When you’re looking for a last-minute dinner idea that won’t take forever, it can be tricky to come up with something both tasty and easy. But never fear – we’ve got you covered! Read on for some delicious recipes that will have your taste buds singing and the whole family fed in no time.
In this article, we will delve into an array of last-minute dinner ideas that are quick, easy, and require minimal ingredients. We understand how spontaneous life can be, so we’re focusing on recipes that use simple pantry staples you likely already have on hand, as well as ready-to-cook store-bought options for those truly hectic days. Whether you’re rushing home from work, in need of a quick meal solution for unexpected guests, or just not in the mood for a culinary marathon – we’ve got your back. So sit back, relax, and prepare to be whisked away on a gastronomic journey that promises to deliver taste and timeliness in equal measure.
Homemade last minute dinner ideas
Many of the recipes we share here are homemade. Homemade recipes might sound like the opposite of ‘last-minute’, but hang tight, we’re about to flip that notion on its head! With a bit of strategic pantry stocking and a pinch of creativity, whipping up a homemade meal can be as quick as a TV dinner (and infinitely more satisfying). Consider a grilled cheese sandwich with a twist or fried rice that can be done in under 30 minutes. These versatile dishes can be made with whatever veggies or proteins you have on hand and the recipes themselves are forgiving if substitutions need to be made on certain ingredients, making them the perfect last-minute dinner ideas when time’s not on your side. Trust us, with these recipes up your sleeve, you’ll be dishing out delectable dinners at the drop of a hat!
01 grilled cheese
- 2 Slices Sourdough Bread or bread of choice
- 2 Tbsp Light Mayonnaise
- ⅛ Cup Freshly Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- ⅙ Cup Freshly Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- 1 Oz Roasted Red Peppers
- Salt & Pepper to Taste
- 1 Tortilla Land Tortilla soft taco size
- 1/2 Cup Reduced-Fat Mexican Cheese
- 1 Tbsp Tostitos Queso Cheese Sauce or nacho cheese sauce of your choosing
03 mac & cheese
- 16 Oz Pasta Shells or pasta of choice
- 1 Tbsp Butter
- 1 Tbsp Flour
- 1 1/2 Cups Non-Fat Milk or milk of choice
- 3/4 Cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese divided
- 3/4 Cup Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese divided
- 1/2 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese divided
- 1 Oz 1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese
- 1/4 Cup Franks Buffalo Sauce
- Salt & Pepper to Taste
- 20 Wonton Wrappers
- 1/2 Lb Pork Sausage
- 2 Cups Fat-Free Shredded Mexican Cheese or cheese of choice
- 1/4 Cup Sliced Olives
- 1/4 Cup Sliced Jalapenos
- 1/4 Cup Sliced Pepperoncini
- 1/4 Cup Sour Cream
- Oil For Frying I used vegetable oil
05 fried rice
- 4 Strips Bacon or vegetarian protein if preferred
- 1 1/2 Cups Jasmine Rice cooked and chilled
- 1 1/2 Cups Cauliflower Rice fresh or frozen
- 1/2 Cup Frozen Peas or frozen
- 1/2 Cup Diced Green Onions
- 4 Tbsp Soy Sauce I used light soy sauce
- 2 Eggs whole or whites
- Salt, Pepper, and Garlic Powder to Taste
- 8 Ounces Chicken Breast
- 3 TBSP BBQ Sauce
- 2 TBSP Ranch
- 4 Spinach Wraps (I used extreme wellness wraps)
- 2 Cups Shredded Lettuce (use as much as you like)
- 4 TBSP Tortilla Strips
- 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
07 Teriyaki Bowl
08 Taco Pizza
- 8 Carb Balance Flour Tortillas (tortillas of choice)
- 1/2 LB 93% Lean Ground Beef
- 1/2 Package Taco Seasoning
- 8 Ounces Refried Beans
- 4 Ounces Enchilada Sauce
- 1 Cup Reduced-Fat Mexican Cheese
- Toppings of choice
- 1 LB Chicken Wings (fresh or frozen)
- 1 TBSP Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- 2-4 TBSP Sauce Of Choice (we used hot sauce)
More Homemade Dinners
Store-bought last minute dinner ideas
Sometimes, even the simplest homemade meals aren’t feasible when you’re short on time. That’s where store-bought items come into play for last-minute dinner saviors. For instance, a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken can be a lifesaver. From chicken salads or wraps to a heart-warming chicken soup, the possibilities are endless. Pre-made salads and bagged veggies can be quickly jazzed up with some grilled chicken strips or canned tuna for a robust meal. And let’s not forget about the ever-versatile frozen pizza – a canvas ready to be adorned with your favorite cheeses, veggies, or deli meats, and transformed into a gourmet pie in minutes. With a bit of imagination and just a few ingredients, convenience foods can truly save the day.
10 Rotisserie chicken wrap
A classic that never fails – a rotisserie chicken wrap is always a crowd-pleaser! Start with a rotisserie chicken, and add your favorite fixings like lettuce, tomatoes, and shredded cheese. Drizzle on some ranch or garlic sauce and wrap it up in a warm tortilla to have dinner ready in minutes.
A last-minute dinner staple, spaghetti is always an easy dinner option when you're short on time. Boil some noodles and serve them with a simple marinara sauce or Parmesan cheese. For a heartier meal, top it off with some cooked ground beef or sausage.
12 Chicken Salad
Time-crunched but still want to serve something healthy and delicious? Look no further than a Caesar salad! Start with some romaine lettuce, croutons, and Parmesan cheese. Drizzle on a dressing of mayo, garlic, lemon juice, and grilled chicken – or use store-bought salad for the ultimate time saver.
Tacos are always a great last-minute meal option, and they can be made with whatever you have on hand. Try ground beef or turkey, canned refried beans, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, guacamole, and your favorite taco seasoning. Fill up some tortillas for a quick and easy dinner that the whole family will love!
And that’s a wrap – some quick and easy last minute dinner ideas to get you from pantry to plate in no time! Whether it’s a spontaneous homemade feast or a smart use of store-bought staples, these options will ensure you’re never caught off guard when hunger strikes. So, the next time the clock is ticking and your stomach is growling, remember these ideas and prepare to impress with your culinary prowess. Who said fast food can’t be delicious and satisfying? Your dinner dilemma is officially solved. Let us know what your favorite last minute dinner ideas are in the comments below.