Some nights, it’s tough to put dinner on the table. Between after-school activities for the kids, evening meetings, and other commitments, it feels like there is barely time to eat, let alone cook dinner.

I used to get really stressed out about these meals, particularly when they happened more than once a week. I can usually get away with a night of leftovers, but I’ve been finding that our crazier evenings happen more than once a week. This means that I need another option to turn to.

It’s taken a little while, but now I have a few easy dinners that I can quickly pull together when things get crazy. Some of these easy dinners require a little thinking in advance. Others I can throw together at a moment’s notice. The key to easy dinners is a little bit of preplanning so that your pantry, freezer, and fridge have the right mix of ingredients in them. In other words, start the week off with a little meal planning.

I have organized this recipe by the cooking approach. I’ve found that the Instant Pot is a great help in quickly getting food on the table. I can prep a salad or other side dish while the Instant Pot is building to pressure or throw something in the air fryer to warm up.

Quick and easy dinners - menu planning ideas - text on website.

Sheet Pan

Dijon Maple Drumsticks with Brussel Sprouts and Butternut Squash

Petite Meatloaf with Green Beans and Carrots 

Honey Garlic Salmon With Potatoes and Broccoli  

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas  

Salmon Foil Packets with Summer Vegetables (Grilled or Baked) 

Instant Pot

Chicken Teriyaki Bowls


Basil Penne Pasta Dinner

Ramen Noodles

Honey Chicken

Caribbean Salmon and Rice with Tropical Salsa

Mongolian Beef

Air Fryer

Sriracha Salmon Fried Rice Dinner

Cajun Salmon Foil Packets

Healthy Chicken and Veggies


General Tso’s Meatballs

Easy 20 Minute Beef Teriyaki

The Only Frittata Recipe You’ll Ever Need

Blackened Salmon