19 Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinner Ideas

Are you spending way too much time and mental energy thinking about “what should I cook for dinner tonight?” I feel you. It can be such a time and energy drain! But I’ve got some simple solutions for you. I’ve compiled this list of 19 Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinners, so you can crush your goals, eat better, save money, feel like a super hero, and still have a little time to put your feet up at the end of the day. 😊

Title text overlay on top of a photo of a pasta skillet dinner.

19 Quick and Easy Weeknight Meals on a Budget

The criteria for making this list includes:

  • Short ingredient list
  • Fast (about 30 minutes)
  • Easy recipes suitable for beginners
  • Comprised of mostly pantry staples, so you can whip them up on the fly

And by “pantry staples” I mean items that are shelf stable so you can keep them on hand without worrying they’ll spoil. This can be dry goods (actual pantry), refrigerator items that have a long shelf life, or items that can be stashed in the freezer for a rainy day. Check out my list of Pantry Staples so you can get a good idea of what to stock up on for fast weeknight dinners.

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Weeknight Black Bean Chili

This easy and comforting black bean chili is rich, full of warm chili spices, and fast enough to pull together on a busy weeknight. 
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Weeknight Black Bean Chili – Chili is such a classic and total family pleaser. You can keep almost all of these ingredients on hand, ready to go, and make use of anything you might have leftover in the fridge for toppings, like sour cream, shredded cheese, green onions, or tortilla chips. Total Time: 35 min. Number of Ingredients: 12

 

Smoky BBQ sauce, salty bacon, and creamy Monterey Jack cheese come together in this quick, one-dish Monterey Chicken Skillet.

Monterey Chicken Skillet

Smoky BBQ sauce, salty bacon, and creamy Monterey Jack cheese come together in this quick, one-dish Monterey Chicken Skillet. 
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Monterrey Chicken Skillet – If you’re the type to buy a rotisserie chicken to use throughout the week, this quick skillet meal is one of my favorite uses for rotisserie chicken. I also like to slice packages of bacon into 3 or 4 oz. portions and freeze them for use later, in recipes like this. The bacon cooks quickly in the skillet, straight from the freezer! Total Time: 25 min. Number of Ingredients: 8

 

This Tuscan White Bean Pasta is a fast and flavorful dish that is perfect for weeknight dinners. The caramelized garlic, basil, and Parmesan pack a huge flavor punch! BudgetBytes.com

Tuscan White Bean Pasta

This Tuscan White Bean Pasta is a fast and flavorful dish that is perfect for weeknight dinners. The caramelized garlic, basil, and Parmesan pack a huge flavor punch! 
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Tuscan White Bean Pasta – No time to thaw meat? No problem. This Tuscan White Bean Pasta is still packed with protein, but utilizes a shelf stable can of white beans instead of meat! Total Time: 30 min. Number of Ingredients: 11

 

These super fast Curried Chickpeas with spinach are packed with flavor and nutrients, vegan, gluten-free, and filling! Plus they freeze great! BudgetBytes.com

Curried Chickpeas with Spinach

These super fast Curried Chickpeas with spinach are packed with flavor and nutrients, vegan, gluten-free, and filling! Plus they freeze great!
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Curried Chickpeas with Spinach – You won’t believe the flavor in this dish, despite the incredibly short ingredient list! And to top it off, it’s one of the fastest hot meals you can make. No time to make rice to go along with it? Serve this with pita or naan bread to make things even easier. Total Time: 25 min. Number of Ingredients: 8

 

The Easiest Burrito Bowl Meal Prep that you can put together in about 30 minutes with minimal cooking, chopping, and nothing to pack on the side. Lunch can be easy and tasty! BudgetBytes.com

Easiest Burrito Bowl Meal Prep

The Easiest Burrito Bowl Meal Prep that you can put together in about 30 minutes with minimal cooking, chopping, and nothing to pack on the side. Lunch can be easy and tasty! 
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Easiest Burrito Bowl Meal Prep – Sure, I originally posted this as a meal prep idea, but there’s no reason it can’t just be made and served for dinner for a family of four! No special containers necessary, just pile everything into a bowl and eat! Total Time: 30 min. Number of Ingredients: 8

