Test cooks share their favorite low-effort, high-reward complete weeknight dinners, most ready in an hour or less.
Imagine surveying your pantry or fridge and realizing you already have every ingredient you need to make any number of fast, flavor-packed meals. Sounds like a dream? These back-pocket dinners make it a reality, with recipes that transform foods such as a rotisserie chicken, a baguette, hummus, or quinoa into full meals using just five ingredients (plus salt, pepper, and fat) that require little in the way of planning.
What these recipes lack in ingredients, they more than make up for in flavor and creativity. We use simple techniques to our advantage to coax the maximum amount of oomph out of each component:
Turn rotisserie chicken into a cheesy, melty tart with frozen spinach, Brie, and store-bought crust
Shape lemony meatballs from ground chicken and quinoa–given a flavor boost from garlicky hummus that doubles as the base for a sauce
Get resourceful with our Grilled Tofu with Charred Broccoli, Peanut Sauce, and Crispy Shallots, repurposing the often drained-away shallot frying oil to coat the broccoli before grilling for an added layer of savoriness
With each recipe, a test cook’s commentary gives an inside peek into the recipe creation process, whether offering a tip for using a high-impact ingredient like red curry paste or oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (we help you compile a treasure trove of useful flavor bombs) or an imaginative technique (such as mincing carrot tops for a garnish). These recipes and tips will have you looking at your pantry with fresh eyes.