Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes

Updated on January 15, 2009
L.A. asks from Northfield, MN
27 answers

Let me preface this by saying that I really dislike (okay, hate!) cooking! I have a few tried and true meals that are staples in my home, but I'd like to add some more variety. I would really appreciate any dinner ideas that you have that are kid friendly (and husband friendly!) I would especially appreciate QUICK and EASY recipes! Thanks in advance for your help!

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So What Happened?

You ladies are AWESOME! I can't wait to try out the recipes and websites. I've been wanting to try using the crock pot, but I am a little apprehensive about leaving it on while I'm not home (I'm gone from 6:30am to 4:15pm every work day!) Thanks again for the wonderful meal suggestions!

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answers from Minneapolis on

I know you have already gotten a ton of suggestions, but since I hate to cook as well. I just had to tell you my favorite:
Boneless Pork Chops in the crock pot with 2 cans Cream of Mushroom. I then buy t he new packages of frozen cut potatos that you put in the Microwave after 10 min there ready to mash.... Pork Chops and Mash Potatos!!! so tender they fall right apart.


answers from Minneapolis on

hi L.,
I am on the opposite page as you. I love to cook. Here are 2 very easy reipes that are great and kid frindly:
1) *briol buns or bread with any white cheese(provolone) 3 min
* 1 can of frnech onion soup, add 1/4-1/2 cup water
* up to 1 LB of good deli roast beef
* cook together in the microwave for 3-4 minutes.
*serve with slad and french fries (start ahead)
* for hoagie style saute onions and peppers w- mushrooms

2) * cook box of pasta, then drain and rinse, add peas about 1-2 cups), large can of chicken, and 1 can of cream of mushroom. Cover and bake for 25 minutes. Yummy and easy.

Good luck.... always remeber how useful the crock pot is.

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answers from Rochester on

A tried and true recipe that is simple and both my husband and 4 year old love it:
Baked Ravioli
1 large carton of refridgerated cheese ravioli
1 jar of spaghetti sauce of your choice
1 cup of beef broth
1 can of petite diced tomatoes
1/4 cup of italian dressing
2 cups of motzerella cheese
combine all together, put in a greesed 9x13 pan, and add another cup of motzerella cheese to the top and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Des Moines on

Hi L.!
I am also a full-time teacher and mother of 2. Boy(5), and girl(2). Congrat's on the upcoming birth of your son! Our family's favorite easy dish is Lazy Day Lasagna. Noodles are substituted with crescent rolls and sour cream is included. (I also serve it when we have guests over because it's so good and makes them THINK I am an awesome cook!) Hope you like it as much as we do.
2 lbs. gound beef
1 envelope dry spaghetti mix
1/2 c. sour cream
1 tube crescent rolls
onion powder or 1/2 c. chopped onion
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1&1/2 cups shredded mozarella
(Optional ingredients that I never use are 2 tbsp. margarine and 1/3 c. parmesan cheese)

Brown ground beef with onion and drain fat.
Add dry sp. mix and tomato sauce. Hreat until bubbly. In a separate bowl, combine s.cream and moz. cheese. Put meat mixture in 7X11 glass or ceramic dish. Evenly drop s. cream/cheese mixture on top of that. Unroll crescent rolls and pat them on top next.
(optional part is to combine marg./parm.cheese and sprinkle it on top of rolls before baking)
Bake at 375 degrees for 15 min. (Or until desired browness of rolls.)
Enjoy! T.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

www.kraftfoods.com has TONS of good recipes and you can sort by ingredients, number of ingredients, prep time, etc. They are also rated by people who have tried them. I've made a lot of good meals from that site and I'm no gourmet!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Hi L., I too am expecting a baby boy in March. I also have a 5 year old daughter. About the cooking thing, there are soooo many recipes that are easy. If I don't have everything I need I usually improvise. Have you tried the crock pot? You put the stuff in, turn it on and depending on what it is it's done 4-8 hours later. It does take a while but, very hearty and easy. One of our favorites is scalloped potatoes. Spray the inside of the pot it can get stuck on and hard to clean. Add potatoes, ham, 1 can Cream of Mushroom and 1 can water and some cheese, whatever you have. And let it go about 6-8 hours on low. Sometimes I add onion, peas the onion can go in early the peas would go in later. Also you can do a nice chile, stew or roast in the crock pot just as easy. I hope that helps, A.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Davenport on

