This recipe collection is here to give you practical dinner ideas recipes that help you eat healthy.
What Should I Eat for Dinner?
When it comes to nurturing the body, nothing beats home-cooked meals. Still, many of us opt for take-outs or prepackaged meals from the store, often because cooking takes time and effort.
If you want to make and eat more home-cooked meals, look for dishes that require little time to prep and cook, and have easy-to-follow instructions. They should also be nutritious, and, above all, taste good.
Coincidentally, that’s what our site is all about. We understand that cooking can be tough, so we put all our effort into helping you cook healthy, delicious meals with ease.
The best thing is, you don’t even have to cook everyday. You can always cook a large batch ahead of time, freeze, and then reheat it later for fuss-free meals all week long.
Some of the recipes we’ve made are also budget-friendly, allowing you to eat healthy even without much to spend.
So have a look at these dinner ideas below and see which ones you want to try.
Easy and Quick Dinner Ideas for Lazy Nights
We begin this list with quick meals you can make in less than 30 minutes.
Pan-fried salmon with a quick salad: this recipe helps you recreate a fine-dining experience, but with a more satisfying portion size. In 15 minutes, you’ll have tender salmon with crispy skin and leafy bundles on the side.
Broiled salmon and fragrant quinoa: these to-die-for fillets melt in your mouth and are just 20 minutes away. This recipe also shows you how to cook quinoa correctly so it tastes awesome.
Shrimp scampi with fettuccine pasta: instead of spending your time making meatball spaghetti, try something different with this shrimp scampi. It’s got flavorful shrimps coated in a buttery sauce.
Teriyaki chicken over hot rice: see that glossy glaze all over the chicken? That can be made in minutes, and the result is a delicious, wholesome meal: juicy chicken, fragrant sauce, set off by a bed of hot rice.
Dirty rice with veggies and meat: this traditional Creole staple is better than a typical fried rice. Along with the typical veg and meat chunks, it also has the signature chicken liver that adds tons more flavor.
Chinese pepper steak: a really straightforward Chinese meal with only a few ingredients but fantastic flavor. This tasty, aromatic dish goes perfectly with warm cooked rice.
Tasty Dinners That Save You Time Cleaning
Seeing your dish coming together is exciting, but when it’s all gone, you’re also left with a pile of washing up. Thinking of scrubbing each item or even loading the dishwasher can make you more inclined to go for take-out next time.
What you need is recipes that require only one pan/pot to make which happily happen to be the easiest recipes to follow too. Here’s a handful to get you started:
Chicken sausage gumbo with rice: a flavorful soup to serve over cooked rice. It’s thickened with roux and okra and has sliced sausage, shredded chicken and chopped up veggies— a really wholesome meal.
Mexican stuffed pepper soup: another one-pot soup to serve over hot rice/with a slice of toasted bread. It’s got chopped-up meat and veggies, all simmered in broth to release and infuse the flavors.
Aromatic Kung Pao chicken: a typical Chinese stir-fry, with the sophisticated fragrance but easy-to-follow steps. It’s known for its sapid spicy sauce and the unique smoky aroma, a must-try American-Chinese staple.
Salisbury steak with mushroom sauce: a classic American dish with beef patties shaped like steaks. The patties are smothered in a rich signature sauce, perfect for pairing with rice or pasta.
Classic chicken Alfredo with cream sauce: a Rome classic that became popular in America: well-seasoned chicken and pasta tossed in a creamy sauce. Our version has got the original flavors, but with a better nutritional profile.
Mongolian beef with stir-fried veggies: a dish that incorporates slices of beef with a velvety, savory and pungent sauce. It’s an ideal stir-fry to go on top of a bowl of steaming, hot rice.
Oven-baked Meals that Give You Free Time
Sometimes you want to tackle your to-do list and cook at the same time, but recipes often require 100% of your attention. At times like these, what you need is recipes that give you some spare waiting time, so you can crack on with the other million things you need to do.
We’ve got some recipes like that right here. Once the baking dish is in the oven, you can focus on other things until the timer dings.
