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10 Quick & Easy Weeknight Dinner Ideas

Jun 29, 2021 | Roundups | 4 comments

Easy Weeknight Dinner Ideas

With these easy weeknight dinner ideas, plus a bit of quick meal prep, your whole week will be easier! Add these ten healthy, super fast, family-friendly recipes to your rotation.

Is it possible to find super easy dinner recipes that aren't boring?

It turns out that yes, yes it is. As we've focused on Super Fast meal prep over at Prep Dish this year, I've found that it really is totally possible to come up with simple dinner recipes, that are still healthy and delicious.

If you need easy weeknight dinner ideas and feel stuck in a rut, check out our list below! You don't have to choose between boring and stressful.

I would LOVE to hear about your favorite super simple dinner ideas over on our Facebook group or Instagram. You can never have too many.

Designing Super Fast Dinners

So what's the secret to coming up with Super Fast dinner ideas?

Here are a few of my favorite tips:

1. Mix up the protein – If you find yourself making chicken night after night, challenge yourself to pick out 5 different proteins each week for a month. (I say 5 to account for takeout and leftovers, but of course, plan more if you need them!)

Simply mixing it up with different meats (or vegetarian proteins) can go a long way for increasing the variety of your weekly menu. If you don't want to start from scratch each week, try things like Seafood Sunday, Taco Tuesday, etc.

Or use the simple formula of protein + 2 veggies or protein + veggie + grain if you don't have time to search for recipes.

2. Invest in Spice Blends – If your spice cabinet is looking bare, invest in a few new spice mixes (Thrive Market has some good ones!) Blends like Herbes De Provence, Curry Powder and a clean-ingredient taco seasoning can really up the flavor in your weeknight meals.

You can of course whip up your own spice blends too, but if you're looking to make dinnertime quick and easy, don't feel bad about taking a few shortcuts!

3. Utilize Grocery Shortcuts – Speaking of shortcuts, there are certain items (like marinara!) that I don't feel bad about buying pre-made, despite being a chef. I share some of my personal favorite grocery hacks here!

A Little Quick Meal Prep Goes a Long Way

Once you have your quick healthy dinner recipes for the week, think about doing a bit of quick meal prep to make the rest of your week easier.

Wash and chop your produce, make any marinades or salad dressings you'll need for the week and consider making a big batch of quinoa or rice to go with dinners if you eat grains.

It really doesn't take a long time to do just a bit of meal prep and make your whole week better!

10 Easy Weeknight Dinner Ideas

The below ten recipes come straight from our Super Fast meal plans. That means they're designed to require very little meal prep and come together quickly. If you want more Super Fast dinner recipes, make sure to check out our meal plans below!

1. Italian Slow Cooker Pork Shoulder

Ingredients: 1# fingerling potatoes, 12oz bag pre-cut broccoli, 1/2 lemon, 4# pork shoulder roast, 1T Italian seasoning, 1 tsp garlic powder, 2T olive oil

Method:

  • Toss potatoes & broccoli w/ juice of 1/2 lemon, 2T olive oil and S&P to taste. Bake at 400F for 25-30 minutes, tossing halfway through.
  • Rub 1T salt, 1T Italian seasoning and 1 tsp garlic powder on all sides of pork shoulder. Place pork shoulder in slow cooker. Cook on low for 7-8 hours. (OR cut pork into 3 pieces, add 1/2 cup water to instant pot before adding pork and cook on high pressure for 60 minutes with a 20 minute natural release.)

Note: You will have leftover pork for another night. It's great on salads, roasted sweet potatoes, lettuce wraps, tacos or rice bowls!

