6 Stress-Free Last-Minute Meal Ideas

It’s 5pm and OMG what am I going to feed these people?  Been there, done that! How many times have you stood in the middle of the kitchen, stared at the clock, it’s dinner time and you’ve done nothing about it–including shop. I’ve got simple solutions to a last-minute dinner! Here are quick meal ideas using stuff that you probably have in your pantry and fridge. Best part is they are all simple and kid-friendly!

1. Taco Night







The easiest way to do this is to put each ingredient in separate bowls and place in the center of the table. Take a can of black beans, pinto beans, black eyed peas or whatever is available. Drain and rinse. Finely chop veggies that are in the fridge — lettuce, cucumber, red bell peppers, onion, green beans, celery, radishes, whatever. Put in separate bowls, grab whatever cheese you have in the fridge – cheddar, mozz, Monterey Jack, Pamigiano Reggiano, again whatever. If you have ground chicken, turkey or lean beef in the freezer, that’s great. Just defrost and sauté with a little dried cumin, cilantro, chili powder. Make a quick salsa by taking some of the veggies you just chopped, squeeze in some lime juice, sprinkle with salt & pepper, toss in some garlic and drizzle some tomato juice or sauce. Whip up a quick guacamole with the avocado you should already have in your fridge because they are so good for you. Take hard or soft corn tortillas and place in center of the table. Ole!


2. Breakfast for Dinner








My two boys love this dinner and this will very likely be your kids’ favorite. Call it “Opposite Day.” Make breakfast for dinner, and let them have dinner for breakfast on another day. And there’s another word for that: LEFTOVERS!

A few suggestions:

• Tossed salad and scrambled eggs (just like in the tune from “Fraiser”).  Add a slice of whole grain toast or potatoes and dinner is served!

• Pancakes or waffles… grate in some apples, pears or add chopped banana or raisins – serve with a fresh fruit smoothie

• Yogurt parfait…low fat yogurt, fresh fruit, unsweetened cereal, chopped nuts or any combination you like.

• Omlettes with your favorite fillings, hashed sweet potatoes and fresh fruit


3. One Pot Meal Night







All you do is combine ingredients you have on hand into one vessel, cook it up and dinner is served…

Chili: Whether it is white chicken, turkey, vegetarian or classic beef chili is a perfect hearty, quick meal. Pack up the leftovers and freeze for next time.

Soup: Boil up a pot of broth, add chopped veggies and cook ’em up. Stir in some beans and/or leftover cooked protein, spice it up and soups on!

Casserole: Mix, pour in pan and bake…can’t get easier than that! Use leftover or fresh cooked whole grain pasta (takes just a few minutes to boil up). Stir in canned tuna or salmon, leftover chicken or another lean protein. Add in a little grated cheese, ricotta or cottage cheese, an egg or two if you fancy and any frozen or fresh veggie on hand. Top with a thin layer of breadcrumbs and bake at 325 for about 20 minutes. Bon Appetit!


4. All-in-One Salad Night







Make a huge salad with whatever veggies you have. Toss with your favorite dressing or make a quick one with 2 parts olive oil, 1 part vinegar (balsamic, red wine, rice wine, cider, any kind), Dijon mustard, and dried spices. Top with leftover protein, canned salmon or tuna, beans, rotisserie chicken pieces, tempeh, tofu, edamame, etc. and serve with a few whole grain crackers.


5. Burger Night







Burger night is all about the sides you bring to the party. Rummage through the fridge and pull out the pickles, hot peppers, cheese, lettuce, any veggies, mayo, ketchup, mustard, sriracha or anything else that sounds good on a burger. Open the bread drawer and pull out rolls, tortillas, rye bread, English muffins or go low carb and wrap the burger in lettuce, cabbage or kale.


6. Pizza Night







Start by toasting whole grain English muffins, bread or pitas. Sauce it up with homemade or jarred tomato sauce, mashed avocado or hummus. Sprinkle on some shredded cheese and fresh or dried herbs. Add a layer of veggies and if you have some leftover meat, poultry or fish available throw it on top. Now you, my friend, have got yourself a pizza!

Peruse the recipes on my here on my site, bookmark this post and the next time the clock sneaks up on you at dinnertime…hakuna matata 🙂

Please share your favorite quick meal ideas, recipes, stories, cooking tips and nutrition nuggets HERE  🙂

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