I don't know if you also have the same problem as me, I never have a plan ahead of time for what we will make each week! Here is what saved my sanity and lowered our grocery bill.... http://www.savingdinner.com/ . They ahve pre-planned weekly menus (6 dinner meals), with a compiled weekly grocery list attached, you can buy a 3,6, or 12 month subscription, and there are many different styles of menu to choose from -Frugal Menus-Save money, Heart Healthy Menus-Lower fat and sodium, Diabetic Menus-Watching your sugars, Weight Loss Menus-Drop the pounds, Vegetarian Menus-Delicious meat free menus, Menus for Allergies-eat well safely, Once A Month Cooking-Assemble dinner ahead, Crock Cooker Menus-start dinner each morning, Gluten Free Menus-easy delicious meals, Low Carb Menus-high protein low carb, Body Clutter-Dinner Diva's Diet, Original Regular Menu-family friendly meals . I've had a year's subscription to the Low Carb and the Body Clutter (weight loss), and three months to the Crock Cooker, and there are almost never repeated recipes in the whole years worth!!!

They e-mail you a link to the file each week,(or you can get a seasonal one - 12 weeks all at once) and you can save and print the PDF, then by the end of your subscription, you have a complete seasonal cookbook....she plans the menus with what is in-season for fresh fruits and veggies, too. Then once you get a years worth, you never have to buy more, you cna just put all your printouts in a binder and use them the next year and ever after!

Anyway, her recipes give you built in variety, and good nutrition, get you to try out new things, and most of the recipes take no longer than 30 minutes to prepare! Plus everything is planned out and pre-bought, so you aren't "missing" an ingredient and needing to run to the store at the last minute!

Good Luck!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Davenport on

I don't like to cook much either, in fact, my motto is that I'll only make it if it doesn't take longer to cook it than to eat it! lol The first thing that I do to help myself out during the week is to cook up all the meat ahead of time on the weekend...if I'm making chili or something that requires hamburger, I cook it up loose and freeze it according to what I'll need (thaws quick in the microwave if you leave it in the ziplock bag and open it slightly), boil chicken and freeze it, etc. Saves me tons of time later in the week!

Cheesy Chicken Rice

1 box 4 Cheese Rice-a-roni
1 boiled and torn up piece of boneless/skinless chicken breast
Shredded cheddar cheese

cook Rice-a-roni according to directions, toss in chicken when adding water and spices, finish cooking according to directions, top with cheese and serve. My kids love this!

I also make the Mexican Rice-a-roni but add hamburger (1 lb. per box) and add salsa, Fritos, and cheese...another fav of ours!! (and it's cheaper than Hamb. helper)

I also toss a pork roast in the crock pot for the day, then when I get home I drain the water, mush it up with a wooden spoon and add BBQ sauce...instant sandwich's! The boxed mashed potatos are really good now too, so that and whatever veggie you want would make a nice rounded meal.

I also like to make the Betty Crocker complete meals (in a box), they are quite good and super easy to make :) Our fav's are the chicken and veggies, chicken and mashed potatoes, and the beef stew with biscuits. Everything you need is included.

Another of my kids fav's is Ravioli cassarole. Buy frozen beef filled ravioli, boil according to directions (it doesn't take long at all), toss it in a 9x13 pan with a jar of spaghetti sauce, top with mozarella cheese and bake at 350 for half an hour...sometimes we add peeled and cut up zucchini with it too, just depends on the kids mood and how much effort I want to put into it! lol

I've got other recipies as well, if you or anyone else is interested, I'd be happy to pass them along :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

cheese whiz casserole

mix in bowl : 1can cream of mushroom(or cream of chicken) soup.
1 jar of cheese whiz
i can corn beef(not the hash)
i can of milk(from the empty can of soup)

boil i bag of egg noodles

mix in with soup-cheese wiz mixture --add salt and pepper to taste

pour in casserole dish-- cover with foil-- bake 350 for 1/2 hour whalla!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rapid City on

