Your Go-To, Emergency, I’m in a Rush Dinner

I was talking with a neighbour of mine the other afternoon. Mainly we were walking around my garden as I snapped things off and we ate them. So a lot of the talk went something like this … “Mmmm, ohhhhh, smack, crunch, mmmmm”.

After stuffing her and her kids with ground cherries, Sweet 100 tomatoes and green beans she had to run. It was soccer night. They’d be having a quick snack and not eating until they got home from soccer. She had the same dilemma that every person around the world has around 4:00 in the afternoon.

What the hell are we going to eat for dinner.

I haven’t been great with it lately, but as most of you know, I usually write a weekly menu on Friday night. That gives me the weekend to buy my groceries for the week and frees up every afternoon at 4:00 for helping the elderly cross the road. I pretty much do everything I can to get them on the other side of the street; they’re pretty grabby with my tomatoes those elderly people.

But even when I do write my weekly menu the odd time something comes up and I can’t make the meal I was planning to. I need to make something FAST.

I NEED TO MAKE MY GO-TO, EMERGENCY, I’M IN A RUSH DINNER. This could be due to any number of reasons including transporting a family member to the emergency room, a sudden desire to learn how to yodel – in Yiddish, or just plain laziness.

When any of those things come up I make …


Easy, delicious, and fast. Even with the soup being homemade, it can be done in 10 minutes.  Just boil some broccoli in chicken broth, put it in the blender and add salt & pepper.  DONE.

Since I get some of my best ideas from the comments section of my blog, and … I’m sure you do too … I ask of you now …




I don’t care if it’s frozen pizza or cereal.  Just lemme know …

Have a good weekend!  Yodel-eh-hee-chutzpah







  1. Laura Watt says:

    We make lots of soup if I have 45 minutes:

    and I almost always have eggs so there’s lots of crustless quiche:

  2. shauna says:

    I chop up some romaine (always buy the big bag from Costco), chop up some tomatoes, throw them in a salad bowl for 1 with any protein I have on hand – usually some cold chicken, salmon or mixed nuts (also from Costco). Then top with a dollop of cottage cheese if I have it and some balsamic vinegar – takes about 2 minutes and the same to eat.

  3. Dana says:

    Breakfast-for-dinner! Fried eggs, toast, and some chopped veg. Tonight’s variation was an omelette with kale, tomatoes, and cheese.

  4. Trysha says:

    Steak tacos. Steak in a cast-iron on the stove, dice it up (it makes a little go a long way), warm corn tortillas over the gas burner. Top with cheese, tomatoes, cilantro and green chile.

    Brinner (breakfast for dinner)

  5. Mindy says:

    Pasta with lots of garlic and olive oil and a chunk of bread. If I’m lucky, it’s summer and I have tomatoes and basil in the garden. Or pesto in the freezer from summer. And feta or something equally fantastic in the cheese drawer. Mmmm, cheese.
    Although, the other night, I stood in my kitchen, that is literally studs, subfloor, and a stove, and said those exact same words. Only there was an expletive. And I ended up doing onions, garlic, and cubed potatoes in a skillet. Then I added chopped up link breakfast sausage and threw it in till it was crispy. Then I poured some eggs over everyone and made like a potato-sausage-scramble. With cheese, of course. I whipped up some pancakes with cinnamon, nutmeg and shredded zucchini and dinner was served. It did not suck at all. Even after all the cussing.

  6. Meghan says:

    I love tomato soup I make it with almond milk a pat of vegan margarine and dill. So tasty and quick. Sometimes I add a sandwich with lettuce avocado veg mayo tomato and salt and pepper.

  7. Jan says:

    Quesadillas with whatever is left in the fridge. Always different–always great.

  8. Jcrn says:

    We’re about to have record heat next week. This is my favorite, non cook meal, especially good on hot summer days : tomato sandwiches, fresh strawberries with yogurt/vanilla sauce, perhaps a bit of strawberry sorbet and pound cake for dessert. . Simply slice tomatoes (I like heirloom tomatoes), add mayo and put between slices of the best bread you can find, I keep cooked bacon in the fridge and freezer so I add some if I’m in the mood and throw on some fresh basil if any is around. The vanilla sauce is simply vanilla yogurt with vanilla extract to taste plus scraped seeds from a vanilla bean ( optional) . Sweeten if desired. All of this takes less than 10 minutes. For heartier eaters add a store bought quiche.

    • Karen says:

      Do you toast the bread? Just curious. I’ve never had a sandwich that’s *just* tomatoes. I think I’d need it toasted. Maybe I’ll forgo the sandwich and just eat the jar of mayo. ~ karen!

      • Adrienne says:

        Tomato sandwiches are heavenly. I do like to toast the bread. Though I don’t keep sandwich bread much anymore, we do buy the sandwich thins. I sometimes swap mayo for edamame hummus, which is tasty and feels a bit healthier. On the not as healthy days, a big slice of whatever cheese we have is also good, but only with the mayo version.

        My quick dinner is always eggs in some form, usually scrambled with toast.

      • JBB says:

        I used to say how much I loved those warehouse stores, because where else could I buy a bucket of mayo and a spoon?
        (I never actually did that.)

      • Tigersmom says:

        I realize I’m not the person your asking, but having survived n entire summer on mostly heirloom tomato sandwiches I’m going to chime in.

        After slicing the tomatoes I rest mine for a minute on a paper towel while lightly coating the untoasted bread with mayo. Between this step and the mayo the bread doesn’t get soggy. It also probably helps that this sandwich disappears ridiculously quickly. And salt and pepper are a must on the tomatoes. Yum.

        I’m not above having cereal for dinner. It used to be my go to when I worked in the restaurant business and would get home too late and too hungry to cook anything. There is not a whole lot that is more instant than cereal.

      • Shel says:

        ohhh…as a kid: fresh sliced tomatoes (still warm from the garden), one slice of American cheese, two pieces of white sandwich bread…no condiments and no toasting…Summer!!

      • Mary says:

        We eat these too. The tomatoes make the bread soggy- and it’s delicious. Toasting it would take away from the experience.

      • Molly says:

        Toasted sourdough, a good dose of mayo, sliced heirloom tomatoes and a ton of freshly ground pepper = HEAVEN.

      • ~Kim says:

        Not in the South!! FRESH white bread and REAL mayo — diet stuff won’t do with a true tomato sandwich.

      • Chrissy says:

        I have a version of this that I eat often: Half a toasted bagel with a generous smearing of light cream cheese, thick sliced tomatoes and a sprinkling of coarse black pepper.

        • korrine says:

          Yes! Or I will do goat cheese and basil (if I have it growing) topped with the tomato, a tiny drizzle of evoo, and pepper.

      • Tory Gray says:

        <3 tomato sandwiches! I toast slices of good sourdough bread, add mayo and tomatoes, and throw on avocado if I have any on hand.

        Delicous and fast!

      • Laura Bee says:

        Growing up my whole family ate toasted tomato sandwiches. I am odd & don’t like fresh tomatoes. But if I did – I’d eat them on toast.

      • Jcrn says:

        If you toast the bread and it adds a deeper flavor. If. It, you can avoid sogginess by spreading olive oil lightly on each slice.

        Other times, if the weather is hot (we’re about to have temps over 100 next week) I don’t even use bread because my appetite wanes.

        To me, summer “tastes” like fresh tomatoes picked from the vine (preferably some variety of heirloom), sliced, and mixed with just enough salt, pepper, and mayo to accent (not hide) the tomato flavor.

        If I do put the tomatoes between bread, I usually add something like fresh basil or another herb .perhaps onion. Perhaps avocado. Perhaps guacamole.

        I also love Caprese Salad or whatever it is called. Tomatoes, mozzarella, a little olive oil and Balsamic vinegar and basil. Layer the tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Sprinkle the olive oil, balsamic over it. Easy. Just be sure to use the best balsamic you can afford.

        But honestly, if

      • Sera says:

        Love tomato sandwiches!! I, however, skip the mayo and add avocado and arugula. The best sandwiches ever!

    • Sarah In Illinois says:

      YES! Tomato sandwiches!

      Two slices of bread (untoasted) spread on butter, then layer tomato slices and add salt. That’s it!

    • LeeAnne says:

      How do you manage to keep cooked bacon???? My hat’s off to you Jcrn. Mmmmmm bacon. If it wasn’t frozen and raw, I’d eat some now.

      • Kristin says:

        I bake several packages of applewood-smoked bacon on a sheet pan or two in the oven (you can slightly overlap the slices; they shrink apart as they cook.) Drain the fat into a glass jar (for future use to make scrambled eggs), then cool the bacon, place in a ziplock bag, put into the cheese drawer of the fridge, remove a strip or two as needed. It reheats nicely in a skillet or even the microwave.

    • Shawn says:

      I do the tomato and lettuce sandwiches on toast for a quick meal too. Of course I’ve been known to just grab a tomato or two from the garden and call it dinner.

