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Top 10 Ideas for 10 Minute Dinners

For years I’ve kept some notecards on a small binder ring. The front card said “10 Minute Dinners!”.  There is nothing I hate more than being so busy that you don’t get home until 5pm, and your family thinks dinner should be waiting!  I have said numerous times, “What makes you think dinner will be ready?  I’ve been in the car for the entire afternoon!”  But that is when I take out our trusty notecards, and whip up a meal in 10 minutes!  It is literally faster than heading to a drive-thru!Top 10 Ideas for 10 Minute Dinners. Save this post or write these meals down. They've saved us so many times!

My 10 minute dinners have two criteria.  One, they obviously have to take less than ten minutes.  Second, they have to be meals with ingredients I keep in my pantry and freezer.  I always have frozen veggies. I always have pasta, I always have potatoes, and tortillas, etc.

So, from my notecards, these are our favorite 10, ten minute meals!

1)  Whole Wheat Pasta & Veggies

This is our #1.  We generally make this dish 90% of the time.
Top 10 Ideas for 10 Minute Dinners. Save this post or write these meals down. They've saved us so many times!

  • 1 package whole wheat noodles (we use Whole wheat angel hair!  Only 5 minutes to boil it)
  • 1 bag of frozen veggies.

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Include the veggies while you cook the pasta in the pasta water for the entire cooking time.  Drain pasta and veggies.  Then add:

  • 1 TBL. butter
  • 1/4-1/2 cup shredded or grated parmesan cheese.  (the fresh stuff tastes the best, but we use whatever we have)
  • Optional: If we have ANY leftover meat from previous dinners, I’ll heat up the meat (usually chicken) and then throw this in after noodles are drained.

There are so many things I like about this meal, but mostly, that my kids NEVER complain when we eat it. In fact, most nights they will ask for this meal.  They usually ask for it by saying, “Can we have angel hairs tonight?” But this is the meal they are referring to.  Any noodles with broccoli and parmesan cheese, they will eat!

2) Tacos

Tacos can be incredibly versatile and you can purposely use only the food you have on hand. The only real requirement here are some taco shells or tortillas.  Then, we use any of the following:

  • Any meat (ground beef, chicken, fish)
  • Any bean (black beans, pinto beans, refried beans, black eyed peas)
  • Any veggies (tomatoes, avocado, lettuce, peppers, salsa, etc)
Top 10 Ideas for 10 Minute Dinners. Save this post or write these meals down. They've saved us so many times!

3) Burritos

Similar to taco’s, but you definitely want a tortilla here. We generally use this recipe for burritos, but it can be super flexible.   We’ll add:

  • Beans,
  • Veggies,
  • Meat (optional)
  • and sometimes rice!

If we want to spend a few extra minutes, I’ll wrap up the tortillas with the filling myself, and do quick pan-fry of the tortilla to seal the edge, and make the outside a bit crispy!
Top 10 Ideas for 10 Minute Dinners. Save this post or write these meals down. They've saved us so many times!

4) Anything breakfast (pancakes, waffles, etc.)

I have yet to meet a kid complain about breakfast for dinner!   We have tons of recipe ideas to choose from here.  Whether your kids like waffles, pancakes, or egg dishes, 90% of our breakfasts take less than 10 minutes to make!  The only thing you need on hand to make this happen is baking supplies (like flour, milk, salt, etc.) and eggs!

Top 10 Ideas for 10 Minute Dinners. Save this post or write these meals down. They've saved us so many times!

5) Sloppy Joe’s

We stock up on ground beef and ground turkey, so we always have the ingredients to make this.  This recipe is only 10 minutes here, and is basically what we use!

Top 10 Ideas for 10 Minute Dinners. Save this post or write these meals down. They've saved us so many times!

6) Spaghetti

Good old, go-to, always popular spaghetti!  The way we make this a 10 minute dish, is this:

  • First, start your water boiling and cook your pasta.  (Again- Whole wheat angel hair is the fastest cooking pasta!)
  • Second, chop any veggies you have on hand like bell peppers, mushrooms, or onions!
  • Third, once veggies have just begun to wilt (about 3-5 minutes), heat up your spaghetti sauce in the same skillet. (you can jar your own or freeze your own to control the ingredients, or check labels to choose one low in sugar and sodium.  Trader Joe’s has a pasta sauce that we keep on hand for emergencies like 10 minute meals!)

Top 10 Ideas for 10 Minute Dinners. Save this post or write these meals down. They've saved us so many times!

7) Grilled Cheese sandwiches

These CAN be healthy!  We do grilled cheese with whole wheat bread, and we add spinach leaves.   To make it even extra healthy and filling, we also add tomato soup for dipping (only if we have some in the freezer.  Any time I make tomato soup, we double it and store half in the freezer for busy nights!)Top 10 Ideas for 10 Minute Dinners. Save this post or write these meals down. They've saved us so many times!

8) Quesadillas

We make quesadillas simply with veggies, beans, tortillas, and cheese!  All items we have on hand.  Check out our recipe for this one here.

Top 10 Ideas for 10 Minute Dinners. Save this post or write these meals down. They've saved us so many times!

9) Egg Frittatas with greens

This breakfast for dinner is very filling and very fast!  Cooking for the whole family in one skillet is also fast clean up! We like both.  Our Italian Frittata (pictured) is the one we make the most often.  Recipe here!

Top 10 Ideas for 10 Minute Dinners. Save this post or write these meals down. They've saved us so many times!

10) Personal Pizza

Another dish that is so versatile, you can use what’s in your fridge.   For a personal pizza, we will use:

Top 10 Ideas for 10 Minute Dinners. Save this post or write these meals down. They've saved us so many times!

