Here's What to Eat for Dinner: A Myriad of Options to Choose From
Deciding upon what to eat for dinner can be quite mind-boggling at times, especially when we're pressed for time, or are bored of eating the same old stuff for dinner. There are myriads of dinner options out there. Let's have a look at some...
Quick Dinner Ideas
Pasta is known for its simplicity and can be prepared in minutes! All you need to do for a simple classic pasta is boil the pasta, add some tomato sauce, dried herbs (optional), some cheese and your filling meal is ready! To bring up the nutritional quotient, you can add in some stir-fried vegetables, Italian sausage, shredded chicken, etc. into the pasta. If you are bored of having the usual spaghetti, try preparing a frittata, which is also easy and a different way of eating spaghetti.
The next time you go grocery shopping, make sure you pick up some packs of taco shells. Tacos are yummy and come in handy when you don't have the time to prepare something elaborate. Tacos can be filled with a simple salad filling, stir-fried vegetables, or if you have some leftover pork/chicken barbecue, nothing like it. Look around the kitchen and stuff the taco with whatever you find. You will be surprised to find how lovely the results are!
Stir frys are so simple to prepare, yet form a delicious meal. All you need is some soy sauce, cornstarch, seasoning, and meat of your choice. Stir them up in a wok and have your lovely stir fry for dinner, over a bed of rice or noodles. These are great ways of feeding vegetables to kids. If the kids dislike a particular vegetable, grate them or slice them really small, so they can't identify them in the stir fry. For a delicious stir fry, all you need is some creativity!
Stocking your freezer with frozen corn will come in handy when you need to prepare something quick and soothing to the palate. Corn can be prepared in so many different ways. Just boil them and toss them into salads, or prepare a lovely creamy corn soup, etc. They also make great side dishes that require zero washing and chopping time. For a more sumptuous dinner, go for the lovely, creamy corn dunked in cheesy white sauce, sprinkled with paprika.
Eggs are not just easy breakfast items, but can also make filling dinner items, that are very easy to prepare. Leftovers are the best to prepare stuffed omelets. Take out the previous day's shrimp/chicken salad or stir fry, and toss it into a bowl of beaten eggs. Pour this mixture into a hot skillet, and sprinkle cheese, oregano, and chilly flakes. Stuff the omelet with whatever you like, such as bacon, shredded chicken, salmon bits, zucchini, mushrooms, tofu, cottage cheese, etc.
Potato dauphinoise is an easy dish to prepare, but, involves about 40-45 minutes of baking time. However, since the preparation procedure is extremely simple, you can give it a shot. To prepare this dish all one needs is potatoes, milk, double cream, garlic, and seasonings. However, since this dish is being had for dinner, adding fillers like smoked fish, pancetta, eggs, ham, peas, artichoke, carrots, etc. will make it more filling. You can have a nice salad on the side.
If you're looking for a quick, but comforting dinner idea, then risotto is the perfect dish! Always keep arborio, carnaroli or any other Italian risotto in your kitchen cupboard. To prepare a simple risotto you need risotto rice, chicken broth (any broth), dry white wine, cheese, and seasonings. Since the broth has to be added a ladle at a time, it will take 25-30 minutes to prepare the risotto. For a more appealing and filling risotto, add mushrooms, chicken, sausage, shrimp, peas, pumpkin, etc.
Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Chicken breasts are great when you want to have some speedy cooking done, because they only take about 10-15 minutes to cook. Moreover, chicken breasts are versatile and can be stuffed with almost anything to prepare a delightful meal, teamed with steamed vegetables, pasta, herb-roasted potatoes, or garlic bread. Stuff the chicken breasts with whatever you have at home, such as mushrooms, spinach, leeks, corn, cottage cheese, macaroni, bacon, ham, etc.
Barbecue ribs were, are, and will always be a hit on the dinner table. Who wouldn't want more of the lovely, juicy, tender meat that slides off the bone. There are various ways to prepare barbecue ribs, some involve slow cooking, while others are quick, grilled ribs. You can decide which one you want. Team them up with lovely sides such as potato dauphinoise, grilled asparagus/artichokes, cauliflower in white sauce, vegetable stir fry, etc. Preparing barbecue ribs may seem intimidating at first, however, all it requires is some practice to prepare the perfect barbecue ribs.
Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Who doesn't love to bite into the overflowing pulled pork sandwich, whose tender meat just melts in your mouth. Pulled pork sandwiches take time to cook, however, the outcome is great and worth the effort. To prepare the pulled pork filling, the pork shoulder needs to be rubbed with a spice mixture and marinated overnight. It is then placed in a pan and slow cooked in the oven for 4-5 hours. Once it has been cooked, it is shredded into small bits with the help of two forks. The pulled pork is ready to be filled into the sandwich! These are great for outdoor dinners.