      • Jcrn says:

        LeeAnne- well…we normally wouldn’t be able to keep bacon around, not if our oldest 2 sons still lived at home. But we generally use it as a condiment since we got scolded about cholesterol by our doc. So I keep it cooked and frozen by the slice.

        And also…our youngest son came from a Romanian orphanage when he was 5 and he HATED meat. They mostly ate soup so the food would stretch to feed everyone. .

        Now he is over 21 and he still hates meat (mostly) except when it is in soup so I always have a crockpot full of some kind of soup going- chicken or vegetable or beef or potato. So I use the bacon in the potato soup. But he doesn’t like it plain. He is the only person I’ve met who hates plain cooked bacon.

  9. Laura says:

    BLTs baby. With avocado if I’ve got some. Yummy!

    • Denise Leavens says:

      We had these last night! SO yummy. (Full disclosure: I am on a yeast-less, sugarless diet so I have my BLT and A on a bed of spinach.)

  10. Janet says:

    Our go-to is omelettes. Usually with goat cheese, tomato and whatever other veggies I happen to have – asparagus, broccoli…fast and yummy. Now I’m craving a grilled cheese sammy though.

  11. Anna says:

    Cucumber, ham, and soy sauce stir fry….everyone is absolutely disgusted by it, but I love it and it’s so quick. Sometimes I add chopped up potato if I’m feeling really wild.

    My sister’s friend tried some 12 years ago and still mentions it every time we run into each other. He claims it was the grossest thing he ever ate…and I’m pretty sure he once ate a junebug for $5.

  12. Hazel says:

    Pasta and pesto or alla carbonara, known in our house as Sketti Nananana, which is what my then 3 year old son used to call it.

    I make it with bacon, egg and parmesan; no cream. I occasionally add onion, garlic, peas and/or finely chopped courgette (zucchini). Inauthentic but tasty.

  13. andrea meyers says:

    wow, grilled cheese and broccoli soup still seem really time consuming. emergency heading out is either a pb&j or a microwaved quesidilla!

  14. Tempeh, whatever fresh veggies I have on hand put in a bowl with rice and soya sauce. It’s comforting and yummy and it also leaves me with one dish and a skillet to clean at the end of it.

  15. Tracie says:

    My go to meal is chicken ceasar salad with garlic toast. I made your garlic toast once for company, and Holy, did I get the compliments! I think I bought the Calabrese bread, and followed the directions to a tee….I really should treat myself more like company…. I bought a tube of anchovy paste months ago to make my own dressing, (I currently use Rene’s Mighty Ceasar), but eventually I intend to make my own Karen’s Dressing….I recently looked through your recipes and bought an avocado so I could make myself guacamole. That was yesterday so I still have hope…..

  16. Jen says:

    I sound like a wimp. Ramen Noodles, draining the water, and dumping about half the seasoning packet right on the noodles.

    I even figured out how to microwave the noodles, because 5 minutes to boil water is way to long for a quick dinner.

  17. carey says:

    Pesto pasta, especially great in the summer, with home grown basil and cilantro. The plus side is, I could eat this every freakin’ day, it never gets old!

  18. Therese Bourne says:

    Hard boil 2 eggs – 5 minutes. Meanwhile microwave 2 sachets of microwave brown rice – 90 seconds each, and put in a large salad bowl to cool. Dice a few tomatoes and a cucumber. Open a can of tuna in oil and drain. Peel and chop the eggs. Mix all together and dress with vinaigrette. About 10 minutes. Feeds 4. If you’re feeling fancy you could add a handful of pine nuts or some capers.

  19. Lizzy Hayden says:

    Rice(in rice cooker-20min) and Chicken(frozen ‘tenders’ cooked in a bit of oil and broth and lots of garlic). Accompanied by whatever veggie is in the fridge. In a pinch the babes are happy with peas/corn. One of them likes butter on her rice, the other Greek(which is really a generic salad dressing labeled as GREEK dressing). It’s not anything like actual Greek dressing but it is superb on everything else! 20 min and BA bam! Dinner. I always make a little extra so we have lunch tomorrow too. 😉

  20. Pru says:

    We often have spaghetti with cheese on top. Cook the spaghetti, add butter and seasoning, put in a dish and add grated cheese. Put under the grill until bubbling. (Thought I would add the recipe just in case!) Not the most nutritious but quick and filling. Quite good with a dollop of ketchup or salad cream. Yum!

  21. Amanda says:

    We had our emergency go-to dinner tonight. 2 poached eggs an top of toasted bread with lots of good butter, with a side of cottage cheese.

    Sometimes the go-to is an omelette with veggies and cheese with sliced apples on the side.

    Eggs are my favorite easy/fast dinner, but your grilled cheese and broccoli soup option sounds delish! Looking forward to reading more comments and getting new ideas!

  22. SusaninPeckham says:

    I like hard-cooked egg on toast. I usually have a few hard-cooked eggs in the fridge so when I need a quick dinner, I toast and lightly butter some bread, peel then slice the eggs and lay them artfully on the toast. A bit of salt and pepper….yum. It’s a good mix of textures and full of protein so keeps me from feeling hungry half an hour later.

    I also like beans on toast (altho the toast is optional)…Heinz baked beans dumped into a bowl and microwaved to heat them up. Fry up an egg. Mix a dollop of hot sauce or peri peri sauce into the beans, then top with the egg. Toast provides a vehicle for eating it, but it’s equally yummy just eaten with a spoon.

  23. Adrienne says:

    Ever make your grilled cheese with challah bread? What a difference it makes!

    • Karen says:

      Hmm. I don’t think I have. Now I’m gonnna have to go out and get some challah. LOVE challah. Haven’t had it in ages. ~ karen!

      • Chris says:

        Make the challah slices ahead of time like you would make French toast(lightly grill) and put gouda in between, then grill again. To die for!!

  24. Amber says:

    I go to mom’s.

    • Shawn says:

      Nice! My mom comes here.. along with every single child I have. That would be 3 I gave birth to and 5 fosters and all but one of them are over 20 and live in their own homes. I think I may be an abused mommy. 🙂

  25. Bonnie G. says:

    I’m with Jern – OMG Karen, you must try a tomato sandwich (no toast) on fresh bread! There,s nothing like this in the Summer when homegrown, preferably heirloom tomatoes are so plentiful.Just add mayo and some S&P-yummy!
    I’m not sure but this may be a regional tradition in the States. Anyone know?

    • Marti says:

      I think it IS regional and mostly Southern. My Southern Mother raised us to think they were wonderful, but the fresh, hot, crusty “no knead” bread sliced on Day Two (if there’s any left) is perfect.

      Equally good to some of us is a quick sliced fresh cucumber sandwich. No tea needed, it’s just great.

      Other than that, it’s omelets (always have eggs, mushrooms and cheese) or quesadillas, depending on how much longer I want to be up.


  26. Kerri says:

    Quesadillas! Gawd, so cheesy good. No particular kind, that’s what’s great. If we’re in a rush, just add whatever is in the fridge. Super quick.

  27. Natika says:

    I’m not much of a recipe and specific food maker, so my go-to food isn’t that different than my normal dinner. Lots of stir-fries and salads featuring whatever meat is in my freezer and whatever veggies are in my fridge.

    It’s really all in the sauces or spices when you go this route. I dump salsa and cumin on top of everything if I want a Mexican-ish flavour; curry powder, cumin and butter if I want an Indian-ish flavour; Chinese soya sauce, pepper and corn starch if I want a Chinese-ish flavour; peanut butter, salsa and milk if I want a Thai-ish flavour etc.

    One of the reasons I go this route is because I always buy the bargain just-about-to-go-off vegetables (they have this in Japan), so I never know what I’m going to get AND I go to the grocery store nearly everyday just for the exercise (I walk or bike there).

  28. Amanda says:

    Black Bean Quesadillas. So good.

    Rinse and drain one can of black beans and mix in a bowl with about half a cup of your favorite salsa. Just enough to fully coat all the beans. Next add a little bit of olive oil and some crushed red pepper to the bean and salsa mix (skip the crushed red pepper if you don’t like the heat). If you have some fresh cilantro add that too. Stick that bowl in the microwave for about 3 minutes.

    In a small frying pan, at medium to high heat, melt some butter (butter works best for this) and place one corn tortilla in the pan. I use corn tortillas because I need it to be gluten free but you can use flour as well. Then grate some cheese, I love extra sharp cheddar for this, and sprinkle the shredded cheese onto the corn tortilla. On top of the cheese, spoon on your bean and salsa mix, as much or as little as you want, and then top it off with another corn tortilla. As soon as the tortilla on the bottom gets nice and brown, flip the whole thing like you would a grilled cheese sandwich and brown the other side just the same.

    I usually then cut it into fours, it cools off faster and is easier to eat with your hands. Add more salsa, hot sauce, sour cream, guacamole or whatever else you think sounds good or happen to have in the fridge. This recipe is great because you can add anything you want to it and it’s still delicious. I had some left over taco meat one time and added it to the bean and salsa mix, oh man was that good, so you get the idea.

