28 Quick And Easy Dinner Ideas For A Weeknight

While on the weekend most people have both the time and the energy to prepare some more intricate dinner meals, it’s not always the same on a weeknight.

Getting back from work tired and hungry means that the last thing you want is to spend 2 hours in the kitchen preparing an elaborate dish, so these 28 quick and easy dinner ideas are just what you need!

1. Chicken Pasta Bake

A cheesy chicken pasta bake like this one requires only 30 minutes to prepare and another 45 minutes to cook.

Made with easy ingredients like chicken breasts, penne pasta, chopped tomatoes, and three different types of cheese – mascarpone, mozzarella, and cheddar – it is a hearty meal you can enjoy with a glass of white wine.

2. Chicken And Chorizo Ragu

This ragu dish can be served with some jacket potatoes or a base of penne or spaghetti pasta, as well as some sour cream and fresh-cut parsley.

Made with chorizo, chicken thighs, sun-dried tomatoes, and chicken stock, it’s a spicy, smoky ragu that will warm your heart and stomach.

3. Meatball And Tomato Soup

Low in calories and fat but high in protein and fiber, this meatball and tomato soup have plenty of veggies and the right amount of meat and couscous to help you have a bit of everything in every spoonful.

4. Gnocchi Fish Pie

Ready in just 30 minutes, a gnocchi fish pie is made with two ingredients you wouldn’t expect to see in the same recipe, but here they are!

Gnocchi is combined with a fish pie mix or a mix of salmon, smoked haddock, and prawns that are cooked in a creamy sauce together with peas and capers.

5. Pasta With Salmon And Peas

If you like that salmon and peas combo of the recipe above, then you should save this recipe of pasta served with salmon and peas.

Easy to make and in no more than 20 minutes, it is another fish dish served in a creamy white sauce made with crème Fraiche.

6. Spiced Salmon And Tomato Traybake

Even though salmon, especially when cooked with pasta, is usually cooked in a white sauce, this tomatoey salmon tray bake might taste even better!

A healthy and hearty meal, the spiced salmon and cherry tomatoes are combined with some chickpeas cooked with a mild curry paste that gives this dish its unique Indian-inspired flavors.

7. Chipotle Chicken Slaw

We all know that homemade coleslaw tastes way better than the one in restaurants, and in this meal idea, it is combined with some hot and spicy chicken drumsticks, creating a perfectly balanced taste.

Even if you are not a fan of spicy food, the refreshing chilliness of the salad can help you enjoy the chicken without that unbearable burn.

8. Prawn Tikka Masala

Another 30-minute recipe in this list, this prawn tikka masala is easy to make, low in calories, and high in protein.

Served with naan bread and mixed with basmati rice, the shrimp are so rich in taste that you will want to make this dish many times in one week!

9. Broccoli Pesto And Pancetta Pasta

For a healthy and light dinner meal, this dish is perfect. Made with a homemade broccoli pesto and a pasta of your choice, you can prepare this meal in less than 30 minutes.

With smoked pancetta and cherry tomatoes, as well as parmesan cheese that you can add according to your liking, it is a simple yet distinct dish that you can surprise your family with.

10. Chicken, Leek, And Brown Rice Stir-Fry

For those days when you get back from work starving, this stir-fry is the ideal meal to cook.

With approximately 10 minutes needed to fry the chicken and chorizo and sauté the veggies, you can then enjoy the effortless ‘cooking’ of some microwave wholegrain rice and serve it in no time.

11. Creamy Pesto And Kale Pasta

On a day when you didn’t snack on your 5-a-day fruits and vegetables, you can prepare this pasta dish to get 11 grams of fiber from just a single serving!

With cooked whole-meal pasta, reduced-fat soft cheese, pesto sauce, kale, and red onions, this meal is made with the simplest of ingredients and yet it’s so nutritionally rich you have to keep it in your weekly meal plan.

12. Tomato And Mascarpone Risotto

One of the reasons why people make risotto is because it is easy to cook without much effort or lots of time spent chopping veggies.

This risotto is an upgrade to the classic one and a perfect option for a 30-minute meal on a busy weeknight.

13. Pineapple Fried Rice

Unless you have some Cup Noodles for dinner, it really can’t get easier than this pineapple stir-fry when it comes to cooking your dinner.

This vegetarian-friendly dish is made with chunks of fresh pineapple that are added to a stir-fry with rice, omelet ribbons, garlic, onion, and five-spice.

14. Singapore Noodles

Since we mentioned Cup Noodles, here is a noodle recipe you can make for dinner.

With rice noodles and veggies like bean sprouts, peppers, and onions, this dish is cooked in a sauce that combines curry powder, soy sauce, and sesame oil.

Ready in 15 minutes, it is an easy and filling last-minute meal you can make to feed the family.

15. Spaghetti Puttanesca

A classic pasta dish, this spaghetti puttanesca is a one-pan dish that will save you time from washing pans and pots afterward.

With chopped tomatoes, anchovy fillets, black olives, capers, onion, garlic, and enough spaghetti for the necessary number of portions you need to have, even if you are not an expert in the kitchen, this recipe will make you seem like one.

16. Chicken And Halloumi Burgers

Homemade burgers sound like a lot of effort, but what if we told you that you can make the most delicious burgers in only 15 minutes?

This recipe yields some amazingly good chicken and halloumi burgers that are low in saturated fat and high in protein, making them perfect for the end of the day.

17. Veggie Fajitas

For the vegetarians reading this article, these veggie fajitas are in the top 3 recipes you will find: chargrilled veggies, beans, avocado slices, and fresh tomato salsa are wrapped inside soft tortillas to go straight into your belly.

