Everything Food Blogger and Cookbook Author Alex Snodgrass Cooks When She’s Feeling Lazy

published Jan 9, 2024
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In the first few pages of Dinner Tonight, the newest cookbook from New York Times bestselling author and founder of The Defined Dish, Alex Snodgrass, the busy mom of two (she also launched the dressing line SideDish!) acknowledges the daily struggle so many of us feel: Cooking isn’t always fun.

“Between getting the kids to their activities, working late hours, keeping up with social events, and, well, just being tired, the fun of cooking can quickly disappear,” she says of her own experience. And wow, we’ve never felt more seen. 

Even if you love to cook, figuring out what to make night after night after night can be a daunting task. Her solution? Extremely delicious recipes that embrace shortcuts. Many of them come together entirely in one skillet (like her “lazy girl” skillet lasagna), pot, or sheet pan so you can get to eating faster (and spend less time cleaning).

We were especially excited to catch up with Alex to hear about her go-to tips and tricks for nights when we just can’t. Smarter, faster dinners that allow us to be unapologetically lazy in the kitchen? Sign us up.  

What is the one recipe from your cookbook that you would take on a deserted island? Ohhh, I’d have to go with the One-Pan Coconut-Lime Chicken and Rice from my new book, Dinner Tonight! I couldn’t be more in love with that recipe. It’s tangy, a little bit spicy, and just so savory. I don’t think I could ever get sick of it. Plus it’s got protein, veggies, and rice all in one skillet, so what more would I need? 

What’s your go-to lazy lunch? Usually a big salad! I’ll throw in a ton of lettuce (a combo of romaine and arugula), slice up some baby cucumber and red onion, throw in some matchstick carrots and some crumbled blue cheese, and then top it off with some rotisserie chicken that I toss in Buffalo sauce! Dressing on the salad is usually just a simple combination of olive oil and lemon juice or SideDish. So good, easy, and satisfying! 

What are you throwing together for dinner on a night when you’re so exhausted that the last thing you want to think about is cooking? My One-Pot Green Curry Veggie Noodles from Dinner Tonight! All you’ll have to do is sauté some veggies; throw in the green curry paste, broth, and coconut milk; and then nestle in two bricks of ramen into the pan. They soften up right in the sauce and you have a fancied-up ramen noodle dish in no time at all that is absolutely stellar. 

What’s a cooking rule you always follow? I’m not much of a rule follower, to be honest, and am down to break the rules for the sake of ease! But “taste as you go” is a great rule! Everyone has their own preference level of salt and pepper, and this will make sure your food is always seasoned just how you like it. 

Do you have any favorite cooking hacks or tricks? Don’t hate on convenient condiments! While I love taking the time to make a sauce completely from scratch, sometimes it is just not in the cards — but that shouldn’t stop you from making a delicious meal at home. Lean on store-bought enchilada sauce, pesto, BBQ sauce, and more to add so much immediate flavor to your meal with less stress.

You need to make dinner with only three ingredients (not including salt and pepper!). What do you make? Pasta, garlic, and olive oil. Can’t live without those ingredients, and the three of those alone are always delish for an ultra-simple meal.

What’s a standby ingredient you always cook with? Garlic. I am pretty certain that it’s in every single recipe. Blame it on my mom! 

What are three food items someone will always find in your fridge, pantry, or kitchen? Why do you love them or always have them on hand?

  1. Garlic: Seriously, can’t get enough. Every recipe must have this.
  2. Shallot: It’s a wonderful aromatic that builds flavor to any dish in a more elegant way than a white or yellow onion.
  3. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes: Another essential to add a little kick to every dish! 

What is a “weird”/peculiar food combination that you love and why? I really can’t think of anything super weird that I like! But one combo I love that maybe not everyone does is pizza and ranch — the two go hand-in-hand for me. We have a Chipotle Ranch at SideDish that I love with pizza; the smokiness of the chipotle is an added flavor I can’t get enough of. I also love flaky Maldon salt on any dessert; a salty-sweet moment is the best, especially because I don’t have that big of a sweet tooth!

What is a food item or dish that you think gets a lot of unwarranted hate? Casseroles. Look, I get it: It’s a bunch of stuff in a dish that is all stirred together and baked. It can definitely be unappealing. But I grew up eating those and most of them are just delicious and comforting. Do I cook them a ton? No. But gosh, give me a King Ranch Casserole or Spaghetti Casserole and I still enjoy it. So much so that while I’ll eat the original from time to time, I also created my own versions in my first book, The Defined Dish.

This is part of How to Be a Lazier Cook, highlighting the super-easy recipes, cooking tricks, and grocery items you need to start off the year a little lazier and a lot more delicious.