These 30 last minute dinner ideas will last you ALL MONTH!!
You know the scenario all to well. It’s 6:00 and you haven’t started dinner. Nothing is prepped, and your family is starving. That is why I have this list of go-to, last minute, dinner ideas! To make my list, the recipes need to have a minimal amount of ingredients, only a few steps, under 30 minutes to cook, and I have to have most of the ingredients on hand, most of the time! And also, even though I’ve linked to recipes in this list, most of these meals I don’t need a recipe at all! They are that simple!
A few staples I like to have on hand, and I always pick up at the store, make it possible, even when I forget to plan for healthy meals, or I’m not following my healthy meal plan include: Rotisserie chicken, frozen ground beef or turkey, pasta, rice, tortellini, tortillas, frozen vegetables, ground beef, canned beans, bagged salad, and canned tomatoes.
These enchiladas fro Jo Cooks, just take 30 minutes. I consider it a last minute dinner idea when it only includes ingredients that I usually have on hand! The ingredients in these enchiladas I almost always will have.
We make burritos quick and easy with veggies, beans, and ground turkey. This usually takes me less than 15 minutes with this recipe.
Pasta is already a quick meal, and it’s smart to always have some ready in your pantry. We boost the nutrition of pasta with some broccoli. But if you really want it to be filling, you could add rotisserie or pre-cooked chicken as well. Try this QUICK one from Martha Stewart.
No quick list is complete without spaghetti! For a quick and simple dinner, you can’t go wrong. This is the recipe we use when we make spaghetti. You can use store bought meat sauce, or make your own ground beef with veggie starter here.
We love eating breakfast burritos for dinner! They are quicker than meat filled burrito, with just as much protein from the eggs.
The number one answer people give me when I ask what their go-to last minute meal idea is Taco’s! Everyone loves them, no one needs a recipe, and you always have the ingredients to make it! (but if you like recipes, here’s the classic taco for you)
If you need a standard burger recipe, this is your go-to here. Otherwise, you just need a minimum of ground beef (or ground turkey) and some buns to make this one work
8 Stir fry
While we swap out the beef for the chicken, stir fry is pretty basic and at your fingertips within 20 minutes.
While we have many versions of fried rice, I use this one the Quinoa fried rice recipe, because it’s quick, and power packed with quinoa instead of rice!
Probably the second most common response to my question, what’s your best last minute meal, was grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup!! Here’s our fun kid friendly version:
We love beans in our quesadillas for the protein, but if you have leftover sweet potato, it also makes a delicious addition to this dinner idea!
While this may look like a lot of ingredients, a lot of it is seasonings, so it’s really not that many, and a very quick recipe. Just have tortellini on hand in the freezer for an always quick meal!
Another staple to have on hand in the pantry with your pasta is dried gnocchi. That way you can make this gnocchi dish any time for one of my favorite dinner ideas.
We always have canned beans, canned tomatoes and ground beef or turkey. That way we can make chili any time for dinner.
16 BBQ chicken
If you keep some BBQ sauce in the pantry, you can have BBQ chicken any time!
Pesto sauce can be kept in your pantry, along with pasta for this delicious and quick meal. Pesto Pasta!
Did you know dried lentils can be stored for a long time! That means the ingredients for this meal, sloppy lentils, will always be in your pantry, even when you don’t have ground beef for sloppy joes.
We like this one, not just because it’s quick and easy. but the kids always get excited for it, pita pizzas!
Using chicken or steak, all you need are some peppers and tortillas for this last minute dinner, fajitas!
Known for it’s abundance of veggies, minestrone soup is the perfect, dump and cook dinner! This one is so simple you can’t, not make it!
Now technically, this isn’t the fastest meal on this list, but it is always a go-to, since I can guarantee I have all the ingredients at any given time. Shepherd’s Pie!
23 Tuna melts
This was very popular on our facebook page when I asked people what their quickest meal was, Tuna melt! So, this one is from Skinny Taste!
Of course, the healthiest version of this dinner is using our Stroganoff recipe, but in a pinch, a canned cream soup will do the job!
If I could be totally real for a minute, this doesn’t have to be complicated! QUICK macaroni and cheese can just be, shred some cheese, and add it to boiled pasta! DONE! Here’s my daughter doing it when she was I think 10 years old!
This meatless meal is MY FAVORITE!! My sister in law gave me this recipe, and I can have it on the table in under 10 minutes, Beth’s Lettuce Wraps!
27 Green Salads!
Any green salad will do for dinner. We like to buy the bagged salad and add rotisserie chicken to it! Fast, simple, easy, and so DELICIOUS! You can also include some grains like quinoa to a green salad. We’ve done it in this recipe here.
This recipe for chicken salad is for a snack, but we use it for sandwiches of course! Using pre-cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken will make this a quick meal.
Baked potatoes have become a last minute dinner idea for us, ever since I got a pressure cooker (and instant pot!)
30 One Pot meals like this one!
WOW!! There’s the list!! I would bookmark this list and go back to it over and over! You will never be disappointed and your family will always have dinner without resorting to takeout!