Easy Meal Ideas for the Week

Easy Meal Ideas: Tips & Recipes for Busy Times

Publish Date May 23, 2024 3 Minute Read

Easy Dinner Ideas

Making sure that your family has a delicious and nutritious dinner on the table every night takes creativity, planning and organization. Between afterschool activities and busy workdays, it’s easy to fall into a dinner rut, serving the same things week after week. But with some helpful tips, figuring out what’s for dinner can be a lot easier.

We’ve gathered some of our favorite tips and recipes to help get your culinary creativity flowing.

What’s for Dinner?

Theme nights are a great way to keep your dinner schedule on track, making it easier to think up easy dinner recipes. Here’s an example of what a week of themed meals might look like:

Meatless: Take a plant-based approach and explore recipes that are vegetarian- and vegan-friendly.

One-pot: Looking for an easy dinner recipe with minimal clean-up? One-pot recipes are comforting and versatile while getting you in and out of the kitchen in no time

Stir-fry: Stir-frying is a fun way to get plenty of vegetables on the table. It’s a versatile way to use any leftover and proteins you might have on hand or in the freezer.

Pasta: Pasta is always a crowd pleaser and with its quick cook time, it’s a perfect option for easy weeknight dinners. View our pasta guide for more recipe ideas and cooking tips.

Sheet Pan: Like the one-pot recipes, sheet pan recipes are a great option when you want to minimize cleanup. Toss together any proteins and vegetables you have on hand to create a healthy and delicious meal.

Slow Cooker: The ultimate tool in creating quick and easy dinners. Simply add your ingredients before work and return to a warm, homecooked meal. View our slow cooker guide for some of our favorite slow cooker recipes.

Sausage and Mushroom Pasta Skillet Recipe

This hearty skillet pasta dish is quick to pull together and sure to please the whole family

Try a Taco, Pizza or Burger “Bar”

Creating a “bar” is a great way to make sure even the pickiest eater can customize their own meal, and it’s an easy, quick way to get dinner on the table. These quick dinner ideas aren’t just fun…they’re also an easy way to get the whole family involved. Here are some ingredients to include in your topping bar:

  • For tacos: lettuce, tomatoes, onion, cheese and sour cream.
  • For pizzas: cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms, onion, green peppers and black olives.
  • For grain bowls: leafy greens, roasted veggies, chicken, avocado and salad dressing.
  • For hot dogs: ketchup, mustard, relish, onions, sauerkraut and chili.
  • For spaghetti: tomato sauce, pesto, crushed red pepper flakes, dried herbs, grated cheese and meatballs.
  • For burgers: ketchup, mustard, relish, cheese, barbecue sauce and bacon.

Low Stress is Best

Since some weeks are just busier than others, here are some ways to make sure you can get dinner on the table as quickly as possible.

Ingredient Sharing

Look for dinner recipes that utilize some of the same ingredients. Cook chicken once for chicken tacos and freezer-friendly Mini Chicken Pot Pies. Or, while making hamburgers, brown additional ground beef for a taco salad.

Prep Ahead

Prepping doesn’t have to mean making a full meal ahead of time. Instead, use spare moments you have in the kitchen to peel and cut your veggies, wash and store herbs or make vinaigrettes. Having ingredients prepped and ready to go will make your weeknights easier. We put together some ideas on How to Make Cooking Easier, and different Cooking Tips to help make your time in the kitchen less stressful.

Frozen Favorites

Freezer-friendly meals can be the perfect dinner idea for a busy night. Casseroles, pot pies and burritos are great options to have on hand. For an even easier time, incorporate this idea into a routine with the previous low stress tips. Chop veggies ahead of time and make enough chicken for both pot pies and chicken burritos. Then assemble more than you need for dinner so you can freeze the extras for a busy night.

More Time-saving tips

Looking for more easy dinner ideas? Check out meal planning tips, recipes and more on our blog.

More Easy Meal Ideas