  29. monica says:

    A Boboli pizza crust, 1Tbsp of olive oil & 1 Tbsp softened butter mixed together with garlic paste, spread that on crust, Chopped fresh tomatoes (drain off extra juice), thin slices of onion, shredded mozzarella and a few shakes of dried basil. Bake 8 – 9 minutes. This crust fits perfectly on the Pampered Chef pizza stone. Put the stone in the oven when you turn the oven on to pre-heat. Prepare the pizza on a cutting board, then slide it onto the stone when the oven is hot. While that bakes throw together a simple garden salad.
    For dessert Oikos greek yogurt, the Key Lime flavor.
    This is something I could eat every day!

  30. magali says:

    my two go-to’s are in the post! either grilled cheese or cereal.

    I made your szechwan carrot soup for the first time yesterday 🙂 Unfortunately, I also do not have an interesting story to go with it.

  31. Zoe says:

    So if I was by myself – I’d probably eat rice crackers with butter and cheese if I had cheese, if not Bovril…then realize about 20 minutes later I just ate air – find some chocolate, eat that – possibly feel guilty and find some veg and eat that..

    We usually keep an emergency frozen pizza which I will pimp out with whatever veg we have in our fridge or it could be “packet noodles” – terrible I know but my husband loves some Ramen ( me I eat some GF rice ones that aren’t half as bad – justify justify!)

    On the whole we “try” to batch Sunday so we don’t run into problems but it does happen.

  32. Melissa says:

    Quesadillas, as I’ve almost always got tortillas, cheese and salsa in the house. The other fillings change, based on what else is available. Side of rice or beans (or rice and beans, ’cause I’m creative like that!) and possibly a veggie or salad.

    And in the summer, we eat a lot of toasted no-knead bread with butter, topped with fresh tomatoes from out back. When we’ve finished the loaf, we eat some cheese or eggs (or eggs and cheese, ’cause you know…) along with some cucumber slices, and we’re good to go.

    • Karen says:

      See? I feel like Quesadillas take a long time! So much chopping. Green onion, refried beans (k you don’t chop those), tomatoes, cheese, jalapeno peppers … I love them though. They’re one of my other go-to dinners IF I have some in the freezer. I always make extra and stick them in there. Now I want quesadillas. at 9 a.m. You’re a jerk. 🙂 ~ karen

      • jamie says:

        You obviously make delicious but time consuming quesadillas, Karen. I add cheese to a tortilla and dunk it in homemade salsa after I cook it in the microwave. 😉

  33. Erica says:

    Grilled cheese, breakfast, quessadillas…..

  34. gabrielle says:

    Huevos Rancheros – fresh pepper on soft scrambled eggs w/ chunks of old cheddar added late so it is just soft and melting; serve with salsa with some fresh cilantro and warmed tortillas or toast. As Speedy says: Arriba!

  35. Andreae says:

    Frittata, especially right now when we’re knee-deep in CSA veggies. I make one big one (sometimes with sausage, or leftover ham) in the large cast-iron pan, and then another that’s just eggs and maybe some cheese in a small pan for the vegetable-averse preschoolers. Salad on the side, maybe some bread, aaaaand we’re done.

  36. Kim says:

    cottage cheese 🙂

  37. Heather says:

    In the summer it is my own tomatoes on toast. Heirloom or cherries or whatever. Sometimes just sliced (i sprinkle feta on if in the mood) or other times I chop and season for a quick bruschetta. I make my own bread and it is yummy. I usually butter the bread before adding sliced tomatoes in case you want to try it. in the fall mushrooms are good too but they have to be sautéed and seasoned. glad you are back Karen xo

  38. Beckie says:

    angel hair pasta with melted butter & freshly grated Locatelli

    add plenty of cracked black pepper and ~yum~!!!

  39. Maureen says:


  40. Kimberley says:

    Summer is the easiest for fast meals around here. Slice up a tomato and a cucumber, whip up some tuna salad, slap it on some oat nut bread with cheese (usually grilled and melted, respectively) and we’re good. If I have a bit more time, I bake some butterball potatoes in a smidge of peanut oil and load them up with all the fixins.

    Winter is usually some sort of stir fry. Super fast when everything is at hand.

  41. Nancy says:

    I have a recipe my mom used from Bisquick called Oven Pancake. It is baked in a 9 x 13 pan and in the last 5 minutes topped with crumbled bacon and cheese. Yummy.

  42. Suanne says:

    If you know it’s going to be a “quick dinner night” ahead of time, thow 3 or 4 (more if you need to) chicken breasts in the crockpot and cover with one can each of cream of onion, cream of chicken and cream of celery soup . That’s it. When you get home boil some pasta or rice to go with and you’re done…..AND it is soooo yummy.

  43. Mary Jo says:

    Left overs from the fridge. One of our family’s favorites is left over grilled hamburgers broken up(fake meatballs) heated up in tomato sauce over pasta and a little grated cheese on top. Spaghetti and meatballs with out having to make all those little meatballs. So good I actually make extra hamburgers when I grill just to have left overs to make this.

  44. karol says:

    No cook means (to me) not having to go in the kitchen for more than 30 seconds to fix something to eat. So, it’s cereal for dinner.

  45. Moe says:

    when the garden is cranking and there is NO TIME AT ALL just a tomato sandwich with onion, mayo, lettuce…
    to use up eggplant I’ll chop them into chunks, sauté in olive oil, then toss in the tomatoes, cook down with whatever else is there, green beans, peppers, squashes… just walk outside with a bowl and collect dinner, never the same two days in a row!

  46. megan says:

    Pancakes! Fast easy and everyone will eat them

  47. Susan says:

    That’s my life! One of the joys of being single, independent and too lazy to invite people for supper is that you can live on emergency, in-a-rush food forever. My latest fave is corn tortilla chips on a baking pan, shreds or slices of any leftover (barbecued) meat, lots of cheese, bake at 425 for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped tomatoes and jalapeno peppers from the garden and a little sour cream. Last week, I bought a package of 5 boneless pork loins on sale, BBQ’d them all, ate one for supper and saved the rest for salads and the above thingy.
    Another favourite is variations on your spiced pecan salad. I keep a bottle of the dressing on hand, either buy local bagged lettuce mix or raid my little garden, usually have brie in the fridge and use whatever nuts I have, and nuke a chicken breast to slice up in the salad. I’ll never buy salad dressing again – Thank you, Karen|!
    Absolute favourite when I have local or home-grown veggies – toss them all with olive oil, sprinkle with a little herb/garlic sea salt and either roast or BBQ. Oh bliss! That was supper last night and I roasted some of the cherry tomatoes from my garden with broccoli, cauliflower and some baby potatoes from my fish tub container garden.
    It’s only 9:15 atlantic time and I’m drooling and surrounded by chocolate bars in the store.

  48. Kathy says:

    I’ll nuke some refried beans, spread it over whole wheat tortillas, chop up onion, peppers, jalapenos or whatever veggies I have, throw in some sour cream and salsa and wrap it all up. Yum.

  49. Jenny says:

    We always have eggs in the fridge so my go-to need-dinner-now meal is usually a microwaved egg on toast. Or cereal. Or a frozen pizza if we have it, but i try not to keep frozen pizza on hand bc otherwise we eat pizza every night till it’s gone. ^_^ We’re fancy like that.

  50. same as when I don’t know what to have for dinner…. Breakfast!
    The usual fired eggs, bacon, homemade baked beans and toast. Yep, simple and quick.
    Loving the ideas above

  51. Kristen says:

    I’m definitely on the BLT bandwagon, too. Except lately it’s BBT’s for me – basil leaves instead of lettuce! It’s kind of amazing. And I add cheddar cheese and plenty of salt and pepper. Favorite sandwich, hands down!

  52. Kimberly says:

    Mmmm, tomato sandwiches are the best but only if made with homegrown tomatoes. I don’t toast the bread, mayo on both slices, add tomatoes and salt (no pepper) and you have a sandwich second to none!!

  53. Lydia says:

    Oh Karen, tomato sandwiches are amazing! I make them with a little mayo, salt and pepper. No need to toast the bread in my opinion. However, I think it’s a southern thing — writing in from Alabama. This is the first time I’ve ever left a comment in around two years of following your blog. Apparently the tomato sandwich topic is extremely compelling…

    Our go to dinner in this house is pizza! All kinds — frozen, take-out, homemade. I eat mine with ranch dressing. Yes, I said “Ew”, too the first time I’d heard of it.

    P.S. So glad you’re back!

    • Kari says:

      Lots of tomato sandwiches going on! I used to eat bread 24/7 and I did grilled tomato and mozzarella sandwiches all the time. I’m from the gulf coast but my family is not originally from the south. Tomato sandwiches are really big up north. My grandma is obsessed with tomato sandwiches!

