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5 Ways You Can Make Dinner Even When You Don’t Have Time to Make Dinner

5 Ways You Can Make Dinner Even When You Don’t Have Time to Make Dinner

Perfect quick fixes for busy weeknights

There’s always time for a homemade meal.

Top with an egg. Turn almost any side dish, soup, or vegetable into a full meal with the addition of a few fried eggs.

Prepare ahead. Some preparation over the weekend can lead to a full week of home-cooked meals, each ready in just a few minutes.

Oven roasted. Roast chopped vegetables, potatoes, and a protein all at the same time for a full meal that utilizes only one sheet tray. Roasting allows you to multi-task while the food cooks, plus, you’ll save time on the kitchen clean-up with this one-pan method.

Semi-homemade. Use store-bought products like phyllo dough and puff pastry to make your life easier in the kitchen.

Salads. Raw salads are the ultimate quick meal. No time needed to cook — just chop some vegetables and whisk up a simple vinaigrette with whatever oil and acid (think lemon juice, orange juice, or vinegar) you have on hand, and then you’ll be ready to go.

Julie Ruggirello is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal and is the self-proclaimed queen of quick meals. Follow her on Twitter @TDMRecipeEditor.

77 Cheap And Easy Dinner Recipes So You Never Have To Cook A Boring Meal Again

You don't have to drop major dough to make something delicious for dinner&mdashsave money by choosing cheaper proteins like chicken, ground beef, and tilapia, or go vegetarian with bean-based meals. Whatever your style, these delish meals will please your entire fam without breaking the bank. Need more easy eats? Try these slow-cooker chicken dinners.

Sometimes things go viral because they're really, really delicious.

Say hello to your new favorite salmon dish!

The perfect cozy meal any time of the year.

With only 5 ingredients these black bean tostadas are the easiest and fastest meal to throw together.

Allowing the shrimp some time to marinate adds an extra layer of flavor to really make those five ingredients stretch.

Make no mistake: this slow cooker version isn't authentic, but it is quick, easy, flavorful, and filling.

Hasselback your chicken stuff it with bacon and a creamy spinach and artichoke filling.

Family-Friendly Weeknight Dinners

You'll have no problem getting everyone to gather for dinner with these family-friendly meals. Pizza, pasta, pork chops, tacos, and everything in between — these quick and easy recipes will have them running to the table!

Related To:

Photo By: Tara Donne ©Tara Donne

Photo By: Marshall Troy ©2012,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Tara Donne ©FOOD NETWORK : 2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Tara Donne ©FOOD NETWORK : 2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Christopher Testani

Photo By: Tara Donne ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Tara Donne ©FOOD NETWORK : 2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Marshall Troy ©2012,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Tara Donne ©FOOD NETWORK : 2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Tara Donne ©FOOD NETWORK : 2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Tara Donne ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Tara Donne ©FOOD NETWORK : 2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Photo By: Marshall Troy ©2012,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Marshall Troy ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Marshall Troy ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Baked Pork Chop

This simple preparation is perfect for a weeknight — just shake and bake!

Skillet Taco Pizza

Every night can be pizza night when it&rsquos so easy to prepare at home. Use store-bought pizza dough to cut down on time and serve with your favorite taco toppings.

One-Pot Cajun Chicken Pasta

You can have this creamy and comforting pasta with chicken on the table in just 30 minutes and best of all, it all cooks in one pot &mdash you won't even need to boil water first! It's packed with tender chicken thighs, bell peppers, and onions, and finished off with a creamy tomato sauce.

Chicken Tortilla Dump Dinner

Enjoy all your favorite Tex-Mex flavors in a comforting casserole that's fast and easy to throw together.

Blended Beef, White Bean and Squash Burgers

This smoky, juicy burger is a three-in-one combination of a classic beef burger, a veggie burger and a bean burger. It's a delicious and easy way to cut down on meat while still getting lots of satisfying flavor. After you've tried this version, put your own spin on it by subbing in your favorite spice blend instead of the paprika, garlic and onion powder used here.

Shrimp Stir-Fry

This shrimp stir-fry recipe is simple and fast. It cooks in about 5 minutes, so be sure to prep all your ingredients and cook the rice in advance.

