What to CookWeeknight Cooking

7 Dinners That Are Quicker (& Cheaper!) Than Ordering In

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When I get home at 7:30 p.m., I don’t really feel like making an hour-long-plus, kitchen-destroying kind of dinner. And despite my best intentions to experiment with make-ahead meals, oftentimes I find myself picking up a premade salad at the grocery store or scrolling through menus on Seamless. And there’s nothing wrong with taking a break on those really rough days, but we all know that ordering in can quickly add up. So, in an effort to push myself back into the kitchen, I’ve looked for speedy, satisfying recipes that I can pull together in a tired state...and that won’t make a dent in my bank account. Here’s what’s on the menu:

Spinach, Chile, & Egg Noodle Pizza
Spinach, Chile, & Egg Noodle Pizza

Instant noodles also make the fastest pizza crust—simply cook an egg-noodle mixture in a skillet over low heat for 20 minutes, then top it and pop it into the oven for another 10. Presto, personal pizza.

Greens-Stuffed, Cheese-Stuffed Quesadilla
Greens-Stuffed, Cheese-Stuffed Quesadilla

Another work of cheese alchemy from Sarah Jampel: Freckled tortillas filled with just as many sautéed greens as strings of melty cheese. If you’re lucky, it’ll pull apart in gossamer strands as soon as you bite in.

Kung Pao Potatoes
Kung Pao Potatoes

All the flavors of kung pao chicken, but starring the humble spud. The recipe takes a smart trick from our favorite, J. Kenji López-Alt—parcooking the potatoes in vinegar-spiked water to create cubes that are firm on the outside yet fluffy on the inside.

Beans & Rice Go on Spring Break
Beans & Rice Go on Spring Break

The beauty of this creamy mess of greens and rice (with the added heft of white beans) is that it’s hands off. Pop your pot into a 400° F oven for exactly 17 minutes and dinner is served.

Low-Key Niçoise Salad
Low-Key Niçoise Salad

A loose interpretation of the classic French salad that begins with hard-boiling a bunch of eggs, which you probably already have in your fridge.

Linguine with Chickpeas
Linguine with Chickpeas

Canned chickpeas get dressed up and take on all the flavor (and none of the fuss) of linguine con le vongole.

Ruth Reichl’s Diva of a Grilled Cheese
Ruth Reichl’s Diva of a Grilled Cheese

If you’re gonna go with a grilled cheese, make sure it’s a good one. This one has the presence of a diva but will be ready for the show in 15 minutes flat.

What’s a quick dinner you whip up when you’re tired? Share tips in the comments below!

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: On the Cheap, Dinner, Faster