Home By Dawn 10 Quick & Easy week night dinners you haven’t tried yet

 

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to cook more at home, it’s generally healthier and almost always cheaper.

But it isn’t always easy!

So I needed a plan. Here are my top 10 go to recipes when time (or energy) is short. They aren’t all super healthy, but they are better than fast food and you can easily have the ingredients on hand at all times.

To cook at home more and eat out less, you need a plan! Here it is :)

I’ve made these all several times and keep coming back to them because they taste great and are quick to make. I generally incorporate one or two of these into our meal plan each week.

I’ve also included a few suggestions for each based on my experience with making them. Happy cooking!

 

10 quick week night dinners you haven't tried: Penne Pasta Bake-- the alfredo sauce really makes this dish!

1. Penne Pasta Bake

This recipe has quickly become a family favorite. The addition of alfredo sauce really adds great flavor and it makes a HUGE pan, you’ll definitely have leftovers. It also freezes well, I prepare it without the baking step and then put it straight from the freezer into the oven for an hour.

Ingredients:
1 box penne pasta
1 jar alfredo sauce
2 jars spaghetti sauce
1lb. ground sausage or hamburger
2c. mozzarella cheese

Optional:
1/2 onion diced
minced garlic
Italian seasoning
parmesan cheese
panko bread crumbs

Prep time: 15 min  Cook time: 30 min

Tips: When I have the time, I like to add diced onion and minced garlic to the meat as it cooks. I also sprinkle some parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning between the layers, and some Panko bread crumbs on top. And I put both jars of spaghetti sauce on right away, the noodles really soak it up.

Find preparation instructions HERE

 

10 Quick Week Night Dinners you haven't tried: Cheese Tortellini (so quick, but SO good!)

2. Crock Pot Cheese Tortellini & Sausage

Another of our favorites, I love this one because you fry the ground sausage and then dump everything into the crock pot…my kind of cooking (and it tastes awesome!). We’ve also successfully made it on the stove, you just have to watch it a little closer.

Ingredients:
1lb. ground sausage (Italian sausage is the best)
1 bag frozen cheese tortellini
1 or 2 cans of chicken broth
2 cans Italian diced tomatoes
1 8oz. block cream cheese
fresh or frozen spinach (see tips for amount)

Prep time: 15 min  Cook time: 4 hours on low in crock pot

Tips: After making this recipe about twenty times, here are a few tips…

– The recipe calls for two cans of chicken broth but I only use one, I like it to be a little less like a soup and more like a pasta dish.

– Add fresh or frozen spinach to taste (both work well). If I were just making it for myself, I would use a whole bag of spinach, but when I make it for our family I use half as much and chop it finely.

– Don’t let it cook too long in the crock pot or the tortellini gets overcooked. If there is more than an hour between cooking and serving it is best to turn it off and re-heat to serve, it re-heats well :)

– I use the Target brand frozen tortellini and have found that the sausage and frozen spinach is least expensive there, too (at least in our area!). Unfortunately the Aldi brand of fresh tortellini did not taste good.

Find preparation instructions HERE


 

10 Quick Week Night Dinners you haven't tried: Chicken Chili (I think the secret is in the ranch, SO good!)

3. Chicken Chili

This is so, so good! I get asked for the recipe every time I make it (I think the secret is in the ranch dressing :). And, if you have cooked the chicken ahead, it is another one where you just dump everything into the crock pot.

Ingredients:
1 can of black beans (drained & rinsed)
1 can of corn (drained)
1 can of rotel tomatoes (drained)
1/2 package of chili seasoning
1 package of Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning mix (dry)
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium yellow onion (chopped)
1 8oz package of cream cheese
2 chicken breasts
1 cup of chicken stock

Optional:
jalapeños
tortilla chips

Prep time: 15 min  Cook time: 2-4 hours on low in crock pot (can also be made on the stove)

Tips: The original recipe lists out the ingredients for the chili seasoning, however I use a pre-packaged mix to save time. I’ve made it both ways and the difference is negligible. I like to use rotel tomatoes with green chiles to add a little extra spice. It is great served with jalapeños (for those who like even more spice) and tortilla chips. I also skip the extra step of dicing and sautéing the onion if I am short on time.

Find preparation instructions HERE

 

10 Quick Week Night Dinners you haven't tried: No Peek Chicken (the quickest recipe yet!)

4. No Peek Chicken

One of the quickest recipes on here, you literally put everything in a pan and throw it in the oven!

Ingredients:
1 box Uncle Ben’s Long Grain Wild Rice (original recipe)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cans of water
Chicken breasts or tenders

Prep time: 10 min  Cook time: 2 hours

Tips: The original recipe calls for a can of cream of celery, but we prefer the cream of chicken. It also says one or two cans of water and mine has always needed 2.

Find preparation instructions HERE

 

10 Quick Week Night Dinners you haven't tried: 3 Ingredient Mini Meat loafs (the kids LOVE these!)

5. Three Ingredient Mini Meat loafs

Our kids love these, and my husband doesn’t mind them, either!

Ingredients:
2lbs ground beef
1 bag/box chicken stuffing
1 egg

Optional:
Catsup or BBQ sauce on top

Prep time: 10 min  Cook time: 20-25 min

Find preparation instructions HERE

 

Recipes 6-10

My FAVORITE recipe is on the next page, Oven Fried Parmesan Chicken…so quick, but SO flavorful!

10 Quick Week night dinner recipes you haven't tried yet

 



Author
Dawn
A graphic designer & marketer by trade, I left the traditional working world in 2012 to stay home with my four kids. I love being home, but am glad to still have opportunity to design professionally and for fun and to share my ideas here from time to time. A country girl at heart, I live with my husband and four kids (5, 3, 2 and infant) just outside of the Twin Cities and only a few miles from my parent’s farm.

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