Cooking Healthy with 5-Ingredient Recipes

By Nicole Goben, MS, RD, CDN

We all know that cooking meals from scratch is nutritionally the best choice for our families, but in this day and age time tends to get in the way and convenient meal options are often chosen. Convenient foods such as frozen meals or fast food tend to be higher in sodium, sugar and saturated fats, which should typically be limited in a healthy diet.

Preparing meals at home doesn’t have to be a difficult or time consuming task when you choose recipes with minimal ingredients to keep it simple and reduce time and money spent in the grocery store. Below are some healthy, 5-ingredient dinners that can easily be prepared to please the whole family!

White Chicken Chili

• 6 cups chicken stock
• 4 cups cooked shredded chicken (about 2 chicken breasts)
• 2 15 ounce cans great white northern beans, drained and rinsed
• 2 cups salsa verde
• 2 teaspoons ground cumin
• Optional toppings: avocado, sour cream, crumbled tortilla chips, chopped green onions, cilantro

Add all ingredients (minus the toppings) to a large stockpot and heat over medium-high heat until boiling then cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for at least 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste and serve with desired toppings.

Tomato Basil Salmon

• 6 ounce boneless salmon fillets (1 per person)
• 1 tablespoon dried basil
• 1 tomato, thinly sliced
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with non-stick spray. Place salmon fillets on sheet, sprinkle with basil, top with tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Bake in oven for about 20 minutes or until salmon reaches 145°F degrees and cheese is lightly browned. Serve with brown rice and veggies of your choice.

Tip: This recipe would work well with boneless chicken breast as well! (make sure chicken is cooked to 165°F) Source:

Slow Cooker Steak Fajitas

• 2 pounds beef, sliced
• 2 bell peppers, sliced
• 1 onion, sliced
• 20 ounce jar of salsa
• 2 tablespoons fajita seasoning


Add all ingredients to the slow cooker and mix well. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Serve with your favorite fajita shells.

Vegetable Frittata

• 4 large eggs
• 1 medium tomato, chopped
• 1 green bell pepper, chopped
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives, or 1 teaspoon dried chives
• ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
• ½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400°F and coat a large skillet with a non-stick cooking spray.
In a bowl, whisk together eggs and salt, then add tomato, pepper, chives and ¼ cup cheese; whisk to combine. Pour into skillet and sprinkle remaining cheddar cheese on top.
Bake for 15 minutes then remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, slice and serve.

Tip: feel free to play around with other veggies in this recipe such as broccoli, mushrooms, onions or spinach. You can also use different cheeses for variety like goat cheese, feta cheese, mozzarella or parmesan cheese.

These recipes can also be doubled or tripled to last for more than one meal. Try starting with these simple recipes to increase the amount of meals cooked in home; your wallet and your health will thank you!