50+ Best Easy Dinner Ideas
Here’s your ultimate guide for the best easy dinner recipes! From lightning fast recipes to batch cooking on a Sunday, I’ll show you how to plan for a stress-free week filled with tasty yet nourishing meals the whole family will enjoy!
Plan Your Dinner Recipes Ahead
Ever struggle to get a home cooked meal done by dinner time? Or feel uninspired by your weekly rotation? I get it, we’ve all been there. So I’ve rounded up a list of the best dinner ideas that are full of good-for-you ingredients, and most importantly, uncomplicated.
To make the most of this list, it’s really about planning ahead to make dinner a breeze. Here’s a few ways to strategize – no matter how your week pans out:
- Make a list of 30 minute recipes to keep on hand. For days where you have one hour to spare for cooking, these will come in handy. Think one pan meals, easy stir fry recipes, and sheet pan dinners that are jam packed with flavor.
- Batch cook ingredients to save time throughout the week. If you’ve followed my meal prep guide before, you know just how convenient this plan is. Instead of batch cooking entire recipes, you’ll prep ingredients to create exciting mix and match meals that come together in about 5 minutes.
- Rely on freezer-friendly meals for busy months. You can make a scrumptious chicken casserole and pre-cut it into slices for a grab-n-go meal. Or cook up a big pot of beef chili and freeze several portions for later. Just make sure to plan for meals that store well and can be reheated throughout the month. You’ll soon start to appreciate these instant freezer meals!
The Best Quick And Easy Dinner Ideas
These flavorful dinner ideas can be on your table in about 30-40 minutes. They require minimal ingredients and tools – who doesn’t love that?
- Creamy Chipotle Shrimp: with the help of a homemade chipotle sauce, this easy one-pan recipe is bursting with zesty flavors and a spicy kick.
- Chicken Stir-Fry: this speedy dinner is loaded with juicy chicken, colorful veggies, and is a 30 minute meal the whole family will love!
- Shakshuka: this 30-minute simple combo of simmered tomatoes, onions, garlic, spices, and poached eggs is destined to be in your rotation.
- Greek Sheet Pan Chicken: if you love sheet pan recipes, this is a must-make! Juicy, herb-y chicken thighs are nestled in an array of colorful veggies, then roasted in one go.
- Teriyaki Chicken: this is what stir fry dreams are made of. In just 20 minutes, you’ll have juicy chicken thighs coated in a sticky sweet teriyaki sauce.
- Zucchini Pasta With Lemon Garlic Shrimp: in a short 15 minutes, you’ll have a healthier take on the classic shrimp scampi.
- Coconut Curry Chicken: chicken is doused in a creamy, spiced curry sauce, then served on top of a bed of fresh rice – all in 30 minutes.
Those Classic Family-Friendly Dinner Ideas
When it comes to cooking up a meal for the whole family, lean towards comforting classics such as casseroles, pizza, tacos, and fajitas. With a healthy spin of course!
- Chicken Fajitas: since children love building things of their own, a fajitas night is always a win.
- One Pan Chicken And Rice: Two for one meals are the best, especially when it includes juicy chicken thighs. This one shines bright with Mediterranean flavors and citrusy rice.
- Cauliflower Pizza Crust: with this homemade pizza crust, there’s no need to order takeout. Because it’s that much better and sneaks in extra veggies for the kiddos.
- Carnitas Tacos: if you’ve got a slow cooker, this carnitas recipe will save you time and it delivers big flavor. Perfect for Taco Tuesday!
- Whole30 Chicken Broccoli Casserole: a chicken broccoli combo is always a family favorite. And this one’s perfect for your dairy-free folks with a vegan alfredo sauce.
- Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps: if the kiddos love PF Changs, this homemade version is a must.
Yes To More Chicken Dinner Ideas!
We can’t deny our love for chicken when it comes to dinner. From creamy chicken salad to the best roasted chicken thighs – the best dinner ideas are all here to keep things interesting every week.
