Fast, Quick, Easy Dinners

Updated on October 12, 2011
✿.K. asks from Warren, MA
15 answers

Hi ladies I returned to work and in 2 weeks I have a week long training (I normally will not be working during the day) I will be gone from 8-6 the entire week and I need some easy quick dinner ideas for hubby because he will be home first. My kids aren't too picky the only thing my oldest won't eat is casseroles and the crockpot is out ecause even on low mine seems to cook faster than most.
Thanks :)

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answers from Milwaukee on

What about tacos?? While the meat is cooking, chop up some lettuce & tomatoes, shred some cheese, bake the taco shells to a heavenly crisp (3 minutes) and.....wah lah!!! Mmmmmmm (we had them last night!)

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answers from Chicago on

Dump some frozen italian meatballs (Yes, use frozen) in your crockpot and a large jar of spaghetti sauce. When your husband comes home, all he has to do is make the pasta and garlic bread. You could also have bagged salad on hand and the kids could help dole that out in bowls while the pasta is cooking.

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answers from Chicago on

Sams club has this carne meat, it is $10 but we get 3-5 dinners out of it.. we make our own steak & cheese quesedas.

I have a programmable crock pot.. it turns to a warmer when it is done. We use it several times a week. Have you tried putting food in frozen?

Sloppy Joes, ground beef, tomato soup, and 2 table spoons of open pit BBQ sauce, add onion and green pepper. you can make it the night before.

You can get turkey from the deli, have it cut thick, steam bags to cook potatoes, gravy and another veggie and have a quick turkey dinner. Just warm the turkey.

Canned chicken, you can make chicken salad, or chicken tacos.

Good luck

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Pasta with red sauce and a salad

Burgers on the grill

Breaded boneless chicken tenderloins in the oven (30 min)

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answers from Dover on

I can't wait to see what all suggestions you get!

Hot Dogs and mac and cheese
Put Chicken breasts in marinade before you leave. It cooks for 30 min. at 375 (uncovered so it doesn't look pale and sickly). Add a baked potato (done in microwave) and a veggie. He litterally has to put chicken in a pan and push some buttons.

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answers from Dallas on

These are my quick and easy staples:
Grilled Chicken/Hamburgers

Also, maybe make up a pan of lasagna or enchiladas or something and throw in the freezer. He can just take it out and pop it in the oven to cook.

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answers from Hartford on

Most grocery stores sell pizza dough. The night before, it can be rolled out and topped. Your husband will just put it in a preheated oven of 500 for about 10 minutes. You can top them with just about anything you have in the fridge. My husband and I throw baby greens or arugula on it after its cooked and the kids usually have fruit for a side.
Frozen ravioli is another easy one. that boils and he can sautee zucchini of brocoli in a pan, toss them togther with a bit of grated cheese and pepper- quick and easy.
Good luck

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answers from Boston on

I use turkey meatballs (frozen) from BJs but you can use beef, Italian or Swedish. They microwave easily and quickly. Put some water for pasta (for Ital or turkey) or noodles (for Swedish) on to boil, then put the meatballs in the microwave with either Italian sauce or "as is" (if already seasoned). While the water is heating, cut up some broccoli florets and put on to steam. The broc cooks in 8 minutes, the noodles in 6, the pasta (if whole wheat) cooks in 8-12 depending on the shape. If the meatballs are plain, you can make a sweet and sour sauce out of half ketchup (or chili sauce or tomato sauce) and currant jelly (or a berry flavor or grape) and put on top in the microwave.

Chicken nuggets from real chicken, dipped in egg and then in whole wheat bread crumbs or a mix of those with wheat germ, then quick-fried in olive oil (to crisp up the outside) and finished in the oven (350 for 15 minutes) make a healthy "fast food" alternative. Cut potatoes in spears and toss with olive oil or canola oil, and any seasonings the kids will eat (Salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika, parsley, dill) and oven-bake for 20 minutes with the chicken. Add a steamed vegetable like broc, cauli, green beans that will steam in 6-8 minutes.

Make a salad bar with all the toppings in different bowls and let everyone serve themselves. Add cold grilled chicken or previously cooked nuggets, almonds, dried cranberries, chick peas, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, feta or other cheese for a protein-heavy salad that can be made ahead.

Quesadillas - tortilla topped with refried beans and any other beans you have (black, pinto, kidney) and cheese (Mexican, cheddar, etc.), chopped green pepper or onion, defrosted frozen corn (it cooks in the oven), chunks of tomato, whatever you have. Kids can make their own if you want. Top with another tortilla, put in the oven for 15 minutes at 350, then cut in wedges. Top with salsa, sour cream, guacamole, extra shredded cheese - again, everyone can make their own. When done, put them on a platter and cut in wedges.

You can also make homemade pizza with everyone choosing their own toppings, and use pizza dough or a pre-made crust like Boboli. Everyone adds veggies (defrosted chopped spinach, onions, broc, peppers, etc.) and cheese and any meats (use those defrosted turkey meatballs and cut in slices, or buy regular/turkey pepperoni, or leftover hamburger), add mushrooms and garlic and a little bottled sauce.


Good luck with your new job!

