5-(and 6-) Ingredient Meals for the Busy Mama

There are two things moms can never have enough of — time and money (sing it sister!). I love these 5-ingredient meals because they take no longer than 20 minutes to make. Plus, keeping the ingredient list short makes for a short receipt at the grocery store. These recipes are not only fast, cheap and delicious; they are tried, true and foolproof – I promise!

Easy Garlic Chicken


  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees and lightly grease a casserole dish
  2. Saute the garlic with oil until garlic is soft
  3. Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar
  4. Place chicken in casserole dish and cover with garlic/sugar mixture.
  5. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes

Emily’s Tip – Try to keep the garlic/brown sugar mixture only on the chicken. I poured the mixture all over the chicken the first time resulting in it spilling over to the bottom of the pan. Due to the nature of the sugary mixture, my favorite roasting dish was ruined. Spoon the mixture over the chicken instead.

Pasta Pomodoro


  • 1 can of plum tomatoes
  • Garlic (as much or little as you like)
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh pasta – whatever kind you like
  • Veggies (okay, so this is a sixth ingredient, but it’s optional!) – I like spinach and mushrooms but you can use anything you like. Look in your fridge for any lone peppers or onions.


  1. Saute garlic with olive oil in a separate pan
  2. Take whole plum tomatoes and cut into bite sized pieces. Put the diced tomatoes and remaining juice from the can into the sauté pan with the garlic
  3. Add basil
  4. Add your optional veggies
  5. Put a lid on the sauce and let simmer
  6. Have a glass of wine
  7. Cook pasta as per directions on pasta package

Emily’s Tip – Tomatoes can be bought pre-diced but it doesn’t taste the same as the whole plum tomatoes so don’t skip that step!

Skillet Cajun Spiced Tilapia


  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • Minced garlic
  • 4 pieces of fresh tilapia (or any white fish that happens to be on sale this week )
  • ¾ cup of diced green peppers
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • Cajun spice seasoning – as much or as little as you like! (okay, I cheated again – 6 ingredients)


  1. Saute garlic with olive oil until garlic is soft
  2. Add tomatoes, peppers and Cajun spice. Cook until tomatoes are soft (3 minutes or so)
  3. Lay fish on mixture, cover and let simmer on medium to low heat for about 15 minutes.

Emily’s Tip – I like to serve this with quinoa but it works great with rice, couscous and even pasta. Use whatever you already have in the house


Key West Grilled Chicken


  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  •  Juice of 1 lime


  1. In a bowl, mix together all ingredients except the chicken
  2. Add chicken to marinade and turn to coat
  3. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
  4. Grill until juices run clear

Emily’s Tip – This one works great as kabobs if you cut the chicken up into bite size pieces prior to marinating! It’s perfect for summer with a salad.

OMG Chicken

This might actually be the easiest chicken recipe in history. I am NOT a mayonnaise fan – at all – but this recipe is seriously a keeper and SO EASY. Don’t knock it till you try it!


  • ½ cup of mayonnaise
  • ¼ of shredded parmesan cheese
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (you can also use fish like tilapia instead)
  • 4 teaspoons of Italian bread crumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Mix mayonnaise and parmesan cheese in a bowl
  3. Lay chicken breasts on baking sheet
  4. Spread mayo mixture on chicken and top with breadcrumbs
  5. Cook for 25 minutes or until juices run clear

Emily’s Tip – The possibilities are endless with this recipe. Try substituting Greek yogurt for mayonnaise for a healthier version. I also like to add Worcestershire sauce, garlic and horseradish to my mayonnaise mixture to make it more like a “Caesar Chicken”.

2 Responses to 5-(and 6-) Ingredient Meals for the Busy Mama

  1. everything looks delicious!!

  2. These all look great! Can’t wait to try them.

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