3 Weeks of Easy Weeknight Dinners

Eating nutritious meals, especially during the week, is a common goal for many people. But coming up with ideas for what exactly to make requires some inspiration and planning, which can be more difficult than it seems. If you’re drawing a blank about what to eat this week, or aren’t quite confident in your culinary […]

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Eating nutritious meals, especially during the week, is a common goal for many people. But coming up with ideas for what exactly to make requires some inspiration and planning, which can be more difficult than it seems. If you’re drawing a blank about what to eat this week, or aren’t quite confident in your culinary abilities, this list of easy weeknight dinners is for you.

Here you’ll find three weeks worth of recipes that feature ingredients you either have at home already or can be found at your local run-of-the-mill grocery store. Better yet, they’re simple enough for cooks of any skill level to make and their straightforward preparation means you’ll be able to concentrate on things outside the kitchen.

Tips for Easy Dinners

This list of easy weeknight recipes should get you through at least three weeks of delicious dinners, but there are lots of strategies for eating fairly healthy on a consistent basis. The main thing is to keep things simple, which you can do with these tips:

  1. Plan to use ingredients you already have on hand. This will reduce your grocery bill and increase the chance that you’ll actually cook the planned dish. After all, if an ingredient is already in your pantry of fridge, you probably like it!
  2. Cook recipes that can be repurposed or eaten as leftovers in the following days. Cooking a new dish every night can feel like a lot of work and you’re more likely to cave and order takeout.
  3. Look for recipes with short or unattended cooking times. 30 minutes or less is good.
  4. Swap spices and herbs to mix up recipes that have become boring.
  5. Stick to recipes that only use a few dishes so that cleanup is faster. One pot or sheet and dinners are incredible when it comes to quick cleanup.
  6. Keep shelf-stable items on hand in your pantry, such as beans, rice and pasta. Better yet, stock up when an item is on sale!
  7. Buy proteins on sale and keep them in your freezer until you’re ready to use them.
  8. If you make bulk soups or sauces, store them in your freezer for instant dinners in the future. These are perfect for evenings when you’re short on time or energy for cooking.


Simple Carbonara

This simple carbonara recipe from Bon Appétit is an incredibly accessible weeknight dinner for when you’ve neglected grocery shopping. Featuring ingredients that you probably have on hand, like eggs, cheese and pasta, this dish is comforting and easy to make, as well as picky eater approved. This recipe technically calls for guanciale, which is cured pork jowl, but you can easily swap it for other fatty pork cuts like bacon or prosciutto. In a pinch, you could even use a pork chop, cut up into small pieces with the fat left on.

Sea Wave/Shutterstock

One-Pot Kebabs

Before you get too intimidated by the thought of wrangling kebabs, take a look at this recipe from Food52. It has only a few simple ingredients, common Egyptian spices and forgiving cooking techniques. Even if you leave this beef kebab over the heat for too long, it’s easily salvaged and exceptionally flavorful. The caramelized beef can accompany nearly any starch or vegetable dish, meaning that it’s easy to repurpose for leftover dinners.

Tatiana Volgutova/Shutterstock

Two-Dollar Curry (Butter Chicken)

Coming from one of YouTube’s favorite chefs, Joshua Weissman’s curry hits the spot and the budget. The chicken thighs turn out tender and juicy, and this curry only gets better in the days after you make it, so don’t be worried about leftovers. This recipe requires that you make your own curry sauce, a valuable skill that Weissman makes easy to follow. This recipe also has a video so you can follow along with, which is perfect if you aren’t confident in your cooking skills or if this is a very new type of dish for you.


Pulled Pork Sandwiches

This pulled pork sandwich has a long cook time, but much of it is unattended making it relatively easy to make. It also yields twelve servings, making this recipe from Foodie Crush a great option for a big family, multiple dinners or even lunch leftovers. Plus, who can say no to the comfort of a delicious pulled pork sandwich? Pair this sandwich with your favorite salad or grilled vegetables for a well-rounded meal. Or throw some french fries in the oven … we won’t judge.

