Hangry? Tired? Us too. Not to be the bearer of bad news, but no matter how tired you are, you still have to eat—and grabbing some takeout isn't your only option. With these seriously simple and quick dinner recipes, no level of exhaustion can keep you from enjoying a home-cooked meal.
Mirriam-Webster Definition of Hangry
Informal: irritable or angry because of hunger
Cooking Hacks for When You're Tired
Sitting on your sofa and weighing the pros and cons of cooking a meal tonight? There are plenty of options for the dinnertime venture that don't involve using every pan in the cupboard.
Make more than you'll eat in one sitting. Seriously, leftovers are a blessing. When cooking up a few extra portions, you're emitting the same amount of energy as you already would have if you stuck to the standard two-fer. Moreover, you're getting a lot more bang for your baking buck. Now that's what we call efficiency.
Don't be afraid of pre-chopped produce. Just because it's packaged and pre-cut doesn't mean you shouldn't go for it. Take it easy on yourself tonight; you can go ham on the weekend. If you're craving zucchini noodles, try the pre-zoodled kind. There are also pre-cooked ingredients like lentils and bacon, all of which are meant to make your life easier.
Break out the kitchen gadgets. Oftentimes, we wind up with nifty kitchen tools, only to shove them in the darkest recesses of our cabinets until we totally forget about them. But if you've got 'em, use 'em! Slow cookers, instant pots, immersion blenders, NutriBullets—you name it. Whatever trinket you've got hiding in the kitchen, it's time to make use of it.
Use that freezer to the best of its abilities. Freezing cooked food is a great way to make it available when you need it. Store ground meat in reusable Tupperware, chopped fruit in mason jars and homemade sauce in ice cube trays, all until further notice. When you open the freezer to see all that's available, you'll feel the weight of worry release right away!
Top 3 Recipes for the Tired Chef
1. Spaghetti Carbonara
Some recipes seem like they were crafted by the hands of a tired chef themselves. Spaghetti Carbonara is the ultimate quick dinner, and more than that, it's one of the best comfort foods we can think of. It's creamy by nature and filling in every facet.
Spaghetti Carbonara has always been an enigma of a dish. Its flavors are so complex, but the process to make it is so, so simple. It's not the ingredients that make it unique, but rather the technique and timing. Those Italians really know their pasta!
Pasta, cheese, meat, herbs...this dish has got it all. By the time you lug your tired self into the kitchen and gather the necessary ingredients, you'll be halfway there. All that's left to do is heat the stovetop, mix those ingredients in that traditional Italian way and slurp up spaghetti noodles like it's your job. If you're feeling up to it, you can always add a personal touch, like sautéed mushrooms or chili peppers. Anyway, let's get down to it.
- 12 ounces spaghetti
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 ounces pancetta
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- ⅓ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- Black pepper to taste
- 1 cup reserved pasta water
- ¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped
Bring a pot of water to boil.
Heat a cast iron skillet or medium-sized pan to medium heat. Add olive oil and pancetta. Cook until crispy.
In a small bowl, combine eggs, cheese and black pepper. Whisk with a fork.
Once water is boiling, add plenty of salt and the pasta. Cook until al dente and strain.
Add pasta to the pan with pancetta. Add the sauce mixture, then some reserved pasta water until you reach a creamy consistency. Mix well.
Top with parsley and serve!
Tired chefs, take note! There are ways to make this easy dish even easier. Instead of cooking up pancetta, substitute pre-cooked bacon. Instead of grating fresh parmesan yourself, substitute pre-grated. It may not be the traditional way to do it, but it will sure taste great on the palate.
Tired of cooking every night?
Get amazing discounts at your favorite restaurants every day:
2. Eggplant Pizza
Dealing with whole veggies may not seem like the easiest thing to do when you're tired, but we assure you that this recipe is an exception. You're only dealing with a single veg and making the most of it all the while. A novel and carb-removed take on the traditional personal pizza, Eggplant Pizza turns your world upside down any night of the week.
