With a new school year right around the corner, many of us are looking for quick and easy dinner recipes for busy weeknights, because let’s face it, our schedules are about to be full once again. And with busy schedules, the last thing we want to be left wondering is “what’s for dinner?”. In this post, I’m sharing my favorite meal planning strategies and go-to recipes that are perfect for the busy evenings ahead.
Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes for Busy Weeknights
Plan and Prep for the New Week
Easy recipes are only part of creating stress free weeknights. Planning and prepping ahead of time is key to a successful week. Choose one weekday to write out the menu for the next week, including breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner. Based on the menu, write out your grocery list. I like to keep a note on my phone where I add needed items as I plan, in addition to other items we need to purchase. Choose a different day to do your shopping.
Once you have all the needed items, you can begin to prepare for the week ahead. Sundays are a great day to do some prepping. Just a few hours of work will help the weekdays flow smoothly, and you can involve your kids! Here is my plan of action that I’ve found very successful:
- Wednesdays – meal plan and make grocery list
- Thursdays – grocery shop for the following week
- Sundays – prepare clothes, meal prep, create schedule
Sundays are also great for preparing lunches and snacks for the week. I like to involve my daughter. I let her choose what snack she would like to have on which day, and we place them in a designated spot in the kitchen/refrigerator where they can be easily accessed each morning. She can be in charge of getting her own snack ready every day.
Lunches can be prepared the same way. We look at the school’s lunch calendar and decide which days she needs to pack her own lunch, and what those meals will be. We prep what we can on Sunday, then prep the rest the night before so it’s ready to go the next morning.
You’ve already decided on meals for the week and have your grocery shopping complete, so Sundays can be used for batch cooking. There are tons of recipes on Pinterest for meals that can be prepared ahead of time for a quick breakfast or dinner. Many of these meals can be kept in the fridge for 4-5 days, or even frozen to be used when you are short on time. Batch cooking is an awesome time saver during busy weekdays.
Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes
Here are some of my favorite, go-to recipes for busy weeknights. These recipes are perfect for batch cooking, serving multiple nights or freezing for later. Just click on the provided links to find the full recipes.
Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings
An easy and delicious recipe by Belle of the Kitchen that can be assembled quickly in the morning and simmer away in your crock pot all day for a ready evening meal. You can find the recipe here.
Pot Roast Crock Pot Recipe
My Natural Family gives us another meal that can be quickly assembled and put in the crock pot for a healthy, delicious dinner for those nights there is no time to cook. This is a family favorite at my house. And you can find the recipe and video tutorial here. If you are like me, we always have leftover roast after our meal. I like to take those leftovers and create another delicious meal we call hash. Cube your meat and heat up in it’s juices (use a saucepan). Add potatoes that have also been cubed, two tablespoons of flour stirred into a cup of water, and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until potatoes are done and the juice has thickened. Transfer to a dutch oven and place biscuit dough on top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until the biscuits are done and golden brown.
One Pot Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup
Soups make great quick and easy dinners for busy weeknights. You can freeze your leftovers, have soup for two or three nights, or soup for a quick lunch! This soup recipe combines soup and pasta for a unique meal your whole family will love! You can find the recipe by Gal on a Mission here.
Other soup recipes my family loves:
One Pan Lemon Parmesan Chicken and Asparagus
Another great tip for quick and easy dinners for busy weeknights is planning simple, one pan meals. This Lemon Parmesan Chicken and Asparagus by Chelsea’s Messy Apron will be a delicious addition to your recipe bank. It does require more prep work than the recipes of above, but trust me, it is worth it! If you have leftovers, create a second meal by adding pasta.
Easy Chicken Fajitas
Cooking Classy gives us another great one pan dinner option with Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas. What can be better than a flavorful meal with easy cleanup! When we have fajitas, which is pretty often, I love to eat the leftovers for lunch the next day!
Other One Pan Recipes:
Chicken Parmesan Casserole
Casseroles are perfect quick and easy dinner recipes for busy weeknights. Chicken Parmesan Casserole is a simple, freezer friendly meal that can be served with your favorite pasta. Have seconds on another night, or freeze for later!
Other Easy and Delicious Casseroles:
More Ideas for Breakfast and Lunch
Easy, freezer friendly meals aren’t just for dinner. Our mornings and afternoons can be just as busy as the evenings, and sometimes leaves us scrambling for quick and healthy breakfast and lunch options. Prep these recipes along with your dinners for a truly stress free and productive week!
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I hope my meal planning tips and the recipes above are the perfect solution when you need quick and easy dinner recipes for busy weeknights. Have a favorite recipe? I’d love for you to share it in the comments! Looking for other easy recipes, healthy snack ideas, or back to school tips? Check out these other posts:
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