2. Flank Steak w/ Peruvian Rice

Ingredients: 8oz sliced mushrooms, 1-1 1/2# grass-fed flank steak, 1 cup uncooked rice, 1/4 cup sliced kalamata olives

Method:

  • Cook rice according to package instructions, placing 8oz mushrooms in pot while cooking. Stir in kalamata olives after rice is done.
  • Pre-heat grill to med-high. Season steak w/ S&P. Grill ~ 4-6 min/ side. Rest 5 min & slice very thin “against the grain”

3. Chili Lime Shrimp Over Zoodles with Cherry Tomatoes

Ingredients: 2 lg zucchini, 1 pt cherry tomatoes, 3 limes, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1-1 1/2# peeled, deveined shrimp, 1T chili powder

Method:

  • Cut 2 lg zucchini into “noodles” using a mandolin or spiralizer and halve cherry tomatoes.
  • Whisk together 1/2 cup olive oil, juice from 3 limes (1 1/2T), 1T chili powder and S&P to make marinade. Marinate shrimp while oven preheats to 425F.
  • Remove shrimp from marinade, place in a single layer on a baking sheet, bake for 10-14 minutes or until color has changed.
  • In a lg sauté pan add zucchini noodles, cherry tomatoes, S&P. Cook until just softened. Serve shrimp over zoodles & tomatoes.

4. Lemon Chicken w/ Spinach, Mushrooms & Quinoa

Ingredients: 16oz sliced mushrooms, 5oz spinach, 2 lemons, 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts (4-6oz each), 1 cup uncooked quinoa, 1 cup + 2 tsp olive oil

Method:

  • Cook quinoa according to package instructions.
  • Whisk together 1 cup olive oil, juice & zest of 2 lemons and S&P and marinate chicken for 30 min-24 hrs. Bake chicken for 35-45 minutes at 350F or until internal temp reaches 165 F.
  • Heat 1-2tsp olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add 16oz sliced mushrooms, cook 5-6 min. Add spinach and cover, cooking for another 5-6 min. Season with S&P.

5. Balsamic Salmon w/ Roasted Vegetables

Ingredients: 1 head broccoli, 2 pints cherry tomatoes, 4 lg carrots, 4 salmon filets (4-6oz each), 1/2 cup + 3T olive oil, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1T dried dill

Method:

  • Chop broccoli into 2″ pieces and carrots into 1″ pieces. Toss together with 2 pints cherry tomatoes, 3T olive oil, 1T dried dill and S&P.
  • Whisk together 1/2 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and marinate salmon for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 425F. Bake salmon for 16-18 minutes. Roast veggies for 30-35 min, tossing halfway through.

6. Bison & Mushroom Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients: 2 avocados, 10oz sliced mushrooms, 2 lg sweet potatoes, romaine lettuce for wraps, 1-2# ground bison, 1 can black beans (optional), 1-2T olive oil, 1-2T taco seasoning* (or chili powder)

Method:

  • Cut sweet potatoes in 1/2″ thick “fries,” toss with 1-2T olive oil and S&P. Roast at 425F for 30-40 minutes, tossing halfway through.
  • In lg sauté pan, add 1-2# ground bison, heat over medium-high, breaking apart meat. Add 10oz sliced mushrooms & 1 can drained black beans (optional). Heat 8-10 minutes or until bison is cooked through. Season w/ 1-2T taco seasoning (or chili powder) and S&P.
  • Serve taco filling in romaine lettuce wraps, topping with sliced avocado.

*Note: read all ingredient lists; avoid added msg, sugar, gluten, salt, etc.

7. Baked Sea Bass w/ Curry Roasted Cauliflower & Green Beans

Ingredients: 1 head cauliflower, 2-3 cups fresh green beans (optional – or 2 heads cauliflower), 4 Chilean sea bass filets (4-6oz each), 2T curry powder, 2-3T olive oil

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 425F.
  • Cut cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. If needed, remove ends from green beans & cut into 2” pieces. Toss both together with 2-3T olive oil, 2T curry powder and S&P.
  • Place veggies in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 25-35 min, tossing halfway through.
  • Season sea bass w/ S&P and bake for 16-18 minutes or just cooked through and flaky.

8. Harissa Lamb Chops w/ Sweet Potato Coins

Ingredients: 3 med sweet potatoes, 8oz spinach, 4 lamb loin chops, 2T harissa, 2-3T olive oil

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 425F.
  • Cut sweet potatoes into small, 1/4″ coins. Toss with 1-2T olive oil and S&P. Roast 30-40 minutes, tossing halfway through.
  • Spread each lamb chop with 1-2tsp harissa. Heat 1-2tsp olive oil in large, oven-safe sauté pan over med-high heat. Cook chops 2-3 min/ side or until color develops. Transfer steaks to oven and continue to cook for 6 minutes for medium-rare (cook longer for desired doneness). 
  • In a large sauté pan, heat 1tsp olive oil, add 8oz spinach. Sauté ~5 min, season w/ S&P.

