Dinner prep doesn’t need to be long and drawn out. These quick dinner ideas are a great way to save money and eat well during the busy week.
Life is full of things that can derail you from that great meal plan you made over the weekend. Failure-to-thaw, fatigue, and general family activity can pull you from that casserole you intended to make or those short ribs you had planned to put in the Crock-pot — six hours ago.
So what’s a girl to do?
The fast-food restaurant isn’t too far away, neither is the pizza place. But, you know that those options are more expensive than eating at home — and not as healthy, either.
Plus, total mom guilt fodder right there. C’mon, girlfriend. We can do better than this!
Instead, consider some quick dinner ideas that you can pull together easily. And when I say easily, I mean quicker than the time it takes you to find your car keys and go wait in the take-out line.
Quick Dinner Ideas
Here are some of the strategies you can lean on when you need a quick fix supper:
1. Boil some pasta.
Pasta is an easy fix any day. You can easily pull off a meatless pasta dish (either cream- or tomato-based) in less than 15 minutes, add another ten if you want to add some meat. Cheese and black pepper pasta comes together in minutes! Serve a salad or steamed vegetable and some garlic bread and you’re good to go.
These FishFavorites come together in less than 30 minutes:
2. Fix a salad. With stuff on it.
Real men do eat salad. You just need to put a lot of stuff on it like beans, meat, cheese, and croutons. See my primer for making a great salad.
Often, I’ll make a selection of two or three different kinds of salads, including pasta and potato. As long as there’s meat or hearty carbs on the plate somewhere, you’ll be good to go. Promise!
Here are some favorites that we like:
- Turkey and Ham Cobb Salad
- Chicken and Prosciutto Salad
- Curried Chicken and Apple Salad
- Poorman’s Chicken Caesar Salad
3. Make a sandwich.
It’s true that sandwiches can seem a little too “everyday”. Kids and spouses may have a sandwich for lunch and not think they want one for dinner. But, I believe if you doctor it up with spreads and Subway-style toppings or if you make a fancy panini or other hot sandwich, you’ll win your people over.
These sandwiches make a tasty quick fix:
4. Open a can of beans.
Beans and rice have made a supper for someone somewhere for thousands of years. It can work for you too. Gild the lily with homemade salsa, a dollop of sour cream, and some chips.
We’ve considered Rice and Beans a good cheap eat at our house for a long time. And it takes only 20 minutes to cook up.
Other quick bean dishes:
Don’t overthink supper. You can probably pull together “a meal” in less than half and hour with what you already have on hand. With a little pre-planning, it can be a feast. Dinner doesn’t have to be an event. Just make it real food, and serve it with love.
I’m always looking to expand my repertoire of quick-fix ideas, head to the comments and tell me what you like to make on the fly.
What’s one of your favorite quick dinner ideas?
Level up your meal planning and prep.
Have you considered creating a kitchen survival kit to help you WIN in the kitchen? I’d love for you to join me for the next Mom’s Kitchen Survival Workshop.
You’ll create a plan to help you get dinner on the table every night, fill your freezer with wholesome snacks and breakfasts, finesse your lunch-packing skills, and even make sure you get a daily dose of MOM food.
Learn more here.