Want healthy meals your kids will love?

Top 10 Ideas for 10 Minute Dinners


Super-fast dinners that you can have on the table in just ten minutes, with no prep!

No time for chit chat. Ready to get cooking? Here are 10 last-minute dinner ideas for you.

The meals on this list have to meet two criteria. First, they’ve gotta be fast. REALLY fast. Second, they have to be meals with ingredients I keep in my pantry and freezer. I always have frozen veggies. I always have pasta, I always have potatoes, and tortillas, etc.

So, here they are, straight from my notecards: our favorite 10 Minute Dinners!

#1 Whole Wheat Pasta & Veggies

spaghetti with vegetables and cheese on a white plate

This is our #1 favorite last-minute meal. We generally make this dish 90% of the time.

  • 1 package whole wheat noodles (I love whole wheat angel hair- only 5 minutes to boil it!)
  • 1 bag of frozen veggies.

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Include the veggies while you cook the pasta in the pasta water for the entire cooking time.  Drain pasta and veggies.  Then add:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4-1/2 cup shredded or grated parmesan cheese (fresh is best, but we use whatever we have)
  • Optional: If we have any leftover meat from previous dinners, I’ll heat up the meat (usually chicken) and then throw this in after the noodles are drained.

There are so many things I like about this meal, but mostly, that my kids NEVER complain when we eat it. In fact, most nights they will ask for this meal.  They usually ask for it by saying, “Can we have angel hairs tonight?” But this is the meal they are referring to.  Any noodles with broccoli and parmesan cheese, they will eat!

#2 Tacos

crunchy chicken tacos on a square plate served with strawberries


  • Any meat (ground beef, chicken, fish)
  • Any bean (black beans, pinto beans, refried beans, black eyed peas)
  • Any veggies (tomatoes, avocado, lettuce, peppers, salsa, etc)

#3 Burritos

tortilla topped with cheese, beans, and ground turkey on a blue plate

Similar to tacos, but you definitely want a tortilla here. We generally use this recipe for burritos, but it can be super flexible. We’ll add:

  • Beans,
  • Veggies,
  • Meat (optional)
  • and sometimes rice

If we want to spend a few extra minutes, I’ll wrap up the tortillas with the filling myself, and do quick pan-fry of the tortilla to seal the edge, and make the outside a bit crispy!

#4 Anything Breakfast

pancakes topped with butter, blueberries, and syrup on a white plate with a blue napkin

I have yet to meet a kid complain about breakfast for dinner!   Whether your kids like waffles, pancakes, or egg dishes, 90% of our breakfasts take less than 10 minutes to make!  The only thing you need on hand to make this happen is baking supplies (like flour, milk, salt, etc.) and eggs!

#5 Sloppy Joes

sloppy joes on a whole wheat bun served with carrot and celery sticks

We stock up on ground beef and ground turkey, so we always have the ingredients to make these sloppy joes. This recipe is fast and only takes one pan.

#6 Spaghetti

noodles with sauce and cheese with a decorative napkin served with kiwi

Good old, go-to, always popular spaghetti!  The way we make this a 10 minute dish, is this:

  • First, start your water boiling and cook your pasta.  (Again- Whole wheat angel hair is the fastest cooking pasta!)
  • Second, chop any veggies you have on hand like bell peppers, mushrooms, or onions!
  • Third, once veggies have just begun to wilt (about 3-5 minutes), heat up your spaghetti sauce in the same skillet. (you can jar your own or freeze your own to control the ingredients, or check labels to choose one low in sugar and sodium.  Trader Joe’s has a pasta sauce that we keep on hand for emergencies like 10 minute meals!)

#7 Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

grilled cheese on a white square plate served with oranges, tomatoes and carrots

These CAN be healthy!  We do grilled cheese with whole wheat bread, and we add spinach leaves. To make it even extra healthy and filling, we also add tomato soup for dipping (only if we have some in the freezer.  Any time I make tomato soup, we double it and store half in the freezer for busy nights!)

#8 Quesadillas

grilled quesadillas topped with salsa and served with peaches on a yellow plate

We make quesadillas simply with veggies, beans, tortillas, and cheese!  All items we have on hand.  Check out our recipe for this one here.

#9 Egg Frittatas with greens

asparagus and cheese frittata cut into wedges on a white plate

This breakfast for dinner is very filling and very fast!  Cooking for the whole family in one skillet is also fast clean up! We like both.  Our Asparagus Frittata (pictured) is the one we make the most often.  Recipe here!

#10 Personal Pizza

french bread pizza topped with tomatoes, broccoli and bell peppers and served with grapes

Another dish that is so versatile, you can use what’s in your fridge.   For a personal pizza, we use:

  • Whole wheat pitas
  • French bread
  • English muffins
  • Flat bread
  • Portabella mushrooms
  • Or even zucchini!

