July 2024
Make your own waffles

5 Quick Recipe Hacks for When You’re Feeling Lazy

June 10, 2020 5 min read 18 Comments

Your stomach starts to growl, your mind starts to grumble at the thought of cooking a full meal, and your body says you’re waaay too tired for this. 

Now you’re left with two options: a) order takeout or b) grab a frozen meal.

For me, this was my life while I was in college, and oddly enough, it’s also been me during the pandemic.

Sometimes you aren’t in the mood to cook a full Food Network meal, and sometimes you want something more than Instant mac and cheese. So, to keep myself from turning into a full-blown take-out girl or a processed food fiend (yes, I have a few favorites in the frozen food aisle), I decided to tweak some dishes that make me giddy with goodness.


Apple lovers can’t help but smile at the thought of this delicious blend of a crunchy overgrown pancake with a soft pillowy middle – floating on chunks of apple.  Take it up a notch with your favorite baking flavor and think apple cider-like donuts in 10 minutes!

falling powder sugar on donuts



  • 1 ½ Gala Apples
  • 2 tbsp Vanilla flavor
  • 2 tsp Almond flavor
  • 2 cups Pancake mix
  • ¼ cup Water
  • Confectioner’s sugar


  • ½ cup Maple syrup
  • Dash of Fresh Nutmeg
  • Dash of Cinnamon
  • Dash of Pumpkin pie spice (optional)
  • ¼  tbsp Melted Butter


  1. Skin and core apples
  2. Cut into small bite-size pieces then combine with pancake mix in bowl
  3. Add water to the mixture. Batter should be thicker than what’s used for regular pancakes (Think biscuit batter).  Adjust mix by either adding a small amount of water (teaspoon or so) or a tad more mix.
  4. Set the batter aside and fill a Dutch oven or large saucepan with oil for frying (enough to cover 1 ¼ of the bottom). 
  5. Set your heat to medium-low
  6. While oil is heating, prepare your glaze by whisking together syrup, vanilla flavor, nutmeg, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice. 
  7. Add ½ tbsp of butter, warm in the microwave then set aside
  8. Once oil has reached temperature, use a large spoon or an ice cream scoop (this is my fav method) and carefully drop about 2-3 tbsp of batter in the pan
  9.  Fry each for about 60-75 seconds on each side, or until golden brown. Be sure to brown the sides too!
  10. Remove apple fritters to a paper-towel lined plate then drizzle them with glaze 
  11. Sprinkle on some confectioner’s sugar for topping and serve warm


Think chicken low mein meets every staple in my pantry and fridge. It’s a light healthy take on a favorite that doesn’t leave you feeling stuffed.

white ceramic bowl with pasta dish


  • Nissin Chow Mein (preferably the Teriyaki Chicken Flavor)
  • Ready cooked chicken breast strips * this can be substituted with a protein you like such as beef or shrimp*
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Mushrooms (optional)
  • Scallions
  • Bok Choy
  • Package of Vegetable Medley (look for the ones with things like  broccoli & carrots, or just use whatever veggies you have)
  • Stir fry sauce (optional) *if you have access to other sauces, using a mixture of soy, duck, teriyaki, and stir fry sauce adds more depth of flavor*


  1. Follow Nissin Chow Mein instructions (most say to microwave for 5 minutes)
  2. Chop chicken breast to preferred size and toss in a pan with either olive oil or butter (enough to lightly coat the bottom of your pan)
  3. Add veggies halfway through heating process  and let simmer for 5 minutes
  4. Add Chow Mein noodles then sauce flavorings, to your liking
  5. Stir and let simmer for 3 – 4 minutes
  6. Serve and garnish with green onions or sesame seeds
  7. Add ginger, scallions, ginger, mushrooms and bok choy once ¾ of the way cooked 


If you haven’t noticed, I really love Asian-inspired dishes. Because I don’t always have access when the craving hits, I’ve learned to lean on my imagination of hackery to pull off what my family says are some pretty tasty dishes.

This little ditty is a nice blend of a classic soup with an Asian spin. It’s perfect for a light lunch or when you’re feeling under the weather.

soup in dish


  • 1 Can of Progresso Traditional Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Bok Choy
  • Soy sauce
  • Ginger
  • ½ cup Water
  • Mrs. Dash Table Blend Seasoning or similar no-salt alternative
  • Red pepper flakes to taste, if you’d like it hot


  1. Pour soup into medium pot adding ½ cup of water and let simmer for 5-7 minutes
  2. Start chopping ginger and bok choy then add to soup during last 2 minutes
  3. Add a small dash of soy sauce and Mrs. Dash Table Blend seasoning to taste
  4. Serve hot


This is a nice break away from the usual potato dishes (as in mashed, french fries, or even AuGratin). Cool thing is that it goes well with just about anything. It’s toasty on the outside with a nice blend of sweet and spicy while also being silky and hearty on the inside.

potatoes on baking sheet


  • 5 red potatoes cut into small pieces (leave the skin on if you like)
  • Honey mustard salad dressing
  • Mrs. Dash Table Blend 
  • Herbes de Provence (if you don’t have any Herbes de Provence, you can try blending Rosemary, Thyme, Basil & Oregano together)
  • Garlic powder 
  • Olive oil cooking spray


  1. Boil potatoes in a medium pot for 10 minutes
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
  3. Using a baking sheet or aluminum pan, spray with olive oil cooking spray
  4. Spread the potato pieces onto the baking sheet, then sprinkle with the seasonings
  5. Bake for 10 minutes or until slightly brown
  6. Drizzle on the honey mustard sauce (to taste)
  7. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until the potatoes are golden brown and a fork and easily pierce through without resistance
  8. Serve by themselves or as a side


For the past 3 years, I’ve been trying to figure out how to recreate this delicious salad I used to eat in my college dining hall, and am so pumped that I finally did it.

