Cook It Simple: 5-Ingredient Recipes
Fewer ingredients mean less stress in the kitchen
By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
What happens when you see a recipe with a list of ingredients that rivals the shopping list of an upscale caterer? If you're like most of us, you turn the page quicker than you can say, "Will that be pick-up or delivery?"
For most families, the concept of "less is more" definitely can apply to recipes -- the fewer ingredients, the better.
Personally, I try to cut corners everywhere I can, because I'm in the trenches, too (married with two busy teens and working outside the home). To my way of thinking, time- and effort-saving recipes should have no more than five ingredients. And if you happen to have all five ingredients on hand? You've just won the kitchen lottery!
The two keys to five-ingredient recipes are keeping it simple and using convenience products -- that is, unless you're content with a diet of grilled cheese sandwiches and quesadillas. There are some great products out here that help make five-ingredient recipes possible. Here are 15 of my favorites:
I almost put canned refried beans (fat-free and vegetarian options) and canned chili on the list. But I don't personally buy canned chili, and although I go through a can of fat-free refried beans a week, I think they cut down more on time than number of ingredients.
If you're making tamale pie, you can use canned chili and make the cornmeal topping. Canned refried beans can be a star ingredient in simple dishes such as beef and bean enchiladas, quick bean burritos, or even 5-layer dip (refried beans blended with taco seasoning, layered with guacamole or fat-free sour cream, shredded cheese, green onions, and fresh chopped tomatoes).
Now, here are two very different, 5-ingredient recipes to get you started!
Easy Onion Pie
1 cup shredded, reduced-fat cheese of choice (sharp cheddar, Swiss, etc.)
Yield: 4 servings
Per serving: 206 calories, 14 g protein, 15 g carbohydrate, 8.8 g fat, 4.4 g saturated fat, 3 g monounsaturated fat, 0.5 g polyunsaturated fat, 124 mg cholesterol, 0.5 g fiber, 399 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 39%.
Spinach & Cheese Tortellini Soup
9 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
Yield: 6 servings
Per serving: 285 calories, 17 g protein, 37 g carbohydrate, 8 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 2 g monounsaturated fat, 2 g polyunsaturated fat, 36 mg cholesterol, 4.5 g fiber, 460 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 25%.
Originally published September 24, 2005.
© 5-ingredient recipes provided by Elaine Magee; © 2005 Elaine Magee.
©2006 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.