Ohio Turkey Chili

There's nothing more Ohio than Valerie's Cincinatti-style chili spaghetti.

Spinach-and-Mushroom-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Waffle Chicken Fingers

Combine chicken and waffles for an inventive take on a classic.

General Tso’s Taco Bake

Eddie says, &ldquoI love using rotisserie chicken because you can just pick it up, it&rsquos easy and you don&rsquot have to worry about cooking.&rdquo He coats the chicken in a sweet sauce inspired by his favorite takeout dish, then stuffs the meat into crunchy taco shells.

Caesar Salad with Shrimp

Ree&rsquos simple yet elegant salad is the ultimate meal when you need to impress in a hurry. She whips up a quick homemade dressing, which she lets seep into quartered hearts of romaine. Artfully arranged shrimp and baked garlic croutons add the final, crowd-pleasing touch.

Skillet Chicken Parmesan with Artichokes

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

Sunny uses quick-cooking chicken tenders and cuts them into bite-size chunks for her easy, satisfying pot pie.

Pasta Pizza

Store-bought pizza dough makes Trisha's tortellini-topped pizza a breeze to make.

Lazy No-Bake Lasagna

True to its name, Valerie&rsquos lasagna requires next-to-no effort. Bonus? The dish is prepared in just one pot, which is so important when you don&rsquot want to wash dishes at the end of a long day.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Here's a family dinner trick from Ree: Make meatballs ahead of time and freeze them for later. When you and the fam need to eat next, just pop them out and cook them in this quick Asian-inspired sauce.

Chicken Curry in a Hurry

A true one-pot wonder, Ree&rsquos chicken curry comes together in just 25 minutes from start to finish.

Waterbury Publications Inc.

An open-face sandwich is an easy way to cut back on calories because there is only one slice of bread involved, so you can still satisfy your sandwich craving. It's all about what you're putting on top of that slice that matters, and in this hot ham and cheese open-face sandwich, we add chipotle mayo and eggs to give you extra protein with a kick. You won't even miss that other piece of bread!

What To Serve With A Pita Pizza

Depending on how hungry we all are, I will sometimes make some of these sides to serve with the pita pizzas:

  • Roasted Vegetables – If we are having a classic pita pizza with pepperoni or one that doesn’t include vegetables, then I’ll roast up some carrots or asparagus to go with the pizzas.
  • Side Salads – If I know pita pizzas are on the menu, I’ll make sure to grab a couple of salad kits from the grocery store. I love caesar salad and the different kinds of chopped salad kits I find at Whole Foods or Wegmans. I also think this Quinoa Greek Salad, Mexican Black Bean Quinoa Salad, or Chickpea and Cucumber Dill Salad goes great alongside a pita pizza.

Taco Pasta Casserole (5 Ingredients)

This 5-ingredient, cheesy taco pasta casserole is one of those tried and true recipes you can doctor up according to what you have on hand or enjoy it as an easy weeknight dinner without all the extras.

It&rsquos great in it&rsquos basic form, but it&rsquos also really versatile. I&rsquom going to show you how to make this taco pasta casserole in it&rsquos most basic form and then give you some ideas for ways to change it up &mdash make it healthier, fancier, and even yummier.

What ingredients are needed to make this taco pasta casserole?

This dish is so simple using just 5 ingredients!

Here&rsquos everything you need: pasta shells (or any type of pasta you&rsquod like), ground beef (you can also use ground chicken or turkey), taco seasoning, salsa (choose your favorite brand and type), and finally, a Mexican cheese blend.

You can add in milk, half and half or sour cream to make the sauce creamy if you&rsquod like.

This taco pasta is so easy to make!

This easy pasta recipe is delicious and yet is so simple to make using just ground beef, taco seasoning, salsa, and cheese. Add sour cream, milk or cream cheese to create a creamy version.

Watch step by step how easy it is to make:

How many people will this taco pasta casserole feed?

This is a BIG casserole. It will feed about 8 people good-sized portions. So this is a great recipe for feeding a crowd say, if you&rsquore hosting a party or a large family dinner. However if you have an average sized family, then you could split this recipe in half. Or go ahead and make this recipe but divide it into two casserole dishes and freeze one for later.

