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Cook's Country

Ask Matthew: Can You Recommend Some Healthy Recipes?

Sometimes your body craves wholesome food. Here are one man’s Cook's Country recipe picks. 

Matthew Fairman is a longtime Cook's Country test cook who has cooked in many restaurants and taught college literature and writing. Have a food-related question for Matthew? Fill out this form.

Do you have some favorite recipes to recommend that are easy and healthy? I seem to have less and less time to cook, so the family’s been stuck in a fast-food rut. Our bodies are craving something more wholesome.

–LaTisha Green

Dear LaTisha,

Let me tell you, I can relate. If I didn't cook for a living, I don’t think I’d cook at all. I’ve been working on a fried turkey recipe and a cookie recipe for the past couple months, so after a day of prepping, frying, doing dishes, prepping, baking, doing more dishes, and then cleaning up my mess in the kitchen, I’m asking myself, “Am I really about to cook dinner now?”

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It takes everything I’ve got not to eat a mountain of Cajun-fried bird and oatmeal creme pies or order some combo of sushi/pizza/tacos for the fourth time this month.  

Luckily, we’ve got Cook’s Country’s inexhaustible bank of recipes to help get us through. So, what should we make?

Maybe we need a hot bowl of heady broth to soothe our nerves and spirits. Take a look at this Chicken and Rice Soup with Ginger and Scallions. I mean, it’s two steps, takes about 20 minutes, and uses only a handful of ingredients. Could a soup made that fast with rotisserie chicken really be good? The answer is a resounding yes. The fresh ginger, with its vibrant heat, complements this simple chicken soup so delightfully, elevating it to levels of deliciousness it really has no right to with this little effort. It’s no work and all results. 

Same goes for this Vegetarian Ramen with Shiitakes and Soft Eggs. The miso and mushrooms make this ultrafast soup complex and savory, giving it that simmered-all-day flavor in about 10 minutes. To make the soft-cooked eggs, simply lower eggs into boiling water for 7 minutes. Seriously, I’ve waited longer than this for my food in the drive-thru line at Popeyes.

When I’ve had my fill of soup, I’m probably going to make this Slow-Roasted Salmon with Chives and Lemon again. I’ve gone on record here before with my love for all things salmon, but I can’t rave enough about this particular recipe. With just seven ingredients and an hour or so of hands-off cooking, I’ve got luscious, buttery, tender salmon, and I’ve ticked one or two other things off my to-do list in the meantime. 

In our household of two (plus a few salmon-loving cats), we’ve taken to making this salmon at the beginning of the week—paired with this remarkably easy-to-make recipe for Lentils and Spinach—and having the leftovers with salads for lunch. Plus, there are two flavor variations for the salmon (dill and garlic; parsley and cayenne) to spice things up. Wait a week or two, make that dill-garlic variation and swap out the lentils for Greek Spinach and Chickpeas (maybe the simplest most satisfying recipe I’ve ever made) and listen to your body and soul thank you for the good home cooking.

Well, LaTisha, I hope these recipe ideas are the motivation we need to pull us out of this take-out tailspin for a little while. In the meantime, the other developers and I at Cook’s Country will be cranking out new recipes specifically geared to making it easy for us all to get food on the table.

Happy cooking!