You and your roommate have come home from work, you're hungry and you're both fresh out of dinner recipe ideas. It makes sense. After a long workweek, sometimes the energy to muster up creative cooking can fall by the wayside.
Cooking can sometimes seem intimidating as well, especially if this is your first apartment after college and you've only been familiar with take out, leftovers you graciously took home from mom and that glorious invention called the microwave.
However, days-old pizza and microwaved ramen just aren't going to cut it anymore (although there's no shame in enjoying these old favorites from time to time). Part of having your own apartment usually means you have a great kitchen to work with-- and with a roommate, you have an extra set of hands to dish out some delicious meals.
Below are some excellent dinner recipe ideas for you and your roommate to get started:
Shrimp Stir Fry
This is usually a staple from your takeout days, but there's no reason you can't prepare this delicious version from Mr. Food right in the comfort of your kitchen. The ingredients are simple: sliced fresh mushrooms, red bell pepper, snow peas, shrimp, soy sauce, garlic, and sesame seeds all shine through with this dish.
Even easier, much of preparation for this is done in one large wok or skillet, making cleanup easy. You can serve this over rice (which is just as easy to prepare) or spinach if you are going the low-carb route, or leave out the shrimp if you and your roomie are vegetarians.
Lemon Rosemary Chicken
There's something about fresh herbs that takes a somewhat simple dish into a restaurant-quality meal. This lemon rosemary chicken recipe from Food Fanatic is one such dinner recipe idea, and the best part? It only includes six ingredients and offers up loads of flavor. You can serve this with roasted potatoes or a fresh salad, and the entire meal can be prepared in just over a half hour.
Who says you can't indulge in a favorite from your college days? Prepared pizza dough and sauce is easy to find at most grocery stores (or if you really want to channel your inner chef, you can make these from scratch). From there, you just need to pick up your favorite toppings and shredded mozzarella cheese.
If you and your roommate are picky eaters, no problem: Just bake the pizza with half of your toppings on one side and the other half with your roommate's favorite toppings. A pizza stone is optimal for baking, but you can also use a large cookie sheet or, if the dough is sturdy enough, you enjoy a crispy crust and cook it right on the oven rack.
Whiskey-Glazed Salmon with Mango-Jalapeno Chutney
That bottle of whiskey you and your roommate share for cocktails on the weekends can pull double duty with this delicious recipe. If you've never cooked with liquor, beer, or wine before, don't worry: All of the alcohol burns out with high heat and what you're left with with is the yummy flavors of your favorite booze.
Salmon is the perfect, hearty seafood choice with a stout liquor like bourbon, and with the sweetness of the chutney and the glaze of the sauce, you and your roommate will definitely be going for seconds.
Sometimes comfort foods are the best options, especially on those cold winter nights when you need a little boost. Jambalaya is a classic Southern dish bursting with flavor, it's piled into a big Dutch oven and gently combines the delicious flavors of New Orleans in one tasty bowl.
Jambalaya can be combined with shrimp, andouille sausage, chicken, veggies, or a combination of these -- so you can tailor it to you and your roommates' specific tastes. Try out this not-too-spicy version from My Recipes to get started (add more hot sauce if you want to take it up a notch).
The best part? Jambalaya can be made in big batches, and is just as delicious the next day when reheated. Making two or three meals in one cooking session is great for weekday meal planning when it seems like you don't have enough hours in the day.
Tips for Cooking with Your Roommate
Everyone has their own strategy for planning meals, but it's a good idea to go grocery shopping with your roommate for staples (sugar, flour, salt, milk, bread) periodically, as these items can be difficult to share, according to The Kitchn. Then, if you want to plan out your meals together, you can make additional shopping trips once the fridge and pantry run low, or go on separate trips. It's entirely up to you and your roommate.
If you do decide to cook together and one of you is a stronger cook than the other, delegate tasks for the novice on your team that aren't too difficult, such as chopping veggies, cleaning fruits, measuring items, cleaning cooking utensils, or setting the table.