The 2 Easy Ingredients Alton Brown Says Can Turn Anything Into A Meal

You've tumbled through the front door after a long day of work, and now you're hungry. But there are no shrink-wrapped TV dinners in your freezer, no neatly-packaged leftovers in your fridge, nor are there any promising ingredients in your pantry.

We think it's safe to assume you've experienced this scene before. Psychologist Dr. Molly Millwood says weeknight dinners are one of the most common areas of issue she encounters with clients. Millwood says to Food Network, "If you think of the weeknight meal, it is ideally a time to be decompressing at the end of a long workday rather than jumping into the next obligation, which is getting the meal on the table," 

According to a Tasting Table Exclusive Survey, 33.33% of readers say that when they need a quick and easy dinner, they order fast food. But, according to celebrity chef and television personality Alton Brown, flying by the seat of your pants at dinnertime is the perfect opportunity to put your culinary skills to the test. "A home cook who relies too much on a recipe is sort of like a pilot who reads the plane's instruction manual while flying," says Brown. Here are the two easy ingredients Alton Brown says can turn anything into a meal.

Brown swears by eggs and canned tomatoes

In an episode of his home-cooking YouTube series Quarantine Quitchen, Brown says, "Anything can be made into a meal if you have two things: eggs and canned tomatoes." Indeed, the cuisines of many different cultures recognize eggs and tomatoes as the key to instant dinnertime success. Consider this roasted shakshuka, an Israeli dish of poached eggs in tomato sauce, or Mexican huevos rancheros.

Perhaps the most famous culinary iteration of eggs and canned tomatoes is found in the classic Chinese egg-and-tomato dish. According to The New York Times, this dish includes soft scrambled eggs and a ginger-tomato sauce, served with steamed rice. The outlet even recommends using canned tomatoes for this recipe when fresh tomatoes are out of season. According to the Chinese lifestyle blog The Woks of Life, "For many Chinese people, this dish represents home-cooked comfort food or jia chang cai. Every family has its version." Not only are eggs and tomatoes convenient, vegetarian, and healthy, but they're also wicked affordable and always worth keeping on hand.