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12 Dinner Ideas When You Don’t Feel Like Cooking

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12 Dinner Ideas When You Don’t Feel Like Cooking

When you’re busy or just not in the mood to cook, it can take effort to figure out what to make for dinner. Luckily, there are tons of convenient and delicious options that take very little prep time and will satisfy your hungry family.

Here are 12 ideas for dinner from The Kitchen Community that don’t require a lot of work:

Roasted Chicken Breast

If you have some protein leftover from cooking earlier in the week, this is an easy way to use it.

Roast some chicken breasts in the oven and serve them with whatever veggies you like – broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green beans, carrots, etc.

Season everything with salt and pepper or a simple spice blend like garlic powder and oregano.

Rice Bowls

If you have leftover rice, chicken, steak, pork chops or some other kind of meat on hand,

all you need to make a quick and healthy dinner is some chopped bell peppers, onions and mushrooms, along with your choice of toppings like shredded cheese and olives.

Baked Potato Bar

You can make baked potatoes in advance, so you only have to reheat them when it’s time for dinner.

Set out all kinds of different toppings – including chili, bacon bits, sour cream, salsa and more – so that everyone can build their customized meal based on their preferences.

Veggie Soup With Toasted Cheese Sandwiches

This is an easy meal to throw together with leftover veggies or ones that you pick up from the produce section of your local grocery store.

Simply toss your veggies in a pot, add some broth and water, and let it simmer until everything’s soft.

Toast some sliced bread on the stove or in the oven, then top with shredded cheese for a filling and satisfying meal.

Sandwiches or Wraps

If you need something quick and easy, meat-and-cheese sandwiches are always great options – mainly if you use high-quality ingredients like thinly sliced turkey breast or roast beef from the deli counter at your grocery store.

You can also take this further by filling your bread or wraps with hummus, guacamole and other condiments for extra flavor.

Pasta salad

Especially if you have leftover pasta on hand, this is a simple way to mix things up at dinnertime.

All you need is fresh veggies – like cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, celery, tomatoes and more – and some greens (like arugula or spinach), plus a homemade dressing that is easy to make.

Soup with Whole Grain Crackers or Toast

Soup is an incredibly versatile food that can be enjoyed any time of year in countless variations.

If you have soup on hand from earlier in the week or are in the mood for something new, pair it with whole grain crackers or toast – which you can make in advance – to round out your meal.

Quiche with Cheese, Veggies and Eggs

You don’t have to be a pastry chef to make quiche since all you need is eggs, milk and cheese, and some fresh veggies that are sliced thin or chopped small.

This is another dish that’s easy to prepare ahead of time and enjoy at any time of day.

Salad with Protein-rich Toppings

Salads are perfect options if you don’t feel like cooking anything elaborate but want something nutritious and filling.

Toss together some greens (like spinach, arugula or a mix of different types) with your favorite vegetables and some protein-rich toppings like chickpeas or chicken breast slices, along with your choice of dressing.

Pork Chop Skillet Meal

Try out this simple one-pot meal if you have pork chops on hand and don’t feel like cooking anything too complicated.

Sear the pork chops in a pan until they’re golden brown on both sides, then add potatoes, onions and apples to the pan along with garlic powder and salt.

Add a bit of water to deglaze the pan if necessary, then let everything simmer until cooked through.

Stir-fried Meat and Veggies Served Over Rice Noodles

The nice thing about stir-fries is that they’re easy to make and can include any combination of different ingredients you desire.

If you have leftover rice noodles on hand, toss them with minced garlic, green onions, sesame seeds and your choice of meat (like ground turkey or beef), along with your favorite vegetables like broccoli tempura or zucchini.

Baked Potato Made in the Oven

This is a fantastic option for cold weather months when you only want to curl up under a warm blanket and eat something filling.

Bake potatoes until they’re cooked through – make sure to poke holes in them first so that steam can escape – then top them with chili, cheese and avocado slices or guacamole.

How Much Should You Eat for Dinner?

Your diet can have a big impact on your health. What you eat can affect your weight, your energy levels, and even your mood.

That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re eating the right amount of food at each meal.

But how much should you be eating for dinner?

The answer may depend on a few factors, such as your age, activity level, and weight.

In general, though, most adults should aim for about half a plate of fruits or vegetables, one quarter of a plate of protein-rich foods, and one quarter of a plate of whole grains or starchy vegetables.

This approach can help you get the nutrients you need while avoid overeating.

Of course, these guidelines are just a starting point.

You may need to adjust your portion sizes based on your own individual needs. And remember, listening to your body is also important.

If you’re feeling full, don’t force yourself to finish everything on your plate.

Trusting your hunger signals is an important part of eating mindfully and maintaining a healthy weight.

To that End

Now that you have some ideas to work with, remember the basics.

Set aside a certain amount of time every week to meal prep and write out all your recipes or ingredients in advance to take advantage of these 12 easy dinner ideas when you don’t feel like cooking.

For optimal results, designate one night per week as “cooking” night, where you make enough meals for your entire family so that you don’t have to cook again for at least a few days.

And be sure to keep all your favorite go-to ingredients in your pantry so that everything is convenient and ready when needed!

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