I will always shy away from recipes with complex ingredients and endless directions. I want to be able to get dinner from the stove to the table in 30 minutes or less (and I’m sorry, but most of Rachael Ray’s “30 Minute Meals” definitely take longer!).
While I’m all about experimenting in the kitchen—and trying new recipes when time allows—on most days, I just want something simple. (You probably already know this from my Meal Plan Monday posts!)
I’ve rounded up my top 10 easy meals. These won’t take a while to plan for, shop for, or make. Most of them don’t require a recipe, but the ones that do are straightforward and impossible to mess up!
1 – Pasta and Meatballs
Pick whatever pasta kind of pasta you prefer and buy pre-made meatballs. Heat the meatballs up in a medium pot while the pasta is cooking. Add a simple salad on the side.
This is one of my favorite recipes. Once you make it a few times, you’ll have the recipe memorized—I promise. This meal also makes for delicious leftovers!
3 – Hotdogs with Macaroni ‘n’ Cheese
This is a childhood classic, at least for me! Up the nutritional value by picking high-quality hotdogs and mac ‘n’ cheese (I like Annie’s!).
4 – Sausage Sandwiches
Put sausage links in the crockpot with pasta sauce and cook on low all day. Done!
5 – Crockpot Pot Roast
Mix one packet of ranch dressing, one packet of brown gravy mix, and one packet of Italian dressing mix with one cup of water or stock and pour over a 2 lb. pot roast. Let it cook in the slow cooker on low all day. Shred and enjoy on sandwich rolls with some light mayo, or one its own with a few side dishes.
6 – Pierogies
I like to keep a few boxes of Mrs. T’s pierogies in my freezer “in case of emergency.” I cook them by tossing them in a skillet with a little bit of olive oil for a few minutes. Add a veggie on the side and you’re good to go.
7 – Grilled Cheese and Soup
There was a year between my engagement and wedding when I moved back home with my parents to save money. Grilled cheese and soup was pretty much a once per week meal during that time! Now, I have a panini press, which I think makes grilled cheese making even easier. Heating up a can of soup takes just minutes, and the sandwich/soup combo is always a winner!
8 – Breakfast for Dinner
Quiche or scrambled eggs, bacon or sausage, oatmeal or a bowl of cereal—all of these work as “in a pinch” dinner ideas.
I just gave this recipe a shout-out in yesterday’s meal plan post. From start to finish, it takes no more than 30 minutes. The recipe calls for thin-sliced chicken breasts, which of course cook a bit quicker than the larger ones.
10 – Black Bean Enchiladas
To make these, I warm up (drained) black beans with about half a can of enchilada sauce. I put one scoop of beans in a tortilla, roll it up, and top the tortillas with the remaining sauce + some cheddar cheese. Bake for about 10 minutes until the cheese is melted. You could also add chopped onion and/or pepper, but they taste pretty yummy with just the black beans, sauce, and cheese.
Are any of these dinner ideas part of YOUR quick meal arsenal?