Simple and healthy recipes to save time, money, and groceries.

By Laura Fisher
Updated March 18, 2020
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Some meals call for pulling out the recipe books, compiling a long grocery list of exotic ingredients, and preparing a complex dish that knocks everyone’s socks off. And then there are those days when your kids are home from school and need a steady supply of snacks and small meals, and there's just no time to spare at the grocery store. The good news is that if you keep a few staples in the pantry or fridge, you can make some easy, quick, and healthy recipes that your whole family will love—and they each only have two ingredients. Yes, you read that right. Two-ingredient recipes are a lifesaver on those busy days and are budget-friendly to boot, so stock up and rest assured, knowing you’re prepared for any meal or snack situation.

Cinnamon Applesauce

This applesauce is slightly less sweet than what you might be used to with no added sugar, but the cinnamon adds so much flavor that your kids won’t even notice. The key is to use good quality, naturally sweet apples since they are the star of the show. Simply peel, core, and chop 4 apples and combine them in a saucepan with ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and ½ cup of water (or more if you like a thinner applesauce). Cook over medium heat for 20 to 30 minutes or until the apples are soft, then mash with a potato masher or fork. To skip the mashing step, throw everything into a slow cooker and cook on the high setting for four hours to let the apples fall apart.

Peanut Butter Nice Cream

You might have heard of “nice cream,” aka ice cream made out of frozen bananas. Nice cream is a delicious and dairy-free alternative to regular ice cream, and makes good use of spotted bananas you have sitting around. Take it one step further with the classic combination of peanut butter and banana to make this creamy and healthy treat. Slice up four bananas and freeze in advance—it should take about two hours if you lay them out in a single layer. Toss the frozen slices into a powerful blender or a food processor and blend until creamy. You might have to stop a few times and scrape down the sides to really get that silky, ice cream texture. Once the bananas are smooth, add in 2 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter and blend to mix in. And voila! You have peanut butter nice cream. No one will guess this dessert has two ingredients and no added sugar.

Slow Cooker Enchilada Chicken

This recipe couldn’t be easier to get dinner on the table after being gone all day. In the morning, place four chicken breasts (or as many as you need) into your slow cooker, and pour in your favorite jarred enchilada sauce, enough to cover the chicken completely. Turn the slow cooker on high for three hours or low for six hours, and you have perfectly tender chicken ready to be shredded and eaten by the forkful, on top of a salad, or in tacos. Is your family not a fan of enchilada sauce? Try with an Asian marinade, jarred marinara, or simply salt and pepper.

Date and Oat Energy Bars

Pre-packaged bars are certainly convenient to take on the road, pack in lunches, and grab-on-the-go, but if you buy them frequently it can get pricey. Not to mention the long list of mystery ingredients in some brands. Luckily, it couldn’t be easier to make your own two-ingredient, no-bake energy bars. All you need are caramel-y medjool dates and quick-cook oats. Soak one cup of pitted dates in enough warm water to cover for a few hours, until the dates are soft. In your food processor, pulse the dates and the water you soaked them in until you have a thick paste, adding more water if necessary. Start by adding half a cup of the oats and continue processing, adding more oats as you go until you have a thick dough that pulls away from the sides of the food processor. Press the mixture into a baking dish lined with parchment paper and chill in the refrigerator for an hour or so, then remove and cut in whatever sized slices you prefer. These keep best in the fridge, but they won’t last long!

Banana Pancakes

Eggs and ripe bananas are all you need to make this uber-healthy breakfast that’s sure to be a hit with the whole family. One large ripe banana and two eggs should be enough to get you started, but you can make as many as you need using the ratio of one large egg per 4 tablespoons of mashed banana. Blend up the mixture in a blender or with a hand-held immersion blender, making sure to smooth out any lumps. Heat a nonstick pan with a spritz of vegetable oil and pour the banana mixture into the pan to make small pancakes, about 1 tablespoon of batter per cake. Cook on low heat to let the bananas slowly caramelize for about one minute and flip, cooking for another 30 seconds to one minute (depending on how browned you like them). Top with maple syrup or honey if you have it on hand, or just eat plain and let the natural sweetness of the banana shine through.