I tried this last night, so easy and very good.
Swedish Meatballs (Easy) Good for Potluck
• 1 (38 ounce) package frozen meatballs
• 2 (10 3/4 ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup (you can mix and match the soups, like cream of celery, cream of chicken, golden mushroom soup, etc)
• 8 ounces sour cream
• 2 teaspoons soy sauce

1. Place all ingredients in a crock pot.
2. Cook on low for at least 5 hours.



answers from Sioux Falls on

2 things that are favorites in our house - quick chili and tator tot hotdish - if you want the recipes, just ask!



answers from Minneapolis on

A real quick one is to take chicken breasts and bake them with some italian dressing. It gives them a great taste. I often just grab the $tree italian.



answers from Milwaukee on

Hi L.,

I made this last night. It was super easy and yummy.

Bean and Sausage Stew -

Here are the few things I did differently:

1.) I used frozen Jenni-o turkey sausage breakfast links and cooked them the 12 min. as directed on the package, then cut them into pieces
2.) I used bagged spinach instead of kale and did NOT take out the stems

Also, here are a few of my other favorite easy recipes:

Crockpot Mexican Chicken - http://www.recipezaar.com/Crock-Pot-Chicken-W-Black-Beans...

Beef and Broccoli Slaw Wraps - http://www.realsimplerewards.com/rsn/easyeveryday/easyeve...

Ground Turkey Enchiladas -

Good luck!



answers from Des Moines on

I have four kids and often feel that we get in a "rut" with our dinner menus. That being said, here are some of the easiest and most liked dinners we have....

sloppy joe's: brown 1-2# hamburger, drain, add enough ketchup and/or barbeque sauce to hold together and serve on hamburger buns. (My kids wouldn't eat the manwich style sauces....too many chunks, but when a friend brought this over, they loved it.)

Pizza boats: brown hamburger (1-2#), drain, add a can of pizza sauce (or enough sauce to hold the hamburger together.) Pre-heat oven to 350* . Fill hotdog buns with the meat mixture and top with shredded mozarella cheese. Put in oven until the cheese melts.

Breaded Chicken Patties: We keep a large bag of these around the house to use for different things.

1) Chicken Patty Sandwiches- easy enough, bake frozen patty and put on bun :)

2) Italian Chicken- Pour spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 pan, top with warm, breaded chicken patties, more spaghetti sauce and some mozarella cheese. Serve with pasta.

3) Bake chicken patties and cut into strips. Then, place the strips in a tortilla with lettuce, and ranch dressing for a wrap.

I'm enjoying reading all the suggestions. :)



answers from Minneapolis on

I -love- this recipe. I often add some cooked chicken as well. I rarely use the peanuts, scallions, or Tobasco, and I use garlic from a jar - so the recipe doesn't need to be complicated. You can substitute spinach or any other green for the kale. I use a rice cooker to make brown rice while I work on this and serve them together. (a rice cooker and brown rice make it easy to have a healthy staple for any meal - worth investing in.)

African Pineapple Peanut Stew

Yield: 4 servings

West African -inspired, this is a rich and very fresh-tasting stew, eclectic and surprising in its combination of ingredients. If you have a few extra leaves of kale, put them in; this stew can absorb lots of greens. Serve on rice, millet, or couscous, topped with crushed peanuts and chopped scallions.

1 cup chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 bunch kale or Swiss chard (4 cups sliced)
2 cups undrained canned crushed pineapple (20-ounce can)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt to taste
crushed skinless peanuts
chopped scallions

In a covered saucepan, saute' the onions and garlic in the oil for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are lightly browned. While the onions saute', wash the kale or Swiss chard. Remove and discard the large stems and any blemished leaves. Stack the leaves on a cutting surface and slice crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices.

Add the pineapple and its juice to the onions and bring to a simmer. Stir in the kale or chard, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring a couple of times, until just tender. Mix in the peanut butter, Tabasco, and cilantro and simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt to taste, and serve.

From Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home



answers from Rapid City on

I know you have a lot but here is another

Porcipine meatballs
1 to 2 pounds of thawed ground beef
diced onions (I keep a jar of minced onions for these kind of dishes)
1 cup instant rice

Mix together and form meatballs. Brown the meatballs throughout

Add one can of tomato soup and one soup can of water

Cook until meat balls are all cooked through
Serve over a bed of rice.

It is a favorite for our family and really easy to do.



answers from Milwaukee on

I use www.kraftfoods.com. I like that you can print the recipes and grocery list out on the website. I hope this helps!!



answers from Minneapolis on

Hi L.....I am with you! Every year, my new years resolution is to do more cooking. And every year by this time I have already given up. My advice is invest in a good crock-pot. I am at home with 3 kids under 5 so needless to say our mornings are a little hectic!!! I get everything ready in the removable crock the night before and keep it in the fridge over night. In the morning, I just put the crock back in the "pot" and turn in on...8 hours later....DINNER! They have lots of crock pot cookbooks, but I keep it simple. Meat (usually chicken or pork) and a sauce (BBQ, Cream of Mushroom Soup, etc)...sometimes if I am feeling "fancy" I throw in some dried onion soup. As long as there is enough sauce to cover the meat....it all works out. You can easily throw in veggies (carrots can cook all day....potatoes only take a few hours) Thats it....very simple. We do lots of shreeded meat sandwhiches. Good luck and happy cooking (if there is such a thing!)



answers from Waterloo on

I'm with everyone else...the crockpot is wonderful. I put chicken breasts with cream of mushroom soup to cook 4 hours (high) or 8 hours (low) while I'm at work. Then boil some noodles to put the sauce over and a can of green beans as a side dish. I also do a roast or steak with potatoes, carrots, celery and can of mushroom soup. You can then "mash" the potatoes if you have kids who like that better. Another idea, is french dip sandwiches with a roast, dry onion soup mix and a can of beer (alcohol cooks off). After cooking all day, cut the meet, put on bread and dip in the juice.

As for websites, I use allrecipes.com and search by ingredients you want and don't want. You'll get a nice list!


answers from Minneapolis on

Check out Kraft Food and Family. They are online and you can sign up for a free magazine that comes out about 4 times a year. Most recipes are easy but really good!

Also, my mother in law just sent me this slow cooker email. There are a ton of recipes!!!




answers from Waterloo on

I hear you, L.! I feel the same way about cooking! LoL Here's an easy recipe that my family loves:

Spaghetti Pizza

Preheat oven to 400
cook a sm box of spaghetti for about 5 min
spray a lg cookie sheet with cooking spray

In a seperate bowl; Mix 1 egg and 1/3 cup parm. cheese
Rinse noodles with cold water then mix in with agg and cheese.

Spread noodle mixture onto cookie and bake for 10-15 min. (This is now your "pizza crust")

Add your pizza toppings, bake for another 15-20 min until cheese is golden brown.



answers from Sioux Falls on

Go to your library and check out a coule cookbooks. They will have cookbooks like "Fix it and Forget It" there are more than on edition. You could look for crock pot recipies, on-dish meals, or quick and easy.
While there, check out the magazines. Scan through a couple of the cooking/recipe magazines to see if you like them. If so, look at several issues of it before deciding to subscribe, or ask what they do with the outdated ones. If they toss them, ask to have them. If the sell them, see if they would dickker the price if you promise to take 6 months worth.



answers from Appleton on

I hate cooking as well! I used to subscribe to "Quick Cooking" magazine when I was in college. They had great, QUICK, recipes :) Also, try subscribing to "The Dinner Spin"- dinnerspin.com and you can find healthy and easy recipes that are emailed to you weekly.


answers from Milwaukee on

Here are 3 favs from our household:

Tater Tot Casserole (serves 6)

