Food

14 Easy Meal Upgrades For Impossibly Lazy Cooks

Transform boxed mac ‘n’ cheese – and more – with five ingredients or less. Mom would be so proud.

2. 1.

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3. a. Three-Ingredient Shepherd’s Pie Topped with Ramen

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt / http://seriouseats.com

Just add: Ground beef, onion, frozen peas.

Brown some ground beef, toss in chopped onions and peas, top with ramen – then stick everything in the broiler until the noodles are crisp. Get the recipe.

4. b. Ramen with Fresh Veggies & Egg

http://budgetbytes.com

Just add: Egg, mushrooms, green onions, spinach. (Optional: Sriracha or chili paste.)

Give this dish a fancy finish by carefully cracking an egg into the hot broth and letting it poach. Or, even easier? Crack an egg, break the yolk, and slowly stir – you’ll get instant egg ribbons, like in egg drop soup. Get the recipe.

5. c. Pad Thai-Inspired Ramen

http://www.marthastewart.com

Just add: Chunky peanut butter, soy sauce, scallions. (Optional: Sriracha.)

Don’t knock it ‘til you try it. Get the recipe.

6. d. Cacio e Pepe Ramen

http://traveleatdrinkstuff.com

Just add: Butter, olive oil, cheese, pepper.

On his show “The Mind of a Chef,” ramen mastermind David Chang whipped up this ridiculously easy (and delicious!) version. Get the recipe.

7. 2. Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed

8. a. Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Red Onion and Crispy Breadcrumbs

Just add: Butter, red onion, parsley, breadcrumbs.

While your mac ‘n’ cheese is cooking, saute some red onions in butter – then combine everything in an oven dish. Top with breadcrumbs and parsley and bake. Get the recipe.

9. b. Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Chicken, Chiles, and Salsa Verde

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt / http://seriouseats.com

Just add: Shredded chicken, green chiles, salsa verde. (Optional toppings: scallions, cilantro.)

Canned green chiles and store-bought salsa verde make this dish incredibly easy to assemble. You can also add in some rotisserie chicken – just use what you need, and save the rest for leftovers. Get the recipe.

10. c. Chipotle Black Bean Mac ‘n’ Cheese

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt / http://seriouseats.com

Just add: Black beans, chopped chipotles. (Optional toppings: scallions, cilantro.)

The black beans are full of protein, which totally justifies eating mac ‘n’ cheese more often than you already do. Get the recipe.

11. 3. Frozen Taquitos

Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed

12. Here’s the thing about frozen taquitos: It’s all about the sauce.


Instantly dress up these store-bought staples by topping them with fresh salsa or dip – which can be made in the time it takes to defrost and cook taquitos in the oven.

13. a. Homemade Pico de Gallo

http://thetalkingkitchen.com

Just add: Tomato, onion, jalapeno, garlic, lime. (Optional: cilantro.)

Pico de gallo is Spanish for “I make everything better.” Get the recipe.

14. b. Spicy Guacamole with Pineapple

http://iamafoodblog.com

Just add: Avocado, onion, cilantro, pineapple chunks, lime. (Optional, for some heat: chili – or your spice of choice.)

Sweet pineapple, creamy avocado, and a kick of heat? Yeah. Triple batch, please. Get the recipe.

15. c. Smoky Black Bean Dip with Lime

Just add: Black beans, lime, canned chipotle chiles, cotija cheese, cilantro.

The recipe pairs this dip with tortilla chips – but taquitos are even better. Pour canned black beans and chipotle chiles into a saucepan, heat them through, then blend in a processor until smooth. (Or mix by hand, and enjoy as a side.) Top with lime juice, cheese, and cilantro.

16. 4. Plain Quesadilla

Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed

17. a. Margherita Quesadilla

http://thekitchenpaper.com

Just add: Mozzarella, tomato, basil.

Pizza dough? Who has time for that? Get the recipe.

18. b. Quesadilla with Sauteed Kale & Cheddar

http://www.edibleperspective.com

Just add: Kale, olive oil, garlic. (Optional: fresh herbs.)

Sneak some greens into your quesadilla by adding kale cooked in garlic and olive oil. The recipe makes these on a grill, but you can also use a stove top. Don’t like kale? Spinach works, too – just don’t cook it as long.

19. c. Teriyaki Chicken Quesadilla

http://ohsweetbasil.com

Just add: Chicken breast (or rotisserie chicken), teriyaki sauce.

Coat the chicken with teriyaki sauce (the recipe calls for a homemade version – but store-bought works just as well), then shred it with two forks. Pile onto a tortilla, sprinkle with cheese, then cook until everything is perfectly melty.

20. d. Breakfast (for Dinner!) Quesadilla

http://www.thehungryhedgehog.com

Just add: Bacon, egg. (Optional: extra veggies.)

Once you wedge all the ingredients for a simple omelet between two tortillas, it goes beyond the breakfast game. Get the recipe.

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