Recently, someone asked me for a list of dinner ideas so I’m putting together this list of quick and easy dinners that take less than 30 minutes to prep. Here are some of my go-to favorites, and I thought what better place to put that information than here!
I know some of these will sound silly simple, but they are staple meals at my house.
1. Baked Chicken Breasts + Steamed Veggies
This how-to recipe from Gimme Some Oven on how to cook juicy chicken breasts turns out perfect every time. I don’t use the recipe-recommended seasonings, instead I just add whatever I want as the baking process is the same (my fave is Lemon Pepper seasoning). High heat for less time is the trick.
Also, I find that tenderizing the meat helps it to cook faster and more evenly.
I add a side of steam-fresh vegetables and we are done with this meal in about 30 minutes. Instead of veggies, you could grab a frozen bag of creamy penne and have that with your chicken.
Seriously, we have tacos about once a week. We love tacos. Brown the hamburger, add a packet of taco seasoning, warm up those tortillas and get ready to dress it up with toppings.
Here’s a list of toppings to consider:
- Sour cream (substitute plain Greek yogurt)
- Black olives
Mix up this classic dinner by adding Doritos for a walking taco. Or adding tortilla chips and more lettuce for a taco salad.
We usually whip up some fresh guacamole to go with this dinner. You can see exactly how I do that at the bottom of this post.
3. Chicken Broccoli Rice Skillet
This recipe is a Pinterest find and it is delicious. You can do it in more than one pan to speed up the process a bit, but I guess if you don’t want to wash more than one pan that is appealing.
4. Baked Chicken Spaghetti
Growing up, I learned to make this meal during those busy weeks full of high school extracurricular activities. My mom would have my sister and I help with dinner after school and before games. This is perfect for leftover cooked chicken (although you can easily pan sear or boil raw chicken). Boil noodles and I mix everything together right in the casserole dish (who needs to wash another bowl?).
Pair this with garlic bread!
This recipe is a version of regular spaghetti — brown hamburger, add sauce to warm with the hamburger and put over top of spaghetti noodles. Tip: add a bit of sauce to the noodles to prevent them from sticking together.
5. Pork loin + Potatoes & Carrots
We like to buy pre-marinated pork loins from Hy-Vee and plop it in a casserole dish with red potatoes and baby carrots. First, spray the dish. Then, place the pork loin in the center and surround it with diced potatoes and baby carrots. Top the vegetables with butter slices and seasoning (salt, pepper, and/or garlic powder). Bake for as long as long as the package says to or until the meat reaches about 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
6. Crockpot Taco Soup
I know. I know. But this is a different form of tacos. It is so simple to dump all the ingredients in the crockpot and let it cook. The house smells delicious and warms you up especially on a cold day. I usually substitute chicken breasts in this recipe by putting them in raw and shredding the chicken half an hour before dinnertime (aka Chicken Taco Soup). Try both and I know you won’t be disappointed!
7. Chicken Fried Rice
It looks like we only each Mexican and American food, but this recipe is wonderful. My sister-in-law introduced me to it, and I’m pretty sure I ate it for breakfast (here’s a breakfast fried rice recipe and I have yet to try it).
This recipe has a 20 minute prep time and 20 minute cook time so only a total time of 40 minutes from start to dinner table.
8. Stuffed Shells
I usually make this without meat, but I love the way this recipe incorporates ground beef for flavor and texture. This seems like a fancier pasta dish but it is such a simple dinner to put together. You can eat this alone or pair with a salad (probably a good idea to get those greens in too).
9. Breakfast for Dinner
I love breakfast food — eggs, waffles, omelettes, pancakes, french toast — you name it! BUT those are usually too filling to make for real breakfast in the mornings so how about enjoying them in the evening. Most breakfast items are fairly quick to make or whip up a breakfast casserole to put in the oven.
What are a few of your quick and easy dinner ideas? I love to try new recipes! Let me know in the comments below.