These easy last minute dinners come together quickly, using ingredients you probably have on hand and let you easily swap out for more convenient ingredients. The end of the day should be a time to relax, and the last thing you want to do is find yourself stressing over wondering what to make for dinner. You'll love these meat, chicken, vegetarian and seafood dinner ideas perfect for busy weeknights.
As a busy mom, there are few things more frustrating for me than nearing the end of a long day of work and hearing that familiar grumble of hunger, only to realize you didn't set out something for dinner. I'll admit I don't always plan dinner and at 4 pm I'm thinking about what to cook and I need easy dinner ideas. It's even more stressful when the kids are asking "what's for dinner tonight?" and they want a meal sooner than later.
If you want to get dinner on the table quickly, I have plenty of easy last minute dinner ideas for you. Many of the dinners in this recipe roundup are fast dinner ideas and ready in under 30 minutes. They also don't need many ingredients. So if you are in a bind, check out this list of quick meal ideas and get cooking. They are great for week night cooking and the whole family will run to the dinner table when they smell the food cooking.
Meat Dinner Ideas
Tacos are always a big hit. When they are filled with juicy, mouthwatering steak and topped with salsa, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese or to each diners liking you can't go wrong. Best of all, these steak tacos are on the table in just 20 minutes and are a super easy idea for dinner.
You can also swap out the steak and make easy Mexican ground beef to fill the tacos instead.
Beefy and earthy tenderloin beef tips with mushrooms is like enjoying a steakhouse dinner at home. Enjoy a premium cut of beef without paying the premium price. This is my go-to for a quick and satisfying meal anytime I'm craving steak. It's also one of my favorite last-minute dinner ideas for entertaining spontaneous dinner guests.
Air fryer lamb chops lets you enjoy gourmet flavor in about 15 minutes. Loin chops are less expensive than rib chops and you can quickly marinate them while you change out of your work clothes then air fry to perfection. This is a super easy dinner recipe that is also great for an at home date night.
Chicken Dinner Ideas
Chicken cutlets cook fast and the breading makes these fresh and delicious. They are lightly pan fried in butter and olive oil then topped with fresh tomato, fresh basil and mozzarella cheese and drizzled with balsamic glaze. This chicken recipe will make you feel like you are eating in an Italian restaurant rather than having a week night home cooked meal.
Made in a single skillet, this chicken parmesan is juicy, topped with melty cheese and smothered with my favorite marinara sauce. Serve it with boiled pasta or grab some of your favorite hoagie rolls for a quick chicken parmesan sandwich.
This Mexican meal is easy to prepare and brings together the flavors you love in both tacos and fajitas. Tender strips of boneless chicken breasts are tossed with onions and bell peppers then wrapped in a tortilla. You might have everything you need on hand for this easy meal.
Delicious and crispy air fryer chicken legs only require 3 ingredients and there are only 3 simple steps to make these delicious drumsticks. Just season, air fry, test for doneness and serve. Perfect for easy last minute week night dinners.
Vegetarian Dinner Ideas
Breakfast for dinner is always a winner. Combine a few eggs with veggies and cheese from the fridge in this easily customizable frittata recipe. Serve this crustless egg bake on its own or add a few strips of bacon and fruit salad to make it a full meal.
Blush sauce is a creamy tomato sauce made from canned crushed tomatoes, garlic, dried seasonings and a splash of half and half. Serve it over angel hair pasta or whatever type of pasta noodles you have on hand. This quick meal is made with pantry staples.
This healthy meal is also a budget-friendly meal that tastes great and is vegan to boot. Whether you eat a plant based diet all the time or are trying to do it more often, this one-pan dish is a great way to reduce your meat consumption and it only takes 30 minutes to make. You could also make this a gluten free meal by using gluten-free pasta.
Grab a jar of sundried tomatoes, a can of artichokes, frozen peas and a box of pasta from the store on your way home from work for an easy dinner that cooks in just 20 minutes. Lighter than marinara pasta dishes, this vegetarian pasta is delicious and filling. Top with some fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese for even extra flavor. This is also a perfect make-ahead meal that can easily be reheated in the microwave.
Fish and Seafood Dinner Ideas
Flaky fish in 15 minutes is completely doable thanks to the air fryer. Cajun seasoning is all you need to make salmon that's incredibly tasty. Add a salad and baked sweet potatoes to make a full meal. It's a quick dinner but also one of my favorite healthy recipes.
Succulent shrimp are flavored with broth and lemon juice instead of loads of butter for a healthy and simple weeknight dinner. Serve over spaghetti for a delicious meal in just 20 minutes. I keep frozen shrimp in my freezer at all times so I can make this meal with just a few other pantry ingredients.
Baja Fish Taco Bowls are the perfect choice for easy last minute dinners when you have all the ingredients you need except for taco shells or tortillas. This easy idea for dinner can easily be customized with mixins and ingredients you have on hand.
15. Cod Fish Piccata
Pick up a few white fish fillets at the grocery store on the way home from work to make this lovely Fish Piccata with artichokes. It's one of my favorite last-minute dinners. The buttery, lemony white wine sauce and the briney flavor of the capers complement each other beautifully in this light dish that comes together quickly. It's a delicious way to get more fish into your diet. White rice is a great idea to serve on the side as it will soak up the delicious sauce of this easy dish.
More Easy Last Minute Dinner Ideas
Here are more easy recipes to make an easy weeknight dinner or have a last minute weekend dinner that the entire family will enjoy. All it takes are some simple ingredients from your local grocery store to have a delicious family dinner tonight or even that special date night at home. Good food does not have to be complicated!
- Cheese Tortellini with Sausage and Mushrooms
- Scallop Fried Rice
- Fried Leftover Spaghetti
- Air Fryer BBQ Shrimp
- Spaghetti with Turkey Bolognese
- Cheesy Shredded Chicken Enchiladas from Maple and Mango
- Super Simple Salmon Bites from The Fresh Family Kitchen
- Creamy Sausage and Potatoes from Thrifty Frugal Mom
- Vegetable Stir Fry with Noodles from Cook It Real Good
- Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes from Easy Budget Recipes
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