My go-to fancy dessert. This is the least fancy it gets: peel a pear, cut in half and remove core. Put the halves in a skillet, in a little puddle of water, and add some mulling spices. Cook, covered, until pears are tender. Serve with ice cream, chocolate sauce, or whatever you've got.
Buy a rotisserie chicken for $5. Done. OR: Buy a raw chicken for $4. Remove giblets, rinse, season if desired, put in covered baking pan with a little water for an hour or more at 350.
(My vegephobic husband likes this. I can't explain that.) Mince a clove of garlic and put it in a skillet with a glug of olive oil. Then add a whole bag of baby spinach and cook over low heat, turning often, for a few minutes or until the leaves are mostly wilted. Stop before they turn into mush. If desired, add a little balsamic vinegar or Herbes de Provence.
Goes great with that pulled beef/pork from Costco. Buy a 39-cent box of cornbread mix. Mix it with milk as directed, and pour into paper-lined muffin tins. Bake as directed. The paper means there's nothing to wash afterward.
Carrots with orange butter
Going to try this one tonight. The night before, let half a stick of butter soften while you're making dinner. Zest an orange, and mix the zest with the softened butter and a tablespoon of orange juice. (Eat the orange at dessert.) Put it back in the fridge for tomorrow. Then, steam some carrots and serve them with orange butter on top.
Buy frozen ravioli. Cook as directed. Toss in a skillet with olive oil and some dried sage or whatever you've got. Serve with a vegetable.
Steam some asparagus. While it's cooking, melt a little butter in a pan you're going to use for something else. Add a little balsamic vinegar, then pour the butter/vinegar over the asparagus in its serving dish.
Ice cream soda
For this you need a fruity italian soda like what Target is selling now. Or sparkling juice of any kind, or do it the old fashioned way and use root beer. Pour the soda over a scoop of ice cream.
Cauliflower & dill
Steam some cauliflower. Toss in a skillet with melted butter and dill.
Green beans & basil
Steam some green beans. Toss with olive oil & dried basil.