In my experience, there are nights when you need a quick dinner idea, and nights when you need a faster-than-fast dinner idea. Whether it’s a lack of time, energy, or patience, sometimes you just want to get dinner on the table as soon as humanly possible!
In times like these, ordering takeout can be an attractive option. But takeout can be expensive, and sometimes it isn’t even that fast! (Ever had a 30-minute delivery end up taking over an hour? I certainly have!)
In fact, even if it only takes 20 minutes to pick up takeout or get it delivered, that’s still enough time to cook up the recipes that I’ll be sharing with you today! To help make your mealtimes a little more manageable, here are 7 of my favorite “faster than takeout” dinners that you can make in just 15 minutes. :-)
7 Easy Meals That Are Faster Than Takeout
1. Ravioli Lasagna
- Fresh or frozen ravioli
- Pasta sauce
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
- Sliced veggies (peppers, squash, etc.)
- Shredded Parmesan cheese
- Fresh basil
Boil your favorite frozen or fresh ravioli until just before the “al dente” stage. (It’s going to end up in the oven, so you don’t want to be done quite yet.)
Preheat your broiler, and arrange the drained ravioli in the bottom of a casserole dish. On top of the ravioli, add a layer of pasta sauce, then shredded mozzarella, then an assortment of your favorite sliced vegetables, and top it off with some fresh sliced basil and Parmesan.
Put your ravioli “lasagna” under the broiler for about 5 minutes (or until the cheese is melted), then dig in!
2. Chicken Sausage Hash
- Chicken apple sausages, fully cooked
- Diced root vegetables (potatoes, parsnips, turnips, carrots, etc.)
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
Slice up the sausages and preheat a bit of oil in a frying pan on your stovetop. When the oil is hot, add the sausage slice to the pan and cook until browned.
Remove the browned sausage from the pan and add your diced root vegetables. Let them brown up in the pan for a few minutes, then add 1/2 cup of chicken broth.
Scrape up any stuck-on bits at the bottom of the pan, season the mixture with salt and pepper, then put a lid on the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and keep simmering until the liquid is gone, then put the sausage back in the pan until everything is warmed through. Serve warm, topped with some fresh parsley if desired!
3. Black Bean Tacos
- 1/2 onion, diced
- Chili powder
- Canned black beans, rinsed
- 1/4 cup water or chicken broth
- Taco toppings
Cook the diced onion in a pan on your stovetop until soft, then season it with a large pinch of chili powder, a dash of cumin, and salt to taste. Add the black beans and 1/4 cup of either water or chicken broth.
Put a lid on the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and use a fork to smash about half of the beans, then taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
Serve the black bean mixture on warmed tortillas with your favorite taco toppings. (We opted for a bag of shredded cabbage and a jar of salsa, but you could add shredded cheese, cilantro, guacamole, or whatever else you like!)
4. Sausage & Pepper Sandwiches
- Chicken sausages, fully cooked
- Bell pepper
- 1/2 onion
- Whole grain mustard
- Baguettes or hot dog buns
Slice a chicken sausage in half lengthwise. Slice up the bell pepper and half of an onion, then heat up some oil in a pan on your stovetop.
When the oil is hot, add the sausage, peppers, and onions to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, turning frequently, until everything is browned and warmed through.
Spread mustard over both sides of a baguette or hot dog bun, then pile it up with the sausage, peppers, and onions. Yum!
5. Mac & Cheese
Mac and cheese is quick, easy, and guaranteed to please even the pickiest of eaters. And even if you’d prefer to make it from scratch than cook up the boxed stuff, it doesn’t take that much more time or effort!
Interested in spicing up your mac? Check out some of my favorite ways to dress up mac and cheese here (and check out the super quick and easy recipe for scratch-made mac and cheese at the bottom of that post!)
6. Shrimp Stir Fry
- Rice or lo main noodles
- Stir fry veggies (chopped/sliced broccoli, onions, mushrooms, carrots, etc.)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- Frozen shrimp
- 1/2 cup water
- Soy sauce
Start by cooking up some rice or lo mein noodles according to the package directions.
Heat some oil in a wok or sauté pan until hot, then add your stir fry veggies of choice. (Add hardier produce like broccoli and carrots a few minutes before softer, quicker cooking foods like snow peas or mushrooms.)
When the veggies have softened up, add the minced garlic and ginger and a handful of frozen shrimp. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add 1/2 cup of water and a few dashes of soy sauce.
When your stir fry is hot, bubbling, and seasoned to taste, serve it over the cooked rice or lo mein noodles.
- Fresh spinach
- Shredded cheese
- Omelet add-ins (chopped lunch meat, sliced peppers, sliced mushrooms, etc.)
Whisk up two eggs with a splash of milk and a pinch of salt and pepper, then set aside.
Melt a pat of butter in a nonstick pan on your stovetop over medium-low heat, then add a handful of spinach leaves and cook for about 30 seconds or so. Pour the egg mixture into the pan so that it coats the bottom.
Use a heat-resistant spatula to lift the edges of the eggs, and tilt the pan gently to allow the uncooked eggs to run under the cooked parts. Continue cooking until the edges are set and the center is wet, but no longer runny, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from heat, sprinkle some shredded cheese (and any omelet add-ins you want to include) over half of the eggs, then use a spatula to fold the finished omelet in half.
Slide the omelet onto a plate and serve immediately.
What’s your go-to “faster than takeout” meal?