5 Easy Dinner Recipes for Busy Couples

For most my couples, wedding planning seems to coincide with high demands across all areas of life. Careers are growing or changing, two households are being combined into one location (that just can’t stay clean!), and the social calendar is jam-packed. When it rains, it pours. But if there’s one thing I know, it’s that a healthy, hearty meal can help to steer almost any crazy day back on course.

That’s why I’m here to share my 5 favorite dinner recipes for couples who are barely clinging on to all that needs to get done. Hopefully these suggestions will steer a few lucky couples away from last-minute fast food runs in favor of flavorful fuel!

BUT before we get started…

 Let’s talk about getting organized and stocking pantry staples. Couples can do themselves a huge favor by keeping some simple basics in the house at all times: 

  • Diced tomatoes

  • Canned beans

  • Eggs

  • Onions

  • Garlic

  • Olive Oil

  • Dried Pasta

  • Honey

  • Citrus fruit (lemon and/or lime)

  • Spices and herbs (red pepper flakes, ground cayenne, rosemary, thyme)

  • Frozen veggies and fruits

  • Glass containers with lids (for easy-to-heat leftovers!)

I like to rotate the fresh fruits and veggies seasonally, but as long as I have the above staples on hand, I know my husband or I can easily whip together some type of delicious dinner.

 

Slow Cooker Skinny Vegetarian Chili

This recipe from Tasteful Venture is my go-to for meatless Monday. I set my morning alarm to get up about 30 minutes early, pop open the cans and chop up the peppers, onion and garlic, and dump it in the crock pot. I come home to the delicious smell of ready-to-eat chili - and only a couple bowls to throw in the dishwasher afterward!

Pro Spicy Tip: If you want to kick it up a notch (BAM!), throw some diced Jalapeno in there (watch the seeds – they can be surprisingly hot). I also like to add in a half can of tomato paste to thicken up this chili.

Shakshuka

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When I tell people about this recipe from Once Upon a Chef, most people have never heard of it, which I think is profoundly sad in a world of Master Chef and Chopped food competitions! Shakshuka is world famous, with unique variations in different countries. To me, this dish is the ultimate in luxurious breakfast-for-dinner recipes. It requires just one skillet, but the layered flavors are incredible. Try serving it with crispy, flaky bread – you’ll want it to scrape every bit of yumminess off the plate! 

Once you get this recipe down, you can customize it in countless ways! I love using goat cheese instead of feta, and I usually hold off on the heavy cream.

 

Honey Garlic Glazed Salmon

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 I’ll admit, cooking fish can be intimidating. It took a while to gain confidence with this protein, but once I got the hang of it, it opened a whole new world of fresh, healthy recipes. This particular one from Delish can be pulled together in a flash, and it’s impressive enough to serve to guests. The honey, garlic and citrus play together beautifully in any season. Give it a try for a nice weekend dinner. Practice makes perfect!

 

Chicken Enchiladas

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In the morning, I put chicken breast in the crock pot, cover it with broth, and set it on low. When I get home in the evening, the shredded chicken is ready to go - simply sauté all the flavorful ingredients together, roll them into tortillas, and throw it in the oven per this fabulous recipe from SkinnyTaste. (PSST: I’ve totally used store-bought enchilada sauce to simplify the process! Still perfectly tasty. Never knock a shortcut!)

 

Easy Hamburger Macaroni Casserole

There’s no photo of this one because it’s definitely not the most photogenic recipe in history. But as the months get cooler, this super easy comfort dish from Genius Kitchen warms things up in a flash. This was our “family favorite” growing up. I like to upgrade it with grass-fed beef or ground bison, add in a few dashes of hot sauce, and throw a nice sharp grated cheddar cheese on top. Leftovers microwave easily; pre-portion them into glass containers with lids and voila: now lunch is less hassle, too!

 

If even these recipes seem overwhelming, take heart: It takes time to get into a healthy cooking routine. Baby steps are the way to go! Start with one recipe on the weekend, and make more than necessary. This will leave extra for the week ahead! With continued practice, having a food plan ready to go makes all aspects of life – including wedding planning – that much easier. Bon apétit!