Below, find five easy meals created with a short list of healthy ingredients, that are also budget-friendly. Theres no need to skimp on flavor; these simple dishes are tasty enough to get anyone asking for seconds. The mango in the grilled swordfish with mango salsa gives an extra pop of flavor, while the basil pesto in the stuffed pesto peppers adds a little spice to the quinoa.
With only five ingredients each, Ive created five easy weeknight meals that make comfort foods elegant. These recipe titles may sound complicated, but in reality, they’re easy enough for inexperienced cooks to prepare at home– and you may already have many of the ingredients in your pantry. So, make eating a bit easier on yourself and streamline your meals with these simple five ingredient recipes.
1. Stuffed Pesto Peppers
- 6 red bell peppers
- 2 cups beans
- cup quinoa, cooked
- 2 cups broccoli florets, steamed and chopped
- 4 tbsp. basil pesto
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook quinoa to desired doneness as directed on package. Drain. Meanwhile, remove and discard the tops, seeds, and membranes of bell peppers. Arrange peppers in a baking dish with the hollowed sides facing upwards. In a bowl, mix quinoa, beans, chopped broccoli, and basil pesto; mix well. Spoon mixture into hollowed peppers. Bake for 30 minutes or until peppers are tender. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.
2. Turkey Ball Spinach Soup
- 1 lb. lean ground turkey
- 16 oz. jar organic marinara sauce
- 1 cup whole grain penne
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 1/2 cups water
Using hands, form small balls with lean turkey to create turkey balls. In large pot, combine turkey balls, marinara sauce, and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, stir in penne and spinach, and simmer for 10 minutes, until penne and meatballs are hot and tender. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
3. Grilled Orange Agave Chicken
- 2 tbsp. applesauce
- 1/3 cup all-natural orange marmalade
- 1 tbsp. agave nectar
- 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. salt
Prepare and preheat grill. In small bowl, combine all ingredients except chicken breasts and stir to combine. Prepare grill with nonstick cooking spray. Brush orange mixture on chicken and place on grill. Cook 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally and brushing frequently with marmalade mixture, until chicken is no longer pink.
4. Balsamic Shrimp Kabobs
- 1 lb. uncooked medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 2 red bell peppers, cut into chunks
- 2 yellow bell peppers, cut into chunks
- 8 oz. package button mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Prepare and preheat grill. On each of eight metal kabobs, thread shrimp, pepper chunks, and whole mushrooms, allowing a bit of space in between each ingredient. Prepare grill with nonstick cooking spray. Brush kabobs with balsamic vinegar and grill for five minutes or until shrimp are pink, turning once and brushing once with balsamic vinegar.
5. Grilled Swordfish and Mango Salsa (above)
- 2 mangoes, chopped
- 1 cup salsa
- 1 tbsp. lime juice
- 4 swordfish steaks
- 1 tbsp. sesame oil
- tsp. sea salt
- tsp. chili powder
In a small glass bowl, combine mangoes, salsa, and lime juice. Chill in refrigerator. Meanwhile, prepare and heat grill. Spray grill rack with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle steaks with sea salt and chili powder; place fish on grill. Cover grill and cook for 10-12 minutes or until fish is opaque and flakes easily with fork, turning once.
To serve, top steaks with salsa.
Amie Valpone, HHP, AADP nutritionist, is the author of The Healthy Apple.