Busy nights and meal prep just don’t go together. No matter how much we’d love to think we can do it all, there are lots of times we need quick no prep dinner ideas to keep us sane. Whether you have to run out to a soccer game, dance class or parent’s night at school, these easy recipes will ensure your family is fed, full and healthy too.
5 No Prep Dinner Essentials to Invest In
1. Instant Pot
Instant pots are pressure cookers that can do everything from sauté to slow cook to make rice and steam veggies and meat. It’s an all-in-one device that allows you to throw your ingredients inside and cook them together in one spot. You can cook a meal for the whole family in less than an hour with barely any prep involved.
2. Slow Cooker
A slow cooker or Crock Pot is another essential tool to use for no prep meals. Just toss all the ingredients into your slow cooker and go about your day as your meal cooks itself. Slow cookers are perfect for drop and go dinners, cooking your food at a lower temperature over a longer period of time. The results are tender, flavourful and perfect for busy nights.
3. Casserole Dish
A casserole dish is perfect for dump and bake dinners. Everything can be cooked in a casserole dish including pasta, so you don’t have to do any boiling or prep beforehand. For the nights when you barely have any time, a casserole dish can be your saving grace. Simply dump all your ingredients in and bake your casserole in the oven.
4. Cast Iron Skillet
One-skillet meals are super popular for busy families. For the nights you don’t have time to prep for a big meal, a cast iron skillet is the perfect tool to have in your cookware arsenal. They’re super versatile, durable and functional and can be used for sautéing, pan frying, searing, baking, braising, broiling, roasting and more. You can cook your main dish and sides all in a single pan and what could be easier than that!
5. Dutch Oven
Dutch ovens are an easy and quick way to prepare your favourite meals. One pot meals are amazing because not only are they easy to make, there’s barely any clean up. All you have to do is toss your chosen ingredients into the pot and let them cook. From stews and chilis to rice and pasta dishes, Dutch ovens can do it all.
8 No Prep Foods to Put on Your Grocery List
1. Canned Vegetables
Canned veggies like black beans, corn and chickpeas are the backbone of no prep meals. Just drain and rinse, and they make a perfect filling for tacos or salad, or they can be cooked into a skillet, casserole or stew.
Bread is a must for charcuterie, sandwiches and toasts. Upgrade to a bakery baguette or loaf of bread to make your meals that much more delicious. Top toasted bread with cream cheese and smoked salmon for an easy dinner or use stale bread cubes for a panzanella.
3. Cherry Tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes are the perfect size for no prep dinners. You don’t have to slice them up, you can simply toss them into whatever meal you make, whether it’s a salad, pasta or a taco casserole.
4. Salad Mix
Although salads are pretty easy to make, there are some nights when you just need everything done for you. Prepared salad mixes have everything ready to go. They make a great side to a dump-and-bake dinner or you can use them for the main event.
5. Canned Tuna
Canned tuna can be used in a variety of recipes, from tuna bakes to salads, patties and tuna melts. It’s a great ingredient for busy weeknights as it’s super easy to toss into the mix.
6. Bag of Baby Spinach
Spinach is a healthy addition to any meal, rich in antioxidants, iron, vitamin K and fibre. Having bagged spinach on hand is super helpful – you can use it for quick salads, pastas and stir frys.
7. Frozen Cooked Shrimp
Shrimps are an excellent thing to have on hand, especially for busy weeknights. All you need to do is defrost a bag of frozen cooked shrimp, then you can add them to recipes like a yummy pasta, Mexican rice bowl or miso soup.
8. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is a tangy, creamy kitchen staple that can be used in so many meals. Use it to replace mayo and sour cream in your favourite recipes to make them healthier, stir it into soups, or use it as a marinade.
25 No Prep Dinner Ideas We Love
1. Tuscan Tuna White Bean Salad | Foodie Crush
2. 15-Minute Miso Soup with Greens and Tofu | Minimalist Baker
3. Easy Chicken Gyros with Rotisserie Chicken | Girl Gone Gourmet
4. Loaded Veggie Nachos | Cookie and Kate
5. Herbed Tuna in Heirloom Tomatoes | A Love Better to Food
6. Balsamic Crock Pot Roast | Julie’s Eats and Treats
7. Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup | Tabs and Tidbits
8. Slow Cooker Chicken Verde | Fitful Focus
9. One-Pot Spaghetti with Sausage | Parents
10. Easy Instant Pot Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo | Foodie Crush
11. Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup | Gimme Some Oven
12. Lemon Dill Salmon Packets | Taste of Home
13. One Pan Tomato Spinach Linguine | Feel Good Foodie
14. Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese | Dinner Then Dessert
15. Veggie and Shrimp Miso Noodle Bowl | Parents
16. Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup | Kristine’s Kitchen
17. Pasta with Turkey Sausage and Peas | Foodie Crush
18. 10-Minute Wonton Soup | Food Love
19. Creamy Tuscan Salmon | Eat Well 101
20. Instant Pot Korean Beef | Frugal Family Times
21. Slow Cooker Turkey Sweet Potato Chilli with Quinoa | Foodie Crush
22. Baked Caprese Tortellini | Food Love
23. Baked Salmon in Foil with Asparagus and Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce | East Well 101
24. Sesame Shrimp with Asian Greens Rice Bowl | Foodie Crush
25. Instant Pot Honey Chicken Teriyaki | Frugal Family Times
These quick and easy dinner ideas are sure to be your new go-tos. Use them on your busiest weeknights to keep mom sane!