My Dinner Go-To’s
Sometimes the worst part about cooking is trying to come up with something for dinner that everyone will like, is at least decently healthy, and not a beast to make and clean up. I actually really enjoy cooking and I am a big believer that it’s something I can do for my family that A. they really love and B. gathers us together after a full day. BUT sometimes 4 o clock rolls around and I am just NOT feeling it/not prepared.
Which is why I’m sharing some of my fast and easy dinner ideas with you. These aren’t really gourmet mind you- just fast and delicious and decently healthy.
1. Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken- Whenever I’m out by Trader Joe’s I try to pick up a few bags of their orange chicken and a few bags of their frozen fried rice.
It’s SO nice to have in the freezer for that day when there is nothing in the fridge. It takes like 20 minutes to make and is actually really tasty. I cook up a bag of their fried rice, steam some broccoli and pop open a can of mandarin oranges and we’ve got a full meal out of nowhere. I’m not even a Trader Joe’s promoter or something I just truly like to have their frozen meals on hand for a day when you didn’t think ahead about dinner.
2. Omelettes- I love a good omelette. My kids eat them super well, they’re healthy and filling and fast to make.
I actually took the time to read Julia Child’s French cookbook about how to make an omelette and watched her old black and white tutorial on omelettes. That was a game changer. I just get some eggs, whip them up with a bit of water, then cut up some deli meat or pre-cooked bacon if I have it, cheese, and dice up anything else I’ve got: green pepper, tomato, mushroom, spinach, onion, avacado. During the summer when I’ve got an herb garden I pick a little of all of my herbs and mince them all together and sprinkle it on. Super delicious.
Once everything’s cut up and ready, make sure your pan is hot enough and use a generous amount of butter. Following basic omelette technique you can make them really fast. Serve them up with some wheat toast and you’ve got a meal!
2. Spaghetti & Meatballs- I always try to have some spaghetti noodles and a can of sauce in my cupboard.
I personally like the jar of Classico the best. Not all canned spaghetti sauces are created equal so choose a good one. Then just bake frozen meatballs in the oven while the pasta is boiling (you could even do homemade ahead of time or I personally think the frozen ones from the grocery store are great). It’s so easy and sincerely one of my family’s favorite meals.
3. Pork tacos- This recipe from Isabel Eats is my all time favorite recipe for shredded pork which I then can use in multiple ways.
So get a pork butt (Costco’s are the best) and then cook this in the crockpot and have street tacos with it (corn tortillas, onion/cilantro, guac, and authentic salsa). Then freeze the extra meat in smaller bags for different stuff: enchiladas or tacos or sandwiches.
4. Potato Bar- This has lots of names. Take some baked potatoes and throw them in the microwave (oven if you plan ahead). Cut up deli ham, boil some broccoli, and whip up some cheese sauce. (A little flour and butter over med heat. Add milk and then cheddar cheese stirring til it gets thick.)
Serve with things you like in your fridge - bacon bits, green onion, chives, cheese, sour cream, ham- some do chili (I’m not really a chili girl).
5. Pizza- I’m not crazy. This is such an easy dinner.
If you buy some Jiffy pizza dough packages at the store (OR my very favorite is Fleischmann’s pizza crust yeast packages but you have to get it online cause most stores don’t carry it) and keep them in your pantry, on a night that there’s nothing just whip that out and follow the directions on the back.
It literally takes about 7 minutes to make. While the crust rises for 5 minutes chop up some toppings or pop open some cans of olives, peppercinis or whatever you have. Keep some canned pizza sauce in your pantry. Shred some lettuce with a tomato and cucumber while the pizza cooks for 20 minutes and you’ve got a meal. Whole meal takes about half an hour to make and your family will be thrilled.
6. Dodo Turkey Sans- I made this last night and it was GOOD. I took some deli turkey I had on hand and shredded it up. If it’s good quality it will break apart. I took a sliced French loaf and loaded those puppies with turkey and mozzarella then put them in the microwave til the cheese melted (I didn’t broil cause the bread was crusty already and broiling would make it harder but if I had normal soft bread I would broil them) While in the micro I whipped up this BBQ sauce with stuff from my fridge. I cut up some fruit and romaine with croutons (preferably from Costco), tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, and a good Caesar dressing. Dip the sandwiches in the BBQ sauce. SUPER delicious and way simple to make.
7. Breakfast Burritos- Get a little bacon or sausage, cook a potato in the microwave then break it apart and sauté it in a pan with butter.
Scramble some eggs and fill warm tortillas. Serve with Cholula, sour cream, or avacado if you’ve got it. Yum!
Other tips are to freeze rotisserie chicken to use in soups and recipes, pre-cook bacon and freeze then just heat it up in the microwave in salads or eggs or whatever. Used canned fruit as a side, frozen meals dolled up, if you’re making lasagna or enchiladas double the recipe and freeze an extra. I’ve got more but we’ll stop there for now.
The more you cook the more you’ll have stuff on hand and cooking will get easier and faster every night you do it.
Do you have any favorite fast meals you like? Please share below!!