Chicken and rice casserole: if you choose to make this dish, you will have an hour of spare time while it cooks. A hearty, wholesome, flavorful casserole, well worth the wait.
Meatloaf with a tomato glaze: this loaf of minced meat is glazed with a caramelized tangy sauce, making a wholesome and tasty dinner. It also reheats well, so you can make a large loaf and save the leftovers for tomorrow’s meals.
Classic Italian lasagna with homemade sauce: a healthier take on this Italian classic, with less fat but still creamy and delicious. It’ll give you 45 minutes to spare, but remember to come back to the oven half-way through for some important-but-quick steps.
Ordering out is indeed convenient when a lot of people are coming to have dinner; but it can also get pretty expensive, and everyone loves a home-cooked meal (especially one they didn’t have to make!)
We’ve got some easy dinner ideas that you can make ahead of time and briefly reheat when your friends or family come over. These recipes are easy, can be doubled or tripled and make a hearty meal for everyone.
Chicken enchiladas with guacamole and chips: an easy classic that is sure to grab everyone’s attention. The tortillas are rolled with a flavorful filling of shredded chicken, cooked beans, corn, and tomato sauce, topped with cheese, and is baked to perfection.
Buffalo chicken dip with carrot and celery sticks: chips and dips naturally bring people together, so if you’re not sure what to serve at parties, this is a go-to. Guests can use chips or veggie sticks to scoop the cheesy chicken dip, flavored with a smoky sauce that’s irresistible.
Chicken fajitas and veggies in taco shells: if your friends/family have a soft spot for Tex-Mex cuisine, recreate the experience with our chicken fajitas recipe. It’s quick to whip up, and you can serve ingredients separately so everyone can customize their own meal.
Chicken tortilla soup (with tortilla chips): a hearty soup with a deep smoky flavor, chicken tortilla soup is a beautiful surprise for your friends and family, especially on cold days. It comes together in a pot and is basically hassle-free.
Comfort Foods to Nurture Your Stomach and Soul
We don’t just eat to fill the stomach, right? Good food can lift your mood whenever you’re feeling down, warm you and make everything feel okay, and these dishes do just that:
Chicken and dumplings in chicken broth: not just a comfort food, chicken and dumplings soup is a nutritious meal for when you’re sick and don’t want to eat. It’s got chunks of chicken and tender vegetables cooked in a flavorful stock.
Chicken and rice soup: an ultimate remedy for cold weather. It’s similar to the casserole version, but this one is like a congee, and it’s much more soothing.
Scalloped potatoes in creamy sauce: this is a must-try for when you need something extra creamy and tender. The potatoes are cooked slowly in the oven, absorbing all of the creamy sauce.
Sloppy joe packed with flavors: with this recipe, you’ll only need a pot, beef, seasonings, buns, and 45 minutes to cook for a large crowd. Want to serve this at parties? Get mini buns and make cute little burgers!
Sometimes, the purpose of home-cooking is simply to have good, nutritious food without spending a small fortune. Here are some easy meals that look decent and taste great but require budget-friendly ingredients.
Egg curry with Indian curry sauce: have some cooked rice, eggs and spices? Here’s a meal you can have for the whole week, and it’s protein-packed and super flavorful.
Spicy tofu over rice: you can have a tasty dinner with just tofu, spices and cooked rice. These spicy, salty, aromatic tofu pieces are especially good on cold days.
German spaetzle: with flour, mushrooms and spices, you can have comfort food for the whole week. It’s a German dish of homemade pasta with delicious mushroom sauce on top.
Indian chicken korma with cooked rice: if your fridge still has some slices of chicken breast, you can bake them or cook up a pot of chicken korma for the week. The sauce matches rice really well, a perfect solution for when things are a bit tight.
And that wraps up today’s article. If you’re looking for more amazing healthy dinner ideas, I highly recommend you to visit my list of easy healthy chicken recipes.
If any of these 38 easy dinner ideas are useful to you, we’d love to hear about your experience. Let us know in the comments below!
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.