Let me start by prefacing this article with a little background information. First off, I’m not a chef, not even close, the only thing I can make without a recipe is oatmeal and that’s because the instructions are on the box. I’m not a baker either, I’m the person that suggests having a “baking day” and then sits and licks the spoon after my best friend finishes measuring and mixing all the ingredients for lemon bars. But, despite my lack of expertise in the kitchen, I’ve always loved eyeing all the delicious recipes Pinterest has to offer.
This experiment was inspired by the solid hour I spent zoning out with my mouth watering at all the amazing recipes in the palm of my hand. Pinterest recipes are a literal vortex. How can you not get sucked into the ooey-gooey double fudge chocolate chip cookies, or the delicious and nutritious lettuce wrap tacos? I mean come on, YUM, and the pictures only make it look 100 times better. I was in awe of how scrumptious and surprisingly simple a lot of the recipes looked, so I figured why not try some of them, how hard can it be?
Meal One: Healthy Chili
As I clicked through recipe after recipe, scrolling through one enormous ingredient list after another, I couldn’t help but wonder, who the heck has fresh parsley in their fridge? What is allspice and honestly does anyone actually have that in their cabinet? What seemed like a simple task to begin with suddenly seemed a lot more daunting. So I opted for one of the simpler, more approachable recipes. I decided on one that’s inexpensive, with straightforward, simple ingredients, nothing that called for oregano or any other random spice I most definitely do not have sitting in my cupboard. I decided to make an American classic: chili, but with a “healthy” twist. The ingredients list consisted of a few canned items, and optional fresh toppings to put the recipe over the top (pun intended). After throwing all the ingredients in a big bowl on the stove, I sat, and waited..and waited, until my chili had the perfect thick, but soupy consistency. Then I threw some diced avocado and fresh jalapeno on top.
10/10 recommend. The recipe was easy, delicious, and I had a mountainous amount of it left after finishing dinner. Hello, leftover lunches!
Meal Two: Chicken Avocado Lime Soup
Okay, this soup is one of the first recipes I ever attempted from Pintrest, so I felt it deserved an honorary mention this week. Soups in general are one of my favorite things to make: they’re relatively healthy, tasty, and who doesn’t love the convenience of having a couple bowls of leftovers? Granted when I made it this time, I had the advantage of knowing what to expect, but it did not disappoint, every time I make this soup I swear it tastes better than the last. Literally threw a couple things in a pot, waited for it to come to a boil, and wah-lah, it’s practically magic.
YUM, an absolute must try.
Meal Three: Stuffed Bell Peppers
Alright I’ll confess, 90% of my Pintrest recipe searches progress from “dinner recipes” to “easy dinner recipes” and then finally to the ultimate goal, “easy, few ingredient, healthy dinner recipes” and that my friends, is how I happened upon this gem, stuffed bell peppers. Though these peppers look super ~fancy~ don’t let that fool you, they are so much easier than they appear. For this recipe, I was missing a few of the required ingredients (what’s new) so instead, I substituted some things I did have. In place of cilantro I used avocado, and instead of a medley of colored bell peppers I settled for a plain pack of red ones. Though this recipe was pretty satisfying, I had a hard time trying to decide on a side dish to go with them, so it felt more like a filling appetizer than a well balanced meal, but the overall flavors were decent.
They weren’t life changing, but I would consider making them again. They were more filling than a lettuce wrap taco, but still felt like they were missing a little somethin’ somethin’.
Meal Four: Protein Packed Date Balls
Okay, confession, this wasn’t a Pinterest recipe, (I got it from my cousin) but it might as well have been. The pictures she took of hers looked absolutely incredible. As I read the ingredients and perused the instructions, I saw it called for a food processor, which I do not have. Instead of abandoning the recipe, I thought “no food processor, no problem,” WRONG. For the record, a blender does not get the job done in the same way a food processor would. As I jammed all the ingredients into my blender, I noticed it wasn’t quite the consistency I envisioned so I eyeballed a couple tablespoons of water and threw them in and before I knew it my malleable date balls had become sticky, wet goo. Refusing to give up I plopped a few teaspoons of the gooey chocolate mess onto a baking sheet and stuck it in the freezer, hoping it would salvage them.
After chilling for a couple hours I decided to try one. Drum roll please… they were so good. Despite their external appearance, they had become these delicious mousey, light but chocolatey, airy treats, and hey, it’s what’s on the inside that counts, right? They may not have been the strong protein packed snack I had aimed for but they were tasty nevertheless. (Below I’ve attached a Pinterest Recipe similar to the one I used.)
Meal Five: Four Ingredient Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
As college students, we are bombarded with information on the importance of feeding our bodies with nourishing wholesome ingredients as often as possible, (blah, blah, blah) so trying to maintain a relatively clean diet with an aching sweet tooth often proves quite challenging. But for as hard as we work in and out of the classroom, we all deserve a little sugar here and there. So for this dessert, I decided to leave the homemade granola behind and go for something a little more indulgent. I’m a minimalist in the kitchen, and recipes with five ingredients or less have my name written all over them. So when I saw these FOUR ingredient, CHOCOLATE cookies, I knew I had to make them, you know, for experiments sake.
If you want a simple, sweet treat, this recipe is for you. Throw the ingredients in a bowl, mix them up, roll them in powdered sugar, plop them on a baking sheet in the oven and in 7 minutes, you will have some of the most scrumptious cookies you’ve ever tried, I kid you not. It’s a yes from me, folks.
After mixing, mashing, and munching the week away, I am so happy with the results. From day one to day five, I was pleasantly surprised with the ease and taste of all the dishes I created. So long to the days of outdated cookbooks; the Pinterest recipes I attempted did not disappoint. Although I did from shy-away from some of the more complex recipes, I now feel as though I have the confidence (maybe not all the ingredients) to try them. Overall I really recommend choosing a meal to cook outside of your comfort zone, you may be surprised at just how delightful your food may taste.
All images and recipes via Pinterest though may have been posted by other sources.