People Describe Their Favorite 'I Don't Want To Cook, But I Have To' Meals

People Describe Their Favorite 'I Don't Want To Cook, But I Have To' Meals
Photo by Chinh Le Duc on Unsplash

Until recently, I did not appreciate cooking until the pandemic hit.

Suddenly – like many others who were self-isolating for much of 2020 – I was forced to prepare my own meals as going to restaurants was not an option and ordering take-out was not economically convenient.

I certainly do not love cooking, but I appreciate the sense of accomplishment the task gives me.

I tend to enjoy the fruits of my labor when they are of the baked good variety. After all, isn't a slice of coffee cake with a gooey, cinnamon-glazed center a reason to get up in the morning? I'll speak for myself. It absolutely is.

However, motivation is my biggest obstacle when it comes to food prep.

Curious to hear about preferred menu options from strangers on the internet, Redditor CodFishGaming asked:

"What is your go-to 'I don't want to cook, but I have to cook.' meal?"

No Prep Time

Some people do not consider this "cooking" per se, but you can't argue over the convenience of adding hot water or nuking your meals.

Instant Convenience

"Instant Ramen."


"When I want to get fancy, I crack an egg in it."


Usually it is a frozen Stouffers Lasagna."


It's Not A Kitchen Without These

"Microwaves are on some next level sh*t. Like these things have been around for decades and they seem like they're from the future. How the f'k you expect me to believe this box on my counter cooks things hotter and faster than a big f'kin metal block that takes up a whole section of counter with the sole purpose of being hot??"


Who Doesn't Love Pasta?

You can have a hearty Italian dish with some basic ingredients every kitchen should have – like pasta and a jar of Prego.

These Redditors even found that making their own sauce was not that difficult. Plus, they could store the leftovers.

Pasta Mania

"Pasta, a little butter, garlic and some seasonings."


"I make a gallon or so of tomato sauce when I do feel motivated and freeze it, so all I have to do is boil water and microwave a measured serving of sauce for 1 plate."

"Even making the sauce is hardly any work. Throw sh*t in a pot, simmer for 2 hours. Put into tupperware."


Delicious Italian In Minutes

"Toss chunks of onion, peppers, and cherry tomatos, a can of chickpeas and fresh gnocchi in olive oil and whatever spices you want. Then roast them in the oven. Gnocchi get slightly crisped on the sides and roasted veggies are always delicious."

"Takes about 5 minutes (or less really) to prep and maybe 30 min to cook? But very little labor involved, and it's very tasty. I try to plan to have supplies for it if I know I have busy day ahead of me."


Piling On The Carbs

"For other people? Carbonara. It's quick, minimal ingredients and impresses people who don't know anything about cooking. For myself? Microwave a hotdog for 20-30 seconds and wrap a slice of bread round it."


Recipe For Success

These may require more time than desired, but based on these Redditors' preparation descriptions, it doesn't seem like it involves that much effort to get tasty results.

Snacks That Are Meals

"Hummus and pita, boxed pasta (like Annie's white cheese shells), crackers and boursin and jalapeno jelly (sometimes I'll add a little pre-sliced turkey from the package, too). All really simple, basically snacks not meals, but they get the job done and they're so fucking easy to make. They've got it all calories, fill you up, taste pretty good, ready to eat in 11 minutes or less with minimal (if any) effort. It's amazing. I don't love them always but they're good enough (a good salad or something is miles better but who has the time or the energy or the motivation?!)."


Requires Skillet

"Ground beef with whatever frozen veggies I have, with whatever bottle of sauce/marinade I have with whatever container of spices/herbs I have. Plus a skillet."


Stew It

"Shredded chicken tacos. Just put some chicken in a crockpot with some seasoning.... 6 hours later you pull it apart and you have dinner."


Stuff The Spuds

"Loaded baked potato: Clean and slice skin of a potato, microwave for 5min on normal 2-3 time fliping in between, potato is done when soft and pliable. If you do prep beforehand this is a lot easier, cook/reheat cubed or sliced ham in a pan (Add chopped onions and garlic for flavor) In another pan (if needed) Steam broccoli."

"Place the cooked potato on a plate, slice in half and mash out and butter. spread broccoli on top of the potato, spread ham on top, spread shredded cheese on top. microwave for 1-2 min to melt the cheese. sourcream on to and enjoy!!"

"I keep packets of cubed ham ready so I can usually cook this up in 15-20 min. wash your pots and pans on the final microwave cooking and you'll just have the plate left at the end."


Rice Magic

When it comes to accompanying a main dish, rice plays nice. But sometimes, rice can be the star of the show.

Such is the versatility of this cheap staple food, as these Redditors can attest to.

Just Add Sausage

"I'll just put white rice in the electric cooker and then when the rice is done I'll drop inside the cooker with the rice these chinese sausages for like 5 minutes. When did I cut them in slices serve myself rice and I'll eat that with soy sauce and meal ready. Honestly it's so good."


Fry It Up

"Fried Rice - always make more rice than you need, because refrigerated rice is what you want for this. Garlic, ginger, whatever veggies you have and whatever sauces you have."


Make It Spicy

"Kimchi fried rice assuming I have planned ahead by making the rice the day before."

"Super easy, toss some garlic into the pan, followed by some kimchi, then rice and kimchi juice and soy sauce. I have a simple ground beef topping I make and then fry up a couple eggs and chop up seaweed snacks into strips."

"When it is leftovers all I have to do is fry up two eggs while it heats up in the microwave, then grab some of the chopped up seaweed."


Food Fight Cooking GIF by CBCGiphy

My go-to dish is scrambled eggs, regardless of time of day.

I sprinkle some salt and pepper and cut up some avocado, and I'm comfortably satisfied with a healthy meal.

If I'm feeling adventurous, I heat up some chopped onions and green pepper.

Whatever you decided to whip up, besides motivation, cooking is not that arduous once you have momentum going.

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