Toppings That Go Well with This Taco Pasta Bake

Alright, so now that you have a good idea of how much this makes. Let&rsquos talk about substitutions and toppings. I&rsquom just going to list out some of the ways you can change up this basic casserole to make it into a completely customized dish, but the prep is basically the same.

Try topping this taco pasta with shredded lettuce or other leafy greens, diced tomatoes, sour cream, olives, onions, fresh salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole, corn, beans, sauteed peppers, lime juice, cilantro and/or pickled jalapeños. Anything you&rsquod put on a taco works!!

Here are some ways to change up this recipe from week to week:

  • Try using shredded rotisserie chicken, ground turkey, steak, or cauliflower-walnut &ldquotaco meat&rdquo instead of ground beef
  • Try adding in refried beans or quinoa in addition to or instead of some of the meat for a vegetarian option
  • Try using different shaped pasta to change the texture. Experiment and find what you like best. I used shells but you could use elbow macaroni, rotini or even spaghetti noodles! Heck, you could even try using rice.
  • Try different cheeses. You could use a blend of cheese, Cotija (a crumbly Mexican cheese), melty queso, etc.
  • Try different salsas. I really love fresh or restaurant style salsa but you may love chunky or salsa verde. Any salsa works! You could even make your own salsa.
  • Like a little heat? Spice it up some with a few dashes of hot sauce, chili powder and/or some cayenne pepper.
  • Add some extras into the bake itself. For example, corn, beans, peppers, green chilies, etc. would all mix into the sauce pretty well vs. using them as toppings.
  • You don&rsquot actually have to bake this taco pasta. Try making it in a skillet. The cheese should melt enough when you sprinkle it on top and if not. Who cares? It&rsquos still good with cold cheese just like a taco is. So if you&rsquore short on time. Don&rsquot worry. This recipe is truly no-fail.

Do you have to serve this taco pasta casserole with toppings?

Nope! It&rsquos good just by itself. That&rsquos really the beauty of this time-saving dish. It&rsquos delicious on its own as an easy Hamburger Helper style dish. Or you can really jazz it up if you have time to run to the store and get extras&hellip or maybe you happen to have a few things on hand that would work well as toppings. Great! Throw in what you have and don&rsquot worry about it.

This is one of those really easy back-pocket dinner ideas you can keep in your back pocket. So when you&rsquove had a long day and you don&rsquot want to stress about dinner. Pull this out of your bag of tricks.

Some tricks for easy clean up:

This can be made using just one pot if you have a dutch oven. Use it to cook the pasta then after you drain the pasta, use it as your casserole dish. You could also use a large cast iron skillet. It&rsquos just a little harder and potentially messier to boil pasta in a cast iron skillet since the sides are low.

Stove Top Method

Don&rsquot want to fire up the oven? Make this on the stove top and just stir the cheese in while everything is still hot.

More Dinner Ideas

For more easy weeknight meal ideas, check out my meatza pie and other easy dinner recipes.

Dinner Casserole Ideas

What do you think of when you hear the word casserole? If you think of throwing all the leftovers in a 9吉 pan and baking it in the oven, think again. These casseroles are baked with textures and flavors that delight even the pickiest of eaters. There is a reason casseroles are a popular staple for dinner, and have been for decades. Similar to the Crock Pot, casseroles can be prepared before hand and usually bake for 30-45 minutes. Meanwhile prepare a salad, set the table, help the kids with homework – or better yet, take a hot bath or watch your favorite show on Netflix.

    – Easy Chicken Casserole lives up to its name because it is easy to make, easy to eat and easy to clean up! – Breakfast for dinner is the best! You’ll love this dish full of eggs, hash browns, sausage, and cheese. – Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole combines all the flavors of the big meal in a simple, easy to make, never dried out dish. – The Best Baked Tater Tot Casserole is comfort food reminiscent of your childhood. Creamy beef topped with crisp tater tots and lots of cheese. It’s a family dinner hit! – This casserole is made with rice, chicken breasts, cheddar cheese, cream of chicken soup, water, and seasonings. It’s easy and comforting! – Three cheeses, broiled tomatoes, and a crunchy Panko topping take this childhood favorite up a notch.