- Cilantro Lime Chicken: with this easy recipe, it’s all about the marinade. Whisk together cilantro, lime, spices, and a touch of honey to turn chicken thighs into sticky sweet goodness.
- Butter Chicken: making Indian butter chicken at home is a lot easier than you think! Just gather up the right spices and I’ll show how to make the most velvety curry sauce, ever.
- Greek Chicken Kabobs: if it’s grilling season, these chicken kabobs are the perfect make ahead recipe with zesty flavor.
- Lemon Garlic Spatchcock Chicken: It’s juicy on the inside, golden on the outside, and teaches you the beauty of spatchcocking (translation: getting dinner on the table fast).
- Roasted Balsamic Chicken And Brussels Sprouts: this is an easy sheet pan recipe that never fails. Chicken thighs roasted in a balsamic glaze, with crisp Brussels sprouts and onions.
- Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs: there’s no need for a deep fryer when these baked thighs come out just as good. Not to mention, the herby spice mix takes the chicken to the next level.
- Baked Chicken Breasts: if you think chicken breasts are dry, rubbery, and boring, think again! These are incredibly juicy and the special seasoning mix is seriously amazing.
- Turmeric Chicken and Rice Casserole: nothing beats an easy, one-pan chicken recipe. Especially when there’s veggies and rice involved to make it a full meal.
- Herbed Honey Mustard Chicken: if honey mustard is your jam, you’ll love this again and again. It’s addictively sticky sweet and savory.
- Slow Cooker Whole Chicken: this whole chicken becomes insanely juicy with an herbed crispy skin. Bonus – this should cover a few days worth of dinners.
Salads for Dinner That Honestly Keep You Full
Don’t think a salad will keep you full? Think again! These recipes elevate salad from the side dish to the main course.
- Ultimate Chicken Salad: not only does this keep well in the fridge, but is as versatile as they come. Eat it by the spoon, add it to a sandwich, or wrap it in butter lettuce leaves.
- Salmon Avocado Salad: nothing gets easier than pan seared salmon. But this one’s accompanied by a bed of leafy greens, avocado, tomatoes, and red onions to bulk up this hearty salad.
- Broccoli Salad: with just a bit of prep work, this hefty, veggie-loaded salad comes together fast and it’s satiating too.
- Zucchini Noodle Caprese: an easy, homemade pesto basil sauce goes far in this salad. Just toss with tomatoes, mozzarella and freshly made zucchini noodles.
- Tuna Salad: a protein-packed tuna salad is fast, easy, and filling – yep, it ticks all the boxes.
Make Ground Beef for Dinner Exciting Again
Don’t overlook that pound of ground beef sitting in your freezer. It cooks fast, adds a ton of flavor, and can be stuffed or layered into the most comforting, freezer-friendly meals.
- Best Chili Recipe: this savory, spicy, chunky, and comforting one pot meal is a batch cooking favorite. That’s why it’s the best!
- Zucchini Lasagna: who says you can’t enjoy a meaty, cheesy lasagna if you’re gluten-free?
- Stuffed Peppers: bell pepper halves are stuffed with a savory beef filling and baked to perfection.
- Shepherd’s Pie: this is comfort food at its finest – with ground lamb and vegetables simmered in a savory sauce. Then topped with fluffy mashed potatoes. But you can swap the lamb with ground beef instead.
- Taco Soup: enjoy the best flavors of a taco, all in one soup! This recipe is hearty, so flavorful, and incredibly easy to make.
- Zucchini Noodle Spaghetti Bolognese: made from fresh tomatoes and ground beef, homemade bolognese sauce is the best. And to keep things on the lighter side, zucchini noodles are the perfect match to complete this “pasta” meal.
Fresh and Light Seafood Dinner Ideas
While salmon recipes often get the spotlight, let’s not forget about other fish and seafood options. Think flakey baked cod, juicy scallops, and of course those tasty little shrimp.
- Baked Cod: this easy, fool proof method guarantees perfectly flaky fish that’s baked in the best garlic butter herb topping.
