Standing in front of the fridge, starving, wondering how to make dinner out of the random smattering of ingredients in front of us. We’ve all been there, but it’s not just us ordinary cooks that get stuck trying to make a quick dinner after a long day. Even our favorite food bloggers have played refrigerator roulette on an empty stomach. The difference is they’re so much better at it!
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We asked several to share what they whip up when they’re short on time and energy. And the results are faster (all take 20 minutes or less), prettier, and tastier than we could have dreamed up. That’s why they’re the pros.
“This is my new favorite lightning-quick, lazy, and completely satisfying dinner. All you need is pasta, broccoli, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. It’s dinner, salad, and a vegetable dish all in one. And it could be dinner this evening, 20 minutes after you bring home the groceries.” — Deb Perelman, Smitten Kitchen
“This is my favorite go-to simple dinner because it’s super easy to make: Grab some refried black beans, chopped veggies (I like bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, and baby spinach), shredded cheese, salsa, and a whole-wheat tortilla. Crisp the tortilla in the oven, top with the beans, veggies, and cheese, and bake again for three minutes until the cheese has melted. It’s ready in 15 minutes, and it’s a healthy makeover of stuff you’d get at Taco Bell.” — Anjali Shah, The Picky Eater
“Our winter vegetable stir-fry is our favorite quick dinner this time of year, because it legit takes no time, and we almost always have all the ingredients—noodles, oil, veggies, juice, and spices—on hand. Stir-fry them together in the same pan. It’s filling, goddamn delicious, and the leftovers are always just as good as the night before.” — Michelle Davis and Matt Holloway, Thug Kitchen
“In my humble opinion, this five-minute sauce can single-handedly justify my existence as a food blogger. Start with avocados, garlic, parsley, cilantro, olive oil, jalapeño, lime juice, and pistachios. We put this stuff on everything to make a quick meal—from pizza to chips to sandwiches to toast to roasted vegetables to salads to tacos to burritos to eggs. And I’ll stop there, but know that I could keep going! If I’ve gone two weeks without making this sauce, it’s probably because I’ve died.” — Lindsay Ostrom, Pinch of Yum
“This is the easiest pasta dish you’ll ever make! And it doesn’t require any fancy ingredients. All you need is spaghetti, bacon, garlic, Parmesan, and eggs—and 15 minutes. Best of all, it has bacon!” — Chungah An, Damn Delicious
“One of my favorite quick and easy dinners also happens to be one of the most delicious: sourdough toast and garlicky greens topped with a perfectly poached egg. For extra goodness, top it all with a bit of Parmesan.” — Elizabeth Stark, Brooklyn Supper
“These roll-ups are incredibly fast—in just five minutes you’ll go from starving to snacking! All you need is a large tortilla, avocado slices, Greek yogurt, cheddar cheese, chipotle seasoning, and sun-dried tomatoes. Make a spread from the avocado and yogurt, top with the rest, and roll it all up! It’s so healthy and tasty, you’ll never miss the meat!” — Averie Sunshine, Averie Cooks