We all know that it’s important to eat healthily, but sometimes making a balanced meal at the end of the long day seems like the hardest thing in the world.
Even if you do have the energy to cook at night, deciding on a meal can be downright impossible. You want your food to be nutritious, but simple. Quick, but fulfilling. Impressive, but using ingredients you already have in your fridge.
Of course, the internet is a great source of inspiration (seriously, just spend five minutes on Pinterest). However, navigating through pages of celebrity chefs, gourmet ingredients, and complex instructions can be daunting.
Thankfully, the internet is chock-full of great cooking resources for those who like to keep things simple.
These 12 resources for simple meals are the best of both worlds. These resources offer recipes taste great and cover a wide selection of foods. Best of all, they won’t break the bank either!
The Culinary Cook offers many online lessons that are an ideal first step for beginner cooks. These courses are free, and can give you a great knowledge base for the recipes you want to try.
The quick chapters give you insights into basic cooking techniques, ingredient combinations, and kitchen safety. Once you have these simple lessons under your belt, you’ll be ready for anything the recipes in this list throw at you!
2. Budget Bytes
Budget Bytes is one of the internet’s definitive sources for eating well on a budget. The website explains each recipe simply with step-by-step images. In addition, each recipe uses ingredients you most likely have on hand and several of them are easily frozen in the freezer for next time!
Best of all, the recipes include a price breakdown per serving, and the author strives to use only inexpensive ingredients in her meals.
Friendly and happy, Hilah Cooking is a great YouTube channel for beginning cooks. A new video uploaded every week showcases Hilah’s preparation of a quick and easy meal.
Recipes range from seasonal to comfort food to Mexican dishes. In addition, there is a learn to cook series that features the most basic of dishes.
Cookstr has a huge database of recipes, and aims to be the biggest collection of cookbooks online. Because of this, their recipes run the full range of skill level. However, many easy recipes can be found under the “30 minute meals” tab at the top of the site.
In addition, each recipe is clearly labelled with the level of cooking skill required to complete it. If you register for a free account you can save any recipes that look interesting and add personal notes to saved recipes.
Reddit most likely won’t be your first stop for cooking advice. However, the subreddit /r/cookingforbeginners is full of great recipes and advice for those who are learning to cook. Even if you’re already an experienced cook, this subreddit’s easy and delicious meals can still prove inspiring.
Just a disclaimer: as with most Reddit communities, posts and comments may include strong language.
This YouTube channel is no longer updated as regularly as it once was. However, the archives are a great source of inspiration and learning for people who just want to understand the basics. Rob Barrett is the host for this series, and offers a wide range of videos with clear instructions and great images.
The videos are friendly and accessible if you are nervous about attempting stereotypically “dad” recipes like barbecue, turkey on Thanksgiving, or game day snacks.
Reddit doesn’t just have one great cooking resource. It has at least two! /r/tonightsdinner lets users share what they ate for supper, with the requirement that they also include their recipe.
Some of these recipes may be a little difficult to start out with, but others are the perfect level for beginning cooks. Best of all, you know that the recipe is edible… someone out there ate it for dinner!
This roundup by Greatist is an amazing resource. There are over 400 recipes on this site, and all of them are made with eight or fewer ingredients and only take twenty minutes (or less!) to prep.
No matter which recipe you choose from this selection, you know that you are getting an easy and nutritious meal.
If you have difficulty deciding what you want to eat for dinner, this website can be a life saver. Simply select the type of cuisine you’re craving, a preferred main ingredient, and the course you want to make. The tool will then spit out a perfect option for your dinner.
Some of these recipes may be too hard for your level of expertise. If that’s the case, just give the wheel another spin!
This wonderful resource comes from a software design company that regularly experienced the “Oh no, what am I going to make for dinner?” crisis. To solve their problem, they created their own YouTube channel where basic, satisfying recipes are uploaded almost every week.
Created by busy people, for busy people, these recipes hit the spot every time and are straightforward to follow.
11. All Recipes
Any list of cooking resources would be lacking if it didn’t include All Recipes. This site is full of recipes for any taste and level of expertise. Search by recipe title, or try an ingredient search if you want to use up a specific item in your fridge.
To find simple meals, try looking under the “Everyday Cooking Recipes” category. These recipes are chosen because they are kid-friendly, quick to throw together, and easy to prepare.
And then there’s the YouTube channel, You Suck at Cooking. If what you’re looking for is the simplest way possible to change up a staple you already know how to make, then this is the resource for you.
The host guides you through modifications in a rapid-fire, sassy tone, but the point comes across. Again, do be aware that there may be strong language in several of these videos.
What’s for Dinner?
Hopefully these tools will help you to find meals that taste great, are at your cooking level, that don’t take very long, and that won’t break the bank.
Are there any cooking tools you regularly use that I didn’t mention? What’s your favorite weeknight dinner? Leave me a link to the recipe in the comments!