Struggling to come up with something easy to make for dinner tonight? Whether it’s a manic Monday or a frazzled Friday, we all have those days where we just don’t feel like cooking. In these moments, everyone needs a few go-to recipes they can count on.
Here are a few quick and easy dinner ideas that will save you on prep time and cleanup without sacrificing quality or flavor. At the bottom of this post, we have also included a list of pantry and freezer staples that will make it easy to throw together a meal without having to venture out to the store!
Quick Dinner Ideas That Won’t Leave Your Kitchen a Mess
1. Frozen Dinners with Home-cooked Flavor
Sometimes throwing a frozen pizza or entrée in the oven feels like cheating, or worse, settling. But if you’re doing it right, it shouldn’t have to. Dogtown Pizza is known for using high-quality ingredients in our delicious, St. Louis Style frozen pizzas. The same rule applies to our Gourmet Entrées.
Quick, easy, and convenient, our Italian-style gourmet entrées are the ticket to a stress-free dinner that satisfies the whole family. Choose between our Lasagna with Meat or Mostaccioli with Meatballs for all the comforts of a home-cooked meal without the stress or the mess.
2. Wash Fewer Dishes with Walking Tacos
Grab some individual bags of corn chips and all your favorite taco toppings to create this quick and easy classic. All you need to do for prep is brown and season the ground beef. Then step aside and let everyone help themselves to their favorite toppings to create their own individual walking taco. Ingredients can go right in the mini-bag of corn chips, which will save you precious time on dishwashing.
3. Try Foil Packet Dinners
Foil packet dinners are a fast and easy way to make dinner for the whole family. The best part about them is that they require virtually no cleanup. All you really need to make these simple dinners is your favorite protein, a vegetable of your choice, seasoning, and some aluminum foil.
On your first try, we recommend a drool-worthy combination like lemon pepper chicken and asparagus. This is a quick and easy foil packet dinner for beginners. Prepare and season both the chicken and asparagus with fresh lemon juice, black pepper, garlic, and any seasonings of your choice. Then grill them or bake your foil packets for about 15-20 minutes.
3. Bring on the Burrito Bowls
If you’re a burrito lover who is great at prepping your meals in advance, this recipe will make the top of your list. This is one of those meals you can eat over and over, so you might want to consider preparing enough for dinner and tomorrow’s packed lunch.
Cook beans and rice ahead of time, and keep them in the fridge. When you’re ready for dinner, simply customize by adding all your favorite burrito ingredients into a bowl. Freshly chopped tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, corn, lime juice, and cilantro are a few popular choices. Feel free to add chicken or beef to your recipe if you feel like you need a protein-boost in addition to the beans. For the sake of keeping things stress and mess-free, rest assured that this recipe is just as enjoyable (and nutritious) vegetarian-style.
4. Asian Lettuce Wraps
Asian lettuce wraps are a delicious dinner recipe and are great when you’re in the mood for something unique. They’re also fairly healthy if you’re looking for a low-effort dinner recipe without the guilt. Simply heat the ingredients in a skillet after browning and draining the ground beef. This makes up the meat of the wrap, which is a flavorful sesame-style mixture. Serve burrito-style, using individual pieces of lettuce as the wrap, and enjoy!
Get Saucy with Shakshuka
Shakshuka? What is that? It is a delicious super simple and inexpensive Middle Eastern dish that is normally reserved for breakfast but we think this one-pan wonder also works really well for dinner.
You probably already have pretty much everything you need to make this dish. This dish requires olive oil, 1 clove of garlic (minced), 1/2 a diced onion, 2 cans of diced tomatoes, tomato paste, cumin, paprika, and 4-6 eggs.
Heat your olive oil in a large pan and add onion, cook for a few minutes and then add your garlic. Cook the onion and garlic until they are fragrant then mix in tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and spices. Let the mixture simmer for 5-7 minutes until it starts to reduce. Crack your eggs one by one over the tomato mixture doing your best to keep them separated. Cover and let simmer for 10-15 minutes until the eggs are cooked.
That’s it! You can garnish with parsley, feta, red pepper flakes, or even some parmesan cheese!
Sheet Pan Caprese Chicken (For When You Just Want to Eat Mozarella)
Caprese salad is usually seen as an appetizer but that absolutely needed to change and this recipe from the Food Network recognized that! The recipe here tells you how to make a balsamic glaze, but you can also pick some up at the store pre-made. We love this recipe because it requires zero prep work, you only dirty one pan, and you get to eat globs of fresh mozzarella – could it get any better than that?
To make sheet pan Caprese chicken you will need balsamic glaze (homemade or store-bought), chicken breasts, Italian seasoning, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, olive oil, cherry tomatoes, salt and pepper, and crusty bread for serving (optional).
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and evenly coat the bottom of your sheet pan with olive oil. Sprinkle with the Italian seasoning, tablespoon salt, and a bit of pepper. Put the cherry tomatoes on the baking sheet and roll them back and forth until evenly coated in the oil and seasoning. Next, arrange the chicken towards the center of the baking sheet, pushing the tomatoes out to the sides, and drizzle the chicken with a bit more olive and then bake for 20-25 minutes until the tomatoes are soft.
Once out of the oven, and drape the chicken with mozzarella and bake until the cheese melts. Add torn basil and balsamic glaze to serve. Feel free to spoon the extra juices from the pan on top for more flavor! Serve with a light side salad.
Budget-Friendly Staples to Keep in the Pantry and Freezer
Sometimes, you just don’t have fresh herbs, you’re out of eggs, or you just don’t want to head out to the grocery store for one or two things. Keeping a few pantry staples on hand can make it easy to throw together a meal in no time.
- Canned or dried beans (use in place of meat for tons of recipes)
- Pasta (you can’t have enough pasta)
- Rice (versatile and delicious with just veggies and a fried egg)
- Crushed and diced tomatoes (throw together a pasta sauce that is better and cheaper than jarred)
- Frozen pizza (obviously!)
- Frozen veggies (whatever you like)
- Frozen chicken breast (for when making a trip for fresh just isn’t in the cards)
What are some of your favorite quick and easy to clean meals? Let us know in the comments below!