50+ Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes

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When you have to get food on the table fast you need your go-to easy dinner ideas. Whether you prefer chicken, beef, pork, seafood, or meatless meals, these quick dinners will become new family favorites. There are over 50 simple recipes and kid-friendly dishes. And they all have gluten free options too!

collage of buffalo chicken sloppy joes, cube steaks, pizza, barbecue chicken, fish tacos, and stuffed baked potatoes

What should I make for dinner tonight?

Whether you’ve pulled a package of ground beef out of the freezer, want to make a simple chicken dinner, or literally need to make a no-cook meal because you really don’t have time, there are so many amazing recipes to make sure you get dinner on the table fast.

Here are some of our favorite easy dinner ideas to get food on the table fast. These methods and techniques help you make dinner in a snap!

  • One pot meals or one skillet meals – there’s nothing better than a meal that comes together easily and you only have one pot or pan to wash. Make something hearty like Chicken Corn Chowder.
  • Sheet pan meals or foil pack meals – toss everything on a pan, like this Italian Sausage Sheet Pan Dinner, or wrap it up in foil. Then pop it in the oven and you have a no-fuss meal with tons of flavor and, once again, easy cleanup. Maple Dijon Chicken in foil packets can even be tossed on the grill.
  • Casserolescasserole recipes sometimes take a little longer to cook in the oven, but prep time is usually fast. During this time, you can be taking care of other things while it bakes.
  • Slow-cooker meals – sure these take a while to cook, but your hands-on time is usually minimal when you make dinner in your crockpot.
  • Breakfast for dinnerscrambled eggs, pancakes, oh heck, even sometimes a bowl of cereal is always a family favorite and simple to make. This can easily be a 15-minute meal if you are really pressed for time.
  • Instant Pot meals – those pressure cookers can do amazing things, especially when you forgot to defrost meat. This 8-Quart Instant Pot is perfect for family-size meals. I use it all the time!
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Key to finding gluten free recipes:

GF – gluten free recipe
GFO – recipe with gluten free option


50+ Quick and Easy Dinner Ideas

Everybody is busy these days, but you still have to eat. Don’t let weeknight dinners get you down! Here you’ll find recipes that use chicken, plenty of beef and pork dinners, plus seafood like salmon, shrimp, and more. And, of course, we can’t forget vegetarian options for Meatless Monday and any night you want a plant-based option. Many are based on the different techniques and meal options mentioned above. Get ready to pick your favorite.

Quick Chicken Recipes

Winner winner, chicken dinner! Whether you start with boneless skinless chicken breasts, grab some drumsticks or thighs, have leftover chicken, or grab a rotisserie chicken from the store, this is always a versatile protein. But sometimes you just need some new ideas!

A closeup of one of the Barbecue Chicken Tostadas on a cookie sheet.

Easy BBQ Chicken Tostadas

GF
Easy, cheesy, and covered in your favorite sauce, this is a family favorite you can whip up in minutes using leftover chicken or a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.
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blue bowl of chicken and brown rice with eggs and vegetables

Chicken Fried Rice

GFO, use tamari or gluten free soy sauce or coconut aminos
A dinnertime staple, this dish is faster, easier, and healthier than take-out, thanks to brown rice, shredded pre-cooked chicken, and colorful vegetables.
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Buffalo chicken sandwich on a plate with blue cheese.

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

GFO, use a gluten free bun or on lettuce wraps
Combine your favorite spicy wing flavor and a classic kid-favorite dinner into one mouthwatering sandwich made with lean ground chicken for a healthy meal. An easy and versatile family favorite weeknight dinner with a hot sauce kick.
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cast iron pan with the chicken enchilada skillet recipe cooked in it and topped with melted cheese next to small bowls of lettuce, salasa, and mini bell peppers

Chicken Enchilada Skillet

GF
It’s the best part of the enchiladas. This is a cheesy keto dish that the kids can have in a tortilla or with rice if they aren’t eating low carb.
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Final cooked dish on a serving platter

