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No-Cook Suppers: Enjoy Real Food the Easy Way

Don’t feel like cooking tonight? No problem. You can skip that kitchen task and still eat real, good food on a budget with these no-cook suppers. No take-out or reservations required.

ploughman's lunch with eggs, ham, bread, pickle, cheese, and fruit

The Ploughman’s Lunch

Fancy dinners are to people in the 2000’s what restaurants were to people in the ’80s. Ahem.

I just might have borrowed a phrase from one of the best movies to watch on repeat during the 90’s. You’ll forgive my poetic license as I make the point:

You don’t have to cook every night.

Now, I am not saying that you should eat out or get take-out or buy convenience food items with ingredients you can’t pronounce.

That’s not usually good cheap eats.

However, I will propose the idea that you don’t have to cook every night. You can still eat real food easily and affordably without getting all hot and bothered in the kitchen.

You don’t have to cook every night. Just eat real food. – Chef Thierry Rautureau, as quoted in The Kitchen Counter Cooking School

Years ago, reading that book was a huge boost to my cooking mojo. Its emphasis on cooking at home and focusing on the basics, yea, even what was already in the pantry, was a great reminder that good meals don’t need to be complicated. Chef Thierry’s comment was so simple, but oh-so-helpful, I had to make a note of it.

The chef in question — a FRENCH chef, mind you —  had been explaining how some nights after a long day of work, he just wants some good bread and jam and a cup of hot cocoa, what I imagine to be the french equivalent of “Breakfast for Supper”.

French baguettes with jam, butter, and a plate of croissants

Petit Dejeuner

A light bulb went on! It made so much sense!

We don’t need to abandon ourselves to fast food or meals from a box, simple no-cook “meals” can be just as good and filling as a four-course feast. Just make sure you’re eating real food!

Easy No-Cook Suppers

Here are some easy no-cook suppers to pull together when you just don’t have it in you to cook. No take-out or reservations required.

For the sake of ease, I’m only listing non-recipe, no-cook suppers. If you’d like some specific recipes head here.

Make a snacky lunch or dinner.

Snacky meals are some of my favorites. They require very little prep on my part, but everyone in my family can enjoy real food goodness without my breaking a sweat. In fact, everyone is so happy with this option, that I even serve it on Christmas, New Year’s, and most Sundays. It can be dressed up or down so easily, it’s top on my list for no-cook suppers.

Consider these combinations of snack dinners:

  • Hummus, flat bread, and crudite veggies
  • Hard-cooked eggs, fresh fruit, and whole-grain rolls
  • Apple slices, almonds, cheese, fresh baked bread
  • Sliced cheese and meats, crackers, and in-season fruit
  • Rice cake or whole grain bread with nut or seed butter, sliced fruit, and a glass of milk

yogurt granola parfait with raspberries and blueberries

Yogurt Berry Parfait

Mix up favorite fruits and dairy.

While you might often consider fruit and dairy as a breakfast option, these combinations can pinch hit as no-cook suppers. I’ve lost count of how many people have told me they had a smoothie and popcorn for dinner. It’s a thing, people.

Obviously, if you don’t do dairy, you aren’t going to load up on cottage cheese and yogurt, however, you get the gist that fresh, seasonal fruit with some add-ons can make a great meal.

  • Cottage cheese, cut-up melon, whole wheat toast
  • Yogurt, granola, fresh berries
  • Smoothie bowl with add-ons
  • Fruit {and vegetable} smoothie, made with yogurt or protein powder
  • the aforementioned bread and butter with jam and cocoa – works for me!

black bean salad with jack cheese, jalapeños, and tomatoes

Black Bean Taco Salad

Make a salad.

Salads are simple, cool, and delicious. You can easily assemble them with pre-chopped and pre-cooked ingredients, or take a few minutes to chop your own veg.

Consider these tasty combinations:

  • Salad of sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, and a drizzle of balsamic. Add baguette slices to sop up the juices.
  • Drained tuna or salmon tossed with mayonnaise, chopped celery and fresh dill, crackers, fresh fruit
  • Mixed greens topped with chopped salsa vegetables, a can of black beans, and some shredded cheese
  • Baby spinach with nuts, fruit, and cheese for toppings

baguette sandwiches with chicken salad and a bowl of fruit

Chicken Caesar Baguette

Grab a rotisserie chicken.

The rotisserie chicken is God’s gift to harried home cooks. Most grocery stores and club stores sell them for about the same price as the uncooked chicken. Grab a couple birds and make any of the following combinations with the tasty meat:

  • Chicken salad, crackers, fresh fruit
  • Chicken salad sandwiches with veggie dippers
  • Taco salad with chicken, chips and salsa
  • Chicken and vegetable wrap, with hummus
  • Cold roast chicken, side salads, and seasonal fruit

Make a sandwich.

Sandwiches combine the best of all worlds. You can combine a variety of different items, even caesar salad, and tuck it into a baguette or between two slices of bread. Consider these combos:

  • Ham and swiss on rye bread
  • Turkey and cheddar on whole wheat bread
  • Roast beef and provolone on sourdough bread
  • Egg salad on white bread
  • Hard cooked eggs and vegetables in a baguette

No-cook suppers can be delicious, simple, filling meals that don’t break the bank. Whether it’s the heat of summer when lighter meals are preferred or the dead of winter when you’d rather cozy up with that jammy bread and cocoa, these no-cook suppers are all good old, healthy, real food.

Take it easy some night this week with a night off cooking.

What’s your favorite no-cook supper?

pinnable image for No-Cook Suppers

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