but what does matter is what and how much of it you eat. Late-night snacking gets a bad rap because often the foods that are consumed late at night are calorie-dense foods (chips, ice cream, pizza, and other junk food) and may be in excess calories to your daily caloric needs, which translates to weight gain.”

10. You’ll burn more fat if you don’t eat before a workout.
Exercise normally burns away your glycogen (carbohydrate) reserves, and when you’re done burning those, you’ll start dipping into your fat stores for energy. It’s true that when you’re already running on empty, you burn fat right away, but you’ll likely run out of steam before your workout is over or end up ravenous and grabbing whatever food you can find in an attempt to refuel afterwards, Batayneh says.

“Energy comes from calories. A study from the University of Birmingham compared two groups of cyclists — some ate before their workout and the others fasted. While the group who fasted did end up burning more fat, the group who ate cycled at a much higher intensity than the fasting group, and burned more calories. A person needs fuel to run, just like a car, so find the foods that give you the energy to work out at your hardest.”

11. You can eat whatever you want on weekends.
If you do the math, eating ‘whatever you want’ Friday-Sunday adds up to 12 days, or almost half of a 30-day month! Not exactly the recipe for weight loss success. “When you throw caution to the wind on the weekends it can actually offset the consistency and success you had all week,” Batayneh says. Instead of taking a no-holds-barred approach to your weekends, Batayneh recommends trying to scale back the little things that really add up like the bread basket and having a few extra glasses of wine during dinners out, along with mindless munching out of boredom.

Roasted Salmon Glazed With Brown Sugar and Mustard

  • Salmon fillets, preferably wild or farmed organically
  • Dijon mustard
  • Brown sugar
  • Salt and black pepper

PREPARATION

  1. Heat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Make a mixture of Dijon mustard and brown sugar to the degree of spicy-sweetness that pleases you. Salt and pepper the salmon fillets.
  3. Place the salmon fillets skin-side down on a lightly oiled, foil-lined baking sheet. Slather the tops of the fillets with the mustard and brown sugar glaze and slide them into the top half of your oven. They ought to be done in 12 minutes or so, and they pair beautifully with simple braised greens.

What a nutritionist eats when she starts feeling sick

Lee Holmes soup
Photo: Fair Winds Press
You’re at the office, hard at work, when your cubicle-mate shows up with a fist full of tissues and a nagging cough. Cue: panic. What can you do to avoid catching contagious bugs (short of threatening to work from home until spring)?
Heal Your Gut
Photo: Fair Winds Press

Cook. After all, you are what you eat, so whipping something up in the kitchen that’s both immunty-boosting and inflammation-fighting can help protect you from the inside out. At least, that’s what Lee Holmes, certified health coach, yoga teacher, and author of Heal Your Gutdoes when she starts to feel an inkling of sickness coming on.

Because she’s a pro, she’s devised a plan that doesn’t require holding your nose while chugging down some terrifying concoction. From vitamin C loaded nacho chips (yes, really!) to a soothing lemongrass Thai soup that will put your Seamless fave to shame, these recipes will fight the good fight all winter long.

Might be time to come up with another way to use those sick days….

Keep reading to see what nutritionist Lee Holmes eats when she starts feeling sick.

Lee Holmes turmeric Nachos
Photo: Lee Holmes

For a cold: Nachos—with a twist

Forget chicken soup—Holmes is all about snacking on nacho chips when she starts getting a little sniffly. The key here: they’re golden nacho chips. Yep, there’s turmeric in there.

The anti-inflammatory root “is good for all-around immunity, and I make my nachos with grated orange zest to get in some vitamin C, too,” she says. “Plus, the combo gives them just the loveliest color.”

Ingredients
1 cup almond meal
1 large organic egg
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander
1 tsp grated orange zest
1 tsp Celtic sea salt
2 tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, diced

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Place all the chip ingredients in a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon to form a dough.

3. Place the dough on a clean work surface between two pieces of parchment paper. Roll the dough out until it is 1/16 inch thick.

4. Remove the top piece of baking paper and transfer the dough and bottom piece of baking paper to a baking tray. Using a sharp knife, deeply score the dough every 1 1/4 inch, then do the same in the opposite direction so you form squares. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes.

5. Allow to cool before breaking them apart. To assemble the nachos, place the nachos chips on a chopping board, and top with the remaining ingredients. Any leftover chips will keep in an airtight container for up to three days.

Lee Holmes ginger tea tonicPhoto: Pixabay/Condesign

For a stomach bug: Ginger tea tonic

Gut problems are the worst. Luckily this is Holmes’ area of expertise, so she has a sure fix. “If you have a gut bug, garlic, ginger, and lemon in hot water is the best thing to drink,” she says. “Garlic is anti-bacterial, so it helps kill bad bacteria hanging around the gut, and the ginger is going to sooth you.”

Can’t tolerate sipping garlic? Holmes says a mixture of turmeric, ginger, lemon, and honey in hot water is a potent anti-bacterial alternative.

Ingredients
2 cups water
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 chucks of ginger root, grated
1 lemon

1. Boil water. Place garlic and ginger in water and leave covered for 15 minutes.

2. Add the juice from one lemon. Pour into a mug and drink.

Lee Holmes lemongrass Thai soup
Photo: Fair Winds Press

For a bacterial infection: Lemongrass Thai soup

“This recipe is a kaleidoscope treasure chest of medicinal herbs and spices,” Lee says. “The plant oils of lemongrass in particular have been shown to inhibit multi-resistant strains of bacteria and yeast, making it a must-have ingredient for strong immunity.”

You’ll also find Holmes’ go-to spice in the recipe (turmeric), along with apple cider vinegar.

Ingredients
3 cups vegetable stock
3 1/4 inch piece of galangal, peeled and grated
2 stalks of lemongrass, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 or 4 kaffir lime leaves, torn
4 scallions, sliced
7 drops liquid stevia
1 can additive-free coconut milk
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp wheat-free tamari
1 red pepper, seeded and sliced
1 cup mushrooms, quartered
1/4 cup lime juice
Grated zest of one lime
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Cilantro leaves, to serve

1. Bring the vegetable stock, galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, scallions, and stevia to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for five minutes.

2. Stir through the coconut milk, vinegar, and tamari, then simmer for 10 minutes. Add the pepper and mushroom and simmer for another 5 minutes.

3. Remove from heat. Take out the lemongrass and lime leaves. Add the lime juice and zest, then puree in a food processor or blender until smooth. Serve with a grind of black pepper and garnish with cilantro.

Time to arm yourself with some more good advice: Here’s how to avoid burnout at work, and this 5-minute trick will calm your mind and gut in any situation.

GOOD FOOD| EMILY LAURENCE, JANUARY 19, 2017