This salad will fill all your Chipotle cravings and then some while keeping it healthy and nutritious.

shrimp on salad in bowl


  • Frozen cooked shrimp, deveined and peeled (Market Pantry from Target is my go-to)
  • Romaine Lettuce (pre-packaged)
  • Goya Black Beans 
  • Chipotle Ranch Dressing
  • Four Cheese Blend Shredded Cheese
  • Wonton Strips
  • Cajun seasoning


  1. Follow instructions on shrimp package (most say thaw out in cold water then drain excess on a paper towel). Use as many as would for a serving for the number of people
  2. Season shrimp with cajun seasoning 
  3. Add butter or olive oil to a small frying pan, then add shrimp cooking for about 2 minutes
  4. Remove shrimp then set aside
  5. Add black beans to pan then simmer for 5  minutes, removing pan from heat
  6. Grab a bowl to start assembling your salad
  7. Add lettuce, then shrimp, then black beans
  8. Top with a sprinkle of cheese and wonton strips
  9. Add chipotle ranch to taste
  10. Serve and enjoy

All in all my hacks take no more than 10- 15 minutes. And for someone who actually enjoys getting in the kitchen, but can also appreciate not cooking a full course meal, it’s a nice break to know you can still satisfy your tastebuds without committing to an entire day in the kitchen. 

What recipe hacks do you have?


  • Tisha June 11, 2020 at 5:56 pm

    This is exactly what I need… except now I’m going to gain all that weight back with those fritters…dang it!

    • annaelleliz June 12, 2020 at 10:35 pm

      Me too girl! But at least I’ll be happy in apple fritter land, lol ?

  • Lina June 11, 2020 at 9:28 am

    These looks delicious! I need these for those lazy days. Thanks.

    • annaelleliz June 11, 2020 at 2:14 pm

      Gotta keep the food simple because those lazy days have been hitting hard this pandemic!

  • Marina June 11, 2020 at 9:22 am

    Apple frittes look so delicious, just saved your recipe x

    • annaelleliz June 11, 2020 at 2:14 pm

      I would eat 10 in a row if I could! They’re my favorite breakfast and dessert staple. Let me know how you like them!

  • bella June 10, 2020 at 6:12 pm

    These look so tasty!! I can’t say no to a good shrimp salad! thanks for sharing this!!

    • annaelleliz June 11, 2020 at 2:12 pm

      So glad you liked the recipes! I’m still shook over how good that salad is, plus you can’t say no to seared shrimp ?!

  • heatherwriterslifeforyoucom June 10, 2020 at 1:29 pm

    I love these recipes! When I’m stressed and don’t have time, I turn to take-out food which is not good. Having quick recipes helps avoid ordering out and you get a delicious home cooked meal quick,

    • annaelleliz June 11, 2020 at 2:11 pm

      OMG YES! So glad you like them! You’re talking to the take-out queen too so I feel ya! Sometimes you just want a quick homemade meal without all the fuss, plus you get to save some dollars ditching the takeout! Win-win!?

  • Charlene June 10, 2020 at 10:31 am

    Chicken chow mein is a good one to try. I will add that to my weeknight recipes

    • annaelleliz June 11, 2020 at 2:09 pm

      Happy clapping right now! It’s so perfect for when you want that Asian inspired takeout food taste but don’t want to actually buy takeout or spend all day in the kitchen! It’s been my trusty go-to since college!

  • Mimi June 10, 2020 at 10:28 am

    These are amazing! The apple fritters sound delicious, I’ll have to make them soon!

    • annaelleliz June 11, 2020 at 2:07 pm

      Thanks so much! 10/10 recommend the apple fritters, it’ll change your life, lol.

  • jenna June 10, 2020 at 9:32 am

    Omg I want apple fritters!! Everything sounds so yummy 🙂 Gonna need to try those roasted garlic taters too!

    • annaelleliz June 11, 2020 at 2:07 pm

      If you love sweets the fritters are perfect for breakfast or for dessert! I love to have them in the morning with a cup of coffee! The tatters always satisfy that starch craving too!

  • federica June 10, 2020 at 8:07 am

    I’m going to blame you if now I’m craving apple fritters ? and I suppose I will make honey roasted garlic potatoes asap!

    Federica |

    • annaelleliz June 11, 2020 at 2:05 pm

      100% responsible here! I’m telling ya those apple fritters are the bomb! The honey-roasted garlic potatoes are such a great stand-alone or side dish too!

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Welcome to Anna Elle Liz, a lifestyle blog dedicated to navigating our imperfectly perfect lives! From college hacks and organization tips to fitness routines and musings on adulting, what makes us imperfectly perfect is our shared experiences as we navigate life and everything in between. Read More

    Let’s Be Friends

    Be in the Know

    Sign up to receive news and updates on the blog! Bonus? You'll also get a free printable planner and access to the Freebie Library when you do.




    Latest Post