Easy Throw Together Meal Ideas from Readers – fANNEtastic food | Registered Dietitian Blog
Hi guys! Recently, I asked you to share your favorite throw together meal ideas with me via email – nothing that required a full recipe or lots of measuring, but rather quick and easy throw together on the fly type meals. I make a lot of the same things day in and day out so I figured all of us, myself included, could use some fresh ideas! Thank you so much to those of you who emailed me ideas! Here are just a few of my faves. 🙂 Let me know which ones you end up trying – enjoy!
Blog reader Maggie had a creative idea for an on-the-go sandwich for outdoorsy adventures (but this would obviously be great for a packed workday lunch, too) – she says: “I’ve been obsessed with eating “real food” on summer hiking and backpacking adventures this summer. I’ve been packing bars and trail mix and fruit for snacks, but have been revolving the bulk of my calories around crafty sandwiches. My favorite is chickpea salad! Below is chickpeas smashed with a homemade tahini-cilantro dressing (just cilantro, tahini, lemon juice, some frank’s buffalo sauce on a whim, and garlic) and some extra chopped cilantro. Trail game changer!”
Blog reader Lesley had this great idea for a Greek Pasta Salad! She usually uses chickpea pasta to up the protein factor – if you are using regular pasta, add some beans (chickpeas would be good here!) instead to get in the protein. Here are her throw together instructions:
- Cook pasta of your choice.
- Toss pasta with a greek-style vinaigrette – I made one using garlic olive oil, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, lemon juice, and lots of oregano, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
- Finely chop up veggies of your choice – I went with cucumbers, green pepper, cherry tomatoes (separated in the container so they didn’t make anything soggy!), and red onion. I think raw red onion is a little much for the work lunchroom :), so I gave these a quick pickle bath in red wine vinegar, salt and a bit of sugar for about an hour or two. (Note from Anne: love this idea!)
- Layer in some full-fat feta and any additional spices you may like. I kept everything somewhat separated in a container and mixed together with a squeeze of lemon right before eating.
MY OTHER RECIPES
I loved blog reader Rachel’s caprese grilled chicken meal idea – she says: “I just marinated chicken in balsamic vinaigrette dressing, grilled it, and then at the end of grilling I topped it with mozzarella, tomato and avocado and let that melt a bit. Finished with fresh basil and a drizzle of balsamic. I served it over couscous.” So easy and delicious sounding – definitely going to make this ASAP! Perfect for summer, too. I think it would also be really good with quinoa or brown rice – or atop toast! And you could of course just pan sear the chicken vs. grilling it, too.
Blog reader Genevieve wrote with the idea for a throw together Mexican Chicken Salad – I loved how easy and fresh this sounds, and how it’s made creamy with the Greek yogurt! Here are the ingredients – just chop it all, combine, and enjoy!
- Grilled or rotisserie chicken
- Bell pepper
- Cherry tomatoes
- Pickled jalapeños (optional)
- Cumin (couple shakes)
- Lime Juice
- Black beans (not pictured bc I was out this time)
- Greek yogurt
Blog reader Lauren (who also has a fabulous-sounding cookbook, Fresh Made Simple), reminded me of how fun snack plates are for a yummy throw together meal! Here’s what she said: “I love making an easy snack plate for lunch or dinner especially in summer or for a group to pick at. Choose a few dips, some veg and fruit and I added easy grilled sausage and grilled halloumi.” Looks so good, right?! Love the mix of protein, produce, healthy fat, and carbs for a well-rounded informal meal! Colorful, too. 🙂
Blog reader Ann shared a yummy way to use canned smoked trout (you guys know I love canned protein like tuna, salmon, and sardines – so nutritious, affordable, and fast)! I never think to buy smoked trout, though, so I’m definitely putting this on my “to try” list! She says: “This one is allllll about one key ingredient—tinned smoked trout from Trader Joe’s. I always have a few tins in my pantry. It’s great on its own as a high-protein snack after work, and it’s also easy to turn into a quick dip for company. Like any smoked fish, it’s high in sodium, but a little goes a long way.”
She simply tops greens with the smoked trout, avocado, and a few generous squeezes of lemon. Season with some ground pepper, and add in any other veggies you like! A dash or two of hot sauce, Ann says, is also tasty here. My only addition would be to add some carbs to the salad (toasted bread on the side would be yummy)!
And lastly, blog reader Beth shared an easy formula for homemade black bean burgers! She says: “These are my new favorite go to for lunch or dinner because once you make the batch they reheat in no time. Perfect for Sunday meal prep. I would take a picture but they aren’t that pretty!” Her basic recipe is: 2 cans of black beans (drained/rinsed and then gently mashed ) + 1 egg + 1/2 cup breadcrumbs + salt and pepper to taste. Then you can mix in add-ins to add different flavor varieties… and based on what you have on hand. She said she doesn’t really measure – just does it to taste. Here are some ideas for add-ins – you can choose just one or a couple:
- 1 large pepper and 1 medium onion – sautéed or roasted
- Sautéed spinach with garlic
- Frozen chopped spinach – thawed and squeezed thoroughly to get rid of the water
- Sautéed or roasted broccoli
- Sautéed or roasted mushrooms
- Roasted or steamed or thawed corn kernels
- Chipotle and/or chili powder
- Buffalo or bbq sauce
Once you have everything mixed in, just divide into patties (makes about 6) and then cook them in a greased skillet on medium, carefully flipping once (they may be a bit crumbly). Enjoy!
Thank you again so much to those of you who took the time to share your favorite easy meal ideas with us! If any more come to mind, feel free to email them to me – I can always include more in future posts. Or you can simply share your easy meal ideas in the comments!
Want more easy meal ideas? Here are a few posts that might be helpful: