When I have plenty of time and nothing to do, it sounds tempting to follow a long recipe to a delicious feast. However, on days when my routine is already filled with countless activities and chores, I prefer to follow simple and healthy dinner recipes that require very little time and effort.
In fact, it's a blessing when you have a ton of work to do, and you can rely on easy meal ideas to cook yourself an easy 20-minute meal. Read on to find the easiest recipes to get yourself a quick dinner.
Reasons why cooking at home is beneficial
Cooking is a form of therapy for many people. A way to relax and unwind. For others, it's a way of expressing their creativity. Once you're in the kitchen and put on your favorite apron, you can experiment with ingredients and prepare any dish you like. Sometimes these tests can bear fruit. For me, nothing beats a bite of a delicious meal I've created after hours of focus and concentration.
But when you're pressed for time or make mistakes, opt for tried, easy, and healthy dinner recipes instead of a la carte. Because preparing yourself allows you to choose the best ingredients to take control of your health and well-being.
You can follow simple dinner ideas that combine grains and high-quality protein to help you stay healthy. This ultimately leads to more restful sleep, better mood, more energy, and better physical and mental performance. After all, as the saying goes, "eat what you eat".
Here are easy chicken dinner recipes and some easy 20-minute meal ideas for easy meal prep.
Lemon Chicken Breast
In the summer, there's no better way to add a healthy dose of spice and flavor to your diet than indulging in lemon chicken breasts. This recipe is easy to follow because it uses readily available ingredients that may already be in your pantry.
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 2 tsp. dried thyme
• 2 tsp. fine salt (divided into 2)
• 2 tablespoons. garlic (chopped into a paste)
• 2 tablespoons. freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1 whole lemon (cut into 6 slices)
• 1 tablespoon. freshly grated lemon zest
• 1 tablespoon. sugar (preferably brown)
• ½ teaspoon. Black pepper
• 2 tsp. garlic powder
• 2 tsp. dried oregano
4 chicken breasts (skinless and boneless)
Eight easy steps
1. Preheat the oven before starting to cook.
2. After rinsing the chicken breasts, dry with paper towels and place in a 9 x 13 cm heatproof dish.
3. Mix the thyme, olive oil, garlic powder, and oregano with a teaspoon of salt and black pepper to make a paste.
4. Spread the paste evenly over the chicken breasts.
5. In the same bowl, combine the lemon juice, garlic, lemon zest, remaining salt and brown sugar and toss to combine.
6. Spread this paste on the chicken breasts as well.
7. Finally put the lemon slices on the chicken and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
8. Remove the pan from the oven and pour the liquid over the chicken in the pan a few times. Then roast for an additional 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
Carefully remove the hot lemon chicken from the oven and serve it with a glass of iced lemonade and mashed potatoes, sautéed vegetables or some freshly cooked jasmine rice for a healthy and nutritious meal!
Lemon Chicken Breast - Leftovers
You can store leftover lemon chicken in the refrigerator to slice and spread on some white bread or flatbread later, with freshly sliced tomatoes and cucumber slices. You can add a little flavor by quickly making some homemade mayo or pesto. Spread it on some toast with sliced chicken and veggies for a sandwich that's easy and healthy to tempt your taste buds.
Broccoli Pesto Pasta
Pasta with Broccoli Pesto is another easy and healthy dinner recipe that promises to add sparkle and flavor to your taste buds. Here's a more nutritious but equally delicious restaurant-style pesto pasta with herbs and a vibrant pesto flavor. Originally, pesto was a green blend of spices like basil, parmesan, olive oil, nuts, and garlic. So, a bite of pesto can deliver an intense flavor.
However, a range of nuts and spices can be used to make slightly different versions of pesto. You can also buy ready-made pesto at the store to make this recipe easier to follow.
• 4 cups broccoli florets
• 2 cloves garlic
• 1 cup olive oil (preferably extra virgin)
• 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
• ½ teaspoon. Salt
• ¼ cup chopped pine nuts
• 2 cups basil leaves
• 1 pound boiled pasta (any pasta will do)
1. Boil water in a large saucepan.
2. Add the broccoli florets and let the water boil for the next two minutes.
3. Spoon the broccoli out of the boiling water onto a sieve, then run the sieve under cold water to stop the florets from cooking.
4. Add the pasta of your choice to the boiling water. Cook noodles according to package directions.
5. After the noodles are cooked, drain the water and reserve 1.5 cups of noodles water for later use.
6. In a blender, combine broccoli, pine nuts, basil, garlic, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and salt until mixture is well combined. Then add 1 cup of the preserved pasta water and mix until a paste forms. If the paste seems too thick, slowly add more pasta water until the mixture is a sauce-like consistency.
7. Combine cooked pasta with freshly made pesto until combined. Garnish with more grated Parmesan and chopped pine nuts for extra flavor.
Delicious broccoli pesto pasta is ready!
Why is this pasta dish so special?
This broccoli pesto pasta trumps traditional pasta dishes because it combines the goodness of the veggies with flavor and indulgence. Broccoli is a vegetable that many people find difficult to eat because it can be bland, despite being rich in vitamins and minerals. Get the health benefits of broccoli while enjoying rich pasta, pesto, and parmesan cheese in this easy and healthy dinner recipe.
Follow the simple dinner ideas given above and meal prep will be a breeze. Not only can you cook right away, you can also enjoy delicious meals. So stop worrying about food; sit back and enjoy an irresistible meal without any hassle!
（Writer：Hira Azam Khan）