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25 Easy Meals for Busy Weeknights

This collection of 25 easy meals is full of dinner ideas – perfect for busy weeknights, hectic back-to-school schedules, and the upcoming holiday season.

Collage of examples of easy weeknight meals.

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School is back in session (finally!) here in New York, and I am excited to get back to a somewhat normal schedule.

And as with any period of adjustment, some things end up slipping between the cracks. Let’s not have meal time be one of those things!

Something that is super helpful when it comes to getting dinner on the table during the busy season is to have a go-to list of quick and/or low-maintenance meal options.

Quick Meal Suggestions for Busy Weeknights

My family enjoys having meals like tacos pretty often, so that’s a big one on my go-to list. I also will often roast a bunch of simply-seasoned veggies early in the week and stash ’em in the fridge so we can have side dishes that are mostly ready to go throughout the week.

They’re also great for things like grain bowls where you can cook up some grains and toss in your already cooked veggies. If you have a few extra minutes, throw a fried or soft-boiled egg on top. And speaking of eggs, I often use my Instant Pot to “hard boil” or “soft boil” eggs in batches, label them, and keep them in the fridge. They’re handy to keep on hand for an extra protein boost for lots of different meals, or as an addition to a lunchbox.

3/4 view of a slice of zoodle frittata topped with fresh herbs and a balsamic tomato salad.

Frittatas are also a great meal to make for busy weeknights. You can sauté up whatever veggies you have on hand, pour a few eggs over top, and finish it off in the oven. You can even use canned items, such as chickpeas, in your frittatas, to bulk them up a bit.

Another thing that has helped to make weeknight cooking a breeze is using an immersion circulator to cook food sous vide. I wrote a whole post about that process, and shared a recipe for Sous Vide Double Cut Pork Chops with Raw Summer Corn & Tomato Salad.

And there’s plenty more sous vide action to come! Earlier this week I tested 2 of our favorite pork tenderloin recipes sous vide and froze them once they finished cooking in the water bath. I plan to thaw them and sear them quickly for dinner in a few weeks and will report back on the results.

25 Easy Meals for Busy Weeknights

The following recipe list includes a mix of quick meals that take 30 minutes or less, one-pot and single-skillet recipes, sheet pan dinners, Instant Pot and slow cooker recipes, pizza and flatbread recipes, light meals, and low maintenance recipes that can cook while you do other things.

3/4 view of a casserole dish filled with baked chicken thighs, peas, and potatoes.

Garlicky Mushroom Ricotta Pizza with Wild Arugula + Aged Balsamic: Sautéed mushrooms are topped with ricotta and Parmesan cheeses and baked into a store-bought pizza crust for an easy, elegant weeknight meal!

Overhead view up of a Latin Chicken Skillet with Black Beans + Tomatoes with a cutting board and limes off to the side.

Overhead view of a dutch oven filled with sausages, peppers, and onions.

Collage of examples of easy weeknight meals.

Ashley Covelli is a food photographer, recipe developer, and culinary instructor based in Ossining, New York. She loves helping people become enthusiastic and adventurous in the kitchen so that they can build skills and confidence to cook for themselves and their loved ones. She can almost always be found with at least 3 different beverages within arm's reach.


  • Laurie Gannon

    I am all for easy weeknight meals! I have a slow cooker but haven’t purchased an Instapot as of yet. Do you recommend having both?

    • Ashley

      You know, I haven’t tried slow cooking in my Instant Pot yet but I’ve heard it isn’t the best for slow cooking. I still have both but use my Instant Pot waaaaay more often. In a perfect world, I’d have something simmering away all day in the slow cooker while making rice or mashed potatoes in the Instant Pot. One day. Ha!

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