6 Easy Lunch and Dinner Recipes That Use Bold Flavors

You don’t need to spend hours laboring over long and complicated recipes in order to prepare dishes that are filled with bright, bold, and zesty flavors. By using high-impact ingredients, such as herbs, spice blends, lemon, barbecue sauce, and hot sauce, you can create invigorating meals that require minimal ingredients and very little effort. From Spicy Louisiana Tilapia Fillets to Lemon Pepper Pasta, these 6 show-stopping recipes prove that the simplest dishes are often the most mouth-watering.

Source: iStock

1. Fruited Pork Chops

Fruit, barbecue sauce, and thyme work together in Better Homes and Gardens’ recipe to create a sweet, tangy, and fresh-tasting pork chop dinner. Preparing supper doesn’t get any easier than this — once you place the ingredients in your slow cooker, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the warm smells wafting through your kitchen.


  • 6 boneless pork loin chops, cut 1 inch thick
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • 2 (7-ounce) packages mixed dried fruit
  • 1 medium red and/or yellow sweet pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 cup bottled barbecue sauce
  • Fresh thyme sprigs (optional)

Directions: Trim fat from pork chops. Place chops in a 3½- or 4-quart slow cooker. Sprinkle with thyme. Add dried fruit and sweet pepper to slow cooker. Pour barbecue sauce over all in cooker. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 4 to 4½ hours, or on high heat setting for 2 to 2½ hours. Transfer chops to a serving platter. Skim fat from sauce. Spoon some of the sauce over chops; pass remaining sauce. If desired, garnish with fresh thyme sprigs.

Source: iStock

2. Crispy Cajun Chicken

The Midnight Baker’s chicken is subtly sweet, spicy, crisp, and crunchy. This dish’s fantastic flavor is due to a Creole Seasoning Blend, which combines 11 common spices and herbs. The recipe yields 4 servings.


  • 2 to 3 pounds chicken parts (breasts, thighs, drumsticks)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Creole/Cajun Spice Blend
  • 2 cups roughly crushed cornflakes

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towel. Mix mayonnaise and seasoning blend in a small bowl. Crush cornflakes and place on a plate. Dredge chicken in mayonnaise, then cornflake crumbs. Place on baking sheet, skin side up. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 to 50 minutes, or until coating is golden-brown and chicken juices run clear.

Source: iStock

3. Spicy Louisiana Tilapia Fillets With Sautéed Vegetable Relish

Spicy fish fillets pair perfectly with a light and refreshing vegetable relish. Oxmoor House’s recipe yields 4 servings. If you’ve got chiles, salt, and distilled white vinegar on hand, you can make your own hot sauce using Bon Appétit’s recipe.


  • Cooking spray
  • 1 (8-ounce) container refrigerated pre-chopped tomato, onion, and bell pepper mix
  • 4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons Louisiana hot sauce
  • 1½ teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Directions: Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; coat pan with cooking spray. Add tomato mixture; sauté 2 minutes. Remove from pan. Coat pan and fillets with cooking spray; add fish to pan. Cook 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn fillets over; add tomato mixture to pan, spooning mixture over and around fillets.

Cover and cook 5 minutes or until fish flakes easily. While fish cooks, combine 2 tablespoons water, hot sauce, thyme, and salt in a small bowl. Carefully remove fish and tomato mixture from pan; place on a serving platter. Reduce heat to medium; add hot sauce mixture and butter to pan. Cook until butter melts. Spoon butter mixture evenly over fish and tomato mixture.

Source: iStock

4. Tart and Crunchy Fresh Tuna Salad

Looking for a simple lunch dish that will please your palate? Prepare Food Network’s Tart and Crunchy Fresh Tuna Salad, which gets its great flavor and terrific texture from lemons, freshly ground pepper, Greek yogurt, grapes, and walnuts. The recipe yields 4 servings.


  • 2 large fresh tuna steaks (about 1½ pounds)
  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced, plus ½ lemon, zested and juiced, as needed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup halved red grapes
  • ¼ cup toasted and chopped walnuts

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Put a large sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Arrange the lemon slices on the parchment, slightly overlapping, covering an area just larger than the size of the tuna steaks. Season the tuna well on both sides with salt and pepper, and arrange them directly on the lemon slices. Sprinkle the zest evenly over the tuna. Bring the 2 long sides of parchment together and fold down over the tuna.

Fold the ends of the parchment and tuck them under the fish like an envelope. Roast in the oven until cooked through, about 18 to 20 minutes; the tuna should flake easily with a fork and is no longer pink in the center. Open the parchment packet and let the tuna cool until it can be handled, then flake it with a fork. Transfer to a serving bowl along with any cooking juices it has released. Add the yogurt, grapes, and walnuts and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Source: iStock

5. Lemon Pepper Pasta

Lemon juice, basil, and black pepper will season your plate of pasta perfectly. For an easy weeknight meal, prepare AllRecipes.com’s dish, which yields 8 servings, in advance and store it in the refrigerator; it tastes good hot or cold!


  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

Directions: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until done; drain. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, basil, and black pepper. Mix well and toss with the pasta. Serve hot or cold.

Source: iStock

6. 5-Ingredient Black Bean Soup

It only takes 20 minutes to make this well-seasoned soup, which consists of black beans, salsa, cilantro, cumin, and garlic. Gimme Some Oven’s recipe yields 2 to 4 servings.


  • 3 (15-ounce) cans black beans, with liquid
  • 1 pound (about 2.5 cups) salsa, homemade or store-bought
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, loosely packed (plus extra for garnish)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Directions: Stir together all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium high until simmering. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer for at least 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve soup warm, topped with additional fresh cilantro as garnish.

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