5-Ingredient Healthy Dinners for Busy Weeknights

There are few kitchen nightmares worse than finding a recipe that sounds ah-mazing and then seeing an ingredient section longer than your phone’s contact list—or filled with foods you’ve never heard of. We share your pain. That’s why this list of recipes will become your new dinnertime go-to: Each includes just five ingredients, all of which can be found at your local supermarket. Happy cooking!

Meat and Poultry

1. Grilled Chicken with Tomato, Soy & Sesame Seeds

1. Grilled Chicken with Tomato, Soy & Sesame Seeds
Photo: Fuss Free Cooking
This chicken recipe can’t get any easier. Combine four marinade ingredients. Pour marinade over chicken. Bake. Serve. Done! This sweet chicken is terrific served with brown rice, salad, or lettuce wraps.

2. Chicken Enchiladas

This enchilada recipe uses shortcuts like leftover chicken and canned enchilada sauce to create a no-stress Tex-Mex favorite. Serve with a side salad and lots of avocados for a complete meal.

3. Chicken in Creamy Green Onion Sauce

You don’t need many ingredients to turn plain old chicken breasts into a dish you’ll want to make again and again. Cooking the chicken over low heat means it won’t dry out (the worst). Combine the pan juices with sour cream and green onions for creamy sauce to spoon over the top. Perfection.

4. Lemon Chicken with Asparagus

Looks like takeout but can be made in less than 20 minutes: This lemon chicken fits the bill. You’ll dredge chicken breasts in flour, brown them in a pan, and then cook up the asparagus and lemon to layer on top.

5. Breaded Lemon Chicken

The secret to getting crunchy, perfectly breaded chicken? Use lemon juice in place of an egg wash to keep the breadcrumbs intact. Lemon juice’s acids will keep the chicken super juicy while it pan fries, adding a whole new flavor dimension.

6. Slow Cooker Maple Dijon Ham

This slow cooker ham is a kitchen staple. It’s too tasty and easy to make for it not to be. And oh, the sauce—you’ll slice the ham almost all the way through, letting the maple syrup, Dijon mustard, brown sugar, and clove mixture seep in. You can imagine how delicious it is after six hours of slow cooking. Get crazy with this ham: Eat it as a main dish, use it in sandwiches, dice it up into your scrambled eggs, add it to a stir-fry. The possibilities are endless.

7. Baked Fajita Chicken

This fajita chicken gets dinner on the table with minimal prep. The chicken, smothered in salsa, peppers, and onions, cooks in the oven, giving you time to destress after a long day. Serve in a whole-wheat tortilla, on a salad, or with Mexican rice for a complete meal.

8. Skinny Pineapple Salsa Chicken

Ready to upgrade your tacos? This pineapple salsa chicken will be your new favorite protein addition and, best of all, it basically cooks itself. Dump your chicken, pineapple chunks and juice, and favorite salsa in the slow cooker and let it work its magic.

9. Pesto Chicken Stuffed Peppers

You’ve never had stuffed peppers like this. Out with the usual tomato/ground beef filling and in with this fancier yet still crazy easy version. You’ll roast the peppers first, then fill ‘em with shredded chicken, quinoa, pesto, and mozzarella cheese. Stuff the peppers, bake, and serve. If you prefer a firmer pepper or just less cooking time, you can skip the pre-roasting step and just bake them with the other ingredients.

10. Bourbon Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin

Five ingredients and one of them is bourbon? Sign us up. This easy peasy pork marinates for a few hours or overnight—it’s easily whisked together in the AM—and then gets grilled or baked in less than 20 minutes. And hey, enjoy that leftover bourbon while it cooks.

11. Sticky Stovetop Balsamic Drumsticks

These tried and true drumsticks are a dream on busy weeknights or lazy Sundays. Just place all the ingredients in a pan, bring to a boil, and let the sauce do its thang. You might have a moment around the 20-minute mark when you wonder if this sauce will actually materialize. Have faith, grasshopper. It will, and it will be glorious.

12. Creamy Greek Yogurt Mac and Cheese

Sometimes you’ve got the blue box blues. Luckily, you can make your own healthier version in about the same time as the boxed stuff. Greek yogurt adds creaminess and protein, while two cups of spinach provide vitamins A and K, plus almost a quarter of your day’s calcium needs.

