Quick Meals for the Busiest People: 98 Easy and Healthy Recipe Ideas

People gather for a quick meal

98 Quick Meals for the Busiest People

Besides ordering from fast food chains, what quick meals can we serve on our dinner table? Let’s face it. With our fast-paced environment, we lack time to cook an entire meal for ourselves and our family.

From long days at work to the children’s extra-curricular activities; this leaves us with little room to prepare a healthy meal.

This list is will show you 98 quick meals that any busy person can make. These meals will take 45 minutes tops and your family will be so happy that you found a way to make a worthwhile meal.

98 Quick Meals

The following quick meals can be used all throughout the year. We tried to keep contain this list with meals that will only take 45 minutes or less.

Just because you won’t be cooking for hours, doesn’t mean these meals are skimpy or dull.

Spaghetti with Sausage and Pepper

Normal spaghetti will do just fine, but sausage cooks just a little quicker than beef.

a plate of sausage spaghetti

Texas Toast Pizza

Grab a box of Texas Toast from the freezer section and add sauce, cheese, and pepperoni.

Texas toast pizza

Sausage Alfredo Pasta

Grab your favorite sausage and some alfredo sauce. This alfredo pasta is sure one of the quick meals to wow your family.

a quick meal of sausage Alfredo Pasta

Quick Stromboli

Stromboli may seem like a complicated dish but it really isn’t. This quick meal only calls for a few key ingredients.


a slice of perfectly rolled stromboli

Featured image: CC by 2.0, by Jeremy Noble, via Flickr.

Quick and Easy Calzones

Enlisted in our favorite quick meals are Calzones. You can buy them in the grocery stores and just heat them in the microwave or regular oven.

a quick meal of calzone with marinara sauce and lettuce salad

Featured image: Video screen capture, Food Wishes, via YouTube.

Turkey Meat Balls and Zucchini Noodles

Cook turkey meatballs with zucchini noodles. For the noodles, you will need a noodle cutter. Children will list this as one of their favorite quick meals.

a quick meal of zucchini noodes with meatballs

Featured Image: CC by 2.0, by Jules, via Flickr.

Easy Tuna Patties

Who doesn’t like tuna? Pack your tuna up and put it on a hamburger bun or sandwich loaves. Add lettuce and tomato to top it off.

two sliced sandwiches with tuna patties

Featured image: CC by 2.0, by Bert Wagner, via Flickr.

Catfish and Apple Celery Slaw

Catfish cooks the quickest out of most of the fish in the sea. Just add apple and celery into your coleslaw to make this complete. And, next thing you'll know, you're serving at least two quick meals in one plate.

quick meals composed of fried catfish, coleslaw, potato salad and french fries

Image: Public Domain US, by Brandonrush, via Wikimedia Commons.

Sweet and Spicy Tilapia

Fry or bake some tilapia. Add sweet and sour sauce and your favorite side or salad.


tilapia with sweet and spicy sauce

Featured image: Video screen capture, A La Carlene Dishes, via YouTube.

Mini Pancakes, Eggs, and Turkey Bacon

Find ready-to-cook mini pancakes at the breakfast aisle at any grocery store. Pop these in the oven and scramble some eggs too. The bacon should cook in about 15 minutes tops. 

a plate of pancakes, eggs, and bacon with drinks

Featured image: Video screen capture, As/Is, via YouTube.

Pan-Seared Tilapia

Some people would rather cook their tilapia in a pan rather than an oven. Make sure to add plenty of butter.

Pan-seared Tilapia

Avocado Black Bean Quesadillas

Avocado is the new health wave. Avocado slices actually go well in quesadillas.

a plate of avocado black bean quesadillas

Veggie Tacos

The truth is, veggie tacos are so much quicker to make than meat filled tacos.

tacos with veggie fillings

Easy Lo Mein

Lo Mein is among the favorite quick meals at Chinese restaurants. It’s pretty quick to cook as well.

a plate of Lo Mein

Featured Image: CC by 2.0, by The Finishing Company R.V., via Flickr.

Thai Peanut Noodles

Anyone who loves a good Asian dish will love this. Simply cook these noodles and add your favorite sauce.


Thai Peanut Noodles

Featured image: Video screen capture, Yum, via YouTube.

Chicken Fried Rice

Grab some pre-cooked chicken and add it to your fried rice. If you have time, peas and scrambled eggs will work well too.


Chicken Fried Rice

Featured image: Video screen capture, Seonkyoung Longest, via YouTube.