More Last Minute Dinner Ideas

Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

Learn More about Natalie

Leave a Comment:
Did you make this recipe? Leave a review!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


We need these 10 minute ideas for dinner since track and soccer season start at my house. They look like good ideas and I love your receipe for today too.

Definitely the season to be prepared. Having cooked rice in the refrigerator will help with those stir fry’s or even use noodles for that too. Yesterday I threw together a great salad. My kids love when I put it in “salad bar” style and typically eat more. Scrambled eggs are always a good quick meal for us or a great big gourmet like sandwich. Also another prepared tip. You can bake potatoes in the oven early in the day and then wrap in a terry cloth towel and they will most likely still be warm come dinner time or just take a few minutes to warm in the oven. Possibilities are endless with potatoes too. Thanks for all the great tips and reminders.

Great ideas! My best time saver is the crockpot. I use it all the time during baseball season. Dinner is ready when we get home from a game and I can throw a salad together while the table is being set.

Eating healthy is probably the easiest and most important way in which you can keep active and shield yourself from the many diseases that are now common as we grow older, including heart disease and diabetes.

I like to make Annie’s organic mac n cheese with goat yogurt instead of milk. I add a can of wild tuna and about 1.5 cups of organic mixed veggies.

All kids love pasta and there are so many variations of pasta dishes you can come up with. Macaroni and cheese, spaghetti and tomato sauce, cold pasta salads. Add a green salad and a loaf of fresh bread and your super easy dinner is on the table in 10 minutes.

I cook a huge batch of brown rice, portion it in to quart size freezer bags, and stack flat. Stir-fry is ten minutes or less!

I love these quick ideas! When my kiddos are whiny and hungry, I’ll put out a plate of raw veggies and dip they can munch on while I work on dinner. They eat LOTS of veggies this way. 😉

Love the post…quick AND healthy is sometimes a challenge. I’ve searched your website and can’t find your recipe for the tomato soup that you freeze. I’d love this recipe if you are able to share it.

Rachel We have a few in our meal planning member recipes. The basic recipe I use is:
2 tablespoon – olive oil
6 medium – carrot
1 1/2 medium (2-1/2″ dia) – onion
3 tsp, leaves – basil, dried, ground
6 cup – stewed tomatoes, canned
4 cup – Chicken Broth, Low-Sodium
1 pint – Half and Half, fat-free

Hi, Quick pasta sauce ( in the time it takes to boil the pasta) heat frying pan, cook 1 crushed garlic clove for 30 seconds, add 400g tin of tomatoes, 1 teaspoon mixed herbs, , reduce heat to low, cook 8 minutes.
I also do cheese toasties and baked beans
Scrambled egg and toast with cherry tomatoes
Steamed chicken and veggies only takes 5 minutes if you slice the chicken thinlya nd it all goes in one pot.

I’ve been reading your blog for a while, but never took the time to comment. This is my favorite post hands down! Especially the frittata! My daughter loves quiche, but that takes a while to bake.

With sloppy joes, I chop up cabbage and add that to the ground turkey after it’s browned. Once the cabbage becomes tender, I make/add the sauce (my recipe includes mustard and vinegar though – more tangy) and let it simmer a bit. The cabbage adds great texture, its a way to get in veggies, and stretches the meat to get more meals/servings!

If you have leftover rice, freeze it and use on busy days to make chicken friend rice. Simply stir fry chicken breast, 1 onion, 1 garlic bulb. Once chicken is cooked, add the rice, 10 oz bag frozen peas and carrots, crack an egg into the mix and cook until egg is fried and veggies are heated. Can also use cauliflower and broccoli or any other veggie you like. Pour half jar of teriyaki sauce and 1/2 jar of soy sauce onto the rice/chicken/veggie mix. Heat all the way through and you are done.

Love this list! I plan to stock the pantry with needed items and put the list of options inside my pantry door so when I’m tired and my blood sugar is running low I’ll actually be able to come up with something.

Pasta is not a 10 minute meal! It takes forever to boil the water, and that time should count in the total time.

Do you have a printer friendly version of this list with the 10 ideas, subcategories, but not the photos? That would be really helpful! Love all the ideas and the breakdown of it.

Am I missing something here? Pretty much every single meal here is loaded with gluten. If that is the basis of dinners for kids then they are just going to end up with gut problems as well as lots of other problems in the future. How about 10 minute dinners without all that? We all know how to make a quick pasta or a pancake. But surely what we’re all looking for is to get out of that trap and actually make meals fast that are actually healthy, right?

Great ideas, I already do some of these and will be incorporating others but they honestly seem more like 30 minute meals to me.

Thanks for this! Do you have any tips for quickly thawing something from the freezer? I keep my freezer stocked but if I forget to pull something out in advance, I feel like I spend a lot of time trying to thaw the soup/sauce/etc.

We tried #1 tonight and it was fast, super easy, and a big hit with my kids! Thanks for helping us have a healthy meal tonight when it could have easily not been!