Some days you feel like a Michelin star chef and want to spend all day in the kitchen, cooking up a five-course meal. Other days, you have neither the time nor the energy to put together anything more complicated than peanut butter and jam sandwiches (hey, no judgment here). The good news is, there are countless ways to get dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes or with very little hands-on time. Read on to discover 24 easy meal ideas that fit every lifestyle, every season, and every busy schedule. They also happen to be delicious, nutritious, and a breeze to make!
Easy Crock Pot Meals
Slow cookers like the Crock Pot are a busy cook’s dream come true. Just throw all the ingredients into the slow cooker, turn it on, and forget about it for a few hours. Enjoy your time away from the kitchen while dinner practically cooks itself!
1. Garlic Parmesan Chicken Stew
If you’re looking for easy slow cooker meals, look no further than a chicken stew. It’s hearty, comforting, and a breeze to prepare. This particular recipe features chopped chicken breasts, seasonal vegetables, heavy cream, and a generous amount of Parmesan cheese.
2. Chicken Enchilada Soup
We love enchiladas, but we don’t always have the time to prepare them. Enter enchilada soup—all the flavors of classic enchiladas and none of the prep work. Throw the ingredients together in your slow cooker, and come back in a few hours to a bowl of warm and cozy enchilada-inspired soup.
3. Pulled Pork
If you need to feed a crowd but don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen, pulled pork sandwiches are the answer. Simply prepare a pork roast in your slow cooker, shred it, and add barbeque sauce. Serve on hamburger buns with your favorite toppings and a quick salad.
Easy Vegan Meals
Vegan recipes are quick to put together—no waiting for meat to cook! Plus, they’re a great way to load up on seasonal produce, nutrient-packed ingredients, and plant-based proteins.
4. Lentil Bolognese
This lentil Bolognese is hearty and filling. Not only are lentils an amazing plant-based source of protein, but they also give this dish a rich, meaty texture. Aromatic vegetables, spices, and red wine give it depth and complexity, while hemp seeds provide an extra boost of protein and nutrients.
5. Sweet Potato Chickpea Buddha Bowl
Buddha bowls have been a long-time favorite in the vegan world—they’re packed full of nutrients, provide a balanced meal, and are incredibly fun to put together. This recipe features roasted sweet potatoes, onions, broccolini, kale, and chickpeas, as well as a delicious sauce made with tahini, maple syrup, and lemon juice.
6. Tofu Stir Fry
Of course, this wouldn’t be a list of easy vegan meals if we didn’t mention a dish made with tofu—the ultimate plant-based source of complete proteins and one of the most versatile meat substitutes. This tofu stir fry, made with colorful veggies and an irresistible sweet sauce, is ready in just 20 minutes and is arguably better than takeout!
Easy Vegetarian Meals
Whether you follow a vegetarian lifestyle or you’re trying to cut back on eating meat, there are countless delicious vegetarian recipes. They’re wholesome, filling, and packed with good-for-you ingredients.
7. Mushroom Risotto
Risotto is so much more than a basic rice dish. It starts with toasted rice, which is then infused with wine and vegetable broth one ladle-full at a time. Sautéed shallots, garlic, and mushrooms, as well as grated Parmesan cheese, help transform it into a rich, flavorful meal.
8. Vegetable Soup
One of the best ways to enjoy seasonal vegetables in the colder months is by making a hearty vegetable soup. Simply toss together your favorite veggies and simmer them in a rich vegetable broth. Play around with adding tomato sauce, heavy cream, or pasta to try out different variations.
9. One Pot Veggie Pasta
Nothing says easy like a one-pot meal—everything is cooked together in one pot and clean-up is a breeze. For this one-pot veggie pasta, use any veggies you have on hand, add your favorite pasta, cover with a vegetable broth, and let the pot simmer. Mix in a generous serving of shredded cheese before serving, and enjoy!
Easy Chicken Meals
There are so many different ways to cook chicken. It’s incredibly versatile and can be used as the main source of protein in just about any dish.
10. Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
This might be the easiest dinner idea ever. Toss together strips of chicken breast, red bell peppers, onions, and seasonings on a sheet pan and bake. Serve straight off the pan, along with warm tortillas and your favorite fajita toppings.
