8 Easy, Last-Minute Dinner Ideas Already in Your Kitchen

8 Easy, Last-Minute Dinner Ideas Already in Your Kitchen 8 Easy, Last-Minute Dinner Ideas Already in Your Kitchen
So many nights, I get home from running the kids around or doing errands all day to find I have nothing planned for dinner. There is only so much space in this brain to keep track of all I have to do! If you also find that dinner falls by the wayside more often than not, here are eight last-minute dinner ideas you can throw together from ingredients already in your fridge and pantry!

1. Penne a la Carbonara 

This recipe calls for pancetta, but let’s be honest—who has pancetta in their fridge on any given day? Just substitute sliced deli ham (like Land O’Frost’s Bistro Favorites Black Forest Ham) and follow this five-ingredient recipe for a fancy dinner without the forethought!

2. Chicken Potpies

If you tend to stockpile leftover holiday pie crust in the freezer, this recipe is perfect for you! Thaw the crust, cut out circles to the size of your soup bowls, and bake. The rest is simple: use leftover cooked chicken, mushrooms, cream of chicken soup and frozen mixed vegetables for a no-fuss meal!

3. Tomato Basil Soup

Who knew it would be this easy to make homemade soup? Simply sauté chopped onion and garlic in olive oil, add in chopped tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes have broken down. Blitz the hot ingredients in a blender with salt, pepper and fresh basil (you can even leave on the stems)! Serve immediately with crusty bread like focaccia.

4. Three-Ingredient Black Bean Soup

While we’re on the topic of soup, this is easier than the last! Two cans of black beans, one cup of chicken broth and a can of diced tomatoes is all you need to cook in a pan; then blend in a blender until smooth. Garnish with chives, sour cream, shredded cheddar or tortilla chips (or all of the above)!

5. Five-Minute Pita Pizzas

The beauty of pita pizzas (besides simplicity of course) is that you can customize them with toppings for each person in the family. Get the kids involved and let them make their own! All you need on hand is pocketless pita rounds, sauce and any deli cheese, then whatever you have in the fridge will work for toppings (tomatoes, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, turkey, ham, etc.).

6. Pesto Caprese Chicken in Foil

I’m new to the world of cooking in foil pockets, so please excuse my enthusiasm, but this changes everything! Simply cut four 12-inch squares of foil, place a raw chicken breast on each one. Top the breasts with pesto, sliced Roma tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, wrap them securely in the foil and place the pockets on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes in a 375-degree oven, and you have one of the easiest dinners of all time!

7. One-Pot Vegetable Pasta

Similar to the foil pockets, I’m late to the one-pot trend, but I’m so glad I finally joined the party. This fantastic pasta meal does not even require you to drain the pasta (yes, you read that right)! Throw linguine or spaghetti into the water, and add seasonings, frozen peas, sliced mushrooms and raw spinach leaves (literally any vegetables, frozen or fresh will work). Cook the pasta until al dente, then mix in cream and parmesan. You’re done!

8. Ham and Egg Fried Rice

This recipe is perfect when you have a ton of leftover cooked rice from Chinese take-out or last night's dinner. Sauté onion and garlic in oil, then add in horizontally-sliced fresh green beans and diced deli ham until the ham starts to brown. Break up the cold, cooked rice with your hands to work out any big clumps, then toss the rice into the pan. Stir in sesame oil, soy sauce, and black pepper then clear a space in the pan for two beaten eggs. Scramble the eggs, then mix in with the other ingredients and serve! Moms, just put these eight miraculously easy last-minute dinner recipes into your hectic weekday rotation, and put your brains at ease—you’ve got too much to think about already!


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