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
Marcella Hazan’s Rice and Smothered Cabbage Soupby Genius Recipes
Carrots Cooked Forever, à la Roy Finamoreby Merrill Stubbs
THINGS THAT ROAST FOREVER (SO YOU CAN FORGET ABOUT THEM)
FEWER INGREDIENTS, IPSO FACTO LESS TIME
Diane Kochilas’ Pasta with Yogurt and Caramelized Onionsby Genius Recipes
Daniel Patterson’s Poached Scrambled Eggsby Genius Recipes
What do you make when you don’t want to think about cooking? Tell us in the comments.
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.
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.
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.
A growing number of people appear to be using essential oil sprays to freshen the air in their house.
This is a good trend. Chemical air fresheners contain potentially toxic chemicals. A number of the compounds commonly added to these concoctions are known hormone disruptors, since they mimic the female hormone estrogen.
Also, burning regular paraffin candles puts toxic chemicals into the air, according to the Enviromental Working Group, which recommends soy or natural beeswax candles instead. Paraffin is a petroleum derivative.
However, if you already own essential oils, it’s really easy to make your own room sprays. (Keep reading and I’ll tell you how.) You can use these for different purposes, such as safe and natural air freshening. Years ago, before company was due to arrive, I’d burn a scented candle on my stove. It filled my kitchen with a warm (but toxic) aroma.
Now that I know better, I use either natural essential oils or I gently heat frankincense resin tears on a burner. This makes my house smell heavenly.
One of the most popular aromatics is lavender. It has a sweet smell and it also appears to contain natural stress-relief compounds. One post on the UMMC website noted that this is one of the aromatics that’s been shown to alleviate anxiety.A room spray with lavender essential oil is a good choice if you want to create a calming atmosphere. You may not want to use it though, if you want to get a lot of work done. One evening, I put lavender essential oil in a cold air diffuser. I walked by it a number of times, and inhaled the mist. Before long, I wanted to go to sleep. (Lavender is often recommended as a natural remedy for insomnia.) Personally, I wouldn’t want to use lavender spray if I didn’t want to get drowsy. I also wouldn’t use it before driving long distances.
How to Make Room Spray With Lavender Oil
But, anyway, lavender smells great and will give your room a nice clean scent. Here’s an easy home spray recipe with lavender essential oil and alcohol free witch hazel.
Fill the bottle with water, leaving just enough room to add the alcohol free witch hazel and essential oils. You’ll want to shake this each time you use it. Also, store this spray in an area away from light and heat. Some people like to use lavender spray on their pillows, especially if they have trouble sleeping. If you plan to use this as a natural insomnia remedy, you can also add a drop or two of clary sage essential oil.
Lemon Essential Oil Spray Recipe
On the other hand, lemon essential oil has an uplifting quality. This is what I’d choose for a room spray during the day, especially if I wanted to stay awake and focus.Using the above ratios of water, essential oils and alchohol free witch hazel, you can make your own energizing room spray.Aromatherapists often recommend combining one or more oils, in order to create a synergy. So you use the following recipe for an energizing essential oil room spray.
Plastic spray bottle
Alcohol free witch hazel
3 drops of lemon essential oil
3 drops of ginger essential oil
2 drops of peppermint essential oil
Combine the above ingredients in put them in a 4-ounce spray bottle. Use this spray as a natural air freshener or focus enhancer.
Essential Oil Spray for Germs
I love telling my readers about essential oil blends made especially for germs. I’ve used these for years, and I love them. Most of the germ-fighting blends on the market contain clove, cinnamon, lemon, rosemary and eucalyptus essential oils. The blend I use now is Plant Therapy Germ Fighter. It’s sold by a company that’s one of the rising non-MLM stars. Plant Therapy oils are amazing. Part of the company mission is to make it easy for everyone to own essential oils.
You could easily make your own germ fighting essential spray by adding Germ Fighter Synergy Blend to a spray bottle filled with water and witch hazel. If you plan to use this around children, though, some of the oils are not recommended for little ones. However, the company also sells a KidSafe Germ Destroyer blend that you can use instead.
One great gift idea would be to make one or more essential oil sprays. Small plastic spray bottles are available online. You can also find attractive stick on labels to put on these bottles. You can see a few label ideas below.
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Do not use essential oils if you are pregnant or nursing, unless directed to do so by a healthcare provider.
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)?
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 Gut, does 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.
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.”
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.
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. 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.
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.”
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.