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Ina Garten has the perfect meal that can be assembled when you don’t feel like cooking, but still want something special. Garten was asked for a recommendation when cooking or ordering takeout isn’t appealing and fans can take a page from her and husband Jeffrey — they pair a charcuterie board with a salad and a glass of wine and it’s amazing in every way.

Jeffrey and Ina Garten attend the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Opening Night Gala
Jeffrey and Ina Garten | Jim Spellman/WireImage

Jeffrey and Ina Garten’s easy meal fix is the solution when you don’t want to cook

When you don’t feel like prepping and cooking a big meal and ordering out doesn’t sound appealing, Garten recommended something really easy that requires very little effort.

During an interview with NPR’s 1A, fans had holiday-related questions for Garten, with one asking, “What would you do for a holiday meal if you really didn’t feel like cooking, yet couldn’t bring yourself to order takeout or premade restaurant meals? What is the easiest celebratory dish to make?”

“Jeffrey and I did something the other night that was really fun, is I made a big charcuterie platter and a big salad,” the Barefoot Contessa answered. I did cheeses and prosciutto and salami and clementines and chutney and cheddar and I made a big green salad, which was basically arugula with a lemon vinaigrette.”

“And we had a wonderful dinner. And a glass of wine,” she added. “It was completely assembled, never turned on the stove and it just felt celebratory, so that might be a good idea.”

Ina Garten offered her charcuterie cheese board tips

During an October 2020 appearance on the Today show, Garten discussed how you don’t have to overthink a cheese board.

“You can go into your pantry and see what you have,” Garten explained. “I always like something right in the middle as a block, and then I put things around, colorful things like apricots. I’ve got two different cheeses, one creamy, one blue.”

She also suggested keeping like-colored elements together for the most beautiful layout. “I think very often people put apricots everywhere and then they put figs everywhere, but you want to do blocks of color and then it’ll look really gorgeous,” she shared.

Garten also noted that, during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, she got burned out on cooking every meal. “At some point, I just couldn’t do it anymore,” she said. “I thought, ‘I can’t cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner and still get my work done.’ So I said to Jeffrey, we have to do takeout, and it just changed my life.”


How Did Ina Garten and Jeffrey Meet and How Long Have They Been Married?

She makes a charcuterie board more elegant with 1 simple addition

During a 2018 segment on The Chew, Garten showed how she begins her cheese board with green leaves as the base, then uses a variety of cheeses.

“What I’m always looking for is a combination of shapes and colors and flavors,” Garten explained. “They’re all different and so everybody gets to choose.”

She added, “One of the key things I’ve always learned is that if you put a piece of cheese on that’s not cut, if it’s not open, nobody will make the first cut.”