50 Best Sheet Pan Dinners That Come Together So Quickly

There's a reason sheet pan recipes are the biggest dinner trend of the year: They're the best, easiest possible way to feed a family&mdashwith barely any clean-up! Ree Drummond fell in love with the idea of sheet pan meals the first time she tried one. "Once I discovered that you could throw everything on a sheet pan and cook the whole meal together, I was hooked for life," she says.

Every easy dinner idea we've compiled here is short on effort, but big on flavor. Using just one baking sheet, you'll be able to whip up your main course, plus sides to match&mdashlike Ree's Sheet-Pan Cajun Chicken and Corn, for instance, with corn, peppers, and chicken.

Because all of the cooking happens in one place with these recipes, you'll find that the flavors of the vegetables and meat meld in delicious ways. Of course, you don't have to include a protein: We've included several vegetarian-friendly sheet pan dinner ideas, including a sheet pan pizza (how genius is that?) with a super-quick dough. There's also a balsamic herb sheet pan dinner on our list that's loaded with so many colors and textures, the meat lovers in your squad won't even know what they're missing.

100+ Healthy Dinner Ideas That'll Keep You Full Long After You Eat

A light and healthy recipe doesn't have to be boring.

Coming up with exciting, delicious dinners for your family can feel overwhelming, especially if you're trying to eat a healthy, well-balanced meal. In fact, finding the time, effort, and energy to create healthy meals that your kids will actually eat can feel downright impossible. But even the pickiest of eaters will love these healthy dinners, so before you know it the following light, easy recipes will be part of dinner rotation with no complaints.

From different types of pizzas, to tacos, to all of the kebobs they could possibly want, these recipes prove that healthy dinners don't have to be boring. "The components of a 'healthy' meal, whether breakfast, lunch, or dinner, are like the legs of a stool &mdash they all need to work together to give us strength and balance," Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, creator of, author of Read It Before You Eat It &mdash Taking You from Label to Table, tells Woman's Day. "My recommendation for a meal trifecta is a combo of lean protein, whole grain carbohydrates, and healthy fats." Following Taub-Dix's trifecta allows you and your family to feel full and satisfied after eating, without relying on large portions or restrictive dieting. "As an example, a healthy plate for lunch or dinner should contain a protein like seafood, poultry, eggs, or beans a side of veggies or salad, and a whole grain like bread, farro, brown rice, or pasta," she says. "Adding fruit to your salad boosts this meal even further."

With over 100 light yet filling dinner recipes, you'll never substitute flavor for substance again. Packed with tasty, good-for-you ingredients, these recipes won't have your family scrounging the kitchen for after-dinner snacks, and there's enough variety to keep them interested every night.

70+ Super Delicious Dinner Recipes You Can Make In a Cast Iron Skillet

Whether you're breaking in a brand-new cast iron skillet or are lucky enough to have one passed down from your grandmother, one thing's for sure: It's likely to be among the more versatile, heavily used tools in your kitchen. Though cast iron requires a bit of special attention (if you need a refresher, here's how to clean a cast iron pan), a well-seasoned pan will last for generations. That's far longer than the five or six years you can expect to get from a nonstick pan, and yet a well-seasoned cast iron pan is relatively nonstick! (And if the seasoning does wear out, here's how to reseason a cast iron skillet.)

In fact, when it comes to certain tasks, such as searing practically any type of steak or making cornbread, cast iron has no equal. That's because the iron itself is fantastic at holding heat, meaning it can create the kind of char you want on the surface of a piece of meat, while the seasoning helps food "release" from the surface when it's cooked, so you aren't scraping everything out of the pan. All that, and it can move from the stove top to the oven with ease, taking temperatures that would warp or bend other pans. But best of all? Well-made cast iron is really inexpensive! You don't have to spend hundreds of dollars to end up with a pan you can love and use for years. In fact, we rounded up some of our favorite cast iron equipment and the skillet is often just $25.

To help you make the most of this kitchen workhorse, we're sharing our very best cast iron skillet recipes. Here you'll find a batch of seared sausage with cabbage and Pink Lady apples, as well as a skillet cornbread finished with freshly-ground black pepper and creamy butter. Or try one of our favorites, a decadent skillet chicken with Brussels sprouts and apples. For dessert, make our cast iron apple-blackberry crumble with sour cream whip. You'll be amazed at just how quickly your family devours it!