We’ve all had one of those days.
Work was exhausting. Traffic was backed up for hours. The kids are driving you crazy.
A day so remarkably draining you can barely open the front door let alone the oven to put together a great home-cooked meal.
At this point, you want to just pour yourself a bowl of cereal and be done with it.
Your idea of a dinner hack is having the pizza delivery place on speed dial.
Hold the phone! There’s a better way.
Dinner Hacks To The Rescue!
There are many great reasons to make the effort to make all of your meals at home.
Among them are reducing the amount of sugar and salt in your food, minimizing your carbon footprint, and even a longer life!
If you’ve got kids, one of the best ways to keep them on the straight and narrow is to have regular mealtimes together.
And of course, if you’re not spending your money on fast food and ordering in, your wallet will definitely thank you.
If you’re having “one of those days”, it can be hard to follow through even with all of those benefits in mind.
But it doesn’t have to be.
What if you could have a great meal ready to go in minutes with things that you already have in your pantry?
It’s very possible!
Read on for 10 tips and recipes to make sure you’ve always got a healthy and nutritious homemade meal on the table every night!
Fix Up A Fast Frittata
Frittatas are filling and fast to make. You just need a few ingredients from your fridge and you’ll be ready to go.
Put a few sprays of cooking oil into a skillet.
While that’s heating up on the stove on medium heat, crack a few eggs into a bowl. Whip them together, then toss in some fillers.
Common frittata fillers include spinach, tomatoes, goat cheese, bacon or ham, and mushrooms.
You can even put a bit of cheese and cream into the mix to give it a saltier, richer taste.
Just pour it all into the skillet and let it set up until it’s done all the way through. Serve with a side salad to round it out.
Fried Rice: The Ultimate Fridge Food
If you’ve got some leftover rice in the fridge, you’ve got the beautiful beginnings of some savory fried rice.
The best part of fried rice is that you can take whatever bits of leftovers you have remaining and toss them in for a complete meal.
Get this dish started by frying up some garlic, onions and ginger in a bit of oil in a frying pan or wok.
Once your oil is nice and aromatic, toss in the protein and veggies you’ve got on hand.
Get it warmed up and let the vegetables soften, then add the rice.
Mix them all together with a big dollop of soy sauce for that undeniable salty and savory flavor.
At this point, you can pour a bit of beaten egg over the mix and let it scramble and brown. Make it your own!
Stuffed Peppers: Perfect Single Servings Of Veggies And Protein
Get a few bell peppers – any color will do – and cut off the tops.
After you’ve cleaned out the insides, fill them up with whatever pre-cooked ingredients you’ve got on hand.
Tofu, ground meat, beans and rice…whatever you’ve got on hand works well in this recipe.
Fill up your peppers, top them with some cheese or tomato sauce if you want, then heat them in an oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
Keep a close eye on them. When the peppers are tender, they’re ready to go.
This meal is great on the go, too! Make extra so you can freeze them for another day or take some to work with you.
Shake It Up With Shakshuka
This Israeli dish is ridiculously easy to make – you’ll keep it in your regular rotation for sure.
Commonly eaten as breakfast, it’s so good that it will be welcome on your plate any time of day.
Start by sauteing onions, garlic, and peppers in heart-healthy olive oil.
Add cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper – these spices give the dish it’s earthy, smoky flavor.
Once the ingredients are softened, add a whole can of undrained plum tomatoes.
Let them simmer for a while, then crack some eggs on top for them to poach on top of the stew.
Crumble feta cheese on top if you desire and serve with whole grain bread or pita.
Does it get any easier?
Breakfast For Dinner
Who doesn’t love breakfast? And doesn’t it feel so special when you get to eat it late at night?
There’s just something about a late-night morning meal…
Whipping up a plate of scrambled eggs and bacon is a simple solution to a difficult day.
If you’re feeling fancy, mix up some pancakes from store-bought batter.
There won’t be a single complaint – or a plate that hasn’t been licked clean – when you serve breakfast for dinner.
What if you really REALLY don’t want to cook, though? We’ve still got you covered!
There are tons of simple solutions to heading off another fast food night before it happens. It takes a tiny bit of prep work, but it’s so worth it!
Put Your Slow Cooker To Use
Do you have a slow cooker? If not, what are you waiting for?
It’s like magic – you pop in the ingredients and set the timer. Then, when you get home, you’ve got a perfect meal all ready to go!
Remember those stuffed peppers up above? Those work perfectly with a slow cooker.
People have gotten really creative with these, too; you can find some truly unique recipes for a slow cooker.
Don’t sleep on a slow cooker – they’re the ultimate in convenience!
Plan Ahead: Food Prep And Leftovers
Next time you make too much for dinner, don’t eat endless leftovers all week until you’re sick of it and end up throwing it all out.
Freeze the remainder so that you’ve got something to reach for when it’s needed most.
Things like meatloaf, chili, and casseroles work best.
Another technique to keep you on track involves prepping food for the rest of the week.
When you’ve got some free time on Sunday, put together some ready-to-cook ingredients. That way there’s no more excuses!
Planning ahead is a fool-proof way to stay in front of any obstacles. Start today and you’ll see your productivity shoot through the roof!
Eggs: An Underrated Staple
One of the best and cheapest sources of protein is the egg.
One of the best ways to cook an egg is to hard boil it.
Make a big batch so you have lots of them ready to go as a snack or to be incorporated into a larger meal during the week.
You’ll be surprised at how tasty and versatile this kitchen staple can be!
Dressing Up A Rotisserie Chicken
Most groceries stores have ready-to-go rotisserie chickens.
It’s really convenient to pick one up, but don’t buy all of the fattening and unhealthy sides that usually go with it.
Skip the mac n’ cheese, cole slaw, baked beans, and potato salad and instead pick up a bag of frozen veggies like broccoli or Brussel sprouts, or make a large salad to go with it.
It’s easy to scoop a bunch of pre-made junk onto your plate; don’t make a relatively healthy meal – rotisserie chicken – into junk food with unhealthy sides.
Ordering In – The Right Way
So you really REALLY don’t want to do anything tonight. It’s understandable, but there are still healthy options out there!
Companies are springing up all over the nation ready to solve your dinner dilemma with healthy alternatives.
You can order flash-frozen meals that are nutritious and delicious, and you can microwave them just like anything you buy at the store.
Some even allow you to customize to your particular preferences – that’s like having your own personal chef!
If you can at least do some cooking but want someone else to do the prep work, you can order a batch of ingredients and a recipe from some services.
There’s a lot of options out there. Look out for new apps and websites springing up every day to meet the needs of people who just need to take the pressure out of making a nice meal every night.
Which of these dinner hacks was the most helpful? Do you have one or two that you want to share? Let us know in the comments and let’s make dinner time stress-free together!