Pizza Bagels

This quick meal is a favorite among young ones. Grab a regular sized bag and top it with cheese, pizza sauce, and pepperoni. Pop it in the oven and you’re done.

freshly baked pizza bagels

Image: Public Domain, Sean Busbey, via Wikimedia Commons.

Veggie Stir Fry

Stir fry is a super-fast dish. Fry your rice and add some veggies. Buy some soy sauce for extra flavor.

a quick meal of veggie stir fry

Vegetarian Black Bean Chili

Find your favorite beans and make a chili out of them. Feel free to add corn and tomato.


a bowl of vegetarian black bean chili

Featured image: Video screen capture, Veggie Fit, via YouTube.

20 Minute Mac and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is great for any time of year. This comfort food won’t take long to cook if you use the right ingredients.


a pan of overflowing mac and cheese

Image: Public Domain, Texasfoodgawker, via Wikimedia Commons.

Pantry Pasta

Use whatever pasta noodles you have stored in your pantry. Add some olive oil and seasoning after cooking for a delicious dish.


a plate of pantry pasta sprinkled with cheese

Featured image: Video screen capture, Bon Appétit, via YouTube.

Baked Penne

Sometimes, you can find a brand of noodles ideal for making quick meals. You will only have to bake instead of boil and then bake. This will make the process even faster.

a plate of baked penne pasta

Baked Ziti with Ricotta

Ziti is a pasta dish which uses 3 different types of cheese. One of these can be ricotta. This dish is quick because you only need to cook the noodles and bake the cheese on top.

baked ziti with ricotta

Featured image: Video screen capture, Kitchen Nostalgia, via YouTube.

Cauliflower Pasta

This unique recipe is great for busy nights. Penne or spaghetti noodles should work fine.

a quick meal of cauliflower pasta

Broccoli Alfredo

Alfredo doesn’t take long to cook when you use a store-bought jar of sauce. Cook the noodles and add broccoli.

a bowl of broccoli alfredo

Featured Image: CC by 2.0, by An Mai, via Flickr.

Quick Chicken and Rice

Bake some chicken strips and add to your favorite type of rice. Serve them together for a complete meal.

a bowl of white rice and a plate of baked chicken strips garnished with broccoli and orange

Teriyaki Rice Bowls

You’ll want to use quick rice for this quick meal.

quick meals in one bowl with teriyaki chicken, rice and steamed broccoli

Featured image: Video screen capture, Crunchy Creamy Sweet, via YouTube.

Sweet Spicy Chicken

Use sweet and spicy sauce to top your baked chicken with.

Spicy chicken

Turkey Meat Balls and Garlic Bread

Turkey meatballs give a great variance to meatball recipes. Garlic Bread and cheese should go well with this dish.

Turkey meatball-stuffed garlic bread dipped in marinara sauce

Featured image: Video screen capture, Tasty, via YouTube.

Chicken and Spinach Parmesan

This is one of the healthy quick meals that can be made in 30 minutes.

chicken spinach parmesan with marinara sauce

Featured image: Video screen capture, Devan Nielsen, via YouTube.

Chicken Fingers and Quick Rice

Find some instant rice, cook your chicken strips and you’re all done with this quick meal.

Tomato Soup

Grilled cheese always goes great with Tomato soup.

Tomato Soup

Garlic Mushroom Chicken

Although this dish may sound fancy it’s actually pretty simple to make. Add garlic and mushroom to your baked chicken.

a pan of garlic mushroom chicken

Featured image: Video screen capture, Cafe Delites, via YouTube.

Chicken Fajitas

This meal consists of cooked chicken strips, Cajun sauce, and peppers.

steaming hot chicken fajitas

Featured image: Video screen capture, Tess Cooks 4u, via YouTube.

Beef and Noodles

This meal is perfect for cold nights in the fall or winter. Add beef broth, chopped beef, and noodles to a dish and you're done.

a bowl of beef noodles

Beef Burritos

This quick meal is a go-to for many families. Beef burritos can be made quickly. Just throw in your favorite cheese and veggies to the mix.

Beef Burrito with overloaded fillings

Chicken Bean and Cheese Burritos

Cooked chicken strips with black or brown beans will fit nicely into a burrito. Some people like to add sour cream for dipping their burritos in.

Chef’s Salad with Cheese

Chef’s salad usually consists of your favorite meat, cucumbers, tomatoes, and cheese. Cheddar or Mozerella will do just fine.