  54. nicole says:

    this is the story of my life! I feel like at least twice a week i run into this scenario…

    My #1 go-to is pizza. I make 6 pizza crusts some time, when i have the time, and freeze them. I have a huge bag of pre-shredded mozza cheese, and frozen ziplocks of pre-made, pre-portioned pizza sauce on hand. When I’m in a rush, i go go the freezer, defrost my sauce, while i throw together whatever toppings i find in the fridge (usually spinach, tomatoes, hot peppers, and feta) and throw it all together into the oven, and VOILA! dinner in 20 min!

    another of my go-to’s (or at least it used to be, before the husband “BANNED” it, because i was making it far too often, and he is “SO SICK OF IT”) is taco salad… romaine, tomatoes, cheddar, and bell peppers, topped with taco beef (or turkey), some salsa, and tostitos… YUM! I’d say its time to bring it back into “rotation”… haha.

    i like your broccoli soup idea… i’ll have to try that. i do LOVE a good grilled cheese! (i like to add sliced red onions to mine)

    nice topic, Karen! the husband will thank you, for the upcoming diversity in my “quick” meals. haha.

  55. Jeff Walker says:

    Mine is home-made blue cheese dressing on chopped lettuce that’s topped with buffalo chicken breast. I have it down to a science. One bottle of franks with a stick of butter for the buffalo sauce, chicken breast in the oven and finished off in a cast iron skillet until nice and brown. Take the skillet off the heat and just douse with the buffalo sauce. Cut the breast in half and lay it on the salad that’s been plated. Done. Never more than a half an hour and you can feed many.

  56. Sandy says:

    BLT sandwiches or spinach and onion omelets.

  57. Eve-Marie says:

    I stop by the Great Canadian Bagel near my office and pick up the fixin’s for bagel and lox; bagels, wild smoked salmon, and a fun cream cheese. Usually this is when we are hurrying to escape the city and get up to the cottage on a Friday night.

  58. Rebecca says:

    Quick dinners are usually some kind of breakfast dish since I typically don’t have time in the morning to make breakfast and I really enjoy breakfast foods. Eggs and now with yellow squash in season, I add that to it.

  59. Mary Werner says:

    Cold cereal with milk or if there isn’t any milk – eat green beans out of the can cold. Then watch cooking shows and still gain weight HA.

  60. Kimberly says:

    Sorry, got sidetracked thinking of tomato sandwiches! My quick go to dinner is pasta with cherry tomatoes cut in half (not cooked). While the pasta is boiling I sauté some chopped garlic. Drain pasta add olive oil, tomatoes, and garlic. Basil if you have some on hand, salt, and pepper. Top with freshly grated Parmesan.

  61. erin says:

    Toast, mustard, tomato slice, avocado, slice of fried ham and an over easy egg all piled into an open face sandwich. From start to finish done in under 10 min.

    And per above comment, the tomato sandwich bread is not toasted. We do salt, pepper and a little dill weed on ours. Have had many of those this summer!

  62. Jody says:

    Well it depends on who is home and who needs to be fed. If just me then a chunk of cheese and an apple. If everyone needs to eat quickly then grilled cheese with bacon or pepperoni and grilled peanut butter and jam for my son. As I write this I realize there is nary a veggie in sight. Oh well, that’s for the other nights of the week.

  63. Michael says:

    I also love tomato sandwiches. Toast the bread and top with some chopped onions. Otherwise, stir-fry is always a good option. Can use almost anything in the fridge or freezer.

  64. Sarah says:

    Oh god, everyone’s emergency dinners sound so gourmet! I am definitely the laziest of the bunch, I think. Here’s what I do: I take 2 slices of bread out of the freezer. I dig the toaster out of the bottom cupboard. I put the frozen bread in the toaster and push the plunger down. Then, I dig the peanut butter and jam out of the fridge. If I’m feeling adventurous, I pull the honey out of the cupboard. When the toast pops, I spread the pb on both slices and the jam on one, honey on the other. Laziest dinner ever: peanut butter toast. Sometimes I skip the bread, jam and honey entirely and simply scoop the pb out of the jar with a spoon. Hey, at least I use a spoon!

    • Karen says:

      That’s what I thought Sarah, LOL. Doesn’t anyone just eat cereal?! I thought I was doing well with a grilled cheese sandwich. Clearly I’m sub-par! 🙂 ~ karen

      • Sarah says:

        Karen, to be honest, cereal is my next choice for emergency dinner… I’m glad I’m not the only one!

        • Susan Preston says:

          Phew! I’m with you! Peanut butter and jam on fresh whole wheat bread!! Who wants to go to all that trouble chopping , roasting and frying? Cereal and an extravagance of milk is also good but the you have a dish to wash. Next best is pizza especially if the delivery guy is cute young and has a great …smile!

  65. Annie says:

    Tomato basil pasta. Diced tomatoes (from scary tomato plant is best), fresh basil torn into pieces, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add to your favourite fresh pasta. Eat and smile.

  66. Marie says:

    For me it’s eggs; scrambled, fried in a sandwich (with cheese and bacon), or the egg-in-the-hole (cook the egg in the hole of a slice of bread, fry in olive oil). Tomato sandwiches are a lunchtime favorite when there are ripe tomatoes (toasted bread, with mayo or olive oil, cheese if I have it).

  67. Pat says:

    fritattas with whatever veggies and cheese are available

  68. Kim says:

    I do BLT’s too. I add an over-easy fried egg, which oozes out all over the plate when the sandwich cut it in half.
    Or pre-cooked brown jasmine rice stir fried with a couple of eggs..

  69. Kipley Herr says:

    Tomato sandwiches are a southern (US)thing… When the tomatoes are perfect. White bread, tomatoes and Duke’s mayonnaise.

  70. Amie says:

    Throw rice in the rice cooker, grab whatever veggies are in crisper and freezer into a wok, scoop in a lot of peanut butter, add a can of coconut milk and hot sauce. Serve on rice.

    I lived off that in undergrad before I had to run out to meetings. Now it’s great before we run off to our hobbies.

  71. Tanya H. says:

    Toasted tomato sandwiches (lots of mayo, salt & pepper) in summer or grilled bacon and cheese sandwich in winter, preferably with tomato or squash soup from the freezer. Omelets are a good, fast dinner, too.

  72. Kari says:

    Hi Karen,

    About the tomato sandwich…..You must have never had the privilege of coming to my home state of North Carolina, where the tomato sandwich rules the summer!!! It is wonderful with a sliced beefsteak tomato, a little cracked black pepper and mayo!!! It’s so hot and humid here in the summer and this meal is the lightest, most refreshing, yummy choice!

  73. Dana Kee says:

    OhMyGosh… you people are so gourmet and I’m so super lazy! LOL!

    I always have pounds and pounds of homegrown chicken, duck, goose, and turkey in the house but it’s frozen whole birds – gah!

    So for me its airpopped popcorn and a glass of wine… dinner of champions (and busy farmrgirls).

    • Ann says:


      No way you can be super lazy when you have all those animals to feed, water and then harvest to have in the freezer. I am kinda in the same predicament. Most of our meat is home grown and we don’t buy any convenience foods at all.

      But I always have hard boiled eggs in the frig and I make my bacon a pound at a time and freeze it cooked so it is easy to grab several pieces to round out a meal. I do buy organic pre-made guacamole, because I have trouble keeping good avocados in the frig and using them at the correct time. I sometimes cook a big pot of wild rice and freeze it in meal sized portions. Wild rice being the only acceptable rice in the paleo lifestyle and we really like it. Well, except for the price. We can’t do tomato sandwiches here, due to Paleo but we often just slice up big maters, and slather them with a mixture of fresh made mayo mixed with garlic puree, aka-aioli mayo.

    • nicole says:

      haha! this is what i used to do ALLL THE TIME when i was living alone! best dinner EVER. popcorn and red wine… maybe a slice of dark chocolate, or if i’m going to be REALLLY creative and healthy, a smoothie instead of the wine. haha. I thought I was the only one.

  74. I’ll share if you promise not to tell the hens… yep, that’s right, my ER (emergency rations) consists of chicken. I barbecue/bake 3 or 4 whole chickens at a time, a couple get quartered and frozen so we are never without cooked meat. Quick to thaw for sandwiches, soups, pasta, fried with rice, etc. I even buy the deli whole chickens when the price is right. Cheaper than takeout junk food.

  75. Thera says:

    Eggs! Usually a simply cheese omelette.

  76. Jo says:

    My quick dinner that got me through grad school without resorting to (too much) junk food: boil some whole wheat spaghettini, put a spoonful of pesto in a bowl, maybe some chopped veggies if I had them, then put in the pasta, top with goat cheese, mix it all up to make a creamy sauce and sprinkle with sunflower seeds. It took all of five minutes. Funny, I haven’t made this since school!

  77. Sandra says:

    I have two reliable standbys. Depending on my mood it’s either chocolate waffles (I make large batches of all-purpose gluten-free flour so all I have to do is add cocoa powder, vanilla, egg, and almond milk) topped with berries and cream. Lately my go-to has been steak salad. Just toss field greens, purple onion, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, bleu cheese crumbles, avocado, tomoatoes and flash-grilled steak and you are done! my husband likes his w/ a balsamic olive oil dressing. I just eat it plain.