Prosciutto-Wrapped Pesto Chicken Tenders

GF
You only need three main ingredients plus salt and pepper to make these flavorful chicken tenders. Whether you bak them in the oven or pop them in your air fryer, they are ready in no time.
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white chicken chili in a blue bowl with cilantro, jalapeno slices, and tortilla chips on top

Instant Pot White Chicken Chili

GF
Hearty, creamy, and delicious, this is cozy comfort food that will warm you up. Made with simple ingredients and naturally gluten free, your pressure cooker gives you slow-cooked taste with little time and effort.
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The completed lemon chicken inside of a skillet with three thin lemon slices

Mrs. A’s Skillet Lemon Chicken

GFO, make your own gluten free chicken tenders.
Chicken is simmered in a creamy lemon herb sauce for a hearty main course that the whole family will fall in love with. It is fit for any special occasion, yet easy enough for a busy weeknight!
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bowl of finished mac and cheese sprinkled with pepper

Gluten Free Mac and Cheese with Bacon and Chicken

GFO, use gluten free pasta

A satisfying one-pot meal made right on the stove. Your basic macaroni and cheese gets a comfort food upgrade because it’s loaded with chicken, bacon, and, of course, plenty of cheese.
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honey mustard chicken bites in a cast iron skillet with a wooden spoon

Honey Mustard Chicken Bites

GF

Kids and adults will love the sweet and tangy Dijon glaze. You only need a few simple ingredients and less than 20 minutes to make these the highlight of your meal.
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Top view of baked chicken tacos in a white baking dish.

Baked Chicken Tacos

GF

Made with crunchy hard taco shells filled with slow cooked salsa chicken and beans, oven baked with two types of cheese, and then loaded with your favorite taco fixings.
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Baked blackened chicken breasts in a skillet with lemon and parsley.

Baked Blackened Chicken

GF

An easy chicken recipe loaded with bold, New Orleans-inspired flavor! Homemade blackening seasoning transforms these chicken breasts into something truly amazing, with a delicious blend of Cajun-style herbs and spices.
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Shredded slow cooker chicken with tomatoes and basil on a white plate on top of a red placemat with silver salt and pepper shakers.

Slow Cooker Tomato Basil Chicken

GF

Easy, fresh, and flavorful with only five main ingredients, and super versatile. You can make it a hearty comfort food meal by serving it over pasta. Or keep it light, gluten free, and low carb with cauliflower rice.
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Instant Pot Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken on a plate with red chopsticks set on top of red and white cloth napkins

Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken

GFO, use tamari or gluten free soy sauce or coconut aminos

Let the pressure cooker do all the work for this sweet and savory teriyaki dish. So many versatile serving options, and it’s even great for meal prep.
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three chicken breasts covered with barbecue sauce in a cast iron skillet

BBQ Balsamic Baked Chicken Breasts

GF

Seasoned, tossed in the oven, then slathered with a savory homemade barbecue sauce that is so simple to make while the chicken bakes. This easy technique ensures you end up with flavorful, juicy chicken.
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More recipes for chicken:

  • Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup from That Skinny Chick Can Bake (GF) | Southwest comfort food cooked in your slow cooker for an easy dinner recipe on a busy day.
  • 30 Minute 2 Ingredient BBQ Wings from Big Bear’s Wife (GF) | Proves that even wings can be one of your favorite easy dinner ideas.
  • Chicken Mozzarella Pasta from 365 Days of Baking and More (GFO, use gluten free pasta) | A simple dish with pasta, chicken, sundried tomatoes, and a creamy mozzarella sauce.
  • French Spaghetti from Simple Joy (GFO, use gluten free pasta) | A pasta and chicken dinner that can be made with a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, making it perfect for busy nights.

