We all need fast, easy dinners that can be thrown together in a few minutes with little fuss. These are meals with just a few ingredients. You don’t even need a recipe. Some foods are more processed, but others are fresh and healthy. Many of them have long shelf lives so you can stock up for those nights when you don’t have much time to cook. I present my top easy meals for busy nights.
All you need are some taco shells (hard or soft) and a packet of taco seasoning. These ingredients last a long time in your pantry, so they’re good to keep on hand for when you need them. If you’re like me, you almost always have a jar of salsa and some shredded cheese in the fridge. All you need to do is add meat — ground turkey, ground beef, or even cooked and shredded chicken — and you’ve got a full meal. You can make it fancier with sour cream, guacamole, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and beans, but you don’t have to.
2. Frozen Chinese Food
We don’t have the budget to get Chinese takeout from restaurants often, but my family likes the frozen entrees like Orange Chicken or General Tso’s Chicken I buy at the grocery store (I shop at Aldi.). Sometimes I add a jar of baby corn or a bag of frozen broccoli steamed in the microwave to our chicken entree to boost its nutrition. I add a box or two of frozen egg rolls or pot stickers and we have a delicious meal.
3. Spaghetti and Meatballs with Garlic Bread
This meal’s ingredients keep for a long time in your pantry and freezer. All you need are spaghetti noodles, a jar of pasta sauce, some frozen meatballs, and some frozen garlic bread. Add a fresh side salad to round out your meal.
4. Fettuccine Alfredo with Shrimp and/or Imitation Crab
This is another easy pasta dinner. It just needs a box of fettuccine noodles (or, really, you can use whatever noodles you have in your pantry — even penne or spiral noodles), a jar of alfredo sauce, and some cooked shrimp (tails and shells removed) and/or diced imitation crab. Serve with garlic bread (from the freezer) and a salad or a bag of frozen steamed broccoli for a complete meal.
My husband is happy to grill any time I ask him. We often have hamburger patties in the freezer, and it takes just a little time for my husband to grill them. While he’s grilling, I throw some frozen french fries in the oven and set out a side salad or veggies and dip along with burger condiments.
6. Scrambled Eggs and Sausage
Breakfast for dinner is always a winner. It takes hardly any time to make scrambled eggs. I keep sausage patties in my freezer at all times, and they heat quickly on a skillet as well. Other easy breakfast foods include bacon, frozen hash browns, toast, french toast (homemade or store-bought), or pancakes (also homemade or store-bought).
What are your favorite easy meals that feature quick prep and just a few ingredients?