  78. Lisa M says:

    I learned how to make this egg and cheese pasta,boil pasta whisk eggs in a bowl add cheese add mix to hot drained pasta stir! The hot pasta cooks the eggs. My sister makes Ramen noodles and adds 1/2 of a frozen chicken patty (that she microwaves…yuck) and serves it to her family.Even though they each get 1/2 a patty I think they max their sodium req for the month,maybe even longer!

  79. Tabby says:

    Tuna Croquettes! We always have canned tuna in the pantry, mix them up with bread crumbs/crackers and you have a meal in 5 minutes…. oh, yeah, don’t forget to fry them!

  80. Lauren says:

    we do broccoli soup a lot too.

    Our other very quick options are usually salads, quesadillas, or… this sounds super gross, but I often eat cottage cheese w/ peanut butter as a quick breakfast, lunch or dinner

    • Lauren says:

      Also! I just saw a post up there were you said quesadillas take a long time… here’s some of my quick quesadilla combinations

      Cheese + pre-bought pico de gallo (this might be a Texas thing… as in they only sell fresh chopped pre-packaged pico in Texas grocery stores)

      Cheese + pickled onions (always made in my fridge) + deli meat

      Cheese + hummus… sounds weird but it’s DELICOUS

      cheese + fresh jalapenos and tomatoes

      or…. just straight up cheese dipped in sour cream… nothing else 🙂

      • toekneetoni says:

        i agree. Karen you don’t have to make quesadillas complicated. i never put beans in mine, doesn’t that then make it a burrito? i throw in the toaster over whatever leftover meat is hanging around. Like i have a piece of leftover t-bone steak w/grilled onions. I often have tortillas and salsa in the frig. It’ll take you just a few mins to warm the tortilla, grate some cheese and chop a tomato.Chop up the leftover steak, add more cheese and you’re done. Simple, simple.

  81. Nancy says:

    Tomato sandwiches are so wonderful. If I have cucumber I slice them as well and put them on – same with avocado. You have to put mayo on them. If we have bacon then all of the above and bacon but bacon isn’t usually the norm. Make sure the cucumber is thinly sliced.

    Grilled cheese is also a hit…..

  82. jan says:

    Yogurt or there’s a Chinese place 1 block away and I get a qt of hot & sour soup, 2 blocks away is a Greek place so gyros and salad are another option.

  83. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Domino’s..the pizza not the little hard things with dots on them..

  84. Michael says:

    My other go-to is when I make pulled pork, I always make extra individual portions and freeze them. Take it out, warm it and put on fresh crostini bun.

  85. Patti says:

    I have two go-to quickie dinners. One is
    3 Eggs, scrambled with salt and pepper and a toasted english muffin. Easy! And the lazy-man’s quesadillas, whatever cheese I have and whatever meat I have in the fridge (could be deli ham, chopped meat, or a leftover chicken breast, shredded) between two tortillas, heated in a hot pan til both sides are browned and the cheese oozes out the side and you’re done. Delicious and filling!

  86. Heather says:

    To me, a quick, go-to meal means something you can make any time, any season, with stuff that’s always in your fridge and/or cupboards.
    My two go-to’s are:
    #1. Scrambled eggs, with cheese and whatever veggies I have in the fridge, and
    #2. Tuna grilled cheese. Mix a tin of tuna with some mayo and pickled jalapeños (optional), pile inside your grilled cheese sandwich and grill.
    Both are super quick and yummy.

  87. For us three, it’s 3 McDoubles and 3 small fries – $7.03…did it last night *sigh*. I know, it’s pitiful! But some days are just like that!

  88. SusanR says:

    Nuked potato w butter, sour cream, chopped green onion OR
    Quesadilla w homemade salsa, jazzed up canned beans OR
    Nuked sweet potato w butter OR
    Fresh mozzarella sandwich on crunchy bread w homemade roasted peppers, fresh basil, red onion. Chopped Kalamata olives OMG OR
    Soup from the freezer

  89. Vanessa says:

    My son calls them: grilled cheesy caprese’s. Buttered Sour dough bread, sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, sliced mozzarella. Slap it together and grill it up like a regular grilled cheese. One small trick: put the tomato between the layer of mozzarella and the layer of basil. That way the tomato doesn’t get the inside part of the bread soggy. Usually we have fruit or soup to go with it.

  90. Marion says:

    I’ll defrost some frozen chicken sausages, cut them in half and cook them in a skillet until browning/crispy on the outside. Meanwhile I toast some bread and mash an avocado and Voila! we have tasty sandwiches. Sometimes I’ll throw some melted cheese on there too, depends if we have any (ha, who am I kidding, we ALWAYS have cheese).

    If all else fails we usually have frozen Kashi or Market Pantry (Target brand) pizzas in the freezer.

  91. Kari says:

    Roasted chickpeas. Like roasted potatoes but with chickpeas. Sometimes I do herby and sometimes spicy. My favorite is spicy. olive oil, garlic and onion powder, red pepper, a little pink salt and nutritional yeast flakes (those don’t taste as horrible as they sound!) they give a nice flakey crust over the chickpeas and I like to eat the browned crumbs in the pan. They are addictive! Or I eat any and everything I can find.

  92. Julie H says:

    I had to go get a tomato to eat while reading these comments.

    We do fish tacos with fish sticks. Then I just put out leftovers from the fridge.

    In true emergencies we make tortilla thin crust pizzas in the toaster oven.

  93. Michele says:

    whatever is in the fridge…covered with cheese. Or a grilled cheese. Or just cheese.

  94. Alyssa says:

    I have a few – it depends on what is in my fridge, but my very favorite is a potato broccoli frittata, and I do a dance of joy if I have some salmon to throw in. I always hear Harrison Ford from Morning Glory in my head saying “frittata” over and over. I also do a quick grilled cheese with homemade cream of tomato soup – saute onion and garlic, throw in herbs (basil, oregano, salt, pepper, whatever floats your boat) add chicken stock, and a can of plain tomato sauce. Boil and add thick cream. If I’m feeling very fancy I’ll make a quick butter and flour roux at the very beginning to give it out of this world creaminess.

  95. We love migas. It’s only four ingredients (tortillas, butter, cheese, and eggs)and can be transformed in a billion ways to suit your fancy. Breakfast, lunch, and quick dinners…no matter, migas fit the bill.

  96. toekneetoni says:

    in a pinch, an omelette does the trick. also, i will do a meatless parm. spaghetti with warmed up mariana sauce and melted mozz on top. add a side salad and your done. fast, comforting and filling when it’s last minute and you’re starving.

  97. Trissi V. says:

    Its either frittata or garlic pasta with something sauteed on top (eggplant, zucchini, spinach mixed in).

  98. jackie says:

    Toasted tomato sandwiches (tomato, mayo and cheese) and homemade fries (with taters from our own backyard yo!).

  99. jackie says:

    I’m adding another (I have a toddler, so this is often I need to do this).
    Blueberry pancakes and sausage. Done.

  100. Sandy B says:

    I can get all of these made in 20 minutes or less.

    Our tomato sandwiches were made with 1 slice of sour dough bread topped with tomato slices and a slice of cheese on top and then broiled just long enough to make the cheese melt a bit.

    Ground beef browned, add a can of cream of mushroom soup (or make your own white sauce), add frozen green beans. Stir and top with chow mein noodles. It is really very good.

    Ground turkey browned and mixed with frozen stir fry veggies and serve over rice.

  101. sue says:

    You are brilliant asking this question since we all get some great ideas. My ADD kicked in and I haven’t finished reading all the suggestions, but the stories of tomato sandwiches just demanded that I share my Nuni’s grilled cheese sandwich recipe. I have eaten many, many of these in the summer- using good bread of choice, butter for grilling. Use cheese of choice, then, slices of ripe tomato. Salt, fresh ground pepper, oregano, and a touch of olive oil, if you wish. Grill and taste like pizza. Simple and tasty.
    Greek vanilla yogurt, shake of cinnamon, fresh fruit, nuts or seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, chia, etc.) mixed together. Dried fruit too, easy, quick and healthy.

  102. Ellen Partridge says:

    I have two go-to meals for when I’m in a hurry or don’t feel like cooking: One is cheese and crackers with a sliced apple. The other is Annie’s Shells and Cheddar, the whole wheat kind. I use EVOO instead of butter, and I always add lots of veggies, which makes me feel far less guilty about my predilection for mac and cheese from a box. I add either a whole bag of baby spinach, or lots of chopped broccoli, peppers–sometimes I sauté an onion . . .

  103. Pat says:

    This was a standard that my teenaged step sons could make for all of us before or after hockey: canned tomato soup made with milk, (optional grated cheddar on top when served) and grilled mixed cheese sandwiches, carrot sticks or other vegs. Now, my eldest at 30, still likes to make all beef hotdogs as his “go to” meal on the run. As a teen he could easily eat 6 after school. Yuck! Actually always makes these for my final lunch when leaving after a few days of visiting. However, he claims he has graduated to a “better quality” dog.

