This time of year always gets busier than we anticipate, and I always want to have easy weeknight dinner ideas on hand for those kinds of weeks.

As the end-of-school commitments start ramping up, with hectic evenings driving everyone around — let alone a quick dinner so we can grab ice cream as the nights get warmer — it’s nice to have easy dinner recipes that come together quickly.

With that in mind, I’m planning out 5 dinners for next week that double up on ingredients when I hit the store and can be prepped earlier in the week or during the day, so dinner comes together in a snap. I put these weekly meal plans together based on recipes I am actually cooking for my family, and with you in mind. I hope this one gives you some fresh new recipes!

Top Image: Caribbean-style Island Bowls from Feasting at Home

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Caribbean Style Island Bowls from Feasting at Home
Caribbean-style Island Bowls | Feasting at Home

Meatless Monday on a sheet pan? Yes, please!  These Caribbean-style Island Bowls from Feasting at Home are absolutely the most flavorful bowls I make, and my entire family devours them in minutes.  I love that you can use any veggies you have in your fridge, but the purple cabbage is my favorite, coupled with that Caribbean-style marinade and sweet, fresh mango.

Meal planning tip: You can chop all of the veggies and make your marinade earlier in the day, then throw it all on the sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap, and stick it in the fridge until you are ready to bake. Just brush on the marinade before turning on the oven, and in about 25 minutes, dinner is ready. I add rice as a base for my kiddos but any grain will do.

By the way, Liz swears to me that this rice cooker is worth every penny, and even with limited counter space for single-use appliances, she uses it a lot!

Related: 5 easy sheet pan meals for your repertoire

Shrimp Enchiladas in Creamy Poblano Sauce from Little Spice Jar
Shrimp Enchiladas with Creamy Poblano Sauce | Little Spice Jar

Enchiladas are always a fan favorite for my family dinners, and I love them because you can prep everything in advance, then just bake when you get home from all of the things. (I have even popped enchiladas into my oven on a delayed start and they are bubbly hot right when I get home)

I fell in love with this easy dinner recipe for Shrimp Enchiladas with Creamy Poblano Sauce that I found at Little Spice Jar a while back, because they are full of veggies and the shrimp is such a huge source of protein. Also, poblano chilis are amazing because they add so much flavor without the heat, if you have spice-reluctant kids.

Meal-planning tip: Double up on the frozen shrimp when you head to the store, and use it later in the week, or just keep an extra bag in your freezer for a quick meal like one of these.

Bonus meal planning tip: When we moved recently, I needed a replacement 13×9 inch pan because mine were all packed in boxes…somewhere. I picked up one of these Pyrex Easy Grab baking dishes, and it has become my new favorite thing in the kitchen! The handles are so convenient, and keep me from dropping heavy meals before they reach the counter. (It’s happened, don’t judge.) Plus I love that the lid keeps everything fresh if you’re refrigerating or freezing leftovers, and I can cut back on waste by skipping plastic wrap or foil.


Chinese Chicken Salad from Recipe Tin Eats
Chinese Chicken Salad | Recipe Tin Eats

One night, my sister came over for dinner with a Chinese Chicken Salad, and my family is now obsessed!  It is always so good — and yet for some reason, I never think to make it. This recipe from Recipe Tin Eats covers all of the basics you need and you can even add extra veggies that are in season like sugar snap peas and fresh strawberries.

Meal-planning tip: Grab a rotisserie chicken from the market to save yourself a ton of time. To save even more time, indulge in a bag of pre-shredded cabbage, though a good cabbage shredder (like a wide mandolin) should make quick work of it — and you can even task that to older kids.

Related: 20 Unique salad topping ideas to make a boring salad pop

Easy Chicken Fried Rice from IowaGirlEats
Easy Chicken Fried Rice | Iowa Girl Eats

If you plan to use rice in your bowls earlier this week like I’m doing, double the recipe so you can use it later in the week too.  In my case, I’m grabbing two rotisserie chickens and then I can toss together this Easy Chicken Fried Rice from Iowa Girl Eats in no time at all. Hey, fried rice makes everyone happy.

Meal-planning tip: If you cook a ton of rice, the giant 20-pound bag of Basmati Rice from Costco is a fantastic deal  Just be sure you’re storing it somewhere air-tight! If you have the pantry space, pour it into a dedicated grain storage container and dispenser like this one to keep it fresh. Or in our Recipe Rescue Community on Facebook, several people suggested that they simply store it in a food-grade bucket.

Related: 5 easy dinner recipes all using our favorite shortcut

Easy Roasted Shrimp Scampi over Linguini from Diane Morrisey (via Instagram)
Easy Roasted Shrimp Scampi over Linguini | Diane Morrisey

Double up on your frozen shrimp when you hit the store at the beginning of the week. Because by Friday, you will want to throw together something as quick as this Easy Roasted Shrimp Scampi over Linguini from Diane Morrisey on Instagram. This dinner recipe is so elegant, and looks so darn fancy, you may even want to spend your extra time to set the table and dress up for this meal. Ha, just kidding. (Unless you want to.)

PS  love that Instagram has given so many amazing cooks a platform to share their creations with us — jump over and follow @DianeMorrisey.You won’t regret that follow!