Perfect for small families (friends are family, too) and couples, this recipe is a perfect way for people to bond over a unique creation. If you decide to surprise your loved ones with Eggplant Pizza (maybe they're too tired to even stand in the kitchen, so you're coming in to save the day) you'll surely be greeted with plenty of awe-struck gratitude.
Cheesy, easy and suitable for the exhausted dinner-doer, Eggplant Pizza does the quick dinner thing right. So get slicing; once you've got your eggplant slices all lined up, you're halfway to the dig-in mark!
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Dried oregano & red pepper flakes to taste
Slice eggplant lengthwise into ¼-inch pieces. Salt and oil the slices before baking in a 400-degree Fahrenheit oven for 5 minutes.
Remove eggplant from the oven. Top with marinara sauce, garlic and mozzarella cheese.
Place back in the oven for another 5 minutes, or until the eggplant is cooked through and the cheese is melted.
Once done, sprinkle with salt, pepper, oregano and red pepper flakes. Serve immediately!
If you're wondering whether this dish will fill up your tummy, fret not. Serve with some high-quality baguette or garlic bread from the market and you've got yourself quite the plentiful meal! Should you wish to keep things veg-forward, opt instead for baked sweet potato fries, which go great with a honey mustard dip that's equal parts honey and mustard.
3. Black Bean Burrito
Burritos are a beautiful thing. Have you ever seen the professional burrito wrappers on the line, swaddling your baby with utmost care and concern? They manage to squeeze in mountains of filling, all without ripping the tortilla even slightly.
You don't have to rely on your local burrito-istas to craft your cravings. Believe it or not, you can do it yourself, right at home. With a can of black beans and a few simple add-ons, you'll be well on your way to a burrito that bests the takeout bags.
As for rolling the burrito itself, that's a skill that comes with time. Do yourself a flavor and keep the filling on the lower side. You can also purchase the largest size of tortilla, and keep in mind that warm flour tortillas are fare more durable than their corn counterparts. These are all good ways to get through the inevitable learning curve of wrapping your very own Black Bean Burrito.
- 2 large flour tortillas
- 2 cups rice, cooked
- 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained & rinsed
- ½ cup frozen corn
- ½ tsp each cumin & chili powder
- ½ cup onion, diced
- ¼ cup salsa
- 2 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded
- Fresh cilantro, chopped
- ½ cup red bell pepper, thinly sliced
Heat a medium pan on the stovetop. Add olive oil and onion, cooking until translucent.
Add frozen corn and cook until soft.
Add black beans and spices. Mix and cook until warm.
Warm tortillas on the stovetop. Set on a plate and top with cooked rice, black bean mixture, shredded cheese, bell pepper slices, salsa and cilantro.
Roll into a burrito shape. If you have leftover mixture, save it for tomorrow!
You may not be a burrito-rolling expert now, but that doesn't mean you can't learn the tricks of the trade! Follow this simple how-to video from Thrillist and you'll be rolling your burritos (and maybe even your r's) before you know it.
Making Life Easy with Lovvett
At Lovvett, we know all too well the pangs that come with exhaustion...especially when you still have supper to make. Fortunately, we know that being tired doesn't mean you have to give up on a home-cooked meal. With an entire repertoire of quick dinner recipes—whether it be for the weeknight or the health-conscious weekend evening—got your back come mealtime. Whatever kind of meal you're after, we've got a solution for you.
In case you didn't know, we're a company that's based on the premise of bringing surplus food to smart foodies with an eco-conscious mindset. We fuse this directive with our mission of bringing an end to food waste, leaving folks like you with premium, however discounted, produce and goods that do well in your own home kitchen.
Getting your ingredients through Lovvett is yet another way to cut down on time spent at the grocery store, giving you more time for...well, catching up on some much-needed snoozing. Who can argue with that?
Want in? Join Lovvett here.