6 Dinners You Can Make Using 6 Ingredients Or Fewer (Recipes)

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By Cooking Panda

I love to make easy homemade dinners during the week, but some recipes can get overwhelming, especially when you’re staring at a 20-ingredient-long list of stuff you need to use — you know, the kind that has you running to the store twice before you realize you’re still missing the fresh basil. Sigh.

Don’t worry, friends! There is an easier way. You really don’t need more than a handful of ingredients to make a filling dinner that rocks your socks off.

Check out these six tasty dinners that you’ll only need six ingredients or fewer to make:

1. Slow Cooker Jalapeno Pineapple Pork

Plan ahead and prep this easy and affordable dinner the night before. Then all you need to do is pop it in the slow cooker in the morning and come home to an already-made dinner that’s just perfect spooned over a big scoop of rice.

2. Thai Salmon

Is there really anything out there that would be bad drenched in sweet chili sauce? I think not! This sweet, spicy fish is absolutely ravishing with rice and sauteed or steamed veggies — or even atop a salad.

3. Tortellini Carbonara

You don’t need much to make a scrumptious pasta sauce from scratch — just a bit of bacon, cream and Parmesan cheese! Using filled tortellini is another great shortcut to make your meal seem more elaborate than it really is.

4. Lemon Chicken with Asparagus

Lemon pepper is the holy grail when it comes to making your chicken pop with flavor. Of course, you can also substitute fresh lemon zest and cracked black pepper — either way, you’re going to want seconds.

5. Vegetarian Baked Taquitos

With beans, guacamole and cheese, these comparably healthy flautas have enough substance to fill you up, and they taste delicious too! Still, you can plop in a little leftover meat (like shredded rotisserie chicken) if desired. Want to fry them instead? Here’s how.

6. Creamy Chicken Marsala

These would be swell served with pasta, rice and/or a simple salad! Do it!

Featured Image: kae71463/Flickr

Tags: easy dinner recipes, easy weeknight meals, fast dinners, five ingredient dinner, six ingredient dinner
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5 Super Cheap Dinners That Taste Like A Million Bucks (Recipes)

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By Cooking Panda

Just because you’re trying to save a buck doesn’t mean anyone has to go hungry or eat gross food!

It’s totally possible to make super delicious meals for only a few dollars that will keep the whole family satisfied and even feed hungry guests without making you feel like you’re skimping on them.

Here are some budget-friendly crowd pleasers:

1. Margherita French Bread Pizza

You can easily turn these into sandwiches by putting some meat and/or roasted veggies between the two slices. If actual pizza is more your thing, you can use store-bought crust or if you have a few extra minutes, you can make things even cheaper with DIY dough.

2. Instant Ramen Chicken Thai Noodle Bowls

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This is really delicious and super versatile. Use any leftover or frozen meat you have on hand (rotisserie chicken is often cheaper than a raw broiler), and just use whatever veggies are on sale and/or already in your fridge or freezer. And of course, you can use any noodles you want if instant ramen isn’t your thing.

3. Fettuccine Alfredo

Even if you need to buy all five ingredients — and there’s a good chance you have them on hand already — you’ll still come out with up to four servings for around $5. P.S. If you want to use regular milk instead of cream, you can totally do so, although you should probably make a roux first.

4. Slow Cooker Six Layer Dinner

For just a few bucks, this dinner is so incredibly filling and nutritious, as it’s packed with meat, potatoes and veggies, but there’s a lot of flavor too! Feel free to swap anything you want in or out. This would be delicious with sweet potatoes, ground turkey, chopped chicken breasts and/or frozen bags of mixed veggies too.

5. Lemon Butter Cod

Basically this recipe works for whatever fish happens to be on sale or buried in your freezer. You can even make it with chicken breasts or fillets, though you might need to adjust your cooking time — remember that chicken needs to be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Featured Photo Credit: Nikolas Moya/Flickr

Tags: affordable dinner recipe, cheap dinners, dinner recipes cheap, easy dinner, easy weeknight meals
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These 6 Filling Vegan Dinners Will Rock Your Socks Off

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By Cooking Panda

In case you aren’t already on board with Meatless Monday, allow us to make our case: Reducing your meat intake is great for the environment — just one meal without meat can save more than 1,000 gallons of water and cut down on fossil fuel — and it can be great for your health too (depending on your individual health needs, of course). Read all about the benefits of observing Meatless Monday here.

