When you’re in a meal planning pinch, here are some simple dinner ideas for when you’re in a dinner rut and you have no idea what’s for dinner tonight. Use one of these ideas and make an easy dinner tonight, then put these on your meal plan for the next week and keep it movin’.
What to make for dinner tonight
No, not that kind of bar. Pick a base (baked potatoes, plain pasta, bread, taco shells) and then toppings – cooked ground meat or chicken, cheese, avocado, chopped veggies, sour cream, salad dressing, hard-boiled eggs, whatever you’ve got. Let everyone pick their own toppings – kids love these!
Picnic night (no-cook)
Picnic night is just a fancy title for a no-cook dinner. That could be sandwiches, cold pasta salad, or a regular green salad. It could also be leftover pasta or rice mixed with canned tuna or chicken. If you’re struggling for ideas, look for “summer no-cook dinners” on Pinterest.
Breakfast for dinner
Cereal for dinner? Hey, do what you gotta do. But you can also make a quick dinner of waffles, eggs, and fruit! And of course, there’s my oldest son’s favorite of BEC’s – Bacon Egg & Cheese sandwiches!
Make a mix-n-match platter
I often do this for lunch but it’s a simple dinner idea. Grab some cold cuts, cheeses, crackers, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, raw veggies, and fruit. Add a scoop of peanut butter, some hard boiled eggs – basically whatever you have that doesn’t need to be cooked. Put it all on a platter and let everyone take what they want. Kids especially love this!
Pasta + leftover veggies
Grab whatever vegetables you have, and any leftover meat… chop them up kinda small, throw them in a pan to heat them up with some oil and then add a little chicken broth and some lemon juice to make a sauce. Toss with cooked pasta and voilá, you’re done!
This is the same concept as the pasta, but less carbs (and only one pan!). Preheat the oven to 425 then toss veggies (and meat if you want) into a large oven-proof skillet pan. Cook until the veggies are almost done, add 12 eggs you scrambled with 3 tablespoons of milk, throw some cheese on top, and cook for one minute on top of the stove then put it in the oven for 7-14 minutes. Leftovers (if you have any!) freeze well, too.
If you find yourself trying to figure out what’s for dinner tonight over and over:
Stop stressing out over dinner and let me help you make the simplest meal plan ever! You need to watch these videos. They’re specifically made for moms who hate to meal plan (ya know, if you’d rather stick a fork in your eye than create a meal plan!). Get the videos right to your inbox:
Other ways to find new, easy weeknight dinner ideas:
These need just a little advance planning, so put these on your meal plan for later in the week!
“Swap” a meal with a friend
This is one of my favorite ideas! Message one of your friends and agree to swap dinners for one night this week. You make an extra dinner from your Family Favorites night and bring it to her, and she makes an extra dinner for you.
People love to share good recipes! Ask your friends, roommate, cousin, neighbor, the lady in front of you in the grocery store… whoever! Ask on social media for some dinner ideas. Everyone loves to share good recipes they’ve made and you might just find a new family favorite!
Find one weeknight dinner idea on Pinterest (easily!)
Look for one new meal idea – just one! If you have a stocked pantry or freezer, find 2 (just two!) things you have that you’d like to use and go looking for a new recipe. Where? My favorite is Pinterest, but if you’re afraid you’ll start out looking for a recipe and end up planning your kid’s next birthday party, I feel your pain!
Be very specific and type in “30 minute dinner recipe (add your two ingredients here)” and set a timer so you don’t go down the Pinterest rabbit hole!
More meal planning tips and tricks
Prevent the “meal planning scramble” in the future by keeping on top of your dinners. Here are some ideas and tips to make that happen:
- Use theme nights
- Start a family favorites list that you can refer to
- Meal plan monthly so it’s done
- Make a few double dinners and freeze them
- Create a backup plan for dinner emergencies
I hope these ideas help you feel less frazzled at dinnertime! If you need more ideas, check out the videos below – they’re totally free!
Make the simplest meal plan ever
Would you rather stick a fork in your eye than meal plan? Watch this video series that will help stop asking “what’s for dinner?” night after night! It’s specifically made for moms who hate to meal plan. Is that you?
We start the videos together on Monday, April 15th but if you miss them, there will be replays!