Easy Dinner Ideas
When things get hectic during the week, it’s easy to run out of time planning ahead for dinner. Since cooking every night or trying to make elaborate meals isn’t always in the cards, we keep a few ideas on our recipe “playlist” that we can turn to when schedules change and life gets busy.
Here’s 5 Ways to Get a Quick Healthy Meal on the Table:
Breakfast for Dinner! Or, as we like to call it, “goofy dinner.” This is a super-easy way to get protein, whole grains, and fruits and veggies into a quick meal. Scramble some eggs and serve with whole wheat avocado toast with thinly sliced tomatoes and fruit (whatever is in season). We like to top our avocado toast with Everything But the Bagel seasoning from Trader Joe’s.
Kitchen Sink Burritos: Healthy Mexican-inspired food for the win! Whole Wheat Tortilla + Refried Beans + Cheese + Salsa + Any Veggies on Hand (diced onion, chopped tomato, frozen bell peppers, leftover roasted veggies, avocado). We like it with some sliced cucumbers tossed with olive oil, fresh lime juice, cumin, and sea salt.
Fully Loaded Snack Board: This is a fun and uber casual back up plan - and feels like you’re having a party (even if it’s just for the family on a Wednesday night). We’re talking cheese and whole grain crackers, hummus and whole wheat pita triangles, fresh and pickled veggies (carrots, bell peppers, grape tomatoes, cucumber spears, sugar snap peas, marinated artichoke hearts...whatever is on hand but usually 3-4 varieties), raw or roasted nuts, fresh fruit (usually sliced fresh apples, grapes, berries or melon), and other dips like pesto, roasted garlic sauce, and guacamole. You could also add sliced deli turkey or chicken.
Pasta, Pasta, Pasta: Always a family favorite! We use whole wheat noodles, good bottled marinara (if we don’t have any homemade stored in the freezer), boosted with some sautéed frozen spinach and onion (sometimes with optional ground turkey or chicken) and a side of steamed broccoli. Spiralized zucchini is also fun to throw in the pot once the noodles are almost done (but only if we have it on hand).
Quick Stir Fry: The best way to use up veggies before they go bad. We use whatever veggies are in the fridge or freezer (usually broccoli, zucchini, carrots, frozen edamame/peas) and add chicken (if we have it) and Teriyaki sauce. Then serve it with some steamed brown rice.
If we’re feeling a little burned out on our back up meals, then we turn to quick sheet pan meals, power bowls, tacos, soup + paninis, one-pot dishes and flatbread pizzas.
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To give ourselves a head start for the inevitable schedule change, we try to slice, dice and chop ingredients ahead of time. Sometimes we only plan to cook 2-3 times during the week and make extra batches for leftovers for the other nights. Then all we have to do is reheat!
Here’s a few quick healthy dinner recipes you to try when time is tight!