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30+ Ridiculously Easy Dinners for Busy Families on a Budget

Do you hate cooking like I do?  Do you actually like cooking but never have time to do it??  Are you a homeschool mom, or a working mom, or the family bus driver, or a mom of littles — or ALL OF THE ABOVE??  Or just a mom who likes to be efficient with her time and not do any more work than is necessary — so you have more time to read do other things? (In which case, this blog is definitely where you want to be!) One thing we all have in common is that we all want easy dinners that are inexpensive and don’t take much time, don’t we??

Well, today I’ve got a solution for the dinner-time frustration that probably occurs regularly in more homes than just mine, lol.  I hate that feeling of having nothing to make in the short time I have to put dinner on the table.  So I’ve put together a list of over 30 easy dinners — I call them RIDICULOUSLY easy dinners, because they don’t even require a full, written-out recipe.  Mostly they consist of just a small pile of ingredients that get thrown together and cooked.  Most can be on the table, start-to-finish, in 30 minutes or less.  And yet they are GOOD, home-cooked meals that satisfy the family.This amazing list of easy dinners will help you find something to put on the table TONIGHT with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. Old faves made even easier, new ideas to try -- all of them are SO easy and inexpensive, and you can fill a whole month's menu plan right now!

If you are new to Annie and Everything, let me assure you that this is the type of thing I do regularly.  I am the queen of making things easier to do, so that we can reduce the stress in our lives and do more of what we want.  Whether it’s finances, or homeschooling (especially high school), or homemaking, or being our best selves, I like to share ideas for streamlining it all — cuz life’s too short to try to be Pinterest perfect. 🙂

To grab a copy of 30+ Ridiculously Easy Dinners for Busy Families on a Budget,
put your email in HERE:

Let me tell you a few things about the easy dinners on this list:

🙂 They are all tested and given a thumbs up by my family.  Most of them are ones we utilize regularly.

🙂 They are all made with NORMAL ingredients.  No hard-to-find stuff here.

🙂 Some DO include convenience foods — but only items like canned soup or pre-cooked chicken.  No Hamburger Helper or its equivalent, or frozen entrées, or other foods bought pre-assembled from the store.

🙂 This is NOT a list of freezer cooking recipes.  All of these recipes can be assembled, cooked, and served the same evening — most in 30 minutes or less, although some may take as long as 45 minutes or so (which is mostly cooking time).

🙂 Some of these recipes are ordinary ones that you may already make in your own way.  But I’ve made them even easier than the usual methods — who thought Tacos could get any easier??  But they can!! — so even the old standards have become new.   There may be “better” recipes out there, but none as quick and easy — and still yummy! — as these are.

🙂 Most of these recipes are “healthy,” with ingredients that are minimally processed.  For those that are less so, you can easily make them as healthy as you want by substituting ingredients.  For instance, use brown rice pasta rather than standard.  Substitute your own pre-cooked chicken for the kind bought from the store.  You get the idea.  But that’s up to how much additional preparation you want to add to your day.  I wanted easy dinners, not ones that require a lot of advance prep.  Otherwise the temptation is to not make dinner at home at all.  NO, we don’t want to go there…!

🙂 Most of these recipes are relatively inexpensive, but they may not be the absolute cheapest out there.  Ease of preparation was considered more important than cost, within limits.  My idea is that it’s better to make it as easy as possible to cook at home, rather than be tempted to go out to eat.  These recipes are WAY less expensive than eating out.

🙂 I give you all the instructions you need to make them for yourself.  No, these are not formal recipes.  Most of the easy dinners don’t require exact measurements.  Just relax and have fun throwing them together in a hurry — and eating them at your leisure.

🙂 The 30+ in the title comes from the fact that some of the recipes have more than one variation. So even though the recipes are only numbered up to 30, you are actually getting over 30 dinner ideas when you include the variations.

So if this all sounds good to you, and you’d like to find something to put on the table TONIGHT with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry, then subscribe to my newsletter by putting your email in the box below.  As soon as you confirm your subscription, you’ll immediately receive the download link for 30+ Ridiculously Easy Dinners for Busy Families on a Budget.  You’ll also get access to all of my other subscriber-only printables!

Be sure to click “confirm” on the email you receive, so that you can start planning dinner NOW!
And welcome to the family! 🙂   –Annie

About the author

Ann Karako

Ann has been homeschooling for 20+ years and has graduated four children (one more to go). She believes that EVERY mom can CONFIDENTLY, COMPETENTLY -- and even CONTENTEDLY -- provide the COMPLETE high school education that her teen needs. Ann's website, AnnieandEverything.com, offers information, resources, and virtual hugs to help homeschool moms do just that. 

Ann has written Cure the Fear of Homeschooling High School: A Step-by-Step Manual for Research & Planning and Save Your Sanity While Homeschooling High School: Practical Principles for a Firm Foundation. She also founded the popular Facebook group called It's Not that Hard to Homeschool High School, which now has over 27K members; and recently she started the It's Not That Hard to Homeschool High School Podcast.

She and her family, including two dogs and three cats, live in rural Missouri.


    • Hi Christine! The 30+ Dinners would have come in a separate email, hopefully not too long after the first one. My email provider is showing that they did send it to you. But just in case it went to Spam or something, I’ll send you a personal email with the link in it. Thanks so much for subscribing! 🙂

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