  104. christine says:

    Salad almost every night: i always include a fruit (berries, dried cranberries etc.), a nut (almonds, walnuts etc.) and a cheese (usually feta or goat). Then I make dressing with olive oil, honey mustard, maple syrup, rice vinegar. Sometimes I add a squirt of commercial dressing, like blue cheese. Romaine hearts are a staple in my fridge. That’s it. So filling and easy. I don’t eat meat, so it’s a good alternative when the rest of the family are gnawing on animal. LOL

  105. Valerie says:

    I use swiss slices in lieu of the regular cheddar cheese slices for grilled sandwiches – this was a nice change. I also add red onion, very thin slices on top of the cheese before the second bread slice is placed on top. I recommend these two changes in creating a different and delicious grilled cheese sandwich.

  106. qtpuh2tme says:

    Ingredients: 1 jar P.Butter, 1 jar Blackberry jam, 1 teaspoon.

    Directions: Remove lids from jars. Insert teaspoon into P.Butter and scoop small amount. Insert teaspoon into jam and scoop small amount onto P.Butter. Insert spoon into mouth and enjoy.

    Rinse and repeat as necessary. ~:0)

  107. 1. Breakfast For Dinner. The end.
    2. Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup. The end. This is also my comfort food on a cold rainy day. Also works well in a blizzard.
    3. Toasted Tomato Sandwich. The end. I confess I eat this all during tomato season.
    4. The end. For reals.

  108. Anita says:

    Almond butter on crackers or cheese and crackers with pepperoni. Drop them in a tupperware container and go! You can also have a glass of wine with your cheese and crackers–if you want to be fancy 😉 I also grab a piece of fruit to go with. OR a yogurt with lots of protein.

  109. Kitten Caboodle says:

    Store bought rotisserie chicken every time. I pick it up on my way home from work. And sometimes it even has the skin still on it when I get to my driveway. Not usually though.

    Me and hubby have been known to stand over the plastic tray at the counter, caveman-like, devouring a whole bird. No sides other than a pile of napkins.

  110. Linda says:

    Quick homemade refried beans and something out of the garden. 10 minutes and we are good to go!

    • Karen says:

      I’ve had a bag of dried black beans to do refried beans with in my cupboard for …. 2 years now. 🙂 I’ll do them one day. ~ karen!

  111. Barbie says:

    I sometimes keep the instant (in a tube) polenta in my fridge for that….I saute little slices of that and layer them with spaghetti sauce (either homemade or canned) cheese and olives and make a “Polenta Lasagna” of sorts. Everyone loves it and I serve it with a quick salad or garlic bread, depending on what I have on hand.

  112. Shelly says:

    Tacos! Whether it’s with ground beef, ground turkey, or chicken (ground or chopped in small pieces), it browns up quickly. I have a homemade taco seasoning I use on the meat and all the other fixings I usually have on hand. If I’m out of tortillas, I make a taco salad with whatever lettuce is on hand. I bet it takes 20 minutes in total to get dinner on the table.

  113. Leslie says:

    I’m like you … Broiled ham and cheese sandwiches and maybe some tomato soup if you’re lucky. Toast slices of bread, plop a couple of folded pieces of deli ham on each, cover with slabs of cheese, pop under the broiler. If you call the sandwiches Croque Monsieur you can pretend it is more work than it really is. Heat a jar of canned tomatoes, blend with curry or cream for the soup. Yum!

  114. Vicky says:

    Breakfast or quesadillas. Both are ready in about 8 minutes. I use whatever leftover meat I have in the quesadillas with whatever cheese we happen to have: usually american. Breakfast fast is usually scrambled eggs with cheese or my husband loves chorizo.

  115. Lauren says:

    A couple bowls of cereal OR nachos.

  116. Michael says:

    Shaved garlic roast beast on a bun. Warm in nuker with Swiss on top then add some slicred onions and deli mustard.

  117. Jeanine says:

    Lately, I’ve been keeping bagels on hand and making The Pioneer Woman’s veggie bagels about every other day. They are so good, especially on an everything bagel.

  118. Amy in StL says:

    Usually if I’m in a hurry my dinner is a chicken sandwich from Wendy’s. But if I’m already home I’ll make a Peanut butter, nutella and mini marshmallow sandwhich on a thin bun. I’ve also been known to just eat cheese.

  119. Rose says:

    Grilled cheese or chop bacon up,and fry leftover spaghetti in bacon fat, add chopped garlic or pesto. YUM

  120. korrine says:

    Greek pita pizza. I almost always have pita, feta, sun dried tomatoes, and atrichokes on hand. I brush a pita with evoo, sprinkle some Zatar (spice) on it, top with the other stuff, and heat up in the oven. Easy peasy.

  121. Susan says:

    Macaroni and cheese with Costco meatballs can be made quickly; the meatballs cook in 2 minutes in the microwave from frozen. Works with homemade meatballs, also, you just have to have them on hand. I also buy Italian sausage at Costco in large packs, cook all of them up and freeze in packages of 3. They can be thawed quickly in the microwave, dash on some quick-thawed spaghetti sauce, and you’ve either got a sausage sandwich or add some noodles for spaghetti. I freeze small jars (1/2 C) of spaghetti sauce just for making quick, hot sandwiches in the winter. I can also make a pizza pretty quickly from frozen dough, cheese, frozen sausage and frozen spaghetti sauce. They all thaw quickly in either water or the microwave, and I usually have fresh mushrooms and a small can of sliced olives on hand. Quesadillas of leftovers, especially chicken, are a favorite.

  122. Chris says:

    There a few things but open-faced tuna with slice of real cheese broiled in the oven. If I have announced I will not be cooking, hubby makes perfect omelettes. Otherwise, it is picking up a cooked chicken and throwing a salad together. That might be tonight’s dinner. 🙂

  123. Jennifer says:

    Cereal if it’s just me and it’s a real rush. But my favourite ‘real’ meal is my “greek” pasta dish. Cook bow-tie pasta, throw a can of drained and rinsed romano beans in with the pasta as it cooks). Once the pasta’s done, drain it, add some good greek feta, a very generous amount of dried oregano (twice what you think would be right), lots of good olive oil, and mix. Sometimes I add chili flakes too.

  124. KTC says:

    Mine’s grilled cheese too. Even when I’m totally stressed and moving a million miles a minute and don’t even feel like eating, a grilled cheese does the trick every time.

  125. Patti says:

    I cheat. I buy pre-cooked whole wheat pizza crusts and throw a vegetarian pizza together. I always have the pizza crusts and I always have veggies, so I’m good to go. It doesn’t take long, I can make it fancy if I want, and it’s usually what we eat before we go grocery shopping.

    That, or paninis. I bought a panini press and it’s revitalized easy dinners! I had to put it away for a while because that much bread is just not good for anyone – all of our dinners became “easy”!

    Good question, Karen. And I want to make broccoli soup, now!

  126. Emily says:

    Pasta with sauce from a jar. Add sausage if we have any.

  127. susan says:

    Grilled cheese (add tomato, apple or pear slices) or quesadillas and wraps.

    I also make a salad I like: tomatoes and cucumbers, a can of lima or butter beans (you could use whatever you like), some fresh herbs, sometimes some fresh mozz or feta, and olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper.

    I will also get a rotisserie chicken in a pinch.

  128. Laura Bee says:

    All our dinners seem like quickies lately. Winter I’ll make canned beef stew with homemade dumplings. I add frozen corn & peas, a can of water with an oxo cube and a shot of Worst-shesh-cheshire-sure sauce so there’s enough for lunch the next day. Before baby, hubby & I ate tuna & cheddar melts with sour cream & a bowl of mushroom soup for dinner about once a week. Thanks for all the great ideas!

  129. Karen P says:

    Love this post! I enjoyed reading all the comments!!! Our go-to quick meal is frozen Bubba Burger’s cooked on the grill cause you don’t have to thaw them first, served with either a side salad, sweet potato fries (also frozen), or corn chips with queso (nuked queso Velveeta). Certainly not nutritious but better than fast food which really isn’t fast for us… the closest one is 15 miles away and we’re out of the delivery area for all the pizza joints 🙁 Turkey tacos is another quickie. If hubby is out of town, dinner for me is anything I can dip in my homemade marinara sauce. I always keep a batch in the fridge and another in the freezer!

  130. Tina says:

    I keep a stash of pizza shells in the freezer. When I’m pressed for time, a.k.a. feeling lazy – I pull one out, spread it with asparagus pesto, top with shredded mozzarella and bake at 425º for 15 minutes.

  131. Susan says:

    I’m jumping in again because in all the comments, with all the tomato sandwiches, nobody mentioned toasted tomato and peanut butter! My all-time favourite pre-gluten free go-to meal! Not only tastes yummy, look at all the food groups you’re covering and the protein in the pb keeps you full longer. You haven’t eaten a toasted tomato sandwich until you’ve tried it with peanut butter!

