It’s fun to try new recipes and cooking techniques, but sometimes simple is more effective when it comes to both time and cost. Recipes that consist of five or fewer ingredients can keep your grocery budget down and will save you last-minute trips to the store to buy obscure items that you may never find reason to cook with again. These recipes all feature fewer than six ingredients (not counting oil and salt in pepper, which you should have in your pantry anyway) for stress-free weeknight cooking:

 

Pizza

If you count the dough as only one ingredient (and why not simplify your pizza making by buying a pre-made shell or even make your pizza on a tortilla, pita, or piece of naan?) it’s easy to put together a pizza with minimal effort. This tasty sausage and Brussels sprouts pizza not only will fill you up with veggies, but it’s also simple to make. Plus it’s easy to switch out toppings to make a pizza that perfectly matches your family’s tastes.

 

Macaroni and cheese

Many people think that homemade mac ‘n’ cheese is complicated — if it was easy, why would they bother selling it in a box, right? In actuality, even “gourmet” mac ‘n’ cheese only requires a few ingredients and can be whipped up in a single pot. Try this recipe for an ultra-easy mac ‘n’ cheese that even boxed mac devotees can master.

 

Simple Soups

You can make a satisfying soup into a full meal with the addition of some crusty bread and butter. Homemade soup can be complicated and require over a dozen ingredients, or it can be made simple with some store-bought stock, and common ingredients that you may already have in your fridge. I love this recipe for Twinkle Twinkle Little Soup, named for the star-shaped pasta that bulks up a classic chicken and leek broth.

 

Quiche, Frittatas, and Tortillas

The humble egg can be the foundation for a delicious (and economical) meal any time of the day — breakfast lunch or dinner. Quiches, frittatas and Spanish tortillas (basically and egg and potato pie) are easy to make and can be done with relatively few ingredients. This tortilla recipe is as simple as it gets: you’ll be amazed how delicious this simple combination of ingredients can be.

 

Salads

If you’re using delicious fresh ingredients, you don’t need a whole lot of different elements to put together a delicious meal-sized salad. This recipe for Peach and Tomato Salad with Bocconcini may not be suitable for a few months until peaches come into season, but keep it in your back pocket — other than the main ingredients, all you really need is a little bit of oil and salt to let that fresh produce shine.

 

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