Personally, I love getting the chance to cook a nice meal.  I will gladly spend hours on a dish to create something really special.  But, most of the time this is NOT what my dinners look like. I'm often trying to juggle school, work, and friends.  Dinner is usually a quick meal that I scarf down before moving onto the next thing, but I have never been willing to sacrifice flavor!  During quarantine, this has not changed so much for me.  I'm still working, I still have school, I zoom with my friends, and I don't always have the time to cook an elaborate meal.  So whether you're also busy, or simply don't have all the ingredients right now to make a fancy meal, here are some lazy dinners that are super simple but still super delicious!

1. Chicken Sausage Pasta

One of my favorite dinners that takes me 15 minutes to make is a simple chicken sausage pasta dish.  All you need is a package of chicken sausage (I usually like to use Applegate), a pasta of your choice, spinach, and olive oil.  Cook the pasta, and in a pan next to it, cut the sausage into rounds and cook until it starts to brown up.  When that's done, sauté the spinach and add that into a bowl with the pasta and the sausage.  Next, add some olive oil and you have a delicious meal in minutes!  I also like to add parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes into mine.  It is super easy, super simple, and super enjoyable.

2. Veggie Burger Salad

Recently I have really been enjoying veggie burgers, specifically the ones from Dr. Praeger's.  But instead of having a burger on a bun, I use it in a salad for a healthier option.  Choose any lettuce of your choice (I use a mixed lettuce option with spinach), add chunks of mozzarella, diced cucumbers, chick peas, and drizzle olive oil and vinegar on top.  After this, cut up the burger and place it on top of the salad.  If I have avocado, I add that as well.  While this might sound weird, you gotta use what you have around the house!  And trust me, it is delicious and completely satisfying.

3. Quinoa Bowls

cereal, millet, wheat, quinoa, condiment, corn, sesame seed
Christin Urso

A good protein packed meal that is especially great after working out is a chicken quinoa bowl.  There are a lot of ways to make quinoa bowls, but I love the most this quick one the most. You can cook some chicken on a pan, or if you're feeling super lazy, use pre-cooked chicken strips.  Cook the quinoa, add the chicken to the bowl, and then add as much salsa as you want and diced avocado chunks.  When I first tried this meal I was wary about using salsa and quinoa together, but it was amazing!  It turned out to be a super quick, delicious, and healthy option.

4. Sheet Pan Fajitas

Another dinner hack that makes life a lot easier is using a sheet pan to cook all the elements of your dinner at once!  My favorite sheet pan recipe is sheet pan fajitas.  All you need to do is cut chicken breasts and peppers into strips, cover them in oil and your favorite Mexican spices (hello, chili powder), and slide them into the oven.  Feel free to whip up some guacamole while you're waiting, heat up some tortillas, and you have a fantastic low effort, max flavor dinner.  If you're a frequently busy cook, do some sheet pan research!  There are tons of recipes to make where all you have to do is slide a pan into the oven.  Check some out here!

5. Instant Pot Meals

If you label yourself a busy cook or a lazy cook, the BEST addition to your kitchen is an instant pot.  I got one a few months ago and it was a total game changer.  You can cook pasta in minutes, chicken in half the time, and, if you're feeling creative, you can even make yogurt!  The best use of the Insta Pot for dinner time is to throw a bunch of ingredients in there and create a whole meal.  A perfect Insta pot meal like this is Pad Thai.  It is simple, quick, and very yummy.  It will add the flavor you want without all the time.  Definitely a great investment if you want to cut down cooking time!

Right now in this pandemic, there are a lot of reasons to cook a lazy dinner.  We want to be able to Zoom with friends, spend time with family, get caught up with work, etc.  Not to mention, with grocery trips few and far between, we do not always have the ingredients to make an elaborate meal.  These 5 meal ideas are fast, simple, and totally quarantine proof.  Right now we have to use what we have and cook smart while still having fun and making something great!