5 Easy Dinner Ideas When Time Is Short

Dinner is the time for the family to come together.  Generally it’s the biggest meal of the day here in the United States.  However, it’s often tough to find time for a proper meal.  I know in our house kids activities have made it where time is short.  We find it’s still important to enjoy time together as a family.  To do this, we cut back on the meal prep with some easy dinner ideas.  Saving time on making meal lets you have more time to eat the meal.

5 Easy Dinner Ideas

Here are a few easy dinner ideas that we enjoy. I hope you do as well.  Let me know your ideas in the comments below.


We love to make nachos.  The ingredients list is pretty simple.  Chips, cheese, a protein, and some veggies.  We all like different things for our protein, but it’s easy to accommodate.  Some like ground beef.  Others prefer cut up or shredded chicken.  Sometimes we’ll use either re fried beans or black beans.  It all works.  Each person gets their own plate.  We stick them in the oven for about 12-15 minutes, and top them with some sour cream and salsa.  It’s easy and tasty!

Pesto Pasta

Our family has always loved pasta.  Recently, we started eating pesto pasta.  We love this even more than pasta with meat or red sauce.  It’s that good.  Costco makes a jar of pesto that is just about perfect.  It’s also a great price.  Mix that in with some pasta noodles.  We find that corkscrew or some other ‘shaped’ noodle works best.  We add tomatoes. You can also add shrimp or chicken.  Top it with some Parmesan cheese and it’s just fantastic.  There are never any leftovers of this meal in our house!

easy dinner pesto pasta
Pesto pasta is one easy dinner idea that is absolutely delicious!

Chicken Salad

We love chicken salads.  At our house, we have them just about once per week.  We’ll either grill up some chicken on the barbeque or use some panko breaded chicken warmed up in the oven.  Mix it in with some greens (we buy a container at Aldi for really cheap).  Add other vegetables that you like.  We like tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers.  We’ll also boil up a couple of eggs and add that as well.  Throw in some croutons, top with dressing, and it’s good to go.  A salad becomes an entire meal.

Black Bean Burgers

Another easy favorite is black bean burgers.  These meatless burgers have come a long way.  They are so flavorful.  We buy a package at Costco.  We used to grill them, but found that warming them in the oven actually works best.  They come out perfect.  Top them with a slice of cheese at the end, put them on a bun, add some lettuce and tomatoes, and it’s incredible.  We’ll make a side (rice or a box of quinoa based grain), and some vegetables, and it’s a complete and healthy meal.


This one is the old standby.  We’ll run out for a pizza from one of the many places near our house.  Every once in a while, we’ll even spring for delivery.  Everybody loves pizza, right?  Often we’ll make a quick side salad, open a bottle of red wine for the adults, and it’s so nice and relaxing. Maybe this is cheating a bit, but every once in awhile, it has to be done!

Those are some of our favorite easy dinner ideas.  What are some of yours?

4 thoughts on “5 Easy Dinner Ideas When Time Is Short”

  1. I’m a big fan of pizza – especially the frozen kind. Frozen pizzas are often on sale at the grocery store for like $5, and within 30 minutes a good meal! Eating out is such a budget suck and an easy way to not meet your spending/saving goals. Planning ahead via meal prepping is smart but as you mentioned – keeping a few easy meals handy!

    • We usually have a frozen pizza on hand as a just-in-case, but we can usually find a quick and cheap pickup pretty easily. For some reason, bringing home that pizza in a box just has a feel to it that warming it up in the oven can’t replicate!

  2. I’m a big fan of pizza too, it’s so easy. My to go, however, is definitely pasta. Pesto pasta is pretty easy to make and our kids love pasta. It’s a win win.

Leave a Comment