Lasagna is a superb dish for dinner parties. It may be time-consuming to prepare, however, it's a delicious as well as filling dish. Although the standard lasagna contains ground beef, you can substitute the beef with any meat you like, such as chicken, turkey, ham, bacon, etc. You can even use different kinds of meat in one lasagna. A seafood lasagna with crab and lobster meat would also be an interesting dinner option. For parties you can prepare petite lasagnas, made in muffin trays. They not only look great, but also reduce the hassle of serving the lasagna.
Stuffed Pasta Shells
Who can resist stuffed pasta shells! Stuffed jumbo pasta shells are a hit among kids, and is sure to get everybody at the dinner table oohing with delight. You can stuff them with anything right from ham, bacon, Italian sausage, ground beef, tuna, spinach, ricotta, cottage cheese, mushrooms, grated vegetables, etc. Top the shells with mozzarella cheese and bake away. Stuffing so many pasta shells is definitely time-consuming and tedious, however, when you see the eyes around the dinner table lighting up, the result is definitely worth the effort!
Chili Corn Chip Casserole
The superfast way to prepare a mouth-watering meal is by preparing a chili corn chip casserole for dinner. All you need is a bag of corn chips, ground beef or hamburger meat, cheese, can of chili, red sauce, red beans, corn, and olives. You can layer it however you want, with corn chips in between as well as on the top, or corn chips only on the top. It's a dish that the family is sure to enjoy! If you have leftovers from the previous night's barbeque, nothing like it. This dish transforms leftovers!
Tater Tot Casserole
The popular tater tot casserole is a comforting and filling meal at the end of an exhaustive day. This casserole is easy to prepare, especially if you are having guests on a short notice and want something easy but filling. All this dish requires is tater tots, ground beef, cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup, milk, sour cream, and lots of grated cheese. For a different version of tater tot casserole, you can try adding a layer of bacon, vegetables, ground turkey, mushrooms, etc.
If you're on the look out for something special for tonight's dinner, the Spanish paella is the perfect dish. There are different types of paella that can be prepared. There's the seafood version which comprises shrimp, clams, lobster, rice, and saffron. The other version is prepared from chicken/ pork/vegetables, rice, and saffron. This rice dish requires a bit of skill and practice. It's all about getting the right flavors into the rice. The authentic paella is made in a large pan and cooked over an outdoor fire, however, there's the stove top version as well.
Succulent steaks make great dinners, especially when you are celebrating something. There are so many different ways to prepare steak, that there isn't room for boredom. Combining the steak with different sauces like brandied mushroom sauce, mustard cream sauce, red wine mustard sauce, pepper sauce, herb butter sauce, etc. will take the steak to a completely different level of sumptuousness. Interesting side dishes like Mac n cheese, shirataki noodles, vegetable stir fry, herb-roasted potatoes, corn on the cob, etc. will balance out the meal and also accentuate its flavors.
You can stuff bell peppers with anything you want, right from potatoes, scrambled tofu, cottage cheese, bread crumbs, etc. For a heavier stuffing, you can stuff them with rice, quinoa, or even spiced soya granules. Top the stuffed bell peppers with some ketchup and a slice of mozzarella before baking. Fill it with whatever you find in the kitchen. You can serve it with some salad or salsa. Since stuffed bell peppers look so good, they are great options when you are entertaining guests. Top the stuffed peppers with their lids, for a classic presentation.
Deep-fried tofu has a lovely crispy and chewy texture, which is simply perfect for stir frys, soups, noodles, etc. For deep-fried tofu, you need cornstarch, tofu, baking soda, flour, seasonings of choice and some oil. The best thing about deep-fried tofu is that you can freeze them, and use them whenever need be! Deep-fried tofu sandwiches are also great for parties. Just cut two slices of tofu, fill them with a filling of choice like beetroot and potato mash, etc. and dip the sandwich in egg before frying it. Serve with sweet and sour sauce.
The main ingredient in a vegetarian moussaka is eggplant, however, other vegetables like carrots, zucchini, bell peppers, potatoes, etc. are also used. Kidney beans and chickpeas are also interesting ingredients that can be added to this dish. The eggplants can be grilled, baked, fried or even steamed before adding them into the moussaka. This moussaka is very easy to prepare, however, requires patience to layer different ingredients. Once the layering is done, white sauce is poured into the baking dish and parmesan cheese is sprinkled over it. Then the whole dish is baked.
To prepare yummy vegetarian burgers all you need is a vegetarian cutlet to go in the burger. There are so many different kinds of vegetarian cutlets you can prepare, right from potato cutlets, cottage cheese cutlets, black bean cutlets, chickpea cutlets, lentil cutlets, etc. If you can mash it, you can very well prepare a cutlet with it. Just make sure you add the right seasonings to bring out their flavor. Quinoa fritters are also yummy and can be placed in vegetarian burgers. Another interesting idea would be to place whole portobello mushrooms that have been grilled, on the bun.
