Quick Dinners Article - Allrecipes.com
Add a Comment

Quick Dinners

Try these simple ideas for quick, fuss-free dinners.


Pasta Pronto

Pasta is about as close as you can get to "instant dinner." But instead of just adding a jar of sauce to the pasta, add in extras from the pantry and freezer for a more unique dinner.

  • Use tomato sauce, cream, and stock as a base for pasta with frozen vegetables and leftover chicken.
  • Use a can of tuna, chicken stock, and cannellini beans for Pasta y Fagioli, or make a Southwest-style pasta with black beans, chiles, and diced tomatoes.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, and any fresh or frozen vegetables can be sauteed together and tossed with pasta.


Stir-Fry on the Fly

Thinly sliced meat, some fresh vegetables, ginger, garlic, and rice are all you need to get a great stir fry for dinner. In the time it takes to cook the rice, everything else can be prepared and ready to go.

  • Slice and chop the vegetables and any meat.
  • Mince or grate garlic, ginger, and scallions together, then add to the stir fry just before it is done. 
  • Scrambled eggs, peanuts, or cashews can also vary the texture and flavor if added.
  • Keep soy sauce and sesame oil in the pantry for great stir fry flavor.


Soup's Up

You don't need to resort to canned soups for a quick meal. Homemade soup is the original one-pot dinner. Make them as thick or thin as you like, with almost any ingredients.

  • Saute the aromatics (onions, carrots, celery, leeks, bell peppers, etc) in oil or butter.
  • Add any meats or longer-cooking ingredients and saute.
  • Use stock, milk, cream, or any liquid you choose to turn the soup into a meal.
  • Adjust seasonings to taste and serve.


Sandwiches

To go along with soup, what could be better than a sandwich? Change up those regular cold cuts by grilling the sandwich. If you have a panini press, by all means use that, otherwise, use a pan on the stovetop.

  • Select meats, cheeses, bread and vegetables for the sandwich.
  • Butter the outside faces of the bread, or spray with oil.
  • Heat a skillet on medium-low heat. A cast-iron pan is perfect for this, as it retains heat well and can toast the bread perfectly.
  • Cook on the first side for five minutes, or until the cheese starts to melt. Make sure the burner is low enough the bread doesn't burn. Flip, and grill for three to four minutes more.


Pesto Presto

Store-bought or homemade, pesto makes weeknight dinners a breeze. Add basil, sun-dried tomatoes, or olive pesto to pasta, fish, chicken, or pizza dough for an easy meal.

  • Heat up the pesto, mix with cream, and toss with your favorite pasta and a small amount of the pasta water (1/4 cup or less is fine).
  • Broil lightly marinated chicken breasts or fish, then coat with pesto just before they are finished.
  • Make your own pizza dough, or use a pre-made pizza crust, and use pesto instead of regular pizza sauce. Chicken, cooked shrimp, goat cheese, or vegetables all make great toppings.


Speedy solutions for the dinner rush:

    Comments
    Jun. 21, 2009 9:21 pm
    I tried at least 2 recipe per week and most of the recipe I tried turn out pretty good. Thanks for sharing your recipe with us.
     
    Aug. 12, 2009 11:56 am
    im about to make one of ur recipes on today's family lunch date...thnx for the help....:D
     
    Jan. 13, 2010 7:25 am
    Going to the store now for some things to make one of these easy recipes today!
     
    Nora 
    Jan. 16, 2010 7:04 am
    This is a great site. I enjoy getting new ideas for planning meals.I have put in on facebook for friends to share.
     
    CAVALIERCRUIZER65 
    Feb. 4, 2010 4:59 pm
    A FANTASTIC recipe italian sausage stew for 50 people! I feed over 50 homeless men in a private shelter. EXCELLENT, web site
     
    Lizzie 
    Mar. 26, 2010 7:33 pm
    Does anyone have a recipe to do dehydrated potatoes (au gratin) in the slow cooker.
     
    nimue 
    Apr. 3, 2010 6:58 pm
    great stuff here...i'm a graduate student in chemistry, so i love to cook and don't have much time. this is a really good reference for those "aaah! don't know what to cook and it's already 6:30 pm!" days.
     
    Apr. 27, 2010 12:22 am
    yea i tried 2 of these recipes and yer they were really yummy and quick to make and easy. thanks 4 sharing
     
    Christmas Rose 
    Jun. 5, 2010 6:34 pm
    This the best recipe site of all the ones I have visited, especially the comments which customize a recipe to your specific tastes and takes a lot of guesswork out of trying variations.
     
    Jun. 21, 2010 3:59 pm
    I love this recipe site!!! I have used sooooo many recipes already, and I have only been a member for a couple months now. I'm so excited to see what next recipe sparks my interest!!!
     
    NOCLADY 
    Aug. 14, 2010 11:53 am
    Been using this site for the last 8 years. I was a stay at home mom on a serious budget. I typed in what I had in my fridge/cupboards that I wanted to use, it listed some recipes, I picked one, and it was a hit. Since then, this site and I have been best friends.
     
    Sep. 3, 2010 8:06 am
    I love this website, it's so helpful! I have made a couple dishes off of this site and they turned out great!
     