Chef 's Salad with colorful mix of ingredients

Chicken or Beef Enchilada

You can bake an entire enchilada meal in about 30 minutes or less. Make sure to add your favorite veggies to the mix too.

a tray of chicken and beef enchilada

Featured image: Video screen capture, Tami Dunn, via YouTube.

Veggie and Black Bean Nachos

Nachos are great for any time of the year. Put together your favorite nacho chips and the veggies of your choice. Don’t forget the black beans.

a plate of nacho chips topped with veggies and black beans

Featured Image: CC by 2.0, by Ginny, via Flickr.

Baked Honey Garlic Chicken

Use drumsticks or small chicken wings for a quicker cooking time. Glaze them with honey and garlic for a delicious dish.

baked garlic chicken drizzled with honey

Featured image: Video screen capture, Cafe Delites, via YouTube.

Sloppy Joe Muffins

This meal is both quick and unique. You probably didn’t think of adding sloppy joes to muffin tops.

Beef Stroganoff

This quick meal is perfect for winter months. You can always substitute the beef with chicken if you want.

a pan of beef stroganoff

Featured image: Video screen capture, RecipeTin Eats, via YouTube.

Stuffed Meat Balls

Who doesn't love a good meatball? Before cooking them, stuff them with cheese or veggies.

meat balls stuffed with melted cheese

Featured image: Video screen capture, OnePotChefShow, via YouTube.

Beef and Macaroni

A quick macaroni recipe with ground beef will do just fine. This meal is hearty and quick.

a quick meal of beef macaroni

Featured Image: CC by 2.0, by my_amii, via Flickr.

Quick Stuffed Bell Peppers

If you’ve never tried stuffed peppers you’ll definitely want to. They’re easy and delicious. Bake a bell pepper and add your favorite veggies and meats on the inside.

red and yellow bell peppers stuffed with veggies and meats

Image: Public Domain US, William Andrus, via Wikimedia Commons.

Beef Sliders

Sliders are quick since they're so small. You won't have to worry about making full-sized hamburgers. They'll cook quickly and can be put together much faster. Kids will love this quick meal.

a plate of quick and easy beef sliders

Featured image: Video screen capture, mahalodotcom, via YouTube.

Chilli Dogs

Chili dogs are always a fun and easy dinner. Grab some hot dog buns, hot dogs and a little bit of pre-made chili. There you go this quick meal is complete. Cheddar cheese can always be added on top for extra flavor.

a hotdog sandwich topped with chili sauce

Featured image: Video screen capture, Mack Michaels, via YouTube.

French Dip Sandwiches

This delicious sandwich consists of a slab of beef with any toppings of your choice. Make sure you don’t forget the French dip recipe to dip the sandwich in.

Beef Sandwiches with French dip and fries

Image: Public Domain, Davinic, via Wikimedia Commons.

Beef Stir-Fry

Beef stir-fry doesn't take very long to cool at all. Chopped beef, fried rice, peas, and carrots will do the trick.

a plate of beef stir fry

Chili Cheese Cake Sloppy Joe

Instead of using regular sloppy joe sauce and beef, go ahead and add some chili to the mixture too. This will give it a little more flavor. Remember, chili can be last for days so you may want to make this in bulk.

Broccoli Beef

Many Asian themed restaurants serve this dish but you can make it right from home. If you like soy sauce you might want to add that to the mixture for flavor.

a serving of Beef with broccoli and soy sauce

Image: Public Domain, Jon Sullivan, via Wikimedia Commons.

Mongolian Beef

This can be prepared within 30 minutes. Use beef or steak shreds for this recipe. There’s also a special Mongolian sauce recipe you’ll want to try out.

a plate of mongolian beef with some rice

Featured Image: CC by 2.0, by Craig Dugas, via Flickr.

Asian Orange Chicken

Orange chicken has become ever popular. So, it is a not a surprise that it made it in our list of quick meals. Just grab some chicken and your favorite orange sauce recipe. This dish will be tangy and sweet at the same time.

a bowl of orange chicken

Image: Public Domain, NICOLAITRI, via Wikimedia Commons.

Sesame Chicken

Sesame Chicken may look similar to orange chicken but the sauces aren’t that similar in taste. Sesame chicken will be a little saltier than orange chicken.

a serving of sesame chicken

Taco Spaghetti

Make a pot of spaghetti and grab hard or soft tacos shells. This makes the dish just a little more unique. And, it won’t seem like you’re eating just spaghetti for dinner again.

a bowl of taco spaghetti

Featured image: Video screen capture, Culinary Hill, via YouTube.

