Sometimes, the very idea of making dinner is akin to torture. Between the activities, school, work and life, there are nights where the big dinner decision doesn’t happen until the absolute last minute. It ends up being a very stressful thing, which is never good. Fortunately, there are some great meals that can be whipped up in no time.
The key to last minute cooking is to have staples on hand to whip up fast dinners. For me, that includes plenty of pasta, precooked sausage, precooked and frozen shrimp, a hard Italian cheese like romano, good olive oil, garlic and quick-cooking grains like quinoa. Also, canned beans and tomatoes. As for side dishes, when I am in a hurry I will often turn to raw sides such as tossed salads, bell pepper slices, cubed fruit and tomato salads.
I’ve pulled together a bunch of recipes as resources for when you just don’t know what to make. But before I share those, one of my absolutely favorite fast dinners is simple as can be: an egg over easy with whole grain toast and fruit. For my kids, the egg usually gets scrambled too … but they enjoy it as well. Other than that, grilled cheese sandwiches, paninis and quick pastas are also really great options for when all the schedules seem to be conspiring against you.
How will you answer the dreaded ‘what’s for dinner?’ question? Here are some quick and easy dinner ideas.
20 Ideas for Quick and Easy Dinners
These quick ideas can be made in under a half-hour or so, which makes them perfect for busy nights. And since most need only a few ingredients, it won’t take much to whip them up. Ready?
- Quick Barbecue Cheddar Sausage Sandwiches with Balsamic Onions
- 10-Minute Salsa Chicken
- Quick Chicken Parmesan
- Shredded Chicken and Black Bean Nachos
- Easy, Juicy Rosemary Romano Roasted Turkey Cutlets
- English Muffin Pizzas
- Roasted Butternut Squash and Sage Gnocchi
- Toss Together Chorizo, Feta and Tomato Pasta
- Leek and Bacon Carbonara
- Garlic Soy Stir Fry
- Ham, Swiss, Avocado and Spinach Panini
- Buffalo Chicken Salad
- Shrimp, Basil and Tomato Pasta with Manchego Cheese
- Penne with Bratwurst and Broccoli
- Chicken, Avocado and Red Pepper Rice Bowl
- Cristina Ferrare’s Clam Sauce
- Pineapple Chicken
- Quick Pork and Peanut Stir-Fry
- Oven Poached Flounder with Garlic and Olive Oil
- Easy Sauteed Catfish
- Baked Tilapia with White Wine and Tomatoes
5 Make-Ahead Slow Cooker Recipes
There’s something truly comforting about knowing you won’t have to make dinner when you get home. That’s where slow cooker recipes come into play. These easy recipes are designed to be made ahead of time and cook low and slow until dinner. It makes things super easy.
- Slow Cooker Beef and Veggie Stew
- Smoky Slow Cooker Beef Brisket
- Slow-Cooker BBQ Joint Beef Brisket Recipe
- Slow Cooker Ratatouille
10 More Slow Cooker Recipes from Around the Web
- Slow Cooker Cheeseburger Soup on Taste and Tell
- Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken on Pip & Ebby
- Crock Pot Red Beans and Rice on Iowa Girl Eats
- Slow-Cooker Steak and Guinness Pie on Handle the Heat
- Slow Cooker Roast Chicken on Baked Bree
- Slow Cooker Baked Potato Soup on Mama Loves Food!
- Slow Cooker Punjabi Eggplant with Potatoes on The Perfect Pantry
- Slow Cooker Bacon and Corn Chowder on Taste and Tell
- Slow Cooker Sweet and Smoky Beef on The Perfect Pantry
- Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos with Spicy Slaw and Avocado on Kalyn’s Kitchen
Hillshire Farms Giveaway
Premade sausage is a staple of my last-minute dinner survival plan. I always have it on hand and use it for everything from breakfast for dinner to sandwiches. And after recently trying Hillshire Farm Gourmet Creations sausage, I’ve been enjoying the creative flavors. Now, you can too. Hillshire Farm has generously offered three coupons for free sausage for one lucky Sarah’s Cucina Bella reader.
Giveaway closed. Congrats to commenter #5, Krizza.
Disclosure: This is NOT a compensated post. However, Hillshire Farm is providing the item for giveaway and also provided me with free product that I used to create a recipe. All opinions are my own.