11. Sheet Pan Balsamic Chicken
Another easy sheet pan dinner is this balsamic chicken with potatoes and carrots. Everything is baked together in one pan, so clean-up takes no time at all. The balsamic vinegar and honey sauce elevates the basic roasted chicken and veggies to a whole new level.
12. Chicken Curry
This delicous chicken curry comes together in less than 30 minutes. The star ingredient is, of course, curry powder. Combined with other aromatic spices, spinach, tomatoes, coconut milk, and chicken stock, it creates a warm and creamy curry sauce to surround perfectly sautéed pieces of chicken.
Easy Instant Pot Meals
The Instant Pot is a real workhorse in the kitchen. With both a slow cooking and a pressure cooking function, it can tenderize the toughest meats and cook meals in half the time that it would take on the stovetop.
13. Instant Pot Chili
Using an Instant Pot is the easiest way to make chili. All you have to do is sauté ground beef and onions in the Instant Pot, then add the rest of the ingredients, close the lid, and relax. Dinner will be ready in just 20 minutes!
14. Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese is already a pretty simple dish, but the Instant Pot makes it even easier. Place uncooked macaroni, chicken broth, and seasonings into the Instant Pot and let it work its magic. After 10 minutes, you can stir in the milk and cheese and enjoy.
15. Instant Pot Irish Stew
Irish stew is a classic Instant Pot dish. The pressure cooker helps create the most tender beef chunks you’ve ever had, while the dark stout beer gives the stew its characteristic bold flavor.
Easy Beef Meals
If you’re looking for easy beef meal ideas, ground beef is a great option—it cooks incredibly quickly and is easy to use in casseroles, meat sauces, and one-pot dishes.
16. Stuffed Pepper Casserole
Stuffed peppers are a delicious ground beef dish, but who has the time for all the prep work? Here’s a little workaround: Chop up the peppers and mix them in with the rest of the ingredients. You’ll get all the same flavors and textures, but in half the time!
17. Ground Beef Tacos
Tacos are a great easy dinner option because you can ask your family members or dinner guests to assemble their own. Just provide the cooked ground beef, taco shells, and your favorite toppings, and let others do the rest.
18. Hamburger Soup
Hamburger soup doesn’t actually taste like hamburgers. Instead, it’s any soup made with ground beef. Combine it with your favorite veggies for a quick meal that’s both filling and budget-friendly.
Easy Pork Meals
If pork chops are the only pork dish in your dinner rotation, you’re missing out. The truth is, pork is just as versatile as chicken and beef, and it can be used in lots of different ways to create delicious, easy meals.
19. Garlic Ginger Glazed Sticky Pork
Craving Chinese takeout? Make this sweet and spicy pork at home instead. It features tender strips of pork loin, covered in a rich sauce made with honey, sriracha, and rice wine vinegar. It might be an even quicker option than waiting for delivery!
20. Baked Ham with Brown Sugar Glaze
Baked ham can be served as a festive holiday meal or an easy weeknight dinner. It’s usually pre-cooked, so all you need to worry about is heating it up in the oven or air fryer and creating a delicious caramelized brown sugar glaze.
21. Pork Lettuce Wraps
Looking for a quick and easy low-carb dinner recipe? Look no further than these pork lettuce wraps. You’ll cook ground pork with aromatic vegetables and spices, add in a rich sauce, and serve in fresh lettuce cups.
Easy Fish Meals
Packed with omega-3 fatty acids and lots of beneficial vitamins and minerals, fish is one of the healthiest sources of protein out there. In fact, if seafood is part of your diet, the recommendation is to have fish at least twice a week. Luckily, there are lots of great fish recipes to add to your rotation.
22. Baked Fish With Lemon Garlic Butter
Bake your favorite white fish in a sauce made with butter, garlic, and lemon zest. After only 10 minutes in the oven, the fish will come out tender, flaky, and rich with flavor. Serve with mashed potatoes or rice for a quick and delicious dinner.
23. Super Crispy Fish and Chips
It’s easy to make restaurant quality fish and chips at home! Mix equal parts wheat flour and rice flour for a foolproof crispy, airy crust. Don’t forget to whip up your own tartar sauce for the ultimate authentic fish and chips experience.
24. Parmesan Crusted White Fish
Virtually anything is made better with a layer of Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top, and fish is no exception. Bake it in the oven topped with a mixture of Panko breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan, butter, garlic, and lemon zest, and see for yourself!
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