    Roddy 
    Sep. 16, 2010 8:42 am
    Hi I just love all these recipes. I would like real simple and easy recipes for 4 people. Keep it up!
     
    Oct. 16, 2010 7:23 pm
    The potato soup was amazing!Every one should definitely try that!! :)
     
    novicechef 
    Nov. 7, 2010 3:45 pm
    love this site! the quick recipes and shopping list are really helpful, along with user comments on variations. I'm getting better and my fam loves the variety.
     
    LaLee 
    Jan. 7, 2011 11:36 am
    Thank you so much for helping me to become a hit at home! I went from a non-cook to almost intermediate. The more I look on the site, the more I find that I want to cook. I will probably fill my recipe box before making all the wonderful dishes.
     
    Jan. 14, 2011 8:21 am
    Thanks for this site! now I can cook something different everyday... im getting better at cooking american food thanks to yah.
     
    Pat 
    Apr. 6, 2011 8:42 am
    I enjoy using the recipes I find because if you don't like the way it is, it's really easy to add your own flair to it in order to have it your way and still have a wonderful meal.
     
    Apr. 11, 2011 1:34 pm
    Whenever I get a brain freeze and can't think what to make for dinner this site abosolutely ROCKS!! Thanks for all the great ideas and good eats!!!
     
    gilliatl 
    Apr. 14, 2011 6:44 am
    Love this site! Cooking has always been a challenge for me. So glad to be cooking real food for dinner, instead of living on meals from a box! Use recipes 2-3 nights a week from here. Thank you so much! :)
     
    kphillipsbrown2010 
    Jan. 2, 2012 3:11 pm
    Luv this site. I always shyd away from cooking but this website is well organized n easy to read. I LOVE the shopping list feature. Its my go-to site for all my meals.
     
    jason aldean lover 
    Feb. 21, 2012 2:38 pm
    what is a good recipe that i can make by tomorow
     
    ktb 
    Mar. 11, 2012 12:40 pm
    I love this website. I love to cook but get tired of the same thing. I love the reviews. Gives me more ideas. I will keep using this site for a long time.
     
    killeendestiny 
    Mar. 27, 2012 12:44 am
    can someone tell me how can i get my 8 year old to eat vegetables she dont like any any clever recipe to trick her
     
    belgils 
    May 18, 2012 9:56 am
    would love to save this article on my PC for quick reference, any ideas?
     
    GloriaVanecek 
    Jul. 24, 2012 4:35 pm
    I'm new to the site. I love to try all kinds of receipes. I'm so glad to be a part of your club.
     
    sallycookie 
    Aug. 3, 2012 11:31 am
    I love pesto pizza. With soft mozzarella, goat cheese, basil, and kalamata olives, it tastes fantastic. I can't think of a better quick dinner.
     
    Gigirl 
    Sep. 21, 2012 8:01 am
    love this site!!!!!!!!!!!!! My mom makes me delish meal from this site
     
    grdonna 
    Jan. 20, 2013 9:01 am
    I have left over chicken, want to make chicken tettrazinni any good recipes out there Thanks...
     
    Feb. 26, 2013 8:22 pm
    can somebody PLEASE explain to me how to use the meal planner, I'm stupid and it just won't work for me
     
    Sydney Shannon 
    Jun. 13, 2013 3:28 pm
    My mom is ahving me start cooking on a pretty regular basis, so this website is GREAT to help me get started and keep going. Cooking can be a challenge for me, but AllRecipes makes it a LOT easier to cook!
     
    Sydney Shannon 
    Jun. 13, 2013 3:33 pm
    Please, if anyone can give me some ideas on simple, quick, easy, tasty dinners that would be GREAT! Please keep in mind, I am a teen...
     
    Hannah 
    Jul. 9, 2013 2:24 pm
    dear Sydney Shannon I am also a teen and love to cook so the best dinner I have cooked and is easy and tastes great is shepard pie.
     
     
    ADVERTISEMENT
    Go Pro!

    In Season

    Healthy and Delicious
    Healthy and Delicious

    New for spring! Good-for-you food you’ll love to eat.

    Mexican Food Fiesta
    Mexican Food Fiesta

    Go mild or go wild with Cinco de Mayo Recipes!

    Subscribe Today!
    Subscribe Today!

    Delicious recipes, party ideas, and helpful cooking tips! Get a year of Allrecipes magazine for just $7.99!

    Related Videos

    Quick and Easy Pizza Crust

    Homemade pizza in less than 30 minutes? This video shows you how.

    Kids Cook for Mom

    Wish her a happy Mother's Day with these tasty ideas.

    Make-Ahead Mamas

    Join this group of busy moms as they get together to prepare make-ahead meals.

    Most Popular Blogs

    Read our allrecipes.com blog

    Recently Viewed Recipes

    You haven't looked at any recipes lately. Get clicking!
    Quick Links: Recipe Box | Shopping List | More »
     
    Argentina  |  Australia & New Zealand  |  Brazil  |  Canada  |  China  |  France  |  Germany  |  India  |  Italy  |  Japan  |  Korea  |  Mexico

    Netherlands  |  Poland  |  Quebec  |  Russia  |  SE Asia  |  United Kingdom & Ireland  |  United States