If you’re searching for dinner recipes to prepare on busy workdays, you come to the right place!
These simple one-pot meals are your solutions to cheap and easy weeknight dinners. Everything cooks in one pan for maximum flavor and minimum cleanup.
The best part is that these dinner recipes incorporate all the essential nutrients, so you don’t have to worry about the sides to serve with your main dish.
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1. Easy Vegetarian Minestrone
This hearty vegetable soup will soothe your mind after a stressful day at work. It’s easy to prepare, budget-friendly, and can be adjusted to many meals. Besides, it’s light enough to make you feel weighed down as you’re out running errands.
Many misconceptions surround this vegetarian minestrone, but they often incorporate a Parmesan rind to add more umami flavor into the broth. Unsurprisingly, Parmesan is not a vegetarian cheese because it contains animal rennet.
2. Unstuffed Bell Peppers
These super-simple unstuffed bell peppers are cooked in one pot and then topped up with cauliflower rice. Sadly, you cannot swap out this rice for the white one in this recipe.
And since cauliflower rice releases moisture as it cooks, you’ll end up with a stuffed bell pepper soup. Alternatively, you can use cauliflower rice and skip the broth, but you’ll be missing a lot of flavors.
3. Cajun Sausage and Rice Skillet
This one-pot recipe uses similar ingredients as jambalaya, but it’s a simplified version, excellent for a quick weeknight dinner. The best part? You can freeze the leftovers for a lazy night.
You can swap out the Cajun sausage for Andouille sausage to enhance the taste of your skillet. This is typically a smoked pork sausage commonly used in Louisiana recipes. If you can’t find them in your area, feel free to use any smoked sausage.
4. Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta With Garlic and Parmesan
Another simple recipe that won’t require much of your time in the kitchen is the creamy one-pot pasta. They are inexpensive, flexible, and meal prep friendly. And yes, it packs a lot of flavor in one dish.
You’ll also want to add cream cheese to keep your sauces smooth and enhance the melting of the cheese. If you’re not comfortable with the cream cheese, you can replace half the amount with heavy cream. This helps alleviate the moisture content in the sauce to allow the Parmesan to emulsify correctly.
5. Spinach and Artichoke Wonderpot
This one-pot pasta dish is packed with lots of vegetables, aromatic compounds, and broth to enhance the flavor. The broth and pasta form a rich, saucy gravy in the pot that dresses everything in authentic taste.
This spinach and artichoke wonderpot is easy to prepare and ready in 30 minutes. You can use fresh spinach for this recipe to achieve a better texture. Frozen spinach is also a handy option if you don’t have fresh spinach at hand.
6. Slow-Cooker White Chilli Chicken
If you love slow cooker meals, you should give this recipe a try. This slow cooker white chili chicken is prep friendly, and all you need to do is toss everything in the slow cooker, give the ingredients a quick stir, then turn it on and cook your chicken.
Make your nights warmer by adding cream cheese toppings and serving this hearty dinner with a side of tortilla chips. It’s also worth noting that white chili does not contain chili powder but flavored with salsa verde, oregano, and cumin. Additionally, the white chili acquires its name from the white beans used in place of red kidney beans used in red chili.
7. Crunchy Chicken Ramen Stir Fry
This crunchy ramen stir fry is another easy to prepare recipe that incorporates many vegetables to make a healthy dinner. This recipe is a new version of an old favorite beef and cabbage stir fry.
So instead of beef, this recipe uses chicken and tons of shredded cabbage and carrots for a budget-friendly bulk. And, of course, some crushed-up ramen noodles for a crunchy texture.
You can also add some creamy sriracha toppings for an extra feeling. Make this one of your comfort meals, and let the childhood memories scream in your stir fry recipe.
8. One-Pot Teriyaki Chicken and Rice
If you are looking for a convenient, comforting and simple meal to prepare for your family, this one-pot teriyaki chicken and rice will come in handy. This one-pot meal doesn’t need many ingredients to cook; plus, this teriyaki chicken and rice will need just a little chopping.