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answers from Norfolk on

I dont know the ages of your kids but we love to do things like Chicken Cheese And Rice with either Broccoli or Cauliflower. Melt down your favorite cheese add baked chicken steamed rice and your choice of vegetable. Sometimes i will substitute the Chicked with Beef or Tofu, or the rice with tortilla chips so it is more like nachos. My husband isnt a great cook and loves to make Pasta with peices of beef and A1 sauce, with sides of toast and corn and peas.

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answers from Des Moines on

Home made pizza! I tend to make a big batch of home made pizza dough, prebake and freeze the crusts (think home made Boboli, but frozen instead of preserved) but you can buy crust or use tortillas or english muffins or bagels or.....

I also tend to cook up a mixture of hamburger, Italian sausage, garlic, onion and mushrooms, and freeze flat in baggies-- really quick to top a pizza or stir into a pasta sauce. Or you can use up your leftovers-- Taco Pizza or BBQ Pizza or (my personal favorite!) Sloppy Joe Pizza

Breakfast for supper is quick and easy too!

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answers from Washington DC on

Do you happen to have a Trader Joes by you? If so, I would pay them a visit as they have great stuff to throw together for easy meals.

What about a George Foreman grill or an indoor grill? Men love to grill :0)

As others mentioned making things ahead of time is always good. Chili is something that I like to make ahead of time. There are tons of recipes out there and they usually make a big batch. Then you can freeze some of it in individual servings + family meal servings and then pull it out as needed. I like to take the individual servings to work for lunch. It is also very versatile depeding upon the recipe and can be used to top potatoes, french fries, salads (taco salad), etc. I like to make chicken & ground beef/turkey ahead of time and freeze.

Added: thought of one more - Tuna Noodle Casserole! It is so easy & fast :0)

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answers from Hartford on

If you put the dinner together in the crock pot the night before and refridgerate it,t hat can help with the fast crock pot issue. Also, somethings are more forgiving than others in a fast slow cooker. (soups, stuffed peppers, even meatballs-my sauce gets burned around the edges a little but they still taste yum!)
You can make pulled pork on the weekend in the crock pot. (Take a roast, some sliced onions and a little sauce. roast on low for 8 hours. Shred meat, add more sauce and cook one more hour or Husband can heat it up, slice some rolls and have pulled pork sandwiches.
ALso, reward yourself for your hard work and get take out one night!

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answers from San Antonio on

Sat/Sun cook a chicken (or buy a rotisserie chicken). Shred it up and have a big bowl of cooked meat ready to go in the fridge.

We often make tacos one night (or nachos) using the cooked meat. We just heat it with salsa in a pan. Stretch it farther by having a can of beans and some rice with dinner too. you'll use less meat.

Next night: I call it "mexian lasagna". It has the pre-cooked chicken, some noodles, chicken broth, salsa, bell pepper, a can of cannelli beans, noodles, then top your bowl with mexican cheese. I can PM you the recipe if that sounds good.

Rachel D recommended pizzas are pretty quick. (see my archives about spinach use) If you dice up your veggies the weekend before your long week? You could use the cooked chicken on that. Or buy pepperonies.

My weekly meal is 'sausage rice and beans'. If you diced the bell pepper, onion, jalepeno, and sausage the night before and put it all in a ziplock, You'd be set. That night you'd just have to heat that in a pan, add two cans of black beans, cook some rice on the side (so 20 minutes total cooking if you're doing white rice).

Well you're likely out of chicken by now. And you've used one pkg of sausage ..... so the next night is Friday. How about you get corn dogs out of the freezer and eat those? Hot dogs? Chili dogs?

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answers from Kalamazoo on

Pizzadillas! Whole wheat tortilla, one side spread butter and fill with pizza sauce, pepporoni and mozz cheese. Cook butter side down and flip. I use one tortilla folded in half instead of two tortiallas with one on top and one on bottom.
Also really good with ham and cheese in them and tomato soup on the side.
Or grilled cheese and tomato soup.
Frozen raviolis or pierogies.
Tilapia (white fish) sauteed in some oil (just alittle) with salt and pepper and steamed veggies on the side with a piece of whole wheat bread and butter.
Frozen pizza or order delivery :)
Froz pot pies

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answers from Bloomington on

Spend a couple of hours and prep some frozen meals (or a few days before and don't freeze).

We make several meatloaves and lasagnas in aluminum LOAF pans, cover in foil, label and date, and freeze. Pull out 2 days before desired dinner night in refrigerator.

Also make porcupine meatballs (Chicken Rice a Roni mixed with hamburger and/or sausage. Makes about 2 dozen. Freeze up into equal dinner servings (about 3-4 1inch balls per adult) in ziploc bags. Thaw in refrigerator 1 day in advance. Heat up in microwave or deep skillet with lid - add a little water.

Make up some chicken enchiladas without sauce. Roll - up, put in dinner serving sizes (we make 3 for my husband, me and our two LITTLE kids) and freeze. Thaw in refrigerator a few hours ahead of time. Put in dish, pour sauce on, bake.

I spend about 3 hours of prep every 6 weeks and several of the above items and freeze. I make montly meal plan, alternating these with other dishes we like and just pull a few every couple to three days. Dinners are SO easy each night.

Let me know if you want recipes!

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