  132. rktrixy says:

    The other night we had these wonderful sausages (Salt and Pepper Pork by Salumi), and corn on the cob. Would have been great grilled, but worked well on the hoof. I was too lazy to throw together a salad so we had some jicama sticks with mango salsa from the store.

    All in all – a good night’s feast!

  133. Jill says:

    I make popcorn, if it’s just me and I truly have no time. If I have more people to feed, and a little more time, I make “sausage, green beans and potatoes”. Seriously, that’s the only name I’ve ever heard anyone call it. It’s just what it says. Cut up potatoes, bag of frozen green beans, 1 package of Eckridge (or whatever) smoked sausage(cut up). Throw it all in a big pot with a little water and simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are done. The sausage flavors everything else and it’s delicious. I’m also a huge fan of quesadillas, grilled cheese, and breakfast.

  134. dana says:

    Tomato soup & grilled cheese sammies, refried bean & cheese enchiladas. They get smothered in enchilada sauce & bake for 20. Top w lettuce, tomatoes, & sour cream. Or angel hair mixed w fresh garlic, loads of garden tomatoes & fresh basil, olive oil, red wine vinegar, & parm reggiano.

  135. Julie Cavallaro says:

    In the old days when I would have white bread on hand it would be eggs with ketchup on white toast. Now, it might be eggs with ketchup on a toasted english muffin. For my husband it would be pasta with pesto (frozen in little portions from our summer garden) or a fresh tomato sauce. I would do butter and freshly grated parmesan on my pasta. If we were reallllly lazy we would order a pizza.

  136. Pat Kichinko says:

    Grilled cheese sandwiches or omelettes or pancakes or pasta. Whatever is in the house!

  137. Julianna says:

    Pasta Piselli… Italian comfort food in twenty minutes or less: Boil water for pasta. Dump one can of crushed tomatoes, 1-2 cups frozen peas, 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, a little onion, salt & Pepper in a deep skillet or Dutch oveny thing (For this, I don’t use any other spices. Not even Basil. Weird. I know). Let the peas and tomatoes, garlic and onion, salt and pepper simmer all happy and snuggly while you boil a pound of pasta (I like Mezzi Rigatoni). Reserve a cup of the pasta water when you drain the pasta. Pour the tomatoes and peas over the drained pasta, adding fresh grated Romano/Parmesan/Pecorino cheese and some of the reserved pasta water for moisture. Toss and top with a little more cheese. Done and Done. Happy bellies. Honest to Pete my kids Iike this better than *anything*.

  138. James says:

    I steam Asparagus with a bamboo steamer in my hand hammered iron wok which possibly the most valuable and amazing ancient highly versatile cooking tool I own…and grill a steak..or also steam some potatoes..

  139. Candace says:

    Chili Mac! Prepare a box of mac & cheese, add a can of spicy vegetarian chili. Ooooh yeah! Super trashy, but fast and awesome.

  140. Emily says:

    Omg, I am so pregnant and these comments are about to send my poor hubby out at 9:00pm for tomatoes and burritos and cereal and pancakes. I gotta stop reading!

  141. Cynna says:

    Quinoa–in the summer mixed with chopped tomatoes, lots of fresh basil, parmesan, lemon juice, a dash of garlic, olive oil, and black pepper. In the winter it’s easy to toss with frozen spinach, olive oil, parmesan, lemon, and black pepper–add some poached chicken if it’s on hand.

  142. Toronto Boy says:

    If I’m a lazy potato head … I place a large potato in the microwave … 7 minutes on high … done!

    Or alternatively I call (416)967-1111 … done! Hahaha!

  143. Sara says:

    In the summer – angel hair pasta with chopped tomatoes, basil from the garden, shaved parmesan, fresh cracked pepper, sea salt and really good EVOO.

    In the winter – Chicken broth seasoned with fresh ginger and garlic with ramen noodles thrown in and cilantro and green onion for garnish. Fresh veggies are great to add too if we have them – carrots, mushrooms and napa cabbage are best.

    Year round – nachos made of really good corn tortilla chips, black beans, shredded cheese, favorite bottled salsa, sour cream and whatever veggies are in season – tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, green onion, etc.

  144. Deb says:

    I love tomato sandwiches, have been eating them since I was a little kid. I have a couple of go-to meals. Nothing gourmet stuff here, just something quick and filling. Old-fashioned oatmeal microwaved with brown sugar, butter and half-and-half, or dirty rice with premade rice and black beans microwaved and topped with grated cheese, sour cream and salsa. Obviously, these are meals I only have to serve to myself.

  145. Robyn says:

    Go to meal in a rush…frozen fresh pasta, could be ravioli, whatever you have. It cooks in less time!

    Sauce while pasta is boiling… diced fresh tomatoes from the garden, fresh garlic, thyme, chopped red onion, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and salt & pepper.

    Mix the sauce in a large bowl. Add pasta to sauce toss and sprinkle with Parmesan. Super tasty and super fast. Everyone including 2 year olds will gladly devour.

  146. Berry says:

    Depends on if time is the crunch, or if effort is the crunch –

    Time – Mix 1-2 eggs, chopped red bell pepper, a shroom, onion/green onion/corn/asparagus/any other veggie I have on hand, and a touch of bacon. (I chop a package up, cook it, and then stick the bits in the fridge) Throw a couple of bell pepper rings in a frying pan, fry, and serve on toast.


    Throw ramen into a closed container with hot water, lemon or lime juice, several smashed thin slices of fresh ginger, and a heaping spoon of chicken base or boullion. Strain, mix in a tablespoon or two of sour cream or cream cheese; throw on top any leftover veggie/meat or nuts or whatever chopped raw fruit or veggies you have in the fridge.

    Effort – Take a small french bread loaf. Cut in half and scoop out some insides. Brush on some olive oil, add sage/rosemary/garlic in LARGE quantities and a little salt and black pepper. Stick a pork tenderloin inside. Wrap in foil and bake in the oven while you go about your other activities. You can pretend that this is a fancy presentation piece and slice into thin rounds, but I usually just eat it as a sandwich. Takes 3 min to put together, but does need 30-40 min in the oven, depending on the size of your tenderloin. You can vary the seasonings, add a little mustard – the only constant is a little oil and the bread surrounding it.

  147. Bonnie says:

    My go-to is a supermarket rotisserie chicken with salad and crusty bread. I usually have the pre-washed salad mixes on hand.

  148. Nicki Woo says:

    Some sort of egg frittata. Maybe a little broccoli mushroom, onion. Today it was pinto bean, green chile, cheese, onion, salsa. Whatever veggies I have…and in 15 minutes we’re licking r plates:)

  149. calliek says:

    Pasta with salsa and sour cream, preferably homemade salsa and real sour cream. If I have time I add other things- cooked veggies, chicken or ground beef and top with cheese.

    Even easier- pasta or rice with 1/2can of condensed cream of mushroom soup, minced fresh garlic and parmesan cheese.

  150. Kristin says:

    I buy sausages (bratwursts) from Trader Joe’s, plus baby potatoes, plus broccoli. Roast the brats in the oven, boil the potatoes in very salty water, then quickly blanch the broccoli in the vacated potato water. Mustard and sauerkraut as needed.

  151. Jackie H says:

    I lived on pita pizzas while in university and they are still my go to food on the run. I preheat the oven to 350 and spread pizza sauce on a pita (not too much or the toppings will just slide off when you are trying to eat) and top with shredded cheese, sliced mushrooms, pepperoni slices, a sprinkle of oregano and a drizzle of olive oil. Cook for 10-12 mins until cheese is meted and bubbly. The best thin crust pizza in a rush. I keep a bag of pitas in the freezer just for this.

  152. Jasmine says:

    Crackers, tomato, and cheese.

  153. marilyn says:

    i make pasta and toss it with fake crab , asparagus or broccoli,salt,pepper,olive oil and some shaved parmesan and add a squirt of lemon juice…delicious and fast

  154. Linda S in NE says:

    Like several of the other comments, I am shocked at how many people are willing to chop, slice, dice, and cook to make an “emergency meal”. For me, it’s a bag of microwave O.R. Theatre Butter popcorn and an apple. Truly quick, and the bonus of NO dishes or utensils to wash. Oh yeah,…did I mention…I live alone?

    • Karen says:

      LOL. I just had my grilled cheese and broccoli soup tonight! I love food and eating too much to eat popcorn for dinner, LOL. I’m amazed at all the people who eat popcorn for dinner! ~ karen

  155. Lily says:

    Aglio e olio. Fancy way to say, spaghetti with olive oil, sauteed garlic, salt to taste. Cheese is optional I don’t like it. If i feel extra fancy add some parsley.
    Simple and delish.

  156. Jcrn says:

    Also quick…take low or no sodium canned veggies such as green beans, mushrooms, diced tomatoes, corn, etc. add a little v-8 juice, dried basil, oregano r herbs of choice ( sometimes I go with thyme or rosemary ), add some green onions ( I simply cut mine quickly with scissors right into the soup). Heat in microwave, 1-3 minutes or on stove top if you are willing to wait as long as 5 minutes or so.