Joshua Resnick/Shutterstock

Marinated Chicken Breasts

Quite possibly the easiest and most adaptable recipe on this list, these marinated chicken breasts from the Food Network are a classic weeknight dinner option. You can buy your chicken breasts and marinate them ahead of time, freezing them until you’re ready to cook. Thaw them in your fridge for a day before you’re ready to cook, then serve them alongside your favorite starch and steamed or roasted vegetables. You can also easily swap the herbs and seasoning in this recipe to your preferences.

Oksana Shufrych/Shutterstock

Three-Ingredient Macaroni and Cheese

Nothing says comfort like mac and cheese. Instead of reaching for bland boxed mac and cheese, try this three-ingredient recipe from Food52 for a cheesy, satisfying dinner. It only needs a pot and strainer to cook, so it’s easy to set up and clean up. Pick whatever cheese you prefer, although softer cheeses are usually better for mac and cheese recipes. For a little extra kick, you can add bacon bits or chili flakes on top.


Lemon Chicken

Instead of ordering your favorite takeout lemon chicken, try making it yoursef! This recipe from the Food Network shows you the basics of using a wok and creating your own sauces, delivering a mouthwatering lemon chicken in only about 25 minutes. There’s a video included in the recipe, which is perfect to follow along with if you’re fairly new to cooking from scratch.


Creamy Pasta With Crispy Mushrooms

Think of this recipe from Bon Appétit as an elevated version of mac and cheese. Featuring mixed mushrooms, this recipe is best for the fall when the most varieties of wild mushrooms are available. Sear them in a pan before combining them with your pasta and creamy sauce, resulting in an incredible combination of flavors and textures. This dish can work for either a quick family meal or an at-home date night – it’s up to you!

Maria Uspenskaya/Shutterstock

Margherita Pizza

Skip ordering in and make your own pizza instead with this easy margherita pizza recipe from BBC’s Good Food blog. You’ll get practice making your own pizza dough with this crispy-thin flatbread, but can let it rise for several hours if you prefer a more classic dough. Making your own sauce is quick and easy, and you can make it your own by adding your preferred spices and herbs. Top with mozzarella or a non-dairy substitute, pop it in the oven and then enjoy it with your favorite weeknight TV show.


One-Skillet Mediterranean Chicken

This flavourful Mediterranean chicken recipe brings delicious Greek flavors to the table. Bursting with healthy fats, this dish is perfect for those who love briny-olive flavors and bright herbs. Between the chicken breast and vegetables, this dish is full of protein and nutrients to help power you through the rest of your week. Since this recipe is made in a single skillet, it also reduces time spent cleaning up after dinner.

Candice Bell/Shutterstock

No-Cook Fresh Tomato Sauce

This no-cook fresh tomato sauce recipe from Taste of Home is ideal for summer days when you don’t want to spend too much time over a hot stove and crave fresh and light dinners. By leaving the tomatoes uncooked, the resulting tomato sauce is tangy, bright and pairs perfectly with your favorite wine and a summer patio at sunset. This spaghetti sauce is vegetarian, but you can skip the parmesan or trade it for a non-dairy cheese alternative to make it vegan.

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Pasta With Vegan Chickpea Sauce

This is the last but certainly not the least of the pasta recipes on our list. Use dried chickpeas to make a creamy, aromatic and vegan pasta sauce. This recipe from Serious Eats calls for healthy and nutritious ingredients, each of which are cost-effective. That way, you can enjoy a comforting and wholesome pasta dish and feel at ease about your grocery bill. If you want to spruce it up more, add extra red pepper flakes or grate parmesan on top.