This dish is a version of the rice cooker teriyaki shrimp and rice. So if you’ve prepared that before, you’re going to find it easy and fun preparing this one-pot teriyaki chicken and rice recipe. Below is a quick and easy-to-follow recipe that should guide you through the entire process.
9. Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
Here comes another one-pot meal that’s super simple to prepare and will be the best on your busy weeknight dinners. I love this meal because you can customize it to your liking—adding the recipes you want to get the most delicious pasta.
This creamy cajun chicken pasta is so tasty, and it’s no wonder most kids crave more after having it for dinner. You can control the amount of heat in this creamy cajun chicken pasta by reducing or increasing the amount of pepper.
10. Spanish Chickpeas and Rice
If you love Spanish dishes, let’s find out if this will be your perfect match. This Spanish chickpeas and rice are one of the best one-pot meals that even your kids will crave more. It’s a mixture of smoky spices, rice, artichoke hearts, and some chickpeas.
Preparing this is straightforward and can take thirty minutes or less. You will add the ingredients you want to use and let your cooker start cooking. Below is a recipe that you can quickly go over to help you prepare this delicious Spanish chickpeas and rice.
11. Simple Homemade Chili
Most people love chili, including myself, and I bet your family loves it, too. This is a super simple recipe you can get over the line in no minute. The best of all is that you can customize what you’ll be using in this recipe—vegetables, proteins, toppings, liquids—you name it.
This is one of those one-pot meals that tastes even better the longer you cook it. This is why you may want to leave it longer for a couple of hours before you can take it out. If you don’t want to wait longer, taking it out within thirty minutes will still be good.
However, if you choose to let your chili seethe longer, cover it using a lid so that it doesn’t try when still simmering. You may also want to keep an eye if it’s drying out and if yes, add some water to prevent the drying.
12. Teriyaki Shrimp and Rice
If you are looking for something like shrimp fried rice, this teriyaki shrimp rice will be a perfect one for you and your family. While the other recipes might require you to fry this, it doesn’t need to be fried but steamed to make it less caloric.
The ingredients you’ll need for this recipe are few, meaning you won’t have to dig deep into your pockets to secure a ton of ingredients. Besides, you can add a bit more ingredients if you want to use the leftovers the next day by freezing.
13. Creamy Salsa Chicken Skillet
Salsa is going to be your perfect one-pot meal for your busy nights. You can add a lot of flavor to this meal without using many ingredients, dicing, or even chopping.
In other words, everything you might need is included in a single jar. This is why it’s a perfect recipe for a busy night, and the best of all is that kids also love it.
It’s faster and will turn out much creamier than you ever expected. If you didn’t get your slow cooker in the morning, you don’t need to worry because you can still prepare something the same in just thirty minutes or even less.
14. Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry
If you and your family find it challenging to adapt to vegetables, this beef and cabbage stir fry will be a better option. This recipe is full of vegetables and one that’s so addictive, even if you’ve never loved vegetables.
The vegetables you will use for this recipe are inexpensive to worry about in your budget. Besides, you have the flexibility of preparing this meal using various ground meats—ground turkey or even pork will just be perfect for this.
15. Southwest Scrambled Eggs
This ultimate Southwest scrambled eggs will be your last-minute meal for a busy weeknight dinner.
Nearly everyone loves it, so your kids will find it tasty and delicious for dinner. Having some jar of taco sauce in the fridge or pantry you can use for this recipe is advantageous.
Besides using these scrambled eggs for dinner, they can also be perfect for breakfast—for example; you could use them as breakfast tacos, breakfast quesadillas, or even breakfast burritos. In other words, you have lots of options you can choose from.
One-pot meals are convenient—easy to prepare and don’t need a huge budget to buy the ingredients. If you are looking for a quick meal you can prepare fast, without spending much time in the kitchen, these one-pot meals will help.
If you have ever prepared any of these meals, please share with other readers how you did it and your overall experience. Recipes are different from one person to the other, and sharing what worked for you will give other readers alternatives they can turn to.