Friday, February 28, 2014

Food Friday: 5 Super Easy & Quick Dinner Ideas

I am always looking for dinner ideas that are quick and easy for those days (most days!) when I don't have a ton of time to spend in the kitchen. Over the years, these have become some of my favorite dinners to whip up in a hurry. 

Apple Chicken Sausage with Grilled Bell Peppers

This is probably the easiest. I mean it. So easy. And so good. It takes one pan and three ingredients (plus any condiments you like). 

Apple chicken sausage (I like Trader Joe's Chicken Sweet Apple Sausages)
Hot dog buns (I like Trader Joe's Multi grain Rolls that come in a four pack)
Red bell pepper

Slice bell peppers. Add a tiny bit of oil or Pam to your pan. Grill peppers until they are as soft as you like. 
Meanwhile, cut sausages in half lengthwise. Once peppers are done, transfer them to a plate and use the same pan to cook the sausages. (They're already cooked, so you really just need to heat them and brown them a little on both sides).
Place two sausage links on a bun, topped with grilled bell peppers and any condiments (I like mine plain with just ketchup).
We usually eat this with a side of fruit or salad.


Shrimp Pasta with Pesto

This one is also so easy, especially if you use store-bought pesto (or any leftover homemade pesto). Plus, shrimp cooks super fast, so boiling the water and cooking the pasta is what takes the longest. This is also one that you can make as much or as little as you like, so I won't include ingredient measurements. 

Shrimp, deviegned and tail off 
Garlic, minced (I use two cloves since we love garlic)
Extra virgin olive oil or butter
Already-made pesto (if you want to make fresh pesto, I love Giada De Laurentiis' pesto in this recipe, but with about half the amount of olive oil)
Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water, stirring occasionally until pasta is al dente. 
While pasta cooks, add a splash or olive oil or about a tablespoon of butter to a pan, add garlic and cook for about a minute. Add shrimp and cook until the shrimp turns pink. 
Once pasta is done, add it to a large bowl. Add the shrimp and stir. Stir in as much pesto as you like, until it covers the shrimp and pasta evenly. Top with Parmesan cheese and serve.
(This would also work with chicken) 

Turkey Burgers

Turkey burgers photo bombed by a hungry Alex and Raegan! :)
These burgers are one of my favorites to make. The combo of parsley, red onion and feta cheese is so good in a burger. Plus, it's a little healthier with the ground turkey. A bonus is that this is one of the very few ways we can get Raegan to eat meat! 

1 pound ground turkey
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley,
1/4 cup feta cheese 
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon bread crumbs
Hamburger buns
Burger toppings 

Mix ground turkey with all ingredients through pepper. Form into burger patties. Place patties onto greased pan and cook until the turkey is no longer pink and cooked thoroughly. 
Place a patty (or two) on a bun and top with your favorite veggies and condiments. I like to top my burger with a little mayo, lettuce, tomato and ketchup. 


This is probably on every one's list of quick go-to meals! It's so easy to customize tacos based on what you like or what you have on hand. Here's how we make ours:

1 pound ground turkey
Taco seasoning (I make a big batch of this and use a few spoonfuls)
Water, about 1/2 cup (more or less depending on how much seasoning you like)
Extra sharp cheddar cheese
Sour Cream
Avocado slices

Cook ground turkey until the meat is no longer pink, breaking it up as it cooks. Once it's thoroughly cooked, add taco seasoning and water and let it simmer until most water has evaporated. 
Meanwhile, slice veggies and toppings you like, we use lettuce, tomato, cheese, avocado slices, salsa and sour cream.   

Angel hair Pasta with Basil and Feta Cheese

This is a cold pasta salad that is so yummy and so quick. Again, the hardest part is cooking the pasta. The flavors of the red wine vinegar with the feta cheese and tomato is really good.

One Roma tomato, diced
1/4 cup basil, julienned
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
One garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Angel hair pasta (spaghetti also works just as well)

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water, stirring occasionally until pasta is al dente. 
Meanwhile, add the rest of ingredients into a large bowl and stir until mixed. 
When pasta is done, drain and rinse with cold water, then add to the bowl with the tomato mixture. Stir and serve.  

There you go, five super easy and quick dinner ideas! If you have some go-to quick & easy dinners, please share them with us! Both Lindsey and I are always looking for more to try! 


  1. I love this Trader Joe's Apple Chicken Sausages.. Been using all the varieties for years. They are SO good!! Thank you TJ.
    Nice recipes!

    1. Thank you! Some of the other flavors are really good with pasta or scrambled eggs too. My 16-month old daughter, who isn't crazy about meat yet, loves these too, so it's a win win! Yum!


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