Vegan Potato Leek Soup

Don’t be misled by the simplicity of this vegan potato leek soup recipe by Simple Veganista. Although it’s incredibly easy to make in a single pot and ultra budget-friendly, this recipe is hearty and satisfying. It’s a great dinner option on its own or paired with a thick slice or toast or biscuits, and it’s easy to prepare in bulk for leftovers throughout the week. This recipe is also vegan and gluten-free, which means it can please a crowd of friends with dietary needs.


Thai Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Soup

For a warm, comforting sensation, look no further than this spicy, fragrant soup from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken. Inspired by Thai cuisine, this recipe uses curry, pumpkin and peanut butter. Don’t worry about the spice from the curry or sriracha since the coconut milk base takes the heat off. Brighten up this soup with a lime wedge and fresh herbs. This soup is also vegan, which makes it perfect for plant-based diets or even a meatless Monday.

Anna_Pustynnikova / Shutterstock

Chicken Noodle Soup

Using chicken thighs and strong aromatics like lemongrass and ginger, this chicken soup from Basics with Babish serves up a complex base of flavors. This recipe includes a method to make your own stock, which can take a few unattended hours to simmer. Although making your own stock is great practice for any home cook and easy to do, you can swap for a store-bought stock too. From there, this comforting soup should come together in under 30 minutes, resulting in several bowls of flavorful soup.

Shutterstock/Marie C Fields

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Recipes You’ve Forgotten From Your Childhood

Childhood was the golden age for all kinds of dinner, lunch and snack recipes, often made with love by parents. Who can forget a comforting mac and cheese after a midweek soccer practice or the paper bag school lunch that almost always featured a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? If those taste bud memories haven’t […]

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Childhood was the golden age for all kinds of dinner, lunch and snack recipes, often made with love by parents. Who can forget a comforting mac and cheese after a midweek soccer practice or the paper bag school lunch that almost always featured a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

If those taste bud memories haven’t stirred up your nostalgia just yet, check out this curated list of classic childhood recipes. While some of these are best left as their original recipes, others have been updated to match your now-mature palate. Put on a favorite childhood movie, and transport yourself back to more youthful days as you start cooking your way through this list of mostly forgotten recipes.

Sloppy Joes

This classic used to be widely available as a canned mix, starting in the 1960s, making it the ultimate convenient dinner for parents to heat up and serve. It’s believed that the dish’s origins are in the “loose meat sandwiches” invented by a man named Joe in Iowa in the 1930s.

Sloppy Joes shine best when they’re unpretentious, so stick to a classic version, like this one from Allrecipes. This recipe makes a ton of servings, so invite your friends over, and relive your youth together.

Ruslan Mitin / Shutterstock

Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese is a childhood staple that’s surprisingly versatile. The most basic grilled cheese involves spreading butter and mayonnaise on bread slices and sandwiching cheese between them, then grilling them to gooey perfection.

While this classic version from Bon Appétit is a delight on its own, grilled cheese is easy to elevate to create an adult version. With only a few more ingredients than the classic, this grilled cheese recipe uses gruyere cheese and apples for a balanced and savory taste.

George Dolgikh/Shutterstock

Tater Tots

Not quite fries and yet not quite hashbrowns, tater tots are the beautiful in-between of fried and crispy potato. Using only potatoes, various spices and a few other common ingredients, these tater tots from The Food Network are cost-effective and surprisingly easy to make. Dress them up by shredding parmesan on top or using them as a starchy vessel for vegetables, sauces and meats.

Hope Phillips/Shutterstock

Chicken Nuggets

Often during late-night festivities, people get an occasional hankering for chicken nuggets. As such, it’s maybe not a forgotten childhood recipe but definitely underrated as a more frequent meal option. This chicken nuggets recipe from Serious Eats recreates your favorite fast food but with a crispier coating and more tender chicken. It even comes with an optional recipe for sweet and sour sauce, but you can serve it with whatever sauce – homemade or not – you want.



You might remember watching your parents or even helping out yourself as they stirred a boxed pudding mix into a pot. The result was a smooth and creamy dessert – often in vanilla, chocolate or butterscotch flavors – used to incentivize you to finish the sad frozen vegetables on your dinner plate.

