Cooking from scratch doesn’t have to involve all-day meal prep and complicated recipes. Instead, prioritize foods you regularly buy at the grocery store and learn to make them yourself.
Registered dietitians agree that it’s important to keep healthy cooking recipes on hand that are simple, nutritious and satisfying. Start with these easy clean eating recipes that are perfect for beginners.
Yellow Chicken Curry
The aromatic combination of yellow curry powder, turmeric and ginger in this recipe make it one of the most recognizable Thai dishes. It’s typically milder than red or green curry so it’s a great choice for beginners who want to try out this cuisine.
Boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs are recommended, but this dish is also vegetarian friendly. Just add extra vegetables, or pan fried tofu in place of the chicken. Maple syrup is optional but helps mellow out the spices and makes this dish extra delicious.
The coconut milk in this recipe provides both richness and creamy texture. If you prefer, replace it with low-fat coconut milk. Add a slurry of cornstarch and water to thicken the sauce if desired. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges for serving. This healthy Thai yellow curry can be prepared ahead and freezes well, too. Simply transfer it to a freezer-safe container and thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating on a weeknight. Serve with rice or naan bread for the ultimate comforting meal. It’s even better when paired with a crunchy cucumber salad!
Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry
A simple stir fry is a quick, easy healthy cooking recipe that can be made with almost any type of protein or vegetable. This chicken and broccoli stir fry uses a basic soy sauce based stir fry sauce, which has a bit of spice from ginger and garlic.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try adding some other vegetables to this stir fry. Some options include bok choy, shredded cabbage, snap peas, baby corn or carrots. Mushrooms also work well in this dish, and you can add some sliced red bell pepper for extra color and texture. Add some roasted cashews to the stir fry at the end, or garnish with them before serving, for an added crunch.
You’ll love this delicious Chinese chicken stir fry. It tastes just like, or better than, Chinese takeout and takes less than 30 minutes to make! Serve it over rice or noodles, or pair it with egg rolls for a delicious dinner. This stir fry can be eaten cold, but it’s best when warm and topped with some toasted sesame seeds.
Chicken and Rice
This easy chicken and rice recipe is a hearty, comforting one-pot meal that the whole family will love. It’s also healthy, thanks to the fresh vegetables and lean chicken thighs. Plus, it’s quick, so you can make it on a busy weeknight.
While there are many versions of this classic dish, they all have one thing in common: tender, juicy chicken and a potful of flavorful broth that’s perfectly paired with rice. Add a big salad to the side for added fiber and an easy, healthy dinner option.
To save time, you can make this chicken and rice in a casserole dish instead of a skillet. Simply combine all the ingredients except for the chicken thighs, and cover with foil. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.
Try substituting the white rice with brown rice or quinoa for a healthier version of this easy chicken and rice recipe. And don’t be afraid to switch up the vegetables – this is a great opportunity to use whatever veggies are in your fridge. You can even try adding some shredded carrots or peas to the rice mixture, which will help increase your serving of veggies and make the meal extra delicious!
Salmon is a delicious source of protein and heart-healthy fats. It can be prepared a variety of ways, but this maple-glazed salmon is simple and quick to cook. This dish is also tasty, healthy, and gluten-free.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large baking dish, stir together orange zest and juice, maple syrup, soy sauce, mustard, and paprika. Add salmon fillets and turn skin side up in the mixture. Brush the tops with melted butter. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes (depending on thickness), or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
When you’re ready to serve the salmon, remove it from the oven and use a spoon or spatula to ladle some of the remaining marinade over each fillet. If you like, garnish with fresh parsley before serving. Enjoy this recipe with a baked sweet potato on the side. Tip: Be sure to choose salmon from a source that’s responsibly caught and has been raised in an environmentally clean area. Salmon can absorb toxins from polluted water and air.
One-Skillet Mac and Cheese
You’ll love this creamy, easy to make skillet mac and cheese. It’s made with simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry, like elbow macaroni and milk, plus shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese. The cheese sauce is cooked right along with the pasta in one pan, so there’s no need for flour to thicken the sauce.
You can even add extra flavor to the mac and cheese by experimenting with different cheeses and adding other spices or seasonings, such as Cajun seasoning, herbs de Provence, or za’atar. A good quality sharp cheddar cheese is essential for this recipe to provide a rich, cheesy flavor.
These dinners are easy to prepare with minimal cooking skill required, making them a great choice for beginners who want to start learning how to cook healthy meals at home. These recipes will also teach you basic techniques that you can use to create other dishes, such as stir-frying and broiling. So, go ahead and give these recipes a try, you won’t regret it! These meals are guaranteed to please both kids and adults.