03/02/2015 08:57 am ET

Dinners That Practically Cook Themselves

Each one of these recipes is basically one-and-done.

By Lynn Andriani

  • Roasted Chicken Without Trussing Or Carving
    Signe Birck
    Eliminate the first and last steps of roasting a bird (tying it up and cutting it into pieces), and you've already cut way back on the amount of work involved. This no-fuss recipe from Anna Watson Carl, author of The Yellow Table, has just as much flavor, and all you have to do is place chicken legs and breasts into a resealable plastic bag or bowl, and toss in shallots, garlic, thyme, olive oil and lemon juice. Let everything sit in the fridge while the oven heats up, and then spread it out in a roasting pan. You'll have golden brown, slightly crisp meat and a wonderful sauce to serve it with.

    Get the recipe: Roasted Chicken with Lemon, Thyme and Shallots
  • A Pour-The-Sauce-On-Top-And-Bake Salmon
    Signe Birck
    This is one of Carl's go-to recipes when she's cooking for a crowd, because it's so simple, easily doubled (or even tripled), looks impressive and tastes delicious. It's as easy as whisking together Dijon mustard, honey and olive oil, pouring it over salmon (keep the skin on so it holds together), laying some lemon slices and herbs over it and baking for 10 minutes. You can finish the dish with some additional lemon juice, but it doesn't need anything more.

    Get the recipe: Roasted Salmon with Honey-Dijon Glaze
  • The 15-Minute Shrimp
    Signe Birck
    Most Spanish wine bars serve simple, uncomplicated food, such as fried potato wedges, an omelet or a platter of sliced ham and cheese. This garlicky shrimp belongs in that category; it starts with sautéed garlic and shallots, then you add in grape tomatoes, shrimp and white wine. The tomatoes morph into a bright and tangy sauce that tastes like it's been simmering for hours, but is actually ready in minutes.

    Get the recipe: Garlicky Shrimp with Tomatoes and White Wine
  • The Truly One-Pot Pasta
    Quentin Bacon
    The beauty of this recipe is that you boil your penne, ziti or bow ties together with the sauce ingredients. The only real "work" is chopping some garlic, onion, kale and basil; you cook them in some olive oil, along with a can of diced tomatoes. Add the pasta and water, let it simmer until the pasta is al dente and serve with plenty of grated Parmesan for a touch of creaminess.

    Get the recipe: One-Pot Pasta
  • The 6-Ingredient Classic Sunday Supper
    Carrie Vitt
    Here's one of the best low-effort, all-in-one meals you can make. It's a basic pot roast: just place sliced onions in a Crock-Pot, lay the meat on top and season with salt and pepper; then scatter chunks of potatoes over and around everything and cook on low for six hours. Crack open the lid, toss in thick slices of carrots and continue cooking for two more hours. The finished dish is a humble yet homey combination of tender beef, melting carrots and hearty potatoes.

    Get the recipe: 6-Ingredient Slow-Cooker Pot Roast


  • The Steak That Tastes As If It's Been Marinating All Day
    W/W Twentyfirst Corp.
    Stop salivating and start gathering your ingredients (which will take about 30 seconds). Do some minimal prep work (mince a canned chipotle chili and garlic; zest an orange; measure out maple syrup and a couple of spices; mix it all together). Rub everything on both sides of two steaks and slide the meat under the broiler. While it cooks, sear red and yellow bell peppers in a grill pan on your stove, and 10 minutes later, dig in to an astonishingly flavor-packed meal that's equal parts salty, sweet and savory.

    Get the recipe: Maple and ChiliBroiled T-Bone Steaks
  • The "Yes, It Cooks That Fast" Chicken
    Dara Michalski
    The most difficult part of this recipe may be resisting the urge to toss every other piece of avocado into your mouth while speedily chopping the three main ingredients (the other two are cucumber and bell pepper). If you can get past that, all you have to do is season boneless, skinless chicken thighs with a simple spice mixture and cut up the vegetables for the salsa. Line the baking sheet with foil before you cook the meat (10 minutes, tops, under the broiler) so cleanup will be just as easy.

    Get the recipe: Spicy Chicken Thighs with Cucumber Avocado Salsa
  • The No-Bake Lasagna
    Quentin Bacon
    The secret to Mario Batali's no-layering, no-stress dish is treating lasagna noodles the same as any other pasta. The chef boils the sheets until they're al dente (which takes about eight minutes), and then tosses them with a five-minute tomato sauce flavored with store-bought or homemade olive paste and green olives.

    Get the recipe: "Not-Baked" Lasagne with Green Olives, Tomatoes and Basil
  • A Fresh Stovetop Pork Dinner (That's Healthier, Too)
    Sang An
    Pork scaloppine already has one shortcut going for it, since you start with thin cuts of meat that cook quickly. But while traditional recipes have you dredge the cutlets in flour, this version skips that step and just has you use a superhot cast-iron skillet instead. You'll get a similarly crisp exterior and shave at least 10 minutes off the prep time. A zippy topping made from parsley, lemon zest, capers, garlic, tomato and arugula adds a burst of fresh flavor to this easy classic.

    Get the recipe: Pork Scaloppine
  • Pizza Without A Blisteringly Hot Oven
    Hannah Whitaker
    Pizza itself doesn't take long to bake, but getting the oven hot enough can take a half hour. This smart recipe for stovetop pizza solves that problem by having you cook dough in a pan on the stove until the bottom is crisp, and then finish it under the broiler (which heats up in a flash). Thin slices of zucchini or fresh spinach or arugula leaves are great on top; they'll wilt under the broiler within a minute.

    Get the recipe: Pan-Fried Pizza