This pudding recipe from Food52 teaches you the basic science of pudding and offers flavor experimentation tips so you can try recreating the timeless pudding flavors that you love.

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Egg Salad

Crunchy and creamy at the same time, egg salad is a retro classic for lunches, family gatherings, picnics and casual parties. Since the ingredients are common and cheap but the result is both large and satisfying, this dish is great for budget meal planning or serving a crowd.

Serve up the egg salad on two slices of bread with a fresh leaf of crunchy lettuce, alongside a handful of potato chips. If you’re making it for the first time, try this recipe from Jessica Gavin!

Vladislav Noseek/Shutterstock

Peanut Butter and Jelly

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or just pb&j , might just be childhood epitomized. The typical school lunch usually contained this sandwich: two plain white bread slices, sugary peanut butter and overly sweet jam.

But in this version by Joshua Weissman, you make everything from scratch, including the bread, jam and peanut butter. Before you get overwhelmed, this recipe is deceptively simple and teaches you some basic bread-making skills to boot. Make one for your mom to show your appreciation for the years of brown-bagged pb&j!

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Pink Lemonade

Pink lemonade gets its rosy tint from the addition of other juices, such as cranberry or strawberry. Categorized with the other popular grocery convenience items of its time, pink lemonade usually involved dumping a frozen concentrate into a pitcher with a satisfying splat, then just adding water.

Serving pink lemonade instead of the basic version was a truly groundbreaking way to distinguish your neighborhood lemonade stand from others. Although you’re likely not making your income from lemonade stands these days, this version from Allrecipes makes pink lemonade from scratch a worthy refreshing patio treat.

Angela Kotsell/Shutterstock


S’mores are a campfire treat of childhood camping trips and backyard sleepovers. Most often, you’d accidentally light your marshmallow on fire and awkwardly assemble its over-toasted goo and unmelted chocolate on a stale graham cracker. While that had its own charm, this updated s’mores recipe by Epicurious has you make your own cookies for a gooey, melty and indulgent dessert.

Olga Miltsova/Shutterstock

Shepherd’s Pie

A meat and potatoes favorite, shepherd’s pie is essentially a British casserole with layers of ground beef or lamb, gravy, and golden-crusted mashed potatoes. You’d likely be served this mouth-burning casserole on a Monday and only be finishing the leftovers off on the following Friday.

This shepherd’s pie recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen has aged well, however, and its cost-effective ingredients and comforting savory flavors make it a timeless dinner staple.



Few things say childhood like an economical mix of ground meat, breadcrumbs and ketchup packed into a single loaf pan. This meatloaf recipe by Vice is a nostalgic dinner, although many people might respond to its suggestion with skepticism. When made correctly, seasoned well and not overcooked, meatloaf is a savory dinner option that’s worth more than just its nostalgia value.

Serve it up alongside mashed or roasted potatoes and a vegetable or salad of your choice for a well balanced, filling meal.

Elena Veselova/Shutterstock

Rice Cereal Treats

This simple and classic rice cereal treat recipe by Kellogg’s, the makers of Rice Krispies, can be whipped up with just three ingredients, including the crispy rice cereal that you likely know and love. Marshmallows make their way into this recipe to create a sticky sweet treat. It’s no bake and very fast to make. Simply melt, mix, press, and (Snap! Crackle!) pop it into the fridge to chill.

You can also dress it up by adding nuts, dried fruit or chocolate chips, or even drizzle melted chocolate or peanut butter on top.


Monkey Bread

Monkey Bread is an American classic dessert often served at brunch or coffee break. Usually cooked in a bundt pan, the sweet and sticky dough is the perfect side to a warm beverage. This monkey bread recipe on the BBC’s Good Food blog is full of crunchy pecans and topped with a sweet glaze, with warm flavors from spices like cinnamon and ginger.