Taco Pie

Taco pie can be baked within 20 minutes in a pan. Stuff the pie with the insides of the taco and let the crisp outer shell bake to perfection.

a slice of taco pie

Featured image: Video screen capture, BuzzFeedFood, via YouTube.

Quinoa Salad

This salad can be prepared with just about anything you want. Strawberries, walnut, onion, black olive, banana pepper or whatever else you like in a salad.

a plate of quinoa salad

Mexican Pasta Skillet

Toss the beans, avocado, tomato, corn, and cheese into a skillet pan. After letting it simmer for a few minutes, you can take it out and it’s ready to eat.

a serving of mexican pasta skillet

Featured image: Video screen capture, Sarah Koellmann, via YouTube.

Easy Taco Salad

This cold dish can be prepared in a bowl. Chop up your favorite veggies and mix them together. You can include meat if you want to as well.

a bowl of taco salad

Featured Image: CC by 2.0, by flippinyank, via Flickr.

Frito Pie

This southern dishes usually calls for rice, peppers, ground beef, and cheese. Bake it for about 20 minutes and you're ready for a quick meal.

a plate of Frito Pie

Featured Image: CC by 2.0, by Jeff Attaway, via Flickr.

Southwest Wrap

Choose your favorite brand of tortilla wrap and make a wrap complete with ground beef, corn, tomato, and beans. You can also put chicken strips in as a beef substitute.

a plate of southwest wraps with garnish

Featured image: Video screen capture, Joanna Cismaru, via YouTube.

Baked Potato and Chicken Casserole

A nice pot of chicken casserole goes great with a baked potato. This quick meal is sure to fill you up.

baked potato with chicken casserole

Featured image: Video screen capture, The Spicy Apron, via YouTube.

Brown Rice and Chick Peas

Brown rice tends to be healthier than white rice. It has whole grains and tons of fiber. Chickpeas or garbanzo beans can add the nutrient protein to this quick meal.

a bowl of brown rice with chick peas toppings

Featured image: Video screen capture, Jill McKeever, via YouTube.

Veggie Pasta and Sauce

Use some of your favorite vegetables for this dish. You can also pick the pasta of your choice to make the dish unique.

a quick meal of plate of veggie pasta with sauce

Image: Public Domain, Glen Edelson, via Wikimedia Commons.

Greek Salad

Most Greek Salads feature tomato, quinoa, feta cheese, onion, and cucumber.

a bowl of greek salad

Cajun Chicken Pasta

Cajun Chicken tends to be on the spicy side. This dish is great for those who like tons of flavor.

a plate of cajun chicken pasta

Featured Image: CC by 2.0, by kae71463, via Flickr.

Chicken or Beef Pot Pie

Pot pies are pretty easy to make especially if you use a pre-made crust to cut down on time. Fill this crust with frozen vegetables like carrots and peas. Next, add your chicken and bake it in the oven with a little bit of chicken broth.

whole chicken pot pie

Featured image: Video screen capture, Tasty, via YouTube.

Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is so simple and easy to make anyone can do it. Choose your favorite side to go with this quick meal.

golden brown fried chicken

Maple Glazed Chicken Sandwich

Buy your favorite maple glaze or sauce and add it to a cooked chicken sandwich. Usually, you would bake the chicken meat you'll use for the sandwich.

Ritz Cracker Chicken

Kids will love this quick meal. Crumble Ritz crackers over the baked chicken. Add a little water or oil so that the crumbs will stick to the chicken. The finished product is a deliciously wrapped ritz cracker chicken.

a plate of crispy ritz cracker chicken

Featured image: Video screen capture, Life as Zorayda, via YouTube.

Mushroom Herb Chicken

Use mushrooms and rosemary or basil to coat your chicken. It will only take 30 minutes to complete.

Minestrone Soup

This soup uses an assortment of different veggies. Soups are generally pretty easy to make.

a bowl of minestrone soup

Roasted Tomato and Cauliflower Pasta

This recipe isn’t very common but it’s one of the great quick meals. Tomatoes and Cauliflower won't' take long to cook at all. Roast them in an oven and pair them with your favorite pasta noodles. Season with salt and pepper.

Snapped Peas, Basil and Spinach Pasta

This veggie pasta can be prepared quickly while providing tons of nutrients.

Romaine Avocado and Corn Salad

Get some romaine lettuce, avocado, and corn and toss it into a salad. Avocado pieces can be chopped up into little cubes for easier eating.

a serving of romaine avocado and corn salad

Featured Image: CC by 2.0, by Adam S, via Flickr.

