If you’re wondering what to make for dinner -again- you’re not alone. Many of us have stood in front of the refrigerator staring into an abyss wondering what is a quick dinner idea the kids will actually eat?
First, check out this quick video with some visuals -think of them as the photos in a restaurant menu.
If any of those recipes jumped out, hurray! Options. As a mom to 3 kids, I often wonder what I can make that the kids will eat and that I’ll actually want to eat.
Because frozen chicken nuggets are not adult food -unless they are my epic chicken tenders but I digress.
Let’s talk about making super-fast dinners with ingredients that you might have on hand.
Quick and Easy Dinner Ideas
You don’t have to spend an hour in the kitchen to pull off a satisfying and healthy meal. Many quick and easy dinner ideas start with basic ingredients, like pasta or chicken, and then we grab a few others and boom, dinner in less than 30!
Recipe: Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta
If you love the classic crispy, au-gratin crusted chicken then you’re going to fall for this baked, cheesy pasta version with a golden, brown crust. Make this a 30-minute meal by using precooked or leftover chicken and storebought or homemade alfredo sauce.
Recipe: Shrimp Pesto Pasta
Whether you use homemade pesto or storebought, this simple pasta is easy to pull off and takes less than 15 minutes from stove-top to the table.
Recipe: Skillet Beef Tacos
When you run out of tortillas but still want tacos, these skillet beef tacos are the perfect solution and involve minimal cleanup! Serve it family-style with tortilla chips or over a bed of lettuce for an epic taco salad.
Recipe: Healthy Jambalaya
Jambalaya is highly flavorful but can be time-consuming. This version is low-carb and fast to make thanks to cauliflower rice! Stay two steps ahead by having all the sausage, chicken, and veggies pre-chopped beforehand.
Shakshuka is a simple meal that yields delicious results. Serve it with rice, roasted potatoes, or warm, crusty bread- you won’t regret anything.
Recipe: No-Bake Lasagna
All the flavors and ingredients of lasagna but deconstructed into an easy and EPIC dinner. Instead of layering and baking the noodles in the oven, you layer them directly on the plate, topping them with sauce, cheese, other delicious lasagna toppings.
What is the easiest thing to make for dinner?
These are all realistic ideas for a fast dinner, but the quickest and easiest meal is one that is pre-prepped.
It’s a concept I talk about often, and for a good reason, by pre-chopping ingredients and doing recipe steps ahead of time, you can make incredible meals in less than 30 minutes, even on the busiest of nights!
And if you are just getting started and feeling overwhelmed by trying new recipes or prepping ahead, my dinner meal plans can help you simplify the “what’s for dinner tonight” with family-friendly recipes that can be cooked fast with minimal prep-ahead.
Inside the weekly plan, you’ll find a meal-prep guide to help you save time when it comes to making dinner. I mean, why not chop two onions instead of one and save the second for another meal? It’s as simple as that and my job is to remind you to do that.
Check out how you can conquer mealtimes by downloading a sample family-weekly meal plan.
How Meal Prep Saves Time
While pre-chopping veggies and taking care of small tasks seem insignificant, these steps can go a long way to save you big time on a busy weeknight.
Here’s a quick summary on how to meal plan and prep for the week:
- Create a menu for the week
Start at 2 to 3 recipes to try and move up from there. It’s better to start small than not at all!
- Gather ingredients
And write down the ones you need. Tip: eliminate waste and try to create a menu of ingredients you already have available.
- Grocery shop
The list makes this much easier and more cost-effective.
- Break it down
Break each recipe down into small tasks such as boiling pasta, cooking rice, cleaning, chopping, and marinating your meats. These are all things that can easily be done days ahead and refrigerated for when ready to use.
Optional, but cooking 1 to 2 recipes like soups, chilis, or casseroles entirely ahead of time is a game-changer.
More Easy Dinner Ideas
Once you’ve cooked through these recipes, here are some more quick and easy meals to keep your family excited about dinner each night.
- Chicken Dinner Ideas
- Shrimp Dinner Ideas
- Recipes with Ground Beef
- Family Dinner Ideas
- Healthy Meals for Kids
Want to try a people-please recipe tonight? The skillet beef tacos below are fast to make -even if you decide like right now to pull frozen beef out of the freezer. Let’s do it!Print
Quick Dinner Ideas for the Whole Family + Easy Skillet Tacos
Quick dinner ideas for kids adults will want to eat that you can make in less than 30 minutes with minimal prep. Like these easy beef tacos that come together in a skillet!
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 lb ground beef or turkey
- 2 bell peppers, any color, diced
- 3 tablespoons taco seasoning
- 1 ½ cups fresh salsa
- 3 cups baby spinach, pre-washed and coarsely chopped
- 1 ½ cup shredded Cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
- ½ cup sliced black olives
- Avocado, sour cream, and additional salsa for serving
- Shredded romaine lettuce
- Corn Tortilla chips for serving, optional
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté for about 3 minutes until it begins to soften. Add the meat, diced bell peppers, and taco seasoning. Continue to cook, breaking up the meat as it cooks, for about 5-7 minutes until it’s cooked through.
- Add fresh salsa and spinach, stir to combine, and heat through. Turn off heat, sprinkle shredded cheese and black olives over meat mixture. Cover, and gather remaining garnishing ingredients.
- Create a bed of shredded Romaine lettuce on a plate, scoop a serving of the mixture, top with desired toppings, and serve.
- Serving Size: 4
- Calories: 418
- Sugar: 9.5g
- Sodium: 929.5mg
- Fat: 25.3g
- Saturated Fat: 10g
- Trans Fat: 0.6g
- Carbohydrates: 21.4g
- Fiber: 9g
- Protein: 28.4g
- Cholesterol: 84.2mg
Keywords: quick dinner ideas, 30 minute dinner ideas, easy dinners, quick family meals