 

Sweet, salty, rich, and crunchy, these Pork and Peanut Dragon Noodles hit all the bases. It’s fast, easy comfort food for busy nights! BudgetBytes.com

Pork and Peanut Dragon Noodles

Sweet, salty, rich, and crunchy, these Pork and Peanut Dragon Noodles hit all the bases. It’s fast, easy comfort food for busy nights! 
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Pork and Peanut Dragon Noodles – Seriously, forget take out. You can do better at home, with only SEVEN ingredients and 25 minutes (it takes longer to order delivery anyway, ammiright?). You can easily adjust the spiciness of these noodles, or toss in any extra vegetables you might have in your fridge. Total Time: 25 min. Number of Ingredients: 7

 

One Pot Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

This smoky, sweet, and creamy One Pot Roasted Red Pepper Pasta cooks in one single pot and can be on the table in about 30 minutes. 
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One Pot Roasted Red Pepper Pasta – If you like creamy and easy, this super simple ONE POT Roasted Red Pepper Pasta is going to be your new fav. The pasta cooks in the broth with all the other ingredients, which means it soaks up a TON of flavor, and leaves you with one less pot to clean. #win Total Time: 30 min. Number of Ingredients: 10

 

Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry

This fast and easy Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry is a filling low carb dinner with big flavor and endless possibilities for customization. 
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Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry – Stir fries are the epitome of fast weeknight dinners! This Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry has gone viral because it’s incredible flavor and easy prep. To make things even easier, grab a bag of coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots) so you can just toss it in the skillet and skip all the chopping! Total Time: 30 min. Number of Ingredients: 14

 

If you're looking for a quick and easy dinner, this Southwest Chicken Skillet is it! Precooked chicken makes this dinner possible in about 30 minutes. BudgetBytes.com

Southwest Chicken Skillet

If you're looking for a quick and easy dinner, this Southwest Chicken Skillet is it! Precooked chicken makes this dinner possible in about 30 minutes.
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Southwest Chicken Skillet – This is another great “rotisserie chicken helper” type meal. It comes together quickly, is full of flavor, uses just a handful of ingredients, and is as satisfying as that burrito bowl you were going to order from Chipot… er… that restaurant. Total Time: 25 min. Number of Ingredients: 8

 

Bacon and Spinach Pasta with Parmesan is a quick and flavorful weeknight dinner that only requires a few ingredients. BudgetBytes.com

Bacon and Spinach Pasta with Parmesan

Bacon and Spinach Pasta with Parmesan is a quick and flavorful weeknight dinner that only requires a few ingredients.
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Bacon and Spinach Pasta with Parmesan – It’s amazing how just a little bacon and Parmesan can transform plain pasta into something crave-worthy. And I like to throw in a little spinach just for good measure. ;) Total Time: 30 min. Number of Ingredients: 6

 

One Pot Chili Pasta

This super hearty One Pot Chili Pasta is bursting with southwest chili flavor, protein, and fiber. It's a meal in a bowl that the whole family will love.
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One Pot Chili Pasta – It’s like homemade hamburger helper, the classic American comfort food! Except made pretty much from scratch, so you know exactly what’s in there. No mystery powders. Added bonus: this makes a HUGE batch so there will be plenty of leftovers for lunches throughout the week. Total Time: 40 min. Number of Ingredients: 14

 

Pizzadillas

All the cheesy toppings of a pizza stuffed into a fast, easy, and crispy quesadilla. Perfect for dipping in pizza sauce!
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Pizzadillas – I like to think of these as the lazy girl’s pizza. When you don’t have time to mess with real pizza dough, grab a tortilla, fill it with your favorite pizza toppings, fold, heat, and DONE. For extra easy pizzadillas, grab a handful of vegetables from your grocer’s salad bar to use as toppings! Total Time: 20 min. Total Ingredients: 8

 

This One Pot Sausage and Sun Dried Tomato Pasta cooks quickly and in one skillet so that no flavor is lost! Make dinner fast, easy, and delicious. BudgetBytes.com

