Chop it like it’s hot.

Whether you’re an aspiring home-chef, you’re trying to save money by not ordering takeout, or you simply miss the indoor-dining restaurant experience due to COVID-19, we’ve got some recipes ready to help you out. These recipes are going to satisfy any of those restaurant cravings you might be having and help you save some money by cooking at home.

Check them out below!

1. Pesto Alfredo Chicken Pasta

Who doesn’t love a good creamy pasta? Any variation of fettuccine alfredo is always my restaurant go-to. It’s the best favourite dish and I’ve found the tastiest recipe for you to recreate this mouth-watering delight right in your own kitchen! It’s been tried, tested, approved, and has everyone coming back for seconds.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced into ½ inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
  • ½ tablespoon of kosher salt
  • ½ tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ½ grated parmesan cheese (or sub out for 3 cheese asiago, parmesan romano blend)
  • ¼ cup of pesto
  • 3 cups penne pasta cooked and drained
  • ¾ cup cherry tomatoes, halved (or sub out for spinach and mushrooms)
  • Parmesan cheese to garnish (optional)
  • Chopped basil to garnish (optional)

How to put it all together:

Heat the oil in a pan over high heat. Combine the chicken, garlic, salt and pepper, cooking until chicken is browned. Mix in the heavy cream, cheese and pesto, stirring until evenly combined. Bring to a boil and cook until sauce has reduced, about 5-7 minutes. Toss in pasta and cherry tomatoes, stirring until evenly coated. Remove from heat. To serve, sprinkle parmesan cheese and basil on top.

Extra tip:

My personal favourite variation is to sub out the cherry tomatoes for sauteed mushrooms and spinach. If you want to do the same, just fry the mushrooms up separately, add in the spinach in the last couple minutes and then add them into the cream sauce. Also, a three-cheese blend adds a little extra flavour, but straight parmesan is great too!

2. Classic burger

Everyone knows that when you’re not sure what to order at a restaurant, you can never go wrong with a burger! It’s nearly impossible to have a burger that doesn’t taste absolutely delicious. So, here is a simple and tasty burger recipe for you to try that’s guaranteed to fill your cravings and satisfy your taste buds.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • Kosher or sea salt to taste (or sub for seasoned salt)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder (optional)

How to put it all together:

Divide beef into 4 equal portioned balls. Gently flatten into 1-inch thickness and create an indentation in the middle. Sprinkle salt, and pepper on one side. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium/ high heat. When the pan is hot, carefully place the patties in the skillet, seasoned side downed, and now season the other side. Cook the burgers until nicely seared and they have browned halfway up the sides, and flip; about 5 minutes per side. If adding cheese: remove the pan from heat and place cheese on top of the burgers, cover and allow the residual heat to melt the cheese. Serve on your choice of bun with your favourite toppings!

Extra tip:

To add a little extra flavour, sub out the regular salt for seasoned salt and sprinkle each side with garlic powder, about ¼ teaspoon per side.

3. Sweet Potato Fries

We can’t forget the importance of a great side dish! This is what’s really going to help you bring that restaurant experience to your kitchen table! Pair it with the juicy burger you just cooked or make it as a late-night snack! Either way you slice it, it’s delicious!

What you’ll need:

  • 2 medium-large sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to put it all together:

Peel potatoes and cut into ½ inch square sticks. Place into a large Ziploc bag, add cornstarch and toss to coat evenly. Add in oil, garlic powder, salt and black paper and toss to coat evenly. Place onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and space evenly apart. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees F for 20 minutes, turn over and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. 

Extra Tip:

Make your own chipotle mayo dip to enjoy with these fries or simply serve with pre-bought garlic mayo!

4. Chicken Fajitas

Mix up your Taco Tuesday for Fajita Friday with this simple, but oh so tasty recipe. And if you’re not craving chicken, feel free to change your protein to steak, tofu, or anything else you might have a hankering for that day.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 large bell peppers, sliced (multiple colours)
  • 1 medium red onion sliced
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 12 small flour tortillas
  • ¼ cup tex mex cheese blend (optional)

How to put it all together:

Combine cumin, chilli powder, onion powder, salt and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with half of the seasoning mixture. Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook the chicken for 5-7 minutes per side, until chicken is fully cooked through. Remove the chicken breasts from the pan and set aside to rest. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and add in your sliced bell peppers and onion. Sauté until the vegetables are tender-crisp, about 5 to 7 minutes. During the last two minutes of cooking add in the remaining half of the seasoning mix and minced garlic. Cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Slice the chicken breasts into long strips and return them to the skillet with the vegetables. Drizzle with lime juice and toss together. Serve on a warm tortilla.

Extra Tip:

To add a lot of extra flavour throw in a handful of a shredded tex mex cheese blend to the chicken and veggies once they are combined. Let it melt on top for about 45 seconds before serving.

5. Starbucks Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino

This list just wouldn’t be complete without a great DIY Starbucks drink to satisfy the best of your restaurant cravings! Whether you want it to start your day, or to have it as a dessert after one of restaurant quality dishes you just prepared, a Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino is the right way to go!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup ice
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate syrup
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 ¼ cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • Whipped cream to top

How to put it all together:

Combine the ice, chocolate syrup, chocolate chips, milk and vanilla extract in a blender and blend until well combined. Pour mixture into a large glass and top with piped whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce!

Extra tip:

It might not be a tip, but you should check out these other great DIY Starbucks drinks to satisfy all of your wildest Starbucks cravings. After all, you can never have too much Starbucks!


Inspired to keep cooking at home? Check out these 5 easy soup recipes to make any day of the week!

Follow IGNITE on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for all things student life.