Readers’ 23 All-Time Favorite Real Simple Recipes
We asked, and thousands of you answered. Here are the dishes most bookmarked, dog-eared, clipped, shared, and enjoyed—from once-a-week slow-cooker chicken to special-occasion chocolate cake. Simply put, they’re keepers.
Chicken and Vegetable Potpie
Use low-fat milk, olive oil, and double the vegetables to give this rustic, down-home comfort food a healthy revamp. To save time on prep without sacrificing the crisp golden-brown exterior, use store-bought piecrust. Just unroll it, lay it over the oven-safe dish, vent, and bake.
Get the recipe: Chicken and Vegetable Potpie
Grilled Shrimp Tacos
Thread shrimp onto pre-soaked wooden skewers, brush with a finger licking garlic butter, and grill alongside lime wedges. Before serving, toss the tortillas on the grill for 30 seconds on each side to add a smoky char. Serve the tacos with cumin-spiced sour cream, shredded cabbage, and tomatillo salsa.
Get the recipe: Grilled Shrimp Tacos
Salted Oatmeal Cookies With Dark Chocolate
Pillowy oatmeal cookies are stuffed with coarsely chopped dark chocolate chunks and then sprinkled with flaky sea salt (like Maldon) so each bite is the perfect mouthful of salty and sweet. If you need to make the cookies ahead of time, they can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to five days.
Get the recipe: Salted Oatmeal Cookies With Dark Chocolate
Avocado, Prosciutto, and Egg Open-Faced Sandwich
Layer creamy avocado, salty prosciutto, and a slightly runny sunny-side up egg atop a thick slice of country bread or sourdough for a meal that tastes great any time of the day. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, or even some red pepper flakes to add a little heat.
Get the recipe: Avocado, Prosciutto, and Egg Open-Faced Sandwich
Slow-Cooker Bolognese Sauce
You don’t have to cook all day to create a high-quality version of this classic Italian sauce. Simply sauté the ingredients together, then transfer to your slow cooker to let the flavors deepen and to tenderize the meat. When it’s time to eat, just add pasta.
Get the recipe: Slow-Cooker Bolognese Sauce
Saucy Baked Chicken Legs With Olives and Tomatoes
With skin that crisps beautifully and meat that stays juicy, chicken legs are an inexpensive cut that’s ideal for roasting. And this delicious Mediterranean-inspired meal couldn’t be any easier: Simply toss all of the ingredients in an oven-safe casserole dish and bake. Serve with warm, crusty bread.
Get the recipe: Saucy Baked Chicken Legs With Olives and Tomatoes.
This tasty fish burger only sounds fancy—it’s no different than whipping ground beef into patties. Combine finely chopped salmon with binders—like egg whites, mustard, and breadcrumbs—and seasonings—like dill and salt—and form into patties. For an easy upgrade, swap traditional potato buns for brioche.
Get the recipe: Salmon Burgers
Basil Spaghetti With Cheesy Broiled Tomatoes
If the kids love spaghetti, wait until they try this: Instead of the usual marinara sauce, broil thick slices of tomato topped with Parmesan and mozzarella until melted and golden (this is a great way to perk up out of season tomatoes, too). Serve the cheesy tomatoes atop a pasta drizzled with a homemade garlic pepper oil and studded with basil.
Get the recipe: Basil Spaghetti With Cheesy Broiled Tomatoes
Mexican Chicken Soup
This south-of-the-border soup gets it’s bold, fresh flavor from a homemade chicken broth. It’s not as hard as it sounds: Just combine two whole chickens, carrots, onion, salt, and water, then simmer for about an hour. Shred the chicken, add rice, and serve with fresh avocados, cilantro, and lime juice.
Get the recipe: Mexican Chicken Soup
Slow-Cooker Lamb, Apricot, and Olive Tagine
Thanks to the slow cooker, this Moroccan meal is a cinch to prepare at home. There’s no stovetop prep required—just toss the lamb, apricots, olives, vegetables, and spices into your slow cooker. The slow, all-day simmer ensures the dish is both fragrant and flavorful. Whip up a quick batch of couscous when you’re ready to eat.
Get the recipe: Slow-Cooker Lamb, Apricot, and Olive Tagine
Deep-Dish Sausage, Ricotta, and Onion Pizza With Tangy Romaine
You don’t need any special kitchen equipment to make this deep-dish Chicago-style pizza—just a 9-inch cake pan. Place store-bought pizza dough (find it in the refrigerator section or ask your local pizza parlor if they sell dough to go) in the pan, then top with layers of mozzarella, marinara, onion, and browned sausage for a crowd-pleasing meal.