One Pot Sausage and Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

This One Pot Sausage and Sun Dried Tomato Pasta cooks quickly and in one skillet so that no flavor is lost! Make dinner fast, easy, and delicious.
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One Pot Sausage and Sun Dried Tomato Pasta – You’ll feel like you’re eating dinner at a fancy bistro with this one, but really you can whip up this masterpiece at home in just ONE pan, and in 30 minutes. And there’s no waiter to tip. ;) Total Time: 30 min. Number of Ingredients: 9

 

Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas

Black beans, corn, cilantro, cheese, and plenty of spices make these vegetarian black bean quesadillas big on flavor and surprisingly filling.
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Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas – This has been a reader favorite recipe for the seven years since I first posted it! These quesadillas make an excellent fast and light dinner, and you can even freeze them after assembly so all you have to do is reheat quickly in a skillet on extra busy nights! Total Time: 15 min. Number of Ingredients: 8

 

Easier than a box meal, this creamy tomato & spinach pasta is also more flavorful and delicious. 100% real ingredients.

Creamy Tomato and Spinach Pasta

Easier than a box meal, this creamy tomato and spinach pasta is also more flavorful and delicious. 100% real ingredients.
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Creamy Tomato and Spinach Pasta – Super simple and satisfying, this creamy tomato and spinach pasta hits all the marks for a weeknight dinner. If you want to punch it up a bit you can always add some chicken or Italian sausage! Total Time: 25 min. Number of Ingredients: 14

 

These Green Chile Turkey Burgers can't be beat for a fast, flavorful weeknight dinner. Ready in about 30 minutes and full of southwest flavor. BudgetBytes.com

Green Chile Turkey Burgers

These Green Chile Turkey Burgers can't be beat for a fast, flavorful weeknight dinner. Healthy, ready in about 30 minutes, and full of southwest flavor. 
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Green Chile Turkey Burgers – Burgers aren’t just fast and easy when you get them from the drive-thru. They’re incredible simple to make at home. These burgers get extra flavor from green chiles and cheeeeeese! Total Time: 30 min. Number of Ingredients: 10

 

This One Pot Bacon Broccoli Mac and Cheese is fast, easy, and absolutely fool proof. This sauce stays smooth and creamy! BudgetBytes.com

One Pot Bacon Broccoli Mac and Cheese

This One Pot Bacon Broccoli Mac and Cheese is fast, easy, and absolutely fool proof. This sauce stays smooth and creamy!
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One Pot Bacon Broccoli Mac and Cheese – If cheese sauces intimidate you, this recipe will be a life saver! This no-roux sauce comes together in just a few minutes and gets an added punch from bacon and smoked paprika. I swear, it’s almost as easy as boxed mac, but 100x better. Total Time: 45 min. Number of Ingredients: 9

 

Bowties and Broccoli

This insanely simple dinner "cheat" is ready in minutes and will keep you full for hours. Bowties and Broccoli is my go-to lazy weeknight dinner.
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Bowties and Broccoli – This recipe has been my savior for YEARS. It’s so incredibly simple, but plenty satisfying for those nights when I’m so tired that I can barely stand up. And if you want to take it up a notch, a little Italian sausage would be a wonderful addition! Total Time: 15 min. Number of Ingredients: 7

 

Green Chile Migas is a fast and inexpensive egg dish that is flavorful and filling any time of day, not just for breakfast! BudgetBytes.com

Green Chile Migas

Green Chile Migas is a fast and inexpensive egg dish that is flavorful and filling any time of day, not just for breakfast! 
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Green Chile Migas – And don’t forget about breakfast for dinner! Breakfast dishes are usually pretty fast and easy, so it makes sense to utilize them for dinner every once in a while. This easy migas (scrambled eggs with tortillas) is one of my fav’s! Total Time: 35 min. Number of Ingredients: 9

 

And those are my top 19 Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinners! Feel free to share your go-to weeknight dinner recipes for other readers to enjoy in the comments below. :) The more the merrier!