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9 Easy Dinners You Should Know How To Make

Ever wondered what someone who spends all day thinking about food actually eats?

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In the past three years, I've literally written HUNDREDS of posts about delicious, easy recipes you should make for dinner.

Christine Byrne / BuzzFeed

I'm talking lists on lists on lists of chicken dinners, slow cooker dinners, no-cook dinners, one-pot dinners, pasta dinners, vegetarian dinners, paleo dinners, 30-minute dinners, 20-minute dinners, and more. That's a whole lotta dinner recipes.

And while I love trying new recipes, I'm definitely a creature of habit when it comes to my own evening routine.

Here are the weeknight dinner recipes (and non-recipes!) I turn to most often. Do YOU have a favorite quick dinner recipe? Shout it out in the comments below.

1. First things first: Some weeks, I spend Sunday afternoons cooking big batches of vegetables, meat, and sometimes a grain.

If I don't have major Sunday plans, I actually find it relaxing (and FUN!) to grocery shop, prep, then do laundry and watch TV while everything cooks. But tbh sometimes I am too busy or lazy to spend Sunday prepping for the week. If the idea of Sunday meal prep stresses you out or doesn't seem even a little bit fun, DON'T DO IT. It's totally possible to cook quick weeknight meals from scratch.


2. A one-skillet chicken and veggie dish that takes less than 30 minutes.

I really love chicken thighs — they cook quickly, and they're so much tastier than chicken breast. I always make sure to get bone-in, skin-on thighs, because the bone adds flavor and searing the thighs in a hot pan renders out the fat from the thighs, which you can then use to coat veggies instead of adding another oil. This recipe is quick and there's very little mess. In the summer, I sometimes use zucchini and cherries instead of Brussels sprouts and apples. Get the recipe.

3. Or a sheet pan chicken and veggie dish.

OK, so I don't love chicken breasts as much as chicken thighs, but if you want to roast root vegetables on the same sheet tray, it's easier to use breasts because they're bigger and so they take a little longer to cook. Get the bone-in, skin-on kind so that they don't dry out. (I really do not like boneless, skinless chicken, if you couldn't tell.) You can also do this with a whole chicken, but it takes longer and usually on weeknights I don't feel like waiting that long. Get the recipe.

4. Salad + bread + eggs.

Buying bread at the supermarket when you're single, in your twenties, and rarely home is tricky business — sliced bread is not delicious, but a loaf of fresh bread goes bad before I can finish it. (I know you can slice and freeze, but that's a lot of work for a staple that's supposed to be easy.) So, a couple of nights a week I stop by the bakery between my subway stop and my apartment and buy a single roll — OK, sometimes two — for dinner. I usually soft-boil two eggs by bringing a pot of water to a boil, dropping the eggs in, lowering it to a simmer and covering it, then letting the eggs cook for 8 minutes before transferring them to an ice bath and peeling, and throw together whatever cooked or raw vegetables I have in my fridge for a salad. The whole thing takes 15 minutes to throw together, and it's a good way to use up leftovers instead of making more.

5. Healthy lettuce cups that are really fun to eat.

My roommate (aka my sister) and I have very different ideas of what an average dinner looks like. I often roast a chicken and a bunch of vegetables on Sunday afternoon and eat the leftovers throughout the week; she usually makes a quesadilla or stops for pizza on her way home. These lettuce cups are one of the only dinners we can agree on, so I make them at least once a month. It's a one-pan dish that you can eat with your hands, so there's very little cleanup. I'll often make a big batch of pickled red onions and use them on salads all week long. You can use pretty much any kind of ground meat and any combination of herbs, and once you buy the fish sauce and rice vinegar, you'll have enough to repeat the recipe plenty of times. Get the recipe.


6. A 15-minute sheet pan salmon dinner.

Andrew Purcell /

I actually love searing salmon in a skillet on the stovetop — the skin gets really crispy and it's easy to tell exactly when it's done — but my aforementioned sister/roommate hates fish and gets mad when our whole apartment smells like salmon. Roasting it quickly in the oven is a little less ~aromatic~, so I end up cooking this sheet pan salmon almost weekly. The recipe calls for the salmon to be cooked for 10 minutes, but I only cook it for 7 or 8 minutes because I like the fish warm but very pink on the inside. If you cheat and buy bagged, pre-cut kale and cabbage, you can make this without even whipping out a knife or dirtying a cutting board. Get the recipe.

7. A quinoa salad with lots of texture.

Honestly, I've never been crazy about quinoa OR corn. Then last summer, I tried the two of them together for the first time, and everything about the combination works. The corn is sweet and crunchy, the quinoa is savory and soft but a little granular. Add some store-bought rotisserie chicken — or leftover chicken! or just leave it out completely! — plus dried fruit and herbs, and you have a filling grain salad that's also great for lunch the next day. Get the recipe.

8. A very simple fried rice.

There are two really great things about fried rice: 1) It's the easiest way to bring day-old rice back to life, and 2) it can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. The smartest trick I've ever heard was from chef Dale Talde, who swears that cooking the beaten eggs in the pan first ensures that the rice doesn't stick. If you have lots of leftover veggies and meat, you can throw them in for a super quick fried rice. Or, you can cook bite-size pieces of meat or shrimp, then add raw veggies, then add the cooked rice. This easy veggie fried rice uses leftover cooked vegetables, while this shrimp fried rice calls for raw shrimp and frozen veg. Both are really great and very quick.

9. A spaghetti squash dinner that's actually satisfying.

If you think you hate spaghetti squash, there's a good chance you've been doing it wrong. Seriously. If you cook it in the microwave, it steams and gets soggy and a little too soft. If you roast it in halves, it's a little better. BUT, if you cut it into rings and roast it, it cooks quicker and ends up al dente. Plus, the strands end up longer, which makes it easier to get that perfect ~twirl~. This recipe is a little carbonara-esque, with lots of bacon flavor, plus a creamy tang from the goat cheese. Get the recipe.