Simple Beef and Pork Recipes

Ground beef and different cuts of steak can be the start of so many meals from burgers and meatballs to steak bites and stir fries, plus so much more. And whether you choose chops or tenderloins or go with bacon or ham, pork is always a super flavorful option. I’m sure you’ll love these easy dinner ideas!

a spoonful of shepherds pie held up over a casserole dish

Easy Shepherd’s Pie

GF

A few shortcuts and streamlined preparation make this comfort food casserole a weeknight meal. The entire family will love the savory meat and veggie mixture and cheesy mashed potatoes topping. Cutting carbs? Try Keto Shepherd’s Pie.
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Easy Ground Beef Egg Roll in a Bowl with colorful slaw mix

Easy Beef Egg Roll Bowl

GFO, use tamari or gluten free soy sauce or coconut aminos
A family-friendly, quick and easy dinner made in a single skillet in less than 20 minutes. A healthy, deconstructed version of a favorite Asian takeout recipe! Serve alone for keto diets, or with rice or ramen noodles.
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Broccoli Ham and Cheese Egg Muffins on a plate.

Broccoli, Ham and Cheese Egg Muffins

GF

As tasty as a broccoli ham and cheese omelet, but in a much cuter package. Plus it’s a package that is totally acceptable to pick up and eat with your hands. You aren’t “scrambling” to make multiple omelets to get on the table at the same time for each member of the family.
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A terra cotta dish of steak bites with lime wedges on a striped cloth napkin.

Chili Lime Steak Bites

GF

Pack plenty of spicy and zesty flavor into tender pieces of sirloin steak. With only a handful of ingredients and in less than fifteen minutes you’ll have a fiesta for your mouth.
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Gluten Free Steak Stir Fry with Veggies and rice

Gluten Free Beef Stir Fry

GFO, use tamari or gluten free soy sauce or coconut aminos

This is always one of the best Asian-inspired easy dinner ideas. It’s so simple but full of tone of bright, crisp-tender veggies.
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tacos on a pla

Easy Instant Pot Ground Beef Tacos

GFO with corn or gluten free tortillas

Simple and healthy, you don’t need any seasoning packets, and the pressure cookie does most of the work. Just grab some spices from the pantry and you’ll have a big batch to to double duty for salads, burrito bowls, or nachos later in the week.
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Pan seared cube steak on a plate with side dishes.

Pan-Seared Cube Steak with Worcestershire Sauce

GF

So simple, this recipe, if you can even call it that, only takes minutes and a cast iron pan. Just grab some salt, pepper, and a splash of Worcestershire sauce.
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A Shepherd's Pie Baked Potato on a blue plate.

Cottage Pie Baked Potatoes

GF

Everything you love about Shepherd’s Pie, but without the work of peeling or mashing potatoes. You can make everything else while your baked potatoes cook in the oven, microwave, slow cooker, Instant Pot, or air fryer.
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Easy sloppy joe on a blue plate with vegetables

Easy Homemade Sloppy Joes

GFO, use gluten free buns

Just minutes to make and you’ll have all the classic slightly sweet and tangy flavors and saucy deliciousness you love. A budget-friendly family favorite, it is almost as quick as using the stuff from a can.
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A Pulled Pork Sandwich with Onions on a White Serving Platter

Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Pork

GFO, use gluten free buns or serve another way

Fall-apart tender and melt-in-your-mouth delicious! Flavored with garlic powder, smoked paprika, brown sugar, barbecue sauce and more, the sweet and savory goodness is out of this world.
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serving spoon resting in a pan of ground beef taco skillet with a scoop already missing from the pan

Mexican Ground Beef Taco Skillet

GF

Southwestern spices, flavorful meat, hearty rice and beans, and plenty of cheese come together into a one pan meal that will turn any night into a fiesta. Just add your favorite taco toppings!
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Stuffed baked potatoes on a serving tray with cheese melted on top.

Philly Cheesesteak Twice-Baked Potatoes

GF

Ditch the bread and turn your basic baked potato into a satisfying meal. Stuffed with flavorful buttery beef, peppers, and onions, then topped with melty cheese and twice baked, that classic sandwich gets reinvented into an easy gluten free dinner the family will love.
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Crispy Hot Dog Taquitos drizzled with sour cream and lined up on a wooden platter.