- Scallops With Citrus Ginger Sauce: yep, these scallops only take 10 minutes to make with the best citrus, gingery sauce to compliment it.
- Dijon Baked Salmon: slather a delicious dijon herb spread onto a salmon fillet, bake for 20 minutes – the easiest salmon dinner, done!
- Garlic Grilled Shrimp Skewers: after soaking in an herby, garlicky marinade, these grilled shrimps taste amazing with just about anything.
- Orange Glazed Salmon: coated in the best citrusy sweet glaze, these salmon fillets are guaranteed to be a weeknight favorite.
- Best Baked Salmon: this recipe takes just 15 minutes to make! It’s the easiest salmon recipe with lemon garlic butter and herbs.
Veggie-Heavy Vegan Dinner Ideas
Sometimes, the best dinners revolve around plant-based ingredients and loads of veggies. Perfect for meatless Monday, or truthfully, any day of the week.
- Very Best Lentil Soup: a blend of lentils, kale, mirepoix vegetables, roasted tomatoes, and herbs creates this delightfully filling and flavor soup.
- Zucchini Fritters: if you’re deep in zucchini season, these fritters are a must! They’re crisp and golden when made fresh, but also make for the best leftovers.
- Roasted Butternut Squash Soup: once you roast your butternut squash, blend it into this deliciously creamy soup that makes for an easy freezer friendly dinner idea.
- Falafel: these delicious balls of chickpea goodness taste amazing in wraps, pitas, sandwiches and even salads – along with a drizzle of tahini sauce.
- Ultimate Vegetarian Chili: this flavorsome, veggie-heavy chili is just what you need for a filling vegetarian dinner idea. Plus, it’s great for meal prep!
The Best Dinner Meal Prep
Last but not least, I’m circling back to my my meal prep guide where ingredients themselves become the star of the show. Because nothing makes us feel more on top of our game than prepping grains, proteins, and veggies to create mix and match dinner recipes that come together in under 5 minutes!
You can make macro bowls, wraps, tacos, salads, or a simple combo plate. And don’t forget those sauces and toppings for flavor and freshness! Add a dollop of hummus to a Mediterranean bowl or guacamole and pico de gallo to tacos.
Start With A Base
- Grains: white rice or mexican rice.
- Vegetables: broccoli rice, cauliflower rice, cilantro lime cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, or leafy greens.
- Tortillas: Cassava flour tortillas
Add In Protein
- Meats: slow cooker pulled pork, carne asada, or shredded chicken.
- Seafood: garlic butter shrimp or plain shrimp.
- Vegetarian: lentils, chickpeas, or black beans.
Add In Vegetables
- Roasted Vegetables: roasted brussels sprouts, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted broccoli, or roasted butternut squash
- Sauteed Vegetables: garlic ginger bok choy, sauteed cabbage, green beans with shallots and lemon, or sauteed swiss chard.
- Fresh Greens: coleslaw, vinegar coleslaw, or a massaged kale salad.
Mix And Match Dinner Ideas
With your prepped ingredients, here’s a few ideas on how to combine them into the BEST dinner recipes!
- Tacos: pulled pork street tacos, carne asada tacos, or shrimp tacos with cilantro lime bacon slaw.
- Salads: pulled pork, cabbage, and arugula salad, warm sweet potato noodles, cabbage, and lentil salad, or mediterranean chickpea salad.
- Bowls: similar to my carnitas burrito bowl, start with a base and layer on your favorite protein and vegetables.
- Zoodles: zucchini noodles with chicken, spinach, and parmesan, Mexican chicken zucchini noodles,
If you make any of these easy dinner recipes, let me know how it turned out! I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below. And for more meal inspiration, check out the best healthy breakfast ideas!
50+ Best Easy Dinner Ideas
- 1 1/2 pounds salmon
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- salt and pepper
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Then place the salmon on a parchment lined baking tray and set it aside.
- Mix together the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and generously coat the top of the salmon.
- Bake the salmon for 18-20 minutes (depending on size and thickness), then slice it into individual portions and serve immediately.