And that is 10 of my cards! Do you have some? Share below! 

To ALWAYS make sure you have the ingredients you need to get dinner on the table, every night, check out our meal plan subscriptions! Every meal plan has an entire month of dinner ideas, with the shopping list and recipes to go with it.   Get your dinner ideas here.



29 Comments

dawn

We need these 10 minute ideas for dinner since track and soccer season start at my house. They look like good ideas and I love your receipe for today too.

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Definitely the season to be prepared. Having cooked rice in the refrigerator will help with those stir fry’s or even use noodles for that too. Yesterday I threw together a great salad. My kids love when I put it in “salad bar” style and typically eat more. Scrambled eggs are always a good quick meal for us or a great big gourmet like sandwich. Also another prepared tip. You can bake potatoes in the oven early in the day and then wrap in a terry cloth towel and they will most likely still be warm come dinner time or just take a few minutes to warm in the oven. Possibilities are endless with potatoes too. Thanks for all the great tips and reminders.

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Angela

Great ideas! My best time saver is the crockpot. I use it all the time during baseball season. Dinner is ready when we get home from a game and I can throw a salad together while the table is being set.

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Eating healthy is probably the easiest and most important way in which you can keep active and shield yourself from the many diseases that are now common as we grow older, including heart disease and diabetes.

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I like to make Annie’s organic mac n cheese with goat yogurt instead of milk. I add a can of wild tuna and about 1.5 cups of organic mixed veggies.

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All kids love pasta and there are so many variations of pasta dishes you can come up with. Macaroni and cheese, spaghetti and tomato sauce, cold pasta salads. Add a green salad and a loaf of fresh bread and your super easy dinner is on the table in 10 minutes.

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Cathie

I cook a huge batch of brown rice, portion it in to quart size freezer bags, and stack flat. Stir-fry is ten minutes or less!

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Love it! I just saw on another blog, making fried rice with brown rice, smashing it into a muffin tin and then freezing, so they are in little one cup portions. I’m trying it for sure!

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robyn

I love these quick ideas! When my kiddos are whiny and hungry, I’ll put out a plate of raw veggies and dip they can munch on while I work on dinner. They eat LOTS of veggies this way. 😉

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Rachel

Love the post…quick AND healthy is sometimes a challenge. I’ve searched your website and can’t find your recipe for the tomato soup that you freeze. I’d love this recipe if you are able to share it.

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Rachel We have a few in our meal planning member recipes. The basic recipe I use is:
2 tablespoon – olive oil
6 medium – carrot
1 1/2 medium (2-1/2″ dia) – onion
3 tsp, leaves – basil, dried, ground
6 cup – stewed tomatoes, canned
4 cup – Chicken Broth, Low-Sodium
1 pint – Half and Half, fat-free

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Josephine

Hi, Quick pasta sauce ( in the time it takes to boil the pasta) heat frying pan, cook 1 crushed garlic clove for 30 seconds, add 400g tin of tomatoes, 1 teaspoon mixed herbs, , reduce heat to low, cook 8 minutes.
I also do cheese toasties and baked beans
Scrambled egg and toast with cherry tomatoes
Steamed chicken and veggies only takes 5 minutes if you slice the chicken thinlya nd it all goes in one pot.

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Jennifer

I’ve been reading your blog for a while, but never took the time to comment. This is my favorite post hands down! Especially the frittata! My daughter loves quiche, but that takes a while to bake.

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Ali

With sloppy joes, I chop up cabbage and add that to the ground turkey after it’s browned. Once the cabbage becomes tender, I make/add the sauce (my recipe includes mustard and vinegar though – more tangy) and let it simmer a bit. The cabbage adds great texture, its a way to get in veggies, and stretches the meat to get more meals/servings!

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Kim Torre-Tasso

If you have leftover rice, freeze it and use on busy days to make chicken friend rice. Simply stir fry chicken breast, 1 onion, 1 garlic bulb. Once chicken is cooked, add the rice, 10 oz bag frozen peas and carrots, crack an egg into the mix and cook until egg is fried and veggies are heated. Can also use cauliflower and broccoli or any other veggie you like. Pour half jar of teriyaki sauce and 1/2 jar of soy sauce onto the rice/chicken/veggie mix. Heat all the way through and you are done.

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kelly

Love this list! I plan to stock the pantry with needed items and put the list of options inside my pantry door so when I’m tired and my blood sugar is running low I’ll actually be able to come up with something.

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Marie

Pasta is not a 10 minute meal! It takes forever to boil the water, and that time should count in the total time.

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Sarah

Do you have a printer friendly version of this list with the 10 ideas, subcategories, but not the photos? That would be really helpful! Love all the ideas and the breakdown of it.

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Louise

Am I missing something here? Pretty much every single meal here is loaded with gluten. If that is the basis of dinners for kids then they are just going to end up with gut problems as well as lots of other problems in the future. How about 10 minute dinners without all that? We all know how to make a quick pasta or a pancake. But surely what we’re all looking for is to get out of that trap and actually make meals fast that are actually healthy, right?

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Louise, this probably isn’t the site for you. We actually do not believe gluten is bad for kids. And whole grains are a good part of a balanced diet.

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Jill

Great ideas, I already do some of these and will be incorporating others but they honestly seem more like 30 minute meals to me.

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Sarah

Thanks for this! Do you have any tips for quickly thawing something from the freezer? I keep my freezer stocked but if I forget to pull something out in advance, I feel like I spend a lot of time trying to thaw the soup/sauce/etc.

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