This year, back-to-school season is going to look very different for all of us. We may be packing fewer lunches or not eating on the go as much, and yet we still need to sit down to dinner. Many will feel frazzled by 6pm and either not know what to make for dinner or will be crunched for time with everything else going on. This is where easy, quick dinner recipes can step in to make your life easier and keep you satisfied (and the family fed).
In September, I am heading 'back to school' for the 9th online run of the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program and you can bet your tushy that I will be having these recipes on repeat.
Each of these quick dinner recipes are simple to make and don't require a ton of hands-on cooking time, relying on the oven or pot to do most of the work. You'll still need to prep your veggies, but I've also provided make-ahead prep and cook tips to help get dinner on the table even faster.
10 QUICK DINNER RECIPES
Moroccan-Inspired Lamb with Turmeric Rice
This is our go-to when we want something fast and easy. We like the turmeric rice for extra jazz, but you could easily skip it and have plain rice for an even faster dinner.
- Cook the turmeric rice (or cauliflower rice, or another gluten-free grain) ahead of time
- Blend a quick batch of hummus a day or two before
Easy and Delicious Gluten-Free Pizza Crust
It took me many iterations to develop this allergen-friendly pizza crust and it never disappoints – plus it's a reader favourite. You can make these full-size or roll into small pizzas so everyone in the family can choose their own toppings.
- Batch prep your flour mix so it's ready to go
- Freeze tomato sauce or pesto in small jars for pizza making
- If you're out of sauce, thin out some tomato paste with water or olive oil and add dried herbs
- Double the recipe, roll out your crusts and freeze them between sheets of parchment for instant pizza making
Coconut Curry with Cod
You really can't go wrong with a one-pot meal, and this one cooks in about 20 minutes. So easy!
- Prep your veggies ahead of time
- Mix a large batch of homemade garam masala so you have it on hand
- Use leftover cooked grains to bulk it up if desired
- Use rice noodles, which only need to sit in hot water for a few minutes
All Dressed Sweet Potatoes
A filling and quick dinner recipe that you can top with whatever your heart desires. Alternate stuffing idea? Try portobello mushrooms and bell peppers!
- Bake the sweet potatoes ahead of time and re-warm in the oven when ready to serve
- Make an all-purpose sauce or salad dressing and use it for this and other dishes during the week
- Use leftover chili, curry, refried beans, scrambled eggs, guacamole or hummus for toppings
Pineapple Fried Rice
This one is always a hit with our toddler, Finley. We make this with whatever veggies we have on hand. If you don't have pineapple, try mango chunks – or just leave it out!
- Cook the rice the day or two before (this is always better for fried rice!)
- Use any leftover cooked/roasted veggies you have, but add them at the end of cooking so they don't overcook
Slow Roasted Veg and Sausage (or Tempeh/Tofu) Pasta
- Prep your veggies a day or two beforehand
- Skip the pasta – we also like to eat this grain-free and pile it on its own bowl!
Paleo Chicken Fingers
These chicken fingers are simple and also extremely kid-friendly. It's easy to throw together a side salad to go with them, or you could make baked fries.
- Cook the chicken fingers ahead of time, cool fully, freeze on parchment, and then bake in the oven when ready to serve
- Double the recipe and freeze some or all for later
Yellow Split Pea Dahl
A cozy and quick dinner recipe that is packed with protein and fibre. You can eat this on its own or add in some rice.
- Soak your yellow split peas in the morning
- This recipe is really simple and doesn't require a lot of prep, but you could make it ahead of time and heat up the leftovers any night during the week
Don't forget about breakfast for dinner! If quiche seems like too much effort, try an omelette, hash or scramble with leftover veggies.
- Cook the millet for the crust ahead of time, or skip it entirely and make a crustless quiche!
- Use leftover veggies or meat in the filling
Simple Butter Chicken (or Tofu) and Homemade Garam Masala
This is one of my favourite freezer meals. It's also a good option for a slow cooker or Instant Pot if you have one.
- Prep the spice mix ahead of time and store in your spice cupboard or pantry
- Prep your veggies in advance
- Cook rice or another grain ahead of time
- Make the entire recipe and freeze for later, or double the batch and eat half fresh and freeze the rest