And while they’re meat-free, you know what’s the best part? These fajitas don’t need any cooking at all!

18. Sweet Potato And Peanut Curry

You can smell a curry dish from miles away, and when it comes to a sweet potato curry dish with spinach and roasted peanuts on top, you will want to run to the table and enjoy every single bite.

With its rich and creamy sauce, this dish has a rich flavor profile and is best enjoyed on cold winter nights.

19. Chicken Curry

If you are one of those people that do not consider a meatless meal as an actual meal and the idea of sweet potato and peanut curry sounds great but not filling, then make this chicken curry and serve it with some rice and naan bread to make sure you can sleep tight and full!

20. Creamy Mushroom Pasta

Tagliatelle and linguine pasta can be used in almost any recipe spaghetti pasta is used in, and in this recipe, either one of them can be served with a creamy mushroom sauce made with double cream and white wine, and with lots of parmesan.

While you might think there’s nothing you can add to make this meal tastier, some finely chopped parsley on top will make a great difference!

21. Honey Garlic Glazed Salmon

Even though it is naturally salty, salmon goes great with a honey glaze, and when you add some garlic and lemon juice to it, you have an umami dish that you will want to taste again and again.

The great thing with salmon fillets is that they need no more than 5-10 minutes to cook in the pan, so this meal can be ready in just 25 minutes.

22. Baked Feta Pasta

This recipe became viral on TikTok for many reasons, but the one we care about is that it actually tastes amazing.

Easy to make and with simple ingredients, it is a budget-friendly meal idea that needs nothing more than pasta, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, and some olive oil.

You can then add things like onions, thyme, chili flakes, and garlic, but even if you keep it simple you have a filling and tasty dinner ready for you to enjoy.

23. Creamy Tuscan Chicken

Another one of the classics in this list, a creamy Tuscan chicken is a dish that consists of chicken breasts, spinach, cherry tomatoes, and a creamy sauce made with heavy cream, butter, and parmesan cheese.

To serve, boil some pasta or rice, and don’t forget to add some lemon wedges on the side as lemon is a perfect pairing to this chicken recipe.

24. Chicken Salad Sandwich

This is a meal you can prepare in the morning and then finish when you get back from work. How can that be done?

The chicken salad needs some cooked chicken breasts which you can cook even the day before, as you then need to chop and combine with apple, onion, celery, and mayo sauce.

So once you are back home from work, simply slice a baguette, add some of the salad and some leafy greens, and have your sandwich while you continue bingeing your Netflix series.

25. Cacio E Pepe

We are starting to believe that some dishes are classics because of how easy they are to make, as most people prefer that.

Cacio e Pepe is an Italian dish made with spaghetti or linguine pasta cooked with a cheesy and butter sauce made with pecorino and parmesan cheese.

26. Penne Alla Vodka

While you can always have your dinner pasta with a glass of vodka on the side on a special occasion, if you serve your penne in a creamy sauce infused with vodka, you’ll be much happier.

This easy recipe uses simple ingredients to make a pasta dish that you must absolutely garnish with freshly cut basil and parmesan cheese to get the most out of it.

27. Chili Mac ‘N’ Cheese

Mac ‘n’ cheese is an all-time favorite meal that tastes great no matter who makes it. From professional chefs to amateur and college students, it is so easy to make that you can’t get it wrong.

However, if you want to make a mac ‘n’ cheese bake but with a twist, try this chili mac ‘n’ cheese that includes some kidney beans, fire-roasted tomatoes, ground beef, and spices, to have a dinner that’s richer and fancier, but just as easy to make as the original one.

28. Cheesy Baked Burritos

Cheesy. Baked. Burritos. We believe that is more than enough to convince you that you need to save this recipe and try it for your next dinner gathering.

While it is easy to make, these chicken, black beans, and enchilada sauce-stuffed burritos taste so great that you might never feel the need to visit a Mexican restaurant ever again.

Can I Use Some of the Dinner Recipes for Mother’s Day Lunch?

For a delightful Mother’s Day lunch, why not experiment with some dinner recipes? With a little creativity, you can transform main dishes into tasty simple lunch ideas for mother’s day. Think about lighter options such as grilled chicken salads, savory quiches, or colorful vegetable stir-fries.

The Bottom Line

While you can always go for a cheesy toast or a Cup Noodles pack, trying one of these recipes won’t be a waste of time.

These 28 meal ideas might need more than just a couple of minutes to make, but they are still quick and easy.

So, save them for your busy or not-so-busy weeknights to enjoy a wholesome and hearty dinner after a long day at work.

After all, you deserve and need this act of self-love, and we bet your family will appreciate it just as much!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Most Popular Dish For Dinner?

There is not a specific dish that’s the most popular for dinner, but, in general, you would probably be looking at ones that are the most balanced in terms of macronutrients and the simplest in terms of cooking.

In the U.S., just like in most other countries, it is meals that contain a source of carbs, a source of fats (ideally the ‘good’ ones, i.e. not many trans-fat), and a source of protein.

Ideally, this meal would also be a good source of fiber.

So, for example, dishes like rice and chicken with a side salad or baked potatoes stuffed with kidney beans and topped with cheese are some great options, and so is a bowl with quinoa, turkey, and steamed broccoli.

28 Quick And Easy Dinner Ideas For A Weeknight

28 Quick And Easy Dinner Ideas For A Weeknight

Recipe by Jenna

From chili mac’n’cheese and a gnocchi fish pie to a chicken ragu and a salmon traybake, these 28 quick and easy dinner ideas for a weeknight are what you need!

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