The Homemade Mom: 5 Ingredient Meals

After spending the last two weeks cooking for Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, I need an easy week making dinner. Each dinner is 5 ingredients (minus salt, pepper, and oil). I think 5 ingredients for dinner each day is doable. How about you?

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Monday: Spicy Sausage Carbonara

Being able to make dinner in under 20-minutes using just a handful of ingredients is refreshing. But, it is also challenging. You have to be creative with how you use the ingredients themselves to make them stretch further. For example, sausage is obviously the protein in this dish, but the oil/juices from the cooked links are also used to coat the pasta as part of the sauce. And, while the pasta is only used one way, the pasta water is used to help create the sauce. Having to use each ingredient in multiple ways not only stretches your creative thinking, but it also stretches your wallet. Win-Win!

Servings: 4

Time: 20 minutes

Difficulty: easy


8 ounces egg or pappardelle noodles

1/4 cup Parmesan, grated

2 large eggs, beaten

(Olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste)*

4 links spicy Italian sausage, casings removed, crumbled

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley


Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling water according to the package directions. Drain, reserving some of the cooking water.

In a small bowl, whisk together the Parmesan cheese and eggs. Set aside.

In a large pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sausage. Cook, breaking up the sausage, until brown, about 5 minutes, then season with salt and pepper as needed.

Add the drained pasta to the sausage pan and swirl until it’s mostly coated with the fat of the sausage. Remove the pan from the heat and add a spoonful or so of the pasta water along with the egg and cheese mixture. Toss rapidly to coat the pasta with the eggs and cheese. Continue to toss until the water evaporates a bit and creates a bit of a sauce.

Add the parsley and toss again. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

*Every recipe is only 5 ingredients (with the exception of salt, pepper, & oil, which are not included in the 5-ingredients).

Adapted from: Sunny Anderson @

Tuesday: One Pan Fabulous Fish

Last Christmas, I was in England with my in-laws and my FIL bought me Jamie Oliver’s 5 Ingredients cookbook. I think his recipes are amazing and own many of his cookbooks, so I was excited to have his newest one. Every recipe is only 5 ingredients (*with the exception of oil, salt, & pepper, which are not included in the 5-ingredients). They are full-flavored, delicious dinners that are usually quick and easy to make too. This is one of his recipes that uses five very strong flavors to create one amazing dinner. And, I have another recipe like this one that uses chicken thighs, chorizo, and artichokes that I’ll share soon too. Both are amazing and simple!

Servings: 4

Time: 15 minutes

Difficulty: easy


1 1/2 cups basmati rice

2 tablespoons olive tapenade

1 pint cherry tomatoes

(Olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste)*

½ a bunch of fresh basil

4 fillets of any white fish (like flounder or haddock)


In a large shallow casserole pan on a high heat, mix the rice with 1 tablespoon of tapenade, then pour over 3 cups of water. Put the lid on and let it come to the boil while you halve the tomatoes. In a bowl, mix the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with sea salt and black pepper. Roughly chop the basil and add in most of the leaves. Toss to combine and set aside.

Cut the fish into four equal-sized pieces and place in the pan, pushing them into the rice. Scatter over the dressed tomatoes. Put the lid back on and boil for 10 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through, then remove the lid and cook for a further 2 minutes until all the liquid has evaporated. Spoon the remaining tapenade over the fish, top with the remaining basil leaves, drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil, and dish up. Enjoy!

Adapted from: Jamie Oliver’s 5 Ingredients Cookbook

Wednesday: Broccoli, Cannellini Bean, & Cheddar Soup

What’s amazing about soup is you can hide lots of ingredients in them that either a) don’t have much flavor or b) are good for you, but you just don’t want to eat. This soup is neither! The ingredients are full of flavor and you’ll want to lick the bowl when you’re done. You’ll definitely want some crusty bread to dip in it – soup this time of year just screams for a good baguette or french bread. You can even chop up some stale bread, saute it in some olive oil and balsamic vinegar and you instantly have delicious croutons.

