Easy Dinner Recipes to Make on Lazy Nights
After a long day of work, the motivation to cook can be low. Takeout and frozen meals seem much more manageable. Sometimes, a delivery pizza is the only thing that will do, but for the other times when you want to save on cents and calories but still don’t want to serve up an elaborate meal, lazy dinners are for you. We’re highlighting seven easy dinner recipes that yield delicious and nutritious dinners — and they’ll take you 30 minutes or less to make. These recipes have short ingredient lists, and their prep time is minimal. Even so, the dinners they yield are healthier than those you would consume if you ordered out, and they’re much cheaper, too.
1. 15-Minute Spaghetti
If you have 15 minutes to spare, you have time for this spaghetti. Southern Living has a spaghetti recipe that is made in one pot and is full of ground beef and fresh tomato flavor. As long as you know how to boil water and can throw beef in a skillet, you can make this 15-minute spaghetti. It’s a foolproof and delicious way to avoid calling for takeout.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
- 3 cups tomato juice
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 to 3 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Dash of pepper
- 1 (7-ounce) package spaghetti, uncooked
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Fresh Italian parsley sprigs, for garnish
Head to MyRecipes for the full recipe from Southern Living.
2. Omelet with Ground Beef
And if you have ground beef left over from the previous night’s dinner, you can use that up in your next lazy meal, too. Everyone can make an omelet, and when you throw some protein into the mix, you can have breakfast for dinner and go to bed satiated. Follow this recipe featured on PopSugar, and avoid throwing out your leftovers. Omelets should be everyone’s go-to lazy meal, as they are not only easy to prep and easy to eat, they’re also healthy for you thanks to their protein and omega-3s.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- Salt and pepper
- 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
- ½ cup water
- 4 to 6 eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
- Oil, for frying
Head to PopSugar for the full recipe.
3. 15-Minute Chicken Rice Dinner
Here’s another recipe that will only cost you 15 minutes of your free post-work time. Instead of turning to your freezer for a nighttime meal, make this 15-minute chicken and rice from Rachael Ray Every Day, and treat yourself to good food at the end of a long day. The supper can be made all in one skillet, and it serves 4, leaving you leftovers for lunch the next day. This dinner is full of fiber and protein, and its secret ingredient is a can of cream of chicken soup. Serve that up with your rice, broccoli, and chicken, and you’ll have a new favorite easy dinner on your hands.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- 1 (10.75-ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
- 1 cup water
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups uncooked instant white rice
- 2 cups fresh or frozen broccoli florets
Head to Rachael Ray Every Day for the full recipe.
4. Avocado Tuna Salad Sandwich
Switching lanes, we’re highlighting an easy dinner that doesn’t require any cooking. All health enthusiasts are now praising the power breakfast that is avocado toast, but when you add more protein to the mix (e.g., tuna), you can easily enjoy the meal for dinner, too. Check out this recipe for avocado tuna salad from The Healthy Maven. You can throw this salad on greens or on two pieces of toast, and you easily have a meat-free dinner that will fill you up the wholesome way. Thanks to healthy fats from the avocado and protein from the tuna, you’ll finish this meal and be satisfied without feeling bloated or fatigued.
- 2 cans of flaked light tuna
- 1 ripe avocado
- ½ cup chopped celery
- ½ cup chopped red onion
- ½ red apple, chopped
- ¼ cup chopped, toasted walnuts
- 1 tablespoon pickle juice
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Head to The Healthy Maven for the full recipe.
5. Stovetop Mac and Cheese
If you’re in the mood for some easy comfort food, at least say “no” to the prepackaged variety and prepare this easy stovetop mac and cheese instead. The recipe from Feed Me I’m Hungry only has 7 ingredients, and it’ll keep you in the kitchen for less than 15 minutes. Grab your pasta, three cheeses, butter, cream, and milk, and you’re good to go. After one bite of this indulgent mac and cheese, you’ll be thanking yourself for resisting the boxes of tasteless pasta you have in your pantry. No one is too tired for homemade mac and cheese.
- 1 pound short-cut pasta
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1½ cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- ½ cup grated Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup cream
- ¼ cup milk
Head to Feed Me I’m Hungry for the full recipe.
6. Chicken Soup for One
Ready for a lazy cook shortcut? Buy a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store and repurpose it to your liking. And if a warm comforting soup is calling your name, try this recipe featured on Hey, EEP! for a single serving of chicken soup. Once you have your rotisserie chicken, all you need is broth, vegetables, egg noodles, and seasoning. You’ll have hot chicken soup in no time, and maybe more importantly, no leftovers. Instead of opting for a canned soup that is high in sodium and low in flavor, embrace the beauty of rotisserie chicken and treat yourself to semi-homemade soup.
- 1½ cups chicken broth
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 medium stalk celery, thinly sliced
- 1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups cooked egg noodles or other pasta
- 1 to 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- Snipped chives, for topping
Head to Hey, EEP! for the full recipe.
7. 5-Ingredient Chili
One last winter dish even the laziest cook can make is chili. Cooking chili doesn’t have to be a daylong affair when you have this recipe from The Slow Roasted Italian. It calls for only 5 ingredients and serves 8 after 15 total minutes of cooking time. You’ll cook your ground beef with tomatoes, beans, and jalapeños, simmer, and then serve. You can enjoy your chili with a side salad or cornbread and pat yourself on the back for resisting a phone call to the delivery man.
- 1½ pounds lean ground beef
- 2 cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes with garlic
- 2 cans chili beans
- ½ can diced jalapeños
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Head to The Slow Roasted Italian for the full recipe.