Are you looking for easy dinner ideas for those nights you don’t feel like cooking? Here’s a round-up on super simple meals that you can make without much time, effort or brainpower.
Lately I’ve been in a bit of a dinner slump. My focus is on surviving the day and with three littles, that doesn’t leave a lot of brain power to plan dinner. I need easy dinner ideas that I can make quickly and without much thought. We all have our favorites, right? Go-to meals most of the family will eat without complaint. Meals we can stash in our freezer and quickly pull out to thaw or just throw on a pan and stick in the oven.
I reached out to my Instagram community to ask them what meals fit the bill in their house and I felt like there are a lot of good answers, so I put them together to share.
By far, the top 5 most common responses were:
- Mexican night: Tacos, taco salad and build your own burrito bowls are also a hit. Add some fajita veggies if you’re feeling fancy. You can make this easier by pre slicing peppers and onions. Store them in the freezer so all you have to do is toss them in a hot pan.
- Breakfast for dinner: Eggs, pancakes, french toast, waffles. Use a boxed mix or pull some out of the freezer to make it even easier on yourself.
- Spaghetti: Package of pasta, jar of sauce and occasionally some meatballs. It was also super common to have meat sauce stored in the freezer so it could just be defrosted and served over freshly cooked noodles.
- Pesto pasta with chicken sausage: Cook some noodles or tortellini, toss in pesto and add sliced chicken sausage. Toss some veggies on a sheet pan to roast while the noodles are cooking and mix those in as well if you’re feeling fancy.
- Sheet pan gnocchi with chicken sausage – There are many versions but this is one of my recipes and I was shocked how many people said they make it regularly. A super simple dinner you can make using frozen of boxed gnocchi and even frozen veggies if you want.
Here are some other simple dinner ideas:
- Grilled chicken + starch + veggie –> Try my 4 ingredient marinade before grilling, choose rice/potatoes etc and your favorite veggie and add bbq sauce or your favorite sauce!
- Rotisserie chicken + sweet potato fries + broccoli –> Buy a chicken or make one of your own by simply cooking a whole chicken in the crockpot, instant pot or air fryer. Sub whatever roasted veggie you want for broccoli.
- Boxed mac and cheese + frozen peas + chicken sausage –> Swap white beans for a vegetarian option or skip the green veggies and stir in some pumpkin.
- Salmon + green beans + salad dressing + rice –> Put salmon on a sheet pan with green beans, top with salad dressing (I like Italian) and bake. Serve with rice. Or swap salmon for chicken breasts and green beans for carrots and potatoes and use honey mustard dressing.
- Chicken + bbq or buffalo sauce + fries + salad –> Cook chicken and sauce in a crockpot or Instant Pot. Shred and serve on buns with fries and a side salad. Or try my Instant Pot Hummus Chicken.
- Deli meat + crescent rolls + cheese —> Roll cheese and meat in crescent rolls and bake. Serve with raw veggies and fruit.
- Groud turkey + sweet potato + cheese & salsa –> Cook turkey with taco seasoning. Microwaves sweet potatoes. Top potatoes with taco meat, salsa and cheese.
- Shrimp or lentils + frozen veggies + curry paste + coconut milk –> Mix protein with veggies, add curry paste and coconut milk. Serve with rice and naan.
- Grilled turkey & cheese + canned soup –> Or any combination of your fav quick and easy soup and sandwich.
- Italian sausages + peppers + onions –> On the grill or baked on a sheet pan. Eat on rolls or as is!
- Ravioli/tortellini + diced tomatoes + baby spinach + parmesan –> Cook pasta, saute in butter and garlic with tomatoes and baby spinach. Top with parmesan cheese. Add shrimp for extra protein.
- Bagged caesar salad + rotisserie chicken or chicken fingers + tortilla –> Make a chicken Caeser wrap and serve with fruit. Swap another bagged salad kit or your fav lettuce and dressing if you want.
- Cooked chicken + frozen veggies + biscuit dough –> Cooke chicken and veggies with some flour and broth. Add a splash of cream. Bring to a boil, drop in biscuit dough, cover and let dumplings cook!
- Leftover chicken + frozen veggies + rice –> Saute chicken and veggies, add rice (and eggs to scramble if you want) and some soy sauce to make fried rice. Sub frozen edamame to make it vegetarian.
Need more ideas? Check out these posts: