Easy Dinner Ideas
Even I get cooking burnout. My energy reserves are lower than ever right now and sometimes I just need low-effort dinners. I’m honestly trying to just make it through the next two weeks and stay calm while my kids finish finals and we celebrate our senior’s graduation. And while I’d like to throw up my hands and just order takeout, it’s not only more expensive than cooking at home, it’s also more wasteful (all those trashed containers!) and it’s generally not very healthy.
I haven’t been sharing meal plans for a couple of weeks because I’m in the trenches of a big project. I’m getting ready to share behind-the-scenes details very soon. I’ve been cooking so much that my refrigerator is jam-packed with leftovers, which is not a bad problem to have. My family might be tired of “leftover makeovers” and “come and get it” dinners, but it has been necessary for a few weeks.
As we descend into finals review sessions and high school graduation, I thought you might be like me and need super easy dinner ideas. If you have access to a Trader Joe’s, I also have this post and this one on super easy dinners.
These next few ideas are things I’m really cooking for the next week or two. I hope you find some inspo for your own dinners at home. Have a super easy dinner idea to share? Post in the comments and let us know!
Fish Stick Tacos
Top with store-bought coleslaw, pico de gallo and hot sauce. Wrap everything up in warmed corn or flour tortillas. This idea is from Bare Minimum Dinners by Jenna Helwig, the food editor of Real Simple magazine.
Frittatas and Eggs
Make them dairy-free or dotted with goat cheese or feta. Add some sautéd onion and spinach to the mix and you’re good to go. Here’s one of my favorite Whole30 frittatas. I also love a cheese and herb omelet with toast, fried egg sandwiches on whole grain toast or scrambled egg, cheese and salsa breakfast tacos. These ideas aren’t exactly new and earth-shattering, but consider them your permission slip to make them.
Eggs Poached in Marinara
Sauté about a 1/2 cup of chopped onion or leek in a little olive oil, add three cups of Rao’s Homemade marinara sauce and bring to a simmer. Add about a cup of chopped spinach, Swiss chard or kale if you’d like. Stir to wilt the greens. Crack four eggs into the sauté pan on top of the marinara, cover and cook on low about 6-7 minutes. Sprinkle with goat cheese or feta if you’d like and serve with crusty bread and a salad.
I’m honestly trying not to rely on carb-based dinners, but my kids are always happy with pasta at home. Eating Well has a bunch of healthy ideas in this article. Or make a quick lamb ragu; you can use ground dark meat turkey or ground beef if you prefer. If you’re aiming to cut carbs like yours truly, microwave some spaghetti squash. Just prick the skin it all over with a fork and place it in a microwave-safe container with three tablespoons of water. Cook for five minutes, turn and cook for 5 more minutes. It should be more pliable to cut in half at this point and you can scoop out the seeds (if not, just return to the microwave for a few more minutes). Once halved, add the spaghetti squash back to the microwave-safe dish and cook for 7 more minutes or until you can scrape the squash into “spaghetti” noodles. I’m also a fan of storebought spinach tortellini with Rao’s Marinara!
Again, another carb-heavy dinner, but it’s a good one! Buy store-bought naan or flatbread and top it with shredded cheese, pesto, marinara or your pizza toppings of choice. Cook at 400 degrees for 8-9 minutes until cheese melts. Serve with a big green salad. We sometimes make bagel pizzas, tortilla pizzas or English muffin pizzas as well. What can I say, we love pizza.
You can cook fish at high heat on a sheet pan and it’s done in no time or let everyone make their own parchment paper packets. I recently made salmon filets in a small ceramic baking dish (a Pyrex would work for this too) and added 3 tablespoons soy sauce, a tablespoon of water and a tablespoon of Trader Joe’s chili onion crunch. Bake at 300 degrees for 15 minutes and the salmon just melts. If you don’t have access to a Trader Joe’s, substitute this or this.
Ramen, yes ramen!
Chili sauce is also delicious added sparingly to a package of cooked ramen, which you can also “dress up” with a handful of spinach and a soft-cooked egg. I stock up on this ramen at H Mart when I’m there.
Last night, I grilled marinated chicken and added it to a big arugula and spinach salad. Add garbanzo beans, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and anything else you have on hand. Toss with super simple salad dressing and you’re set.