Get the recipe: Deep-Dish Sausage, Ricotta, and Onion Pizza With Tangy Romaine
Chicken Tikka Masala
A good foray into Indian food, this tomato-based dish is light on the warm spices but still has distinct ethnic flair. Sprinkle garam masala (an aromatic blend of spices like cumin, coriander, black pepper, cinnamon, and cardamom) into a basic tomato sauce. Adding the raw chicken to the sauce helps ensure the chicken soaks up all those delicious flavors while it cooks.
Get the recipe: Chicken Tikka Masala
Mustardy Kale Salad With Roasted Sweet Potato and Apple
Packed with protein and fiber, this hearty main course salad is a nutritional powerhouse. Combine the kale, roasted sweet potato, chopped apple, and almonds in a large bowl and drizzle with a tangy mustard vinaigrette. Once dressed, massage the kale with clean hands to make the salad more palatable.
Get the recipe: Mustardy Kale Salad With Roasted Sweet Potato and Apple
This seafood main is impressive, yet low-effort—the cedar board (available at gourmet food stores) does most of the work for you! Coat a quality cut of salmon with a simple rub of brown sugar, thyme, and cayenne before grilling. The result is a slightly smoky, perfectly flaky fish dinner. Nobody will miss the burgers and dogs.
Get the recipe: Cedar-Plank Salmon
Flourless Chocolate Cake
For serious chocolate lovers only! This rich, dense, and supremely moist cake is packed with two sticks of butter, heavy cream, sour cream, sugar, and a double dose of chocolate. For a pretty presentation, dust the top with confectioners’ sugar and serve with lightly sweetened fresh whipped cream.
Get the recipe: Flourless Chocolate Cake
Bourbon Apple Cake
Made with instant grits (yes, grits!) and spiked with bourbon, this fruit-laden cake has a double dose of Southern flavor. It takes just 15 minutes of hands-on prep time, making it a great choice for the busy host who needs a delicious, foolproof, and quick recipe.
Get the recipe: Bourbon Apple Cake
Pan-Roasted Chicken With Lemon-Garlic Green Beans
The only thing better than a one-dish dinner is a well-rounded one-dish dinner. In this easy recipe, chicken breasts bake atop a bed of quartered potatoes and green beans. A light dressing of lemon, garlic, and olive oil lend bold, bright flavor to the entire dish.
Get the recipe: Pan-Roasted Chicken With Lemon-Garlic Green Beans
Maple-Roasted Chicken With Sweet Potatoes
At the grocery store, you can save a little bit of money by purchasing a whole chicken instead of the breasts. This recipe utilizes the whole bird and cooks in one dish, making cleanup a breeze. Simply cut the poultry into eight pieces, toss with a maple syrup glaze, and bake.
Get the recipe: Maple-Roasted Chicken With Sweet Potatoes
Turkey Sloppy Joes With Coleslaw
Tomato sauce, brown sugar, barbecue sauce, and Worcestershire create a rich, savory sauce with plenty of tang. Pair these oversized and incredibly flavorful sandwiches with a crunchy cabbage and carrot slaw to complete the meal. And be sure to have plenty of napkins on hand!
Get the recipe: Turkey Sloppy Joes With Coleslaw
Perk up a batch of decadent fudge brownies with a secret ingredient: espresso. Just two tablespoons of the morning pick-me-up intensifies the already rich chocolate flavor. No espresso on hand? Substitute extra-strong brewed coffee or one rounded teaspoon of instant espresso powder with two tablespoons of water.
Get the recipe: Espresso Brownies
Molasses-Ginger Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches
This no-fuss frozen dessert has just two store-bought ingredients—chewy ginger or molasses cookies and chocolate chocolate chip ice cream—to make dessert quick and easy work. All you have to do is sandwich the slightly softened ice cream between two cookies. No mixer, no baking time—just 10 minutes.
Get the recipe: Molasses-Ginger Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches
Kale Smoothie With Pineapple and Banana
Don’t let the name of this smoothie fool you—thanks to coconut milk, banana, and pineapple, you’d never even know you were getting a healthy dose of greens (kale or spinach both work well). Freeze the fruit before giving the ingredients a whir in the blender to create an icier beverage.
Get the recipe: Kale Smoothie With Pineapple and Banana