Servings: 4

Time: 20 minutes

Difficulty: easy


1 14-ounce can vegetable broth

1 cup water

1 pound (~6 cups) broccoli crowns, trimmed and chopped

1 14-ounce can cannellini beans, drained & rinsed

(Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste)*

1 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese


Bring broth and water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add broccoli, cover and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in beans, salt and pepper and cook until the beans are heated through, about 1 minute.

Add cheese in and using an immersion blender, blend until smooth (if you prefer a chunkier soup, blend until desired thickness). Alternatively, transfer half the mixture to a blender with half the cheese and puree to preferred thickness. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining broccoli mixture and cheese. Serve warm. Enjoy!

Every recipe is only 5 ingredients (with the exception of salt & pepper, which are not included in the 5-ingredients).

Adapted from:

Thursday: Chicken Pot Pie

Come winter, all I want is comfort food. Shepherd’s pies, casseroles, and chicken pot pie. They usually take a long time to make, which is great because it’s cold out and I want to have my oven on. But sometimes, I don’t want the fuss of making two pastries and a roux and then cooking everything before making the pie. So, I use store-bought pastry, store-bought rotisserie chicken (or leftover turkey from Thanksgiving!), frozen veggies, and canned soup. Fewer than 5 ingredients make an incredibly easy dinner in one easy pie dish. And my 2 year old helped me make it!

Servings: 8

Time: 45 minutes

Difficulty: easy


2 prepared pie crusts (or homemade, if you prefer)

1 cup chicken, cooked and chopped

1 package frozen mixed vegetables

1 (10 3/4 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup


Line a pie dish with the bottom crust and set aside.

Mix together the remaining ingredients (chicken, vegetables and soup) ad pour into pie plate.

Top filled plate with second crust and seal crusts by folding top crust under the edge of bottom crust edge. Poke or cut a few lines in the crust to release steam.

Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes or until crust is brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly for 10-15 minutes before eating. Enjoy!

Adapted from:

Friday: Veggie Pizza

When I was a kid, we had pizza every Wednesday night. It was also the night my dad drank a beer (which at the time I thought was absolutely repulsive – I know better now ;)). It was always a cheese pizza and I absolutely loved it. Growing up in NY, good pizza surrounded you on every corner, so I really looked forward to it every week. As a parent now, I want that cooking break for pizza night at the end of the week – on Friday! And with the weather now cold, I don’t want to go out for it. So, I’m making it instead!

I stopped off at the pizza shop this morning after school drop-off and picked up some fresh pizza dough (alternatively, you can buy dough in the refrigerated section at any supermarket – Trader Joe’s has a good whole wheat one that costs about $2). All that’s left to do after that is assembling and baking. I didn’t use a fancy pizza stone, just a plain old baking sheet. And if you have any leftover basil from the summer to make homemade pesto with, that would taste great in place of store-bought pesto too. The ease of this pizza is you can put anything on top – ricotta cheese, no meats, lots of meats, more veggies, anything leftover in your fridge… the possibilities with pizza are endless.

Servings: 4

Time: 22 minutes

Difficulty: easy


Olive oil*

1 tube refrigerated classic pizza crust, or raw pizza dough from your local pizza place (yes, they’ll sell it to you!)

1/4 cup store-bought pesto

1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced

1 cup rotisserie chicken

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly coat a baking sheet or pizza pan with olive oil and set aside.

Roll out pizza dough into a 12-inch-round. Transfer to prepared baking sheet or pizza pan. Spread pesto over the surface of the dough in an even layer, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Top with mozzarella, chicken and tomatoes.

Place into oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese has melted. Enjoy!

*Every recipe is only 5 ingredients (with the exception of oil, salt & pepper, which are not included in the 5-ingredients).

Adapted from:

Julie is a stay-at-home mom of two girls and with a passion for all things food. She loves growing, cooking, and, of course, eating food! She started meal planning years ago to stay organized and eliminate food (and money!) waste and started sharing it on her own blog, Season Generously.