Cheesy Hot Dog Taquitos

GF

Turn basic dogs into cheesy baked taquitos. You can even make them in your air fryer. The only question is whether to dunk them in salsa or guacamole.
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A spoon pouring extra maple glaze over the air fryer ham.

Maple Glazed Air Fryer Ham

GF

Coated with a thick, mouthwatering Dijon mustard and maple glaze. It has a sweet and tangy flavor that tastes incredible with salty, smoky ham. So quick to prepare and easy to make.
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A serving of sloppy joe tater tot casserole on a plate next to a green salad.

Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole

GF
You are sure to delight kids and adults with this combination of childhood favorites. This hearty sloppy joe casserole is the stuff of weeknight dinner dreams. 
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sliced hawaiian pizza with a spatula pulling on slice away

Gluten Free Hawaiian Pizza

GFO, use gluten free pizza crust

If you have a pre-made crust or one in the freezer, you can make this kid-favorite pizza in a flash. The sweet and salty flavor is irresistible.
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Hamburger on a bun with lettuce, tomatoes, and onions on a plate with mixed veggies.

Air Fryer Hamburgers

GFO, use gluten free buns or lettuce wraps

Get ready to make perfectly juicy burgers in minutes without a trip to the drive-through. A healthier alternative to those fast-food cheeseburgers, but they are still moist and delicious, especially when you add all of your favorite toppings!
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Completed banh mi salad in a bowl next to six lime wedges and a pair of chopsticks

Banh Mi Salad

GFO, use gluten free soy sauce or tamari
A fresh re-interpretation of the classic Vietnamese street food sandwich. You'll love the flavorful pork meatballs, crisp pickled veggies and simple dressing.
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A white bowl is generously filled with beefaroni, with a fork to its right and salt and pepper in the background.

Beefaroni

GFO, use gluten free pasta

Also known as chili mac or a million other names, this dish is perfect for weeknights because it only has a few ingredients, and kids gobble it up.
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pale blue bowl of white rice topped with hunan beef

Easy Hunan Beef

GFO, use tamari or gluten free soy sauce or coconut aminos

Make a takeout favorite at home with this quick version of a Chinese dish that uses a few simple ingredients. In about 15 minutes you’ll enjoy a fresh and flavorful dinner.
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Grilled Greek Beef Kabobs on a dinner plate with rice, hummus, Zoodles Greek salad, and tzatziki on top of a red placemat and a blue cloth napkin with white flowers.

Beef Souvlaki – Greek Steak Kabobs

GF

Fire up the grill (or grill pan) for a simple way to bring on Mediterranean flavors. With this basic recipe, you can customize your meal to be gluten free, low carb, or paleo based on your choice of side dishes.
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More beef and pork recipes:

  • Smoky Tex Mex Sloppy Joes from Fake Ginger (GFO, use gluten free buns or on lettuce wraps) | Gives one of everyone’s favorite weeknight dinners gets a smoky, spicy twist.
  • Easy Beef Sliders from Love Bakes Good Cakes (GFO, use gluten free buns or on lettuce wraps) | Mini burgers that only need a little time and effort.
  • Beef Stroganoff Ravioli Skillet from Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts (GFO, use gluten free pasta) | Gives the classic comfort food a new twist using beef ravioli.
  • One-Pot Southwest Macaroni from White Lights on Wednesday (GFO, use gluten free pasta) | An easy dinner idea combining favorites of pasta and sloppy joes in one dish.
  • Slow Cooker Meaty Marinara from Lemons for Lulu (GFO, use gluten free pasta) | Made with turkey sausage and ground turkey means all you have to do is boil the pasta after a busy day.

