4 Must-Have Tips for Picking the Fastest Quick & Easy Dinner Recipes


August 20, 2020 | Food Lion
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It’s true - in recent months, things haven’t looked quite the same. But now, you and your family have adjusted to a new normal and are getting back into a routine. And that means you probably have less time for prepping and cooking dinner. So, finding a tasty recipe that is quick and easy to make is important. 

However, have you ever found a recipe online that claimed to be quick and easy, but then took you way longer to cook? We’ve all been there. But, here’s the thing. There are certain indicators to look for in a recipe to figure out if it’s truly what it claims. And in this blog, we’ll reveal what those things are so you can get dinner on the table faster. You’ll also find some examples of quick and easy recipe ideas too! 

What to Look For in a Quick & Easy Recipe

We’ve created quite a few recipes and understand what it takes for one to actually be simple and quick to make. There are four main things to look for that go beyond the prep time and cook time. Keep reading to get the low-down. 

Number of Ingredients

A quick and easy recipe typically has fewer ingredients. A general rule of thumb is 10 to 15 ingredients or less. The reason being - usually when a dinner recipe has a long ingredients list, that means there are multiple things to prep and chop. And that takes time, right? 

So, if you find a “quick and easy” recipe with 20 ingredients, make sure to pay close attention to the prep time and how many of the ingredients require chopping. Depending on how quickly you can dice, mince and chop, the actual prep time may take longer than it states in the recipe.

Quick & Easy Dinner Recipe: Salmon with Grilled Summer Squash

Quick and Easy Dinner Recipe_Salmon Summer Grilled Squash

Here’s a great example of a quick and easy dinner recipe with 9 total ingredients! Our Salmon with Grilled Summer Squash dish is made with salmon filets, yellow squash, olive oil and six different seasonings. It’s a super simple dish and the only chopping required is for the yellow squash. So, prepping should only take about 10 minutes, plus an additional 10 minutes for cooking. That’s 20 minutes from start to finish!

Number of Steps

When perusing the world wide web (and our recipe portal) or searching through your recipe book, another thing you want to look for in a quick and easy dish is that there aren’t too many steps to execute. Five or less steps is the key! 

For instance, in our Ground Beef Tortellini Skillet recipe, there are only 3 simple steps. Then, voila! Dinner is served in about 20 minutes; and that includes both the prep and cook time. It also follows the ingredient rule above with only six ingredients. 

Want the full recipe to make for your next evening meal with your family? You can find it here

Made-Ahead Ingredients

Some quick and easy recipes are written with items on the ingredients list that are already cooked. Whether the recipe lists “bacon, cooked and chopped” or “chicken, baked and shredded”, it’s important to keep in mind that the total cook time probably doesn’t include cooking these ingredients.

The solution can be as simple as planning ahead and making sure to have these items cooked and ready to go. You could even make them the night before. But, if you’re really pressed for time, you might be able to use pre-cooked products, like rotisserie chicken from our Deli department and fully cooked bacon from the Meat department. But, that might not always be an option. It’ll depend on the recipe you choose to make for dinner. 

Quick and Easy Dinner Recipe: Chicken BLT Tacos

Quick and Easy Dinner Recipe_Chicken BLT Tacos

You can put this tip to the test with this quick and easy taco dish and use pre-cooked bacon for the “B” in BLT. This substitution will save you time and still taste great! Besides bacon, you may also need to add the following things to your grocery shopping list:

  • Flour tortillas
  • Tomato
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Rotisserie chicken
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Chives
  • Ranch dressing
  • Sour cream

Snag the full recipe on our recipe portal!

Semi-Homemade Dishes

If you find a recipe for a semi-homemade dish, you can be pretty certain that it will be very quick and easy to make. What is a “semi-homemade dish”? That means that it’s made with pre-cooked or prepared items from your local Food Lion.

Quick and Easy Dinner Recipe_bbq-chicken-sandwich

For instance, our BBQ Chicken Sandwich recipe is crafted with rotisserie chicken, bottled BBQ sauce, prepared coleslaw from our deli (or a bagged coleslaw kit from the Produce department) and sandwich buns. All you’ll have to do is shred the rotisserie chicken and toss it in BBQ sauce. Next, if you picked up a coleslaw kit, you’ll mix that together and assemble your sandwiches. 

Then, all you have to do is make your sides to complete your dinner meal prep. 

As you and your family adjust to a new normal and get back into a routine, we hope these tips come in handy to help you get dinner on the table on your schedule. After all, you now know what to look for in a quick and easy recipe so dinner prep doesn’t take longer than expected and you can serve your family even faster. And once you’re ready to pick up the ingredients you need for your next meal, come visit your neighborhood Food Lion to find all of your dinner essentials at affordable prices! 

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