I’m sharing some super-fast dinner ideas (not all recipes necessarily…some are ideas) with you. Some days you have time to braise osso bucco for four hours, and other days you have time to hit up a drive-thru for soggy french fries Don’t go to the drive-thru. You deserve better.
OR you could be like my friend, Kim, if you’re in a pickle about getting dinner on the table.
Kim and I taught together several years, and it seemed like every week we had to be at some after-school function. The bright side? They always had catered food at these events. Well, at one event they had a ton left over, and I’m not sure if they told people to take the extras home, or if Kim just helped herself. If I’m being honest, it was probably the latter. So, there she goes hauling boxes of rice and kabobs home to her family. She put the food in pots and pans, and when her husband got home, she acted like she had cooked it all. Her husband was more than impressed, but he is probably wondering why she’s never cooked like that again. Moving on to the point of this post…
I tried to come up with dinners that:
A. can be made in under 30 minutes
B. don’t require a ton of chopping/prep work
C. are a little different than a typical protein with a side of veggies dinner
None of these are earth-shattering, but I hope you’ll find at least one new idea, or you may be reminded of something you haven’t made in a while.
- Cauliflower Fried Rice
Don’t scoff at the idea of cauilflower as rice. It’s actually very good, and you won’t be a bloated whale the next morning. I love this recipe from Skinnytaste. If you need a little protein, add some shrimp. Easy peasy.
I realize this isn’t a grandiose dinner idea, but you can change it up from the typical kind you’re used to.
-BBQ chicken quesadillas-Use a rotisserie chicken and toss in some bbq sauce. Then you could do it one of two ways: 1. with some Monterrey jack cheese, red onion, and cilantro or 2. This is going to sound weird, but I promise it’s delicious…goat cheese and pickles. I know. I know. It sounds bizarre, but I got the pickle idea from her recipe. The goat cheese? I don’t remember why I came up with that, but it’s wonderful.
-Buffalo chicken quesadillas-Use a rotisserie chicken and toss in buffalo sauce. To add some vegetables to it, you can finely dice up some celery and carrots to add to it, throw on some cheese, and cook the quesadilla. Then you could dip it in ranch or blue cheese. Voila. Bougie quesadilla.
–This bacon, brussels, and bean quesadilla from How Sweet Eats is delightful. I’ll eat anything that has the words “brussel sprouts” in the name. Brussel sprout waffle? I’d eat it.
Buy the cauliflower gnocchi from Trader Joe’s, but DON’T make it per the instructions on the back because it will be a soggy disaster. Instead, use this recipe from Lexis’s Clean Kitchen. Serve with a salad or some roasted veggies, and you can be on the couch watching the women spiral out of control on The Bachelor in no time.
- Taco Pizza
Tacos are always easy and always a crowd pleaser. Instead of the normal way, make it into a pizza. I first got this idea from a Trisha Yearwood cookbook, and you can change it up any way you please. It’s Garth’s favorite, and who wouldn’t want to eat pizza his favorite way? He gave us “Friends in Low Places” for goodness’ sake.
To make the process even speedier, here are some crust options. The naan breads allow everyone to have their own pizza and customize (you can find them in the deli/bakery section), and the almond flour one in the box will make you feel healthier since you’re eating pizza. Trader Joe’s has a great ready-to-go pizza dough.
- Broccoli-Cheese Baked Potato
If you need a carnivore-type dinner, keep on roaming. This won’t be the meal for you. Claire and I had these the other night while Mark was on a trip. Most nights it’s just us two for dinner, and I need quick since I’m flying solo and listening to the symphony of two babies in the background during their witching hour. I baked some potatoes, which I realize takes more than 30 minutes, but the rest of this doesn’t, so it counts. Then I made a roux and added some milk and shredded cheese to make a sauce. I cooked some broccoli and put it all on the potato. My 3 year old was very impressed, and that’s all the positive affirmation I need in life.
- The Pioneer Woman has a great, quick skillet lasagna. This woman can do it all. She can wrangle cattle, make a meal that pleases all the cowboys, and she does it all while looking freshly-showered.
- Stir Fry
Bring Panda Express to your kitchen. It’s easy, it’s full of vegetables, and it’s an easy clean-up meal. That’s all you need. This is the recipe I use.
I hope you got some new dinner ideas. If you didn’t, just make kebobs like Kim did.
Come back on Friday!