9. Seared Tuna w/ Mashed Sweet Potato & Asparagus

Ingredients: 1 bunch asparagus, 4 sweet potatoes, 4 tuna filets (4-6oz each), 2T lite coconut milk (optional), 2T coconut oil (or olive oil)

Method:

  • Cut sweet potatoes in half, wrap each half in foil & bake at 400F for 45-55 minutes or until knife inserts easily. Once cool, peel sweet potato halves and place in a small pot/ sauté pan. Mash with a fork until smooth. Add 2T lite coconut milk (or 2T water) to potatoes. Heat over med heat for 10-15 min, stir occasionally. Season w/ salt. 
  • Remove & discard lower 2-3” from asparagus bunch.
  • Heat 2T coconut (or olive) oil in a large sauté pan (or 2 medium pans). Add asparagus & tuna steaks. Cook tuna ~3 min/ side or desired doneness. Stir asparagus occasionally. Season tuna & asparagus w/ S&P.

10. Sausage & Bell Pepper Sauté w/ Rice

Ingredients: 4 bell peppers (mixed colors), 1# pre-cooked Italian sausage links, 1 cup uncooked rice, 1-2 tsp olive oil

Method:

  • Cook rice according to package instructions.
  • Cut 1# pre-cooked sausages into 2” pieces; cut 4 bell peppers into 2” pieces.
  • Heat 1-2tsp oil in a large saute pan. Add chopped sausage & bell peppers and cook for 10-12 minutes or heated through.

Want More Super Fast Dinner Ideas?

If you love creative super fast dinner ideas as much as I do, I wanted to make sure you know about our Super Fast meal plans at Prep Dish.

We recently added weekly Super Fast menus to our meal plans. In addition to Gluten Free, Paleo and Low Carb meal plans, all subscribers get a Super Fast meal plan each week. Not only does this include 5 easy, creative dinner recipes, it also gives you a grocery list and a simple guide for exactly how to do meal prep for the week.

If this sounds like something that would make your week easier, I encourage you to sign up for a free trial below! We'd love to have you join our community 🙂

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support of Prep Dish!

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Allison Schaaf Chef, Prep Dish

Prep Dish is a gluten-free, paleo, and keto meal planning website. Celebrity personal chef & dietitian Allison Schaaf thoughtfully crafts each plan using her own well-tested recipes. Each meal plan allows you, the home cook, to spend only 2-3 hours preparing a week’s worth of crave-worthy, healthy meals using seasonal, whole foods (nothing processed!). We aim to save you time while keeping your family’s taste buds happy.

Along with a weekly menu, you’ll get a printable grocery list and recipes for prep day — just one day of preparation yields scrumptious, good-for-you dishes all week long. Learn more…

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4 Comments

  1. Nicole

    Thanks. These look tasty.

    I appreciate that using the oven is more hands off and often healthier, but I wish fewer of the recipes were roasted. It’s summer here now and I’d like to see recipes for more refreshing meals, or at least things that won’t heat up the house. It’s one of the reasons I haven’t committed to signing up yet.

    Reply
    • Meri Raffetto

      Hi Nicole,

      We take into account seasonal foods and cooking techniques for the summer months. Turning the oven on 400 F during a 90 degree day isn’t fun! I can’t say your oven won’t ever be used but we do focus more on grilling, slow cooker and stove top for summer months! Hope that helps! If you have more questions don’t hesitate to reach out to our customer service department at info@prepdish.com.

      Reply
  2. Megan Harris

    My husband is Gluten Free and is also allergic to Red meat. So, I don’t cook beef, pork, lamb at home. We eat a chicken heavy diet intersperced with turkey and fish. Is there any way to filter the meal plans so we don’t get red meat recipes?

    Reply
    • Meri Raffetto

      Hi Megan,

      We don’t have a filter but we do give subs for pork, beef and vegetarian in the Friday newsletter that would be helpful for you!

      Reply

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