Quick Vegetarian Dishes

Whether it’s Meatless Monday or you are looking for more plant-based options, you can enjoy healthy and sometimes even more budget-friendly dinners that are still loved by everyone in the family.

Stuffed eggplant parmesan topped with melted cheese in a serving dish.

Stuffed Eggplant Parmesan

GF

Everything you love about traditional eggplant parm, and none of the stuff you don’t. There’s still all the veggie goodness, a flavorful sauce, and plenty of cheese. But you have none of the work and calories of breading and frying.
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A bowl of gluten free stovetop mac and cheese.

Gluten Free Stove Top Mac and Cheese

GF

It's a kid favorite that is so quick and easy, with only a handful of ingredients! Everything comes together as soon as the pasta is finished boiling, for a creamy and cheesy, family-friendly dinner.
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Closeup of the side of a bowl of cauliflower broccoli cheese soup garnished with crumbled bacon.

Creamy Cauliflower Broccoli Cheese Soup

GF

Definitely better than Panera. A veggie secret makes that old favorite cheesy soup healthier but just as creamy.
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Tomato Feta Spinach Frittata being cut into pieces on a cutting board

Tomato Feta Spinach Frittata

GF

Light and fluffy, is a perfect quick and easy meal for busy days with only four ingredients and lots of veggies. Naturally gluten free, low carb, and meatless for a healthy breakfast for dinner.
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Gluten Free Pizza

GF

Topped any way you like it, you'll love this super easy crust that tastes perfect, holds up really well, and comes together with only a few basic ingredients!
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Spicy Sesame Noodles with vegetables for garnish being picked up by a pair of chopsticks.

Spicy Sesame Noodles

GFO, use tamari or gluten free soy sauce or coconut aminos
These sesame noodles are full of bold flavors that blend beautifully to make the perfect sweet and spicy dish. The natural ingredients make it so much healthier than the takeout version, since there are no preservatives and everything is fresh.
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Two bowls of instant pot tomato soup garnished with basil and cream next to bowls of basil leaves and chili flakes on a table.

Instant Pot Creamy Tomato Soup

GF

This restaurant-style soup is rich, creamy, and super delicious. Enjoy this silky-smooth bisque made with fresh tomatoes right at home in under 40 minutes.
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A white bowl with penne alla vodka and a fork

Best Homemade Vodka Sauce

GF, use gluten free pasta

Only slightly more work than opening a jar of sauce, but with a flavor that blows basic marinara away. Ready in less time than it takes to boil pasta.
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Easy gluten free falafel on a blue plate with tomato cucumber feta salad

Easy Falafel

GF

Bring the taste of the Mediterranean into your kitchen with only six ingredients. Healthier than the usual street food because it’s made in your air fryer, plus it is naturally gluten free and vegan without any special ingredients.
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A Mexican Pineapple Black Bean Stuffed Baked Sweet Potato on a blue plate topped with cheese, avocado, and sour cream.

Mexican Sweet Potatoes with Pineapple Black Beans

GF

Baked sweet potatoes stuffed with delicious Mexican spiced black beans, pineapple, shredded cheese and tomatoes. It has delicious sweet heat flavors and you can keep it vegan or serve it with cheese and sour cream, or any of your favorite taco toppings.
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Penne with tomato cream sauce on a plate topped with peas and prosciutto, next to a pan of pasta.

Penne with Tomato Cream Sauce

GF, use gluten free pasta
Creamy, delicious, and loaded with peas and prosciutto. This mouthwatering pasta recipe is easy enough for a weeknight dinner, and elegant enough for a special meal.
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More meatless meals:

Fast Seafood Recipes

Seafood is so nutritious and many varieties of fish and shellfish cook super fast. But it can be intimidating for some people. So start with these easy recipes to get your feet wet, if you’ll pardon the pun.