Cauliflower in White Sauce
Also known as cauliflower bake or cauliflower cheese, this dish is a really simple and delicious dinner item. For the white sauce, you need some butter, flour, and milk. All you have to do is pour the white sauce over the cauliflower trees, sprinkle some cheese, and bake the dish for about 30 minutes. Your delicious cauliflower bake is ready. Have it with garlic bread or as it is. You can also add other vegetables like mushrooms, peas, potatoes, etc. to make the dish more filling.
Casseroles are great for large families, because they can be easily prepared in bulk. You can add anything into it, right from corn, mushroom, beans, vegetables, tofu, etc. to even noodles, quinoa or couscous. Adding soy chunks is also a nice idea. Also add flavorings of your choice. This dish that can be made and frozen, so that you don't need to fret about the weekday meals. For fussy kids, this is a delicious way to get them to eat different vegetables.
Cannelloni can be stuffed with anything right from ricotta, cheese, scrambled tofu in combination with veggies like spinach, zucchini, capsicum, eggplant, corn, peas, etc. to prepare something utterly delectable. Once the cannelloni has been baked in the oven, pour some lovely white or red sauce over them. They are sure to win hearts around the dinner table. This is a lovely dish if you have loads of vegetables and don't know how to use them all in a dish. If you can't get hold of cannelloni shells, take lasagna sheets, fill them with stuffing and roll them. However, this is a more tedious job and requires you to work swiftly.
What's a better comfort dish than a lovely pot pie on a cold, Friday night. It's a dish that you don't have to worry too much about. The vegetables you have at the moment can be the ingredients of the dish. If you have some mushrooms and baby corn in hand, nothing like it! To save time, store-bought puff pastry is great, however, you can prepare your own puff pastry from scratch as well. To prepare the pie all you to do is sauté the vegetables in a pan, add flour, cream and vegetable broth to the vegetable mixture. Pour this mixture into ramekins or one large pot and bake them away for about half an hour or so.
The popular Mediterranean dish;pita bread and hummus is also another healthy dinner option to try out. Made from chickpeas and sesame seeds, hummus is a healthy and refreshing dip, that is had with pita bread. Pita bread is usually prepared from white flour, however, if you want you can prepare the whole wheat version. Sticks of carrots or celery are good on the side.
Who said guacamole can only be enjoyed with tortilla chips! Guacamole goes really well in sandwiches as well. Just top a slice of whole wheat bread with some freshly prepared guacamole, sliced tomatoes, shredded chicken or smoked salmon. Enjoy your healthy creation! Or have it as a dip for grilled or raw vegetable platter. Guacamole also makes a great pita bread filling.
Banana Oatmeal Bread
Made with wheat, oats, and bananas, this banana oatmeal bread is a lovely change from the regular dinner items. It's healthy, filling, and also really easy to make. You can also prepare other kinds of oatmeal bread, depending on your tastes and preferences. Serve it plain or with lovely cinnamon apple topping, some fruit preserve, or a small amount of cream cheese.
Grilling is a healthier cooking technique, as compared to frying. Grill lean beef, turkey, chicken, or even fish and enjoy it along with healthy side dishes like grilled vegetables, salads, baked beans, etc. Pineapple salsa, mango mint salsa, etc. are also interesting side dishes. Try different marinades for different flavors. You can also have grilled meat along with guacamole and pita bread.
Try panini, if you're bored of the regular sandwich! Although it's just a grilled sandwich, the name is sure to be welcomed by your fussy kids. For a panini, you will need whole wheat bread, cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, onions, red bell pepper, pesto (optional) and some grilled meat/eggplants.
If you really want to have hamburgers, then have them broiled. Broiling is a healthier and faster cooking technique, and can be carried out in the oven as well as the pan. Broiling doesn't call for additional butter or oil, instead cooks the hamburger patty in its own fat.
Quinoa is a grain loaded with protein, iron, and fiber. Since quinoa contains twice the amount of fiber other grains contain, it's a great way to add fiber to your diet. Quinoa is extremely easy to prepare. It goes well with salads, soups, vegetables, poultry, seafood, and meat. If you are confused about quinoa, simply treat it like rice. Eat it with anything you would normally eat rice with. Quinoa is gluten-free, and can be safely consumed by people allergic to gluten.
Since noodles is made from refined flour, it is not exactly healthy, even if you add lots of vegetables into it. Instead of the conventional noodles, try having Shirataki noodles to satisfy your noodle cravings. These are low-carb, Japanese noodles that are made from a kind of yam, and are extremely healthy. They are slightly on the bland side, however, taste good in stir frys, salads and soups. These noodles are ready-to-eat and do not require cooking!