Going animal-free does not need to be tough! There are so many delicious vegetarian dishes that will leave you completely full and satisfied. Here are some of our favorite vegetarian-friendly dinners that you can whip up pretty quickly on a busy weeknight. And since November is Vegan Month, they are all completely vegan too! Enjoy!

1. Chipotle-Inspired Vegan Burrito Bowl

Make your own version of Chipotle’s classic without leaving the house! And if you want to recreate the burrito chain’s infamous guac, here’s how.

2. Butternut Squash Chipotle Chili with Avocado

If you’re looking for a satisfying dish that will keep you warm during these cold November days, you can’t do much better than serving yourself a heaping bowl of this flavorful, hearty chili.

3. Curried Coconut Quinoa and Greens with Roasted Cauliflower

Quinoa and cauliflower absolutely do not have to be bland or boring, especially when you ditch the water and cook the quinoa with rich, creamy coconut milk and curry spices, and toss the whole thing with roasted, slightly charred cauliflower. Even veggie haters will love this one.

4. Sweet Potato and Black Bean Empanadas

The dough might take you a few extra minutes for prep and cleanup, but the awesome thing about this recipe (besides it being amazingly filling and delicious, of course) is that you can make a truckload of these at once, throw them in the freezer, and then just reheat as many as you want for the ultimate fast lunch or dinner. It goes without saying that if you want to make a big batch of these, you can totally switch up the fillings for a variety pack that suits your fancy; we love sauteed zucchini and potatoes in these.

5. West African Peanut Soup

If you want something spicy, creamy and comforting, don’t hesitate to make this easy, healthy soup. The combination of peanut butter, tomatoes and collard greens might sound a little wacky if you’ve never tried it before, but we can assure you that this is one risk that will really pay off.

6. Fries Supreme

Who said eating vegan has to mean being healthy all the time? There is no reason why you can’t splurge every now and then, and dump all of your favorite toppings onto a big pile of French fries — and enjoy the heck out of it.

Featured Photo Credit: Once A Month Meals

Tags: easy weeknight meals, Meatless Monday, vegan, vegan dinner, vegetarian
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8 Scrumptious Pasta Recipes That Will Fill You Right Up

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By Cooking Panda

National Pasta Day is here, and we are 100 percent down for it. We can’t praise pasta enough for always being there for us, with its sub-$1 price for a thin package that will feed you for multiple meals. Even if you stick to healthier pasta spinoffs, like whole wheat noodles, zoodles, or spaghetti squash, these easy, filling and comforting recipes will still blow you out of the water.

Enjoy!

1. One Pot Garlic Parmesan Pasta

No need to go overboard on a weeknight by using more than one dish, when you can do it all in one. Double win: the starchy pasta water will thicken up and flavor this dish, making it extra creamy.

2. Zucchini and Lemon Spaghetti

This dish is perfect for zoodles if you have a spiralizer or julienne slicer. We love to mix in about 1/3 zoodles to 2/3 pasta if you go that route, but that’s just us. You do you.

3. Skillet Mac and Cheese Pizza

Life’s rough when you can’t choose between mac and cheese and pizza. Luckily, we’ve found you the perfect way never to have to make that difficult decision again.

4. Pesto with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Roasted Asparagus

That fried egg is optional, but the extra protein boost totally ties the whole thing together with super rich creaminess.

5. Creamy Vegan Tomato-Basil Pasta

Let’s be honest, cashew cream makes EVERYTHING better — although you can swap it out for ricotta cheese, plain yogurt or half and half if you really want to be boring.

6. Easy Beef Stroganoff

Take your hands off that Hamburger Helper! All you need for top-notch homemade stroganoff is 30 minutes and this recipe. Bonus: If you are one of THOSE people who hates mushrooms, go ahead and puree the sauce so it tastes just like the box, but better.

7. Winter Squash Carbonara with Pancetta and Sage

This rock-your-socks-off naturally creamy dish is super adaptable. If you don’t have fresh squash, you can totally use plain canned (unspiced and unsweetened, please!) pumpkin puree. And feel free to add any of the following: crumbled walnuts, toasted pumpkin seeds, meat/tofu, or, our favorite — a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, which ties everything together 100 percent perfectly.

8. Skinny Fettuccine Alfredo

This dish combines chicken stock, flour and low fat milk for a naturally creamy and lower-calorie version of your fave so you can inhale a whole pot of pasta and feel half as guilty as you would have otherwise.

Featured Photo Credit: Christina Holmes/Bon Appetit

Tags: easy pasta recipe, easy weeknight meals, National Pasta Day, pasta, weeknight recipes
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