Chicken Parmigiana

This quick meal features an Italian chicken dish.

a plate of chicken parmigiana garnished with french fries and salad

Featured Image: CC by 2.0, by Alpha, via Flickr.

Pasta and White Beans with Broccoli and Pesto

Most people probably don’t know this quick meal. White beans and pesto go great together and broccoli will add extra nutrients to this dish.

a plate of pasta and white beans with broccoli and pesto sauce

Featured image: Video screen capture, Everyday Food, via YouTube.

Pasta Primavera Alfredo

This dish uses bow tie noodles, cheese, and alfredo sauce. Feel free to add your favorite vegetables to this dish too.

a pot of pasta primavera alfredo

Featured image: Video screen capture, CookingwithSugarTV, via YouTube.

Grilled Cheese and Potato Soup

Grilled cheese is a quick and easy food to prepare. Potato soup only takes 10 to 20 minutes to cook from scratch. This is the ultimate quick meal combo.

Cheese Burgers

Cheeseburgers are always a quick meal. You can always add chips or baked beans to complete this meal.

a cheese burger sandwich

Pasta Puttanesca

This delicious Italian dish calls for olive oil, tomatoes, black olives, anchovies, and garlic.

a plate of pasta puttanesca

Featured Image: CC by 2.0, by Jeremy Keith, via Flickr.

30 Minute Barbeque Soy Chicken

Grill your chicken in a pan or bake it. Make sure to add your favorite brand of soy sauce for a flavorful meal.

Garlic Parmesan Pasta

Most people have heard of this quick meal. It only takes 30 minutes or less to prepare.

a forkful of garlic parmesan pasta

Featured image: Video screen capture, Damn Delicious, via YouTube.

Pesto Chicken Bake

You probably didn’t realize pesto can be used for more than just pasta.

a serving of pesto chicken bake

Featured image: Video screen capture, food jazz, via YouTube.

Meat Loaf

Meatloaf is usually made from beef. It will only take about 25 minutes to fully prepare this meal.

slices of meat loaves

Sausage Lasagna (skillet)

Sausage doesn’t take as long to cook as other meats. This dish can be created in a skillet.

a plate of sausage lasagna skillet with toasted bread

Featured image: Video screen capture, Sandee Fuell, via YouTube.

Baked Sausages and Apple

Chop up pieces of sausage and add it to a pan of sliced apples.

a pan of baked sausages and apple

Featured image: Video screen capture, Grumpy Home Chef, via YouTube.

Barbeque Flat Bread

Use barbeque chicken as a filler for your favorite flatbread.

a slice of barbeque flat bread

Featured image: Video screen capture, Chop Secrets, via YouTube.

Tater Tot Sheperd’s Pie

Kids will definitely like this quick meal. Tater tots can be used to make a nutritious Shepherd’s pie.

Cuban Sliders

Cuban sliders are similar to regular sliders. The difference is they’re much spicier.

a tray of cuban sliders

Featured image: Video screen capture, Kraft Recipes, via YouTube.

Tomato Basil Ground Beef

This dish can be cooked in under 45 minutes.

Vegetarian Ragu

This is one of the quick meals for all the vegetarians out there. Get a large jar of Ragu sauce and make extra food for later in the week.

Vegetarian Ragu

Featured image: Video screen capture, Fresh from the Tube, via YouTube.

Chicken and Broccoli

Make this dish in the form of a mixed meal or cook these ingredients separately and serve them separately. Either way, it won't take too long to prepare.

forked broccoli and chicken

Honey Garlic Beef

You’ll need the perfect honey garlic sauce recipe to top with your beef.

a plate of honey garlic beef

Featured image: Video screen capture, NAILSJAMIEBE, via YouTube.

Ramen Vegetable Stir-Fry

Ramen noodles are a staple in many Asian countries. Just add some vegetables to this stir-fry and you’re done.

a plate of ramen vegetable stir-fry

Featured Image: CC by 2.0, by jeffreyw, via Flickr.

Paleo Burgers with Avocado

Lettuce, avocado, and tomato will complete this delicious burger.

a plate of paleo burger, avocado mousse and caramelized parsnips and an extra serving of avocado mousse

Featured image: Video screen capture, Paleo Panther, via YouTube.

Sausage and Spinach Quiche

Italian sausage carries just the right amount of flavor. Some people serve as a breakfast dish as well.

a pan of freshly baked sausage and spinach quiche

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