Stephanie Frey/Shutterstock

Chicken Pot Pie

A familiar and comforting dinner staple, chicken pot pie is full of juicy chicken, savory vegetables and bubbling gravy. If you love buttery and flaky pie crust and that post-pie food coma feeling, it’s worth taking the time to assemble this chicken pot pie recipe by Basics with Babish. This recipe comes with alternative methods for either fresh or frozen chicken to best suit your chef skills and curren refrigerator contents.

Shutterstock/Brent Hofacker

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Apple to Whoopie: Pie Recipes for Every Craving

Most people typically use Thanksgiving as an excuse to indulge in their favorite pumpkin pie recipe, but pie can be a dessert option for nearly any occasion. With buttery crusts and flavorful fillings, pies can take the place of cakes at birthday parties and other celebrations or can pair with your afternoon tea. Pies come […]

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Most people typically use Thanksgiving as an excuse to indulge in their favorite pumpkin pie recipe, but pie can be a dessert option for nearly any occasion. With buttery crusts and flavorful fillings, pies can take the place of cakes at birthday parties and other celebrations or can pair with your afternoon tea.

Pies come in many different shapes, sizes and fillings. Some are single-shell, exposing their decadent fillings with no top crust, while double-crust pies come with the opportunity to create beautiful designs. You can fill your pie with a range of flavors and textures to match your pie craving, from sweet fillings, including fruit, custard or mousse, to savory options, such as meat or potatoes. Below, is a compilation of pie recipes to satisfy any craving.

Apple Pie

Apple pie is one of the most classic pie recipes out there, evoking images of home cooks and bakers setting a piping hot pie on the windowsill to cool. Rather than sneaking a pie off somebody’s sill, try this apple pie recipe on Food52 yourself. It uses several apple varieties to create complex layers of flavors and textures, creating a truly scrumptious result. We suggest serving it with vanilla ice cream while the pie is still just a little bit warm. The ice cream will melt slightly and create a delicious fruity bite.

For a savory twist on this classic pie, try this apple-cheddar pie from Bon Appétit. The spices, sharp cheddar cheese crust and apples marry to create an incredible sweet-savory combo. It may seem strange, but don’t knock it until you try it!


Blueberry Pie

This berry option is perfect for a light and summery treat. This classic blueberry pie from Sally’s Baking Addiction has a gentle sweetness and freshness balanced by lemon, sugar and a golden brown crust. It’s common for fruit and berry pies to use a top shell, but you can see see the blueberries in all their juicy glory peaking through.

Blueberry pies are always best when you use fresh, not frozen berries. Frozen berries often result in a soupy filling, making it hard to cut and serve. If you must though, do not defrost the berries ahead of time and be sure to bake the pie slightly longer to give the excess liquid time to thicken up.

Sea Wave/Shutterstock

Banana Cream Pie

Creamy and silky, this banana cream pie recipe by Food52 has the potential to win over any banana skeptic. The banana filling is made from a custardy pastry cream, loaded with vanilla and balanced with brown sugar to create a malty and caramelized flavor. This recipe also uses a cookie crumb crust instead of a typical flaky pie crust, which means it doesn’t become soggy if the pie spends a few days lingering in your fridge. To balance the sweet filling, the whipped cream topping is unsweetened but also uses cour cream for a tangy element.

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Coconut Cream Pie

This coconut cream pie recipe from Food & Wine is fluffy and delicious, with coconut used in the crust, filling and topping so that you definitely won’t forget the star of this pie. Coconut is a flavor that most people either love or detest, but if you fall into the former category, you’ll be going back for seconds of this recipe.

Using heavy cream, coconut milk and gelatin, this pie’s filling creates a jiggly, but creamy dessert. Plus, unlike most pies, this one can be made up to a day ahead of time and stored in the fridge – perfect if you’re serving it to company and don’t wan’t to be rushed the day of.