13. Eggroll in a Bowl

This inside-out eggroll keeps the fillings you love, like shredded cabbage and carrots, and nixes the deep-fried wrapper. When you add in ground sausage, soy sauce, ginger, and green onions, the result is a low-carb, high-flavor dish that’s better than takeout. You could easily swap the protein for something like chicken or shrimp too.

14. Kale Caesar Pasta Salad

Caesar salads get a bad rap, but this one will blow your mind. Roasting cherry tomatoes for the salad adds a lot of sweetness and charbroiled flavor, while tossing in a bunch of kale adds antioxidants and iron to the mix. Using a bottled Caesar dressing means you can prepare this quickly too.

24. Almond-Crusted Tilapia

Packed with healthy fats, this almond-crusted fish cooks in just five minutes and will win over fish haters. We love the extra fiber boost from flaxseed.

15. Butternut Squash, Arugula, and Goat Cheese Pasta

15. Butternut Squash, Arugula, and Goat Cheese Pasta

Roasted butternut squash and fresh arugula transform what could be just another pasta dish into something spectacular. With the goat cheese serving as the “sauce” and a healthy dash of toasted pine nuts, this is a dinner that’s awesome when you’re dining solo and good enough to serve guests.

16. One Pot Asian Noodles

One pot of deliciousness coming right up. Filled with peanut sauce, chicken, and chopped peanuts, this noodle bowl is comfort food at its finest. It’s also easy to customize to your liking—drizzle that Sriracha sauce! Cover it in sesame seeds! As is or made your own, you’ll love these noodles.

17. Miso Soup

No need to Seamless an entire sushi order just to get a bowl of miso soup in your hands. With just five ingredients, you can make it right at home in five minutes—seriously. We love that there’s a vegan option too. There’s no excuse not to try this one!

18. Spinach Parmesan Pasta

Remember how good plain buttered noodles were when you were a kid? It’s time to try the adult version. Angel hair is the perfect pasta, since it cooks up super fast. Add in sautéed pasta, grated Parmesan cheese, and freshly ground salt and pepper, and you have a new grown-up go-to dinner.


19. Spinach Quinoa Vegetarian Patty

Keep on walking past the frozen foods aisle: With this recipe, you can make your own veggie patties with only five ingredients, thank you very much. With spinach and quinoa making up most of the patty, these are full of protein and vitamins. You can eat these as burgers, load them into a wrap, or use as a salad topping. So versatile, so good.

20. Cheesy Portabella Pizzas

When you’re craving pizza, opt for a healthier version and make these customizable ones. Portobella mushroom caps serve as your “dough,” though you can use normal ‘shrooms if they’re cheaper. These make an easy dinner but also a yummy snack or appetizer.

21. Thai Pumpkin Soup

Don’t be surprised if your roommate thinks you’ve ordered Thai food again. This pumpkin-based soup has all the flavors going for it, but it’s easily prepared at home. Make it more substantial by adding your favorite protein, such as shrimp, chicken, or tofu.

22. Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

Tired of your usual chili recipe? It’s time to make this vegetarian version. Smoky and sweet, it’s ready in under an hour (no more waiting all day). Load up on the extra toppings, like guacamole and cilantro, and freeze individual servings to have a ready-made dinner or lunch at your fingertips.


23. Brown Sugar Glazed Salmon

If you’ve been nervous about cooking fish, this recipe should ease your fears. The brown sugar and Dijon mustard glaze turns superfood salmon into a restaurant-worthy dish with minimal effort. It’s delicious on a salad or with your favorite side dish.

24. Baked Coconut Curry Cod

Coconut milk and curry paste create a creamy, spicy sauce sans dairy in this super-fast fish dish. But the real kicker is the generous amount of cilantro that finishes it all off—if you’re a cilantro-lover, this is for you.

25. Spicy Shrimp with Chilies

Spicy, garlicky, lemony, and so darn good, this shrimp has it all. Plus, it’s gluten-free and Paleo-friendly too. Serve with your favorite French bread to soak up the sauce and a side salad—dinner’s ready.

26. Tuscan Baked Fish

Making a resolution to add healthier fats and fish to your diet? Meet this Tuscan baked fish. You’ll start by sautéing onions, tomatoes, and capers in a pan and then popping those, along with the fish, into the oven. Rachael Ray’s got nothing on you—this bad boy is ready in less than 30 minutes. Bonus: You can use your favorite boneless, skinless fish with this one, so grab whatever’s on sale for a dinner that will knock your socks off.

Source: greatist.com