Would you like to know how to make quick dinners? You’re not alone, I think we’re all searching for ways to do things faster. I’ve got some answers for you and I know you’ll enjoy these simple ways to make quick and easy meals for your family that won’t cost a lot of money or take much preparation. Not only will these tips help make dinner fast, but they’ll help make your life so much easier.
As a busy mom, there are so many things to get accomplished and dinner is a big one. It’s a struggle though, for every single mother I talk to. We’re juggling so many different things during the dinner hour and on top of it all, we’re tired.
We know it’s important, too. It’s the time to gather the family together, look each other in the eyes and make conversation. A time to find out how everyone’s day went and share some love around a table.
But, it can be so hard to accomplish.
I want you to know that it doesn’t have to be hard. There are many ways to get a meal on the table fast, without grabbing take-out. And, it doesn’t have to be frozen tv dinners or pizza, either. You can actually make dinner really fast by preparing a little bit ahead, shopping for the right ingredients, and re-thinking what you consider a meal.
Try out some of these ideas and see which ones work for you the best.
7 Ways to Make Quick Dinners
#1. Simplify Your Meals
When you’re a busy mom, there is no need to be serving fancy meals. Skip looking up recipes and try making meals that are so simple you don’t even need a recipe. I rarely pull out a cookbook these days because I’m making simple meals that don’t require a recipe. Save those complicated dishes for days when you have lots of time. Here are some examples of simple things we make on a regular basis. None of them take more than 30 minutes to prepare and many take much less time.
- Kielbasa and Potatoes
- Sauteed Chicken Breast
- Hamburger Patties
- Baked Potatoes w/Chili
Related Reading: 43 Easy Pantry Meals so You Can Stop Eating Out
#2. Just Cook the Main Dish
It is so fast to saute or cook up simple meats in a pan. You can cook many types of meals in under 10 minutes and add a no-cook side.
- Hamburger Patties
- Chicken Cutlets or Tenderloins
- Pork Chops (not the thick ones)
- Mini Pizza – on English Muffins or French Bread
#3. Serve No-Cook Side Dishes
While you’re cooking your main dish, go into the fridge or pantry and grab something to serve on the side. What kind of things can you serve quickly? Look at these ideas.
- Sliced Cucumbers
- Carrot Sticks
- Cottage Cheese
- Canned Fruit
- Instant Potatoes (only need to boil water)
#4. Start Dinner in the Morning or the Night Before
It’s so easy to throw something in the slow cooker in the morning before heading out on a busy day. I will even put everything in the crock-pot the night before and refrigerate the whole crock. Then, I just have to move the crock insert into the heating base and start it. When we get home, it’s ready and we can just serve some rolls or salad on the side.
#5. Freeze Pre-Cooked Meat
I always buy my meat in bulk when it’s on sale, then I cook about half of it and portion the rest to freeze for meals. Once I have it cooked, I freeze it in meal-sized portions, usually 1-2 cups per freezer bag or container. Here are the things I cook and what I use them for.
- Ground Beef – sloppy joes, tacos, spaghetti, hamburger casserole
- Chicken Breast – BBQ chicken sandwiches, chicken and gravy, tacos, enchiladas
- Italian Sausage – pizza, spaghetti sauce, lasagne, soup
#6. Prepare on the Weekend
When you know there’s a busy week coming up, or maybe every week is busy for you, spend a little extra time on the weekend by getting some food ready. You can pre-cook some meat and plan simple meals all around the same type of meat. What things can you get ready over the weekend?
- Chop all vegetables
- Cook up your meats
- Pre-cook pasta or rice
Do you see that if you have all these things prepared already, a meal would be really quick to throw together?
#7. Use Convenience Foods
Usually, I tell people to stay away from convenience foods in order to save money, but when you need to make dinner fast, convenience foods are awesome. Here are some convenience foods to use for quick dinners.
- Rotisserie Chicken
- Frozen Meatballs
- Cooked Ham
- Deli Meat
- Salad Kits
- Frozen Vegetables
- Canned Soups
- Pre-Made Sauces – Spaghetti, Curry, Asian, etc.
One of my latest favorite things is using a subscription meal service. I’ve been really happy with Gobble (read my review, here), and the best budget option is EveryPlate (only $5 per meal).
If you like the idea of prepping meals one day and then eating all week long, you’ll want to grab my Weekly Family Meal Prep. You’ll be surprised by all the free time you get when you prep food ahead. Get the Step-by-Step Instructions, Recipes, Shopping Lists, Serving Day Instructions with Optional Side Dishes, Gluten-Free Substitution Ideas, and a Weekly Meal Planner.
You can do this. You will be so happy when you try out some of these ways to make dinner fast and your family will love it too. Remember that your meals don’t have to be complicated or take a ton of ingredients. You don’t have to juggle making 3 different dishes at once to have a balanced meal.
Let some of that pressure go and enjoy easy to make dinners even when you’re tired from a busy day.
We would love to hear your tips for making quick dinners, too! Fill out the survey below and I’ll update this post with more ideas from busy moms.
15 Minute Meal Builder
Use this planner to build 15-Minute Meals that your family will love. Printable forms with suggestions and fill-in worksheet. Includes 10 15-Minute Dinner ideas.