32 oz. Frozen tater tots
1 lb. Ground beef, browned
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Pepper
2 cans Green beans, drained
1 Tbsp. Dried onions
1/4 cup Milk
1 can Cream of mushroom soup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Brown the ground beef with the dried onions, drain if needed.
Combine all ingredients except the frozen tater tots, pour into a 9x13 pan.
Top the dish with the tater tots and put in the oven for 40 minutes or until the tater tots are cooked.
Chicken Broccoli Divan (serves 4)

1 lb. (10oz) Frozen or fresh broccoli, chopped
1 1/2 cups Chicken, chopped
1 can Broccoli Cheese Soup
1/3 cup Milk
1/2 cup Shredded cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp. Bread Crumbs
1 Tbsp. Butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Put the chicken and broccoli in 2 quart baking dish.
Mix soup and milk and pour over the chicken & broccoli and mix.
Sprinkle the cheese over the chicken mixture.
Mix the bread crumbs with the butter and sprinkle on top of the dish.
Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.
One-Dish Chicken & Stuffing (serves 4-6)

1 1/4 cups Boiling water
4 Tbsp. Margarine, melted
4 cups Herb Seasoned or Chicken Stuffing
4-6 Boneless Chicken Breasts
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/3 cup Milk
1 Tbsp. Fresh parsley or 1 tsp Dried parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix water and margarine. Add the stuffing and mix.
In a baking dish put the stuffing in the middle with the chicken breasts on each side. Sprinkle the chicken with the paprika.
Mix the soup, milk and parsley. Pour over the chicken breasts.
Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
I also remember my mom baking chicken in OJ (400 degrees for 30 mins or until the chicken is cooked). She then just add mashed potatoes and a vegie.



answers from Minneapolis on

Laura - my life line is my crock pot. I use 2-3 times a week. I put it a large pkg of chicken breast in the morning with seasoning and water and I have chicken and broth for a variety of recipes, chicken noodle soup, chicken pot pie, chicken stir fry, etc. You'd be surprised at how easy it is to make home made chicken noodle soup when you have the chicken and the broth already started, just chop up carrots, celery and onions, throw it all in a pot with more water and the strained chicken broth and half of the chicken. When the veggies are almost cooked I add a box of whole wheat noodles and I have a great, quick dinner. Chicken pot pie is one of the favorites in my house too. I use the other half of the cooked chicken, add chopped celery, carrots, onions, a bag of frozen peas and 2 cans of cream of chicken soup (this isn't the healthiest but it's easy) mix well and put into pie plates. Cover with an already made pie crust (again not healthy but easy). Bake and it's a great meal!

I do the same thing with a roast beef. The first night we can have just the roast beef, the second night I might have vegetable beef soup. Again, I've made the roast in the crock pot and have a wonderful beef broth. It's also a good start of beef stroginoff (sp). Roast pork in the crock pot makes a wonderful shredded pork bbq sandwiches.

The crock pot is a life saver - it just takes a little planning the night before or early morning before you leave the house.

Good luck



answers from Minneapolis on

Try breakfast for dinner - omelets or pancakes.
I always buy hamburger (or ground turkey) in bulk, brown it all up and freeze it in 1-2 pound batches. Then I use it to add to spaghetti sauce, sloppy joes, tacos, enchiladas, or chili.
We like soups - I usually buy a mix and follow directions and add some optional ingredients, eat with breadsticks.
Kabobs on the grill are easy and fun - your daughter might be able to help make them. Marinate chicken, pork or beef chunks, then add to the skewers with some vegetable pieces - onion, peppers, zucchini, grape tomatoes, mushrooms, pineapple, etc, whatever you like.
One of my favorite meals is grilled cheese sandwiches & tomato soup. Lately my boys have loved ham & turkey sandwiches that I heat up in the George Forman grill (could be pan heated like a grilled cheese too). Add a slice of cheese, stack some meat on good whole grain bread, serve with a small salad or other veggie.
Turkey breast - buy a turkey breast in the store, season it up a little bit, cover it with cream of(whatever, I use chicken) soup and crockpot on low all day. It will be falling off the bone and moist. Add baked or mashed potatoes.
Buy some big potatoes and do a "top your own potato" dinner. We like bacon bits, sour cream, cheese, chives or green onion, ham, green pepper.

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