Chocolate Pie

Possibly one of the most decadent pies on this list, this mile-high chocolate pie from Epicurious is surprisingly light. The filling is made from delicate chocolate mousse and layered with crushed chocolate wafers to create a mix of smooth and crunchy textures. It’s then topped with a tangy crème fraîche whipped cream to balance the chocolatey-sweetness of the filling.

The recipe allows for either a store-bought or homemade crust, so if you don’t have the time to make one from scratch, don’t sweat it. The star really is the filling and topping, so your dessert with my incredible even if you don’t go full-on Martha Stewart.

Brendan Lekan/Shutterstock

Cherry Pie

One of the internet’s favorite pastry chefs, Claire Saffitz is on this list with her cherry pie recipe. Inspired by the pies made by her parents for evening desserts, this cherry pie features a golden-flaky crust and a juicy filling. The cherries maintain their tartness in this recipe rather than being overly sweet, resulting in a fresh and balanced pie that’s perfect for a warm summer night indulgence.

She offers this recipe in a follow-along video format as well, which makes it perfect if you’re not very confident baking a pie from scratch!

Shutterstock/Alena Haurylik

Key Lime Pie

For a perfect homemade Key lime pie, look no further than this recipe by Joshua Weissman. Using proper Key limes, this recipe promises to take you on a spiritual food journey to the Florida Keys. It asks you to make your own graham crackers to use later in the crust, but you can just as easily buy your own if you’re short on time or ambition. From there, this pie is simple to put together and perfect for a hot summer day.

Shutterstock/Marie Sonmez Photography

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon meringue pie is a tangy, sweet and timeless dessert. The lemon curd filling is full of citrusy zing and is topped by beautiful Swiss meringue. This recipe by Food52comes together easily, but it’s important to let the curd set properly and to pay attention to the stiffness of your meringue.

Alternatively, you can try this lemon meringue cheesecake pie recipe from Vice, which combines two favorite desserts. You create both a mascarpone cheesecake and lemon curd filling, then layer them in a flaky pie crust. Top with meringue, blowtorching it for a golden finish.


Meat Pie

Not every pie needs to be a dessert, and that’s especially true of this meat pie recipe by Binging with Babish. Using simple but flavorful ingredients, such as beef chuck and aromatic thyme leaves, this pie filling is satisfying. The hot crust is also made with lamb fat, meaning this whole pie has a strong, meaty flavor.

A rich dish like this is perfect for a family dinner when it’s cold out and you’re craving comfort foods. It takes some time to make, but is well worth it!


Pecan Pie

Pecan pie is a rich, decadent and nutty treat for almost any occasion. Buttery and sugary, pecan pie becomes caramelly and sticky when it’s finished baking. This pecan pie recipe by Joshua Weissman shows you how to easily make a classic pecan pie recipe, but it doesn’t stop there. If you’re finished with your pecan pie leftovers, use the follow-up recipe at the bottom of the page to create a sweet, pie-crusted ice cream treat.

Shutterstock/ from my point of view

Pumpkin Pie

A timeless staple of any Thanksgiving dinner, pumpkin pie brings all the best fall elements of spice and winter squash to the table. In this pumpkin pie recipe from Claire Saffitz, you add brown butter and honey to balance the otherwise sweet and silky filling. This recipe also comes with a video guide, walking you through each step of making the best ever pumpkin pie. Make this for your next fall get-together to impress your friends and family.

Shutterstock/Brent Hofacker

Whoopie Pie

Okay, so it’s not technically a pie, but apparently whoopie pies used to made from the leftovers of cake batter and filling. You create multiple portions in this recipe from Epicurious, each with two small chocolate cakes sandwiching vanilla-sweetened marshmallow filling.

Unlike traditional pie, these treats will keep just fine for several days, and are perfect for an after-dinner treat or a snack with your lunchtime tea or coffee. Or a midnight snack … we won’t judge.

Brian Yarvin/Shutterstock

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