The words “quick and easy” are too often used in regard to cooking and recipes. It makes me think of boxed macaroni and cheese or pre-made microwave dinners. Don’t get me wrong, some days just need real quick and easy meals, but the ritual of cooking and enjoying a meal shouldn’t be rushed — especially since it’s a great way to spend quality time with family and loved ones.
So when we are faced with busy schedules and are pressed for time, let’s reach for recipes that are instead “simple and thoughtful.” Pastas that can be made in a flash and hearty, nourishing chili, quick baked salmon, and one-pan chicken are all great dinner solutions for busy weeknights.
The Daily Meal rounded up 35 genius recipes that are both simple and thoughtful and are sure to please the whole family. The ingredient lists are short, the cook time is less than an hour, and in many cases, all you need is a quick trip to the grocery store and some knife-wielding skills for chopping.
This sweet, spicy, and crunchy turkey lettuce wrap is addictive; once you make it, you will crave it every week!
This easy sheet pan salmon recipe is made with simple spices for a delicious sweet and spicy glaze. The whole dish takes only 20 minutes to cook, making it perfect for weeknight dinners.
This is a delicious, inexpensive meal to cook when feeding a crowd or making lunches for the week. It's hearty, simple, and, of course, delicious.
Fill corn tortillas with vegetables, beans, and cheese and place in a hot skillet until the cheese is melting and the tortilla becomes crispy.
In this recipe, you’ll spend some time grating carrots, but you make up for it by not needing to make a cheese sauce on the stove.
Whole Foods Market
A whole head of cauliflower can be sliced to create several large "steaks." Roasting these cauliflower steaks along with the remaining florets is a fun and different way to enjoy the vegetable. Deviate from the original recipe by adding your favorite spices.
Fed and Fit
This salad is a perfect to make on a weeknight; you can whip up your own Caesar dressing and serve it with hearty potato croutons.
If you wanted to make this a two-pronged meal, just double the recipe — serve it first for dinner, then have the kids take the leftovers to school the next day.
This crescent dog on a stick is baked instead of fried, making for a healthier version of a corn dog. This recipe is great for picky eaters or when you just want to make something really fun for the kiddos. Dip these guys in homemade mustard or ketchup, too.
What could be simpler than rice and beans? In this recipe, rice and beans come together with a medley of Cuban flavors for a tasty, satisfying dish.
What could be simpler than rice and beans? In this recipe, rice and beans come together with a medley of Cuban flavors for a tasty, satisfying dish. Click here for the recipe.
The Daily Meal’s former cook editor Kristie Collado shares tips on how to make the best French bread pizza ever — she lists how to make the recipe components from scratch, but don’t be afraid to substitute trusted pre-made bread and tomato sauces.
This is a simple and delicious recipe for those who want to make a warm meal with minimal effort. Serve with a few slices of good bread to sop up the delicious juices.
You are just five ingredients and 15 minutes away from setting this dish down on the dinner table.
If you are looking for a simple weeknight meal, look no further. Serve your sloppy Joes with a side of vegetables or a salad for a complete meal.
This recipe takes only 20 minutes, but you do need to do a little planning and place the cashews in a bowl of water the night before. Then you’re ready to go when you come home the next evening.
Feed Me Dearly
You can cut down the cook time by using pre-made tomato sauce, and cut out the heat by omitting the peppers.
Use store-bought naan and in 15 minutes you can create a delicious, easy meal for you and your family.
You can make this delicious chicken breast recipe in fewer than 30 minutes, and it requires only one pan to make.
With this one-pot recipe, you’ll have a wonderful meal on the table in fewer than 30 minutes and the cleanup will be a breeze!
To make this deliciously complete meal, just dump vegetables and a whole chicken in a big pot and cook for 45–50 minutes until the juices run clear and the vegetables are tender.
These breaded chicken fries skip the time-consuming three-step flour, egg, and breadcrumb breading process. Raw, skinless chicken is very sticky and holds the breading quite well. Use kitchen scissors to shape the chicken breasts into the fry shape and bake in the oven to achieve crunchy, irresistible chicken.
To transform this incredibly easy pasta dinner into an even healthier meal, you can swap the regular pasta for whole-wheat spaghetti.
Michael Harlan Turkell
Fed and Fit
This paleo-friendly recipe makes a satisfying meal that will leave you feeling good afterward.