Chili Lime Fish Stick Tacos

Chili Lime Fish Stick Tacos

GFO, use gluten free fish sticks

Give your basic fish sticks an extra zing of chili and lime. Then pile them in taco shells with your favorite toppings. They are especially tasty with Mango Avocado Salsa.
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gluten free BBQ shrimp quinoa bowl

BBQ Shrimp Quinoa Bowl

GF

Kids enjoy eating this healthy meal because of the barbecue sauce and cheese. The shrimp takes just minutes and is done while the quinoa cooks.
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Lobster Cobb Salad

Lobster Cobb Salad

GF

A deliciously light and fresh warm weather dinner. It’s the perfect summer dinner recipe with its combination of seafood, vegetables, and let’s not forget the cheese, avocado, and, of course, bacon!
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Rice paper rolls filled with shrimp and veggies on a cutting board with a set of chopsticks and more summer rolls on a plate.

Shrimp Summer Rolls

GF

Succulent shrimp and cool, crisp veggies are tossed in a simple sauce and rolled up in rice paper wrappers. Serve with extra soy sauce or tamari, or even sweet chili sauce for dipping.
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Honey Lime Shrimp with Chili on a plate

Chili Lime Shrimp

GF

Saucy shrimp that packs a serious punch of flavor. But you only need a few ingredients, one skillet, and less than ten minutes.
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Broiled salmon on a plate with maple sesame glaze

Sesame Maple Glazed Salmon

GFO, use gluten free soy sauce or tamari

A sweet and savory Asian-inspired marinade is a fish recipe that even the non-seafood eaters will love. Drizzle your perfectly broiled salmon with the flavorful sauce and serve it with broccoli and rice or cauliflower rice to make it a full meal.
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Shrimp Cobb Salad with hard boiled eggs, bacon, limes, tomatoes, avocado, cotija cheese, grilled corn, and cilantro lime dressing in a white serving bowl

Grilled Shrimp Cobb Salad

GF

A fresh, flavorful, and filling. It’s the perfect summer meal, and this one even has a bit of a Mexican twist with grilled corn, Cotija cheese, and a spicy Cilantro Lime Ranch Dressing. You’re going to be making this grilled shrimp salad all season long.
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a plate of white rice with bourbon shrimp and vegetables in the middle next to a dish of sesame seeds

Honey Bourbon Shrimp

GFO, use gluten free soy sauce or tamari

Sweet, sticky, and savory, this super easy dish has everything you love. Pan-seared shrimp and veggies are quickly simmered in a simple richly-flavored sauce. It is a delicious 30-minute seafood dinner you can serve over rice, noodles, and more.
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More fish and shellfish recipes:

  • Parmesan Crusted Tilapia from Taste and Tell (GF) | A simple fish dish that is done in 20 minutes. Even non-fish lovers enjoy that cheese.
  • Lemon Garlic Baked Cod from Sweet C’s (GF) | Tons of lemon garlic butter flavor in just 20 minutes and one dish.
  • Crab Cakes from Savory Simple (GFO, use gluten free cracker crumbs) | These might just be the best you’ve ever tried when they are broiled to perfection.
8 Comments
  1. 30 of the Best Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes for Busy Families – homecookedflavors.com

    […] go-to recipes – I actually call these my “back pocket recipes”. These are quick and easy dinner recipes I can pull out of my back pocket on a moment’s notice. They may be on my meal plan, or I can whip […]

  2. […] Apple Blue Cheese Chicken Salad is a tangy and creamy twist on the traditional chicken salad recipe. Lightened up with Greek yogurt instead of mayo, you’ll love the creaminess balanced with the crunch of apples and walnuts or pepitas plus the tang of the yogurt and blue cheese. It is perfect to make when you have leftover chicken or picked up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. You can make a big batch to pack in school lunches all week or it’s one of the best no cook meals when you serve it on sandwiches, lettuce wraps, or salad. Greek yogurt chicken salad with apples and blue cheese packs tons of flavor in one of our favorite quick and easy dinner recipes. […]

  3. Hello Briaane, all these recipes are very useful for me. I am going to trying all your recipes today itself. Thank you for sharing the information.

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