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6-ingredient recipes that feature bright flavors without much fuss

(Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post)
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One of my favorite parts of any Rachael Ray cooking show was the beginning, as she zipped around the kitchen, piling up ingredients pulled out of the (impeccably organized) pantry and refrigerator. How many could she carry? Would any topple over?

Rachael Ray’s ‘30 Minute Meals’ changed how we cook. Now she’s back to teach a new generation.

I always admired her natural sense of balance, but I doubt I could ever pull it off. I’d probably put my threshold at about five or six ingredients at a time, if I was lucky. It also happens to be the right number of ingredients for a recipe on nights when you just don’t feel like dealing with a laundry list of items that you need to pull out of your cabinets or shop for. If that’s the kind of dish you appreciate, check out these six-ingredient meals from our archives (excluding salt, pepper and water, because those are always at hand).

Baked Chicken With Dijon Mustard, above. Think of this as a bit like from-scratch Shake ’N Bake. The dish comes together in 40 minutes, and relies on such pantry staples as panko and mustard, as well as freezer-friendly chicken thighs.

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Lemon-Butter Pasta with Parmesan. All it takes is some vigorous whisking and a generous amount of lemon zest to create a silky sauce that clings beautifully to the pasta in this nod to classic fettuccine Alfredo. For other pastas with short ingredient lists, see Cheesy Pasta with Bacon and Kale (Pasta Alla Gricia) and Za’atar Cacio e Pepe.

Browse our Recipe Finder for more than 9,300 Post-tested recipes.

Fish Grilled on Citrus. Sliced limes protect and flavor the fish, though you can use oranges or lemons. The spice rub and type of fish are up for interpretation as well. Salmon fan? Check out Salmon With Parsley Puree and Salmon With Sriracha and Lime.

Help dinner go swimmingly with these 8 salmon recipes

Spicy, Smoky Turkey Sandwich. A few small additions upgrade a classic — feel free to mix up the greens and cheese as you see fit. No adobo? Spike the mayo with Sriracha or harissa.

Rosa’s Spinach Egg Tortilla With Pine Nuts and Raisins. Eggs are a frequent star of short ingredient lists, thanks to their versatility. Here’s a Spanish-inspired dish with sweet and sharp notes. And from the same story: Scrambled Eggs With Mushrooms and Jamon.

Spain taught me that you can crack some eggs for dinner, too

Smoked Salmon Scrambled Eggs. I can’t help but include some more egg-cellence, and this one’s a beauty. For another breakfast-y option, check out Spiced Bread Egg in a Hole.

We’re tired of cooking, too. These easy, thrifty egg dishes are the break we need.

Savory Yogurt Bowl With Roasted Tomatoes. Whether you serve this for breakfast or a light lunch or supper, you’ll enjoy an alternative to the sweet bowl of yogurt.

Stracciatella With Spinach (Egg Drop Soup). This Italian soup is pretty and a very low lift in terms of effort. If you like the idea of soup, look into Creamy Squash Soup With Pimenton and Back Pocket Cauliflower Soup.

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