    Top with grated cheese of choice, eat with bread. Dip bread in soup if you want. Fresh chopped tomatoes are fine in this too. They might be less soft but still yummy.

    I add a dollop of sour cream to my soup. If you have chicken or beef broth it will have a deeper favor.

    While I’m eating the soup, I cook an apple in the microwave for 5-7 minutes. Top with a bit of cream or ice cream and Biscoff spread. Tastes like a caramel apple. Biscoff is heavenly. Great on bananas too. My grocery store carries it but you can see it here…go through Karen’s Amazon link, though, if you buy it.–set-2/dp/B009DP2BQE/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1377483662&sr=8-6&keywords=Biscoff

    She gets some money if you use her link.

  157. Mary Ann says:

    Grilled cheese and soup (occasionally from a can, occasionally homemade), pasta with garlic, olive oil, parm cheese and shrimp, 2 poached eggs on a bed of garlicky wilted spinach with toasted bread, smoothies with banana, seasonal fruit, nut butter and lots of baby spinach blended in. An egg cooked in the microwave on an English muffin with cheese, mayo and lettuce and some baby-cut carrots. A bowl of ceral. Toast and pb. My toddler’s left over Pastina, dressed up with an egg. This super-quick mac and chesse

  158. SeaDee says:

    Went paddleboarding today so I made a caprese salad with Costco romaine chopped, Costco mozzarella (already sliced), tomatoes from the garden, Costco olive oil and Costco balsamic vinegar and a squeeze of basil from the tube (I couldn’t get any basil to grow this year!)

    OR sometimes I’ll make a bowl of popcorn the old-fashioned way and call it good, followed by a bowl of vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce and walnuts for dessert. 🙂

  159. Ev says:

    Breakfast-Bacon & eggs, toast, coffee. Or, Grilled cheese & tomato soup. Both of these seem better in winter, but they can happen anytime!

  160. With my fresh Black Krim Tomatoes in season, I love toasting up a simple caprice sandwich. I also love to indulge in fried eggs and avocado, which is super simple to make.

    When I’m super super lazy, I warm up a frozen chicken cordon blue filet. I just throw it in the oven and go take a half hour nap!

  161. isabel says:

    To me it’s rice and black beans from the fridge, reheated on the microwave, with maybe a fried egg on top. I’m brazilian, you know. We brazilians eat rice and beans with almost every meal, so we always have leftovers in the fridge!

    But, coincidentally, just two days ago I made broccoli soup, a recipe I learned on youtube with british chef Gordon Ramsey. But his recipe, which was absolutely delicious, was even easier to make: just salted water and broccoli, with a slice of goat cheese on top. Fantastic

  162. Brenda says:

    Quick & Easy — omelettes (cheese, ham, green peppers, onions) or some sort of pasta dish. I always keep boxes of pasta and sauce hidden in the pantry for a last minute meal. There are usually frozen meatballs in the freezer to throw in, too.

  163. Susan S says:

    Our fast and tasty quick dinner is egg fried rice.

    Make white rice, I use boil in bag quick white rice. Drizzle toasted sesame seed oil in the skillet, add the rice and soy sauce to taste. When it’s really sizzly (technical cooking term) I toss in the egg and scramble it into the rice and cook it all till the egg is done.

    That’s just the base version but it’s also really great to use up those about to go off or soon to wilt veggies in the so-called crisper drawer. Red onion, sprouts, cabbage and carrot sliced thin and stir fried in the toasted sesame seed oil then mix it into the rice when done.

    Another easy variation is to have it the night after we have a rotisserie chicken. Dice up whatever chicken is left and just toss it into the fried-rice as it’s cooking.

  164. Lyn says:

    You guys all sound so healthy with the tomatoes and eggs and broccoli. I never have anything like that in the house, actually if it’s a quick meal without a plan that means. Papa Murphys Pizza, Costco rotisserie chicken, or Jimboy’s Tacos.

  165. Julia says:

    Pot of hummus, pot of guacamole, crusty bread, wine??

  166. hR says:

    (toasted) english muffin + (melty) cheese + (strawberry) jam = (quick) dinner that tastes like dessert (yup).

  167. Anita says:

    You know those chicken breasts that come individually frozen in a big bag? I put those in the oven to bake (45 mins frozen 20 thawed) and when they are about 5-10 mins from done smear them with either pesto, bbq sauce or marina with mozzarella cheese on top. That and cooked frozen broccoli happens a lot around here. You have to wait for the cook time, but the prep is maybe two mins total time. If I have a lot of chicken I cook extra (plain) to reserve for salads, casseroles, or sandwiches.

  168. Maryanne says:

    My go to summer dinner -Egg Frittata with fresh veggies from the garden, side salad or a roasted red bliss.
    Now I am hungry!

  169. Michele says:

    Does everyone but me know what a ground cherry is? I’ve never heard this term.

  170. Terri Newell says:

    I make broccoli soup the exact same way EXCEPT…I add a package of Laughing Cow cheese. Yum!

  171. Kelly says:

    As we did tonight when we were supposed to have Salmon Croquettes and I realized last-minute that I had no salmon but did have a headache–we had bacon, eggs and toast. Cooked to order: scrambled, fried, sunny-side up; toast, butter, plain; crunchy, crispy, “wimpy”–that’s a meal that pleases everyone, is always in the fridge and can even give the Chef a 15-minute relaxation period because it’s so fast.

  172. Amanda says:

    Half a watermelon. I slice the baby in half and scoop it out with a spoon. I’m going to miss summer 🙁

  173. Jasmine says:


    I made this last night and I think something may have gone wrong with the soup. The blended broccoli made the broth green but all the chunks sank to the bottom. Is there a way to make it thicker? I tried adding cheese but it melted and stuck to the drowned broccoli. I also threw in a dash of heavy cream.


    • Karen says:

      The only thing I can think of Jasmine, is you used too much broth and the soup was too thin. Also, I blend mine completely and entirely. There are no chunks. It’s a smooth green soup. ~ karen!

  174. Shauna says:

    pasta, always pasta. could have marinara sauce or if I have some basil pesto sauce, could be that. If we have meat in the fridge I like to toss that in. If we have vegetables, I’ll make a primavera. But, pasta is always our go-to if we are in a hurry or just not really wanting to ‘cook’.

  175. Shauna says:

    oh, and really fast? Quesadilla. And, even faster, like running out the door and need to eat or I’ll fall over? String cheese and an apple.

  176. Dana says:

    Thin-cut boneless pork chops take about 5-10 minutes to fry up (even if they start out frozen and stuck together). We eat them with couscous and applesauce. It’s a cheap, delicious, and reasonably balanced meal in under 10 minutes!

  177. Addison DeWitt says:

    Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
    Any pasta, cooked
    2 cans tomatoes (diced is fine)
    ground beef
    Italian seasoning or fresh basil or combination

    fry ground beef with chopped onion and garlic
    using an immersion blender, blend tomatoes
    and add to meat. Add spices, salt and pepper, too. Simmer

    Fast, delicious and easy

  178. Lisa says:

    Some kind of noodley bowl – boil water, add rice noodles. While noodles cook, simmer garlic, fresh ginger, diced shallot in boxed chicken or beef broth. Add veggies (shrooms?sprouts?sliced bok choy?even frozen mixed will do in a pinch!) and any left over chicken/beef/pork that’s lurking in the fridge.
    Artfully arrange a swirl of noodles in a lovely dollar store soup bowl. Top with veggies and meat, ladle on broth and serve with a sprinkle of sliced green onions, cilantro, a squirt of siracha, a drizzle of sesame oil, and a splash of soya sauce. Looks and tastes wonderful and is endlessly adaptable.

  179. dahn says:

    Homemade mushroom soup + frozen meat balls (homemade) + lots of curry. Put on top of rice. My go to meal in the winter. Yum!!!

    I make condensed mushroom soup from a Pinterest recipe and always have homemade meatballs in the freezer.

  180. Beth W says:

    One of my quick fixes (if we are all actually there but needing to eat fast) is “Taco Tuesday” or Wednesday, or — you get the idea…

    Tortillas (we use flour) or Tostadas – heat up some refried beans in the microwave and/or black beans – the best is refried black beans!! Add tomatoes, cheese, olives and sour cream and salsa – this is all on the table and everyone fixes their own to their liking! Super fast and don’t have to heat the kitchen — Summer in Texas is hot enough!! And the kids (yeah got 2) like it because they get to “be in charge” of their dinner choices!

    Either that or if I know ahead of time that I’m going to be “running” all day – Bird’s Eye “Voila” dinners from the frozen foods – Garlic Chicken is a favorite – it’s a stove top skillet thing – that has veggies and meat and pasta – just add a bit of water (and maybe another pack of frozen veggies to make it go farther) – and 10 minutes and it’s on the table – and has green in it – something we tend not to get enough of!!! If we are really running (and have cash) the girl’s favorite stop is Subway! Healthy and again – they get to choose exactly what they get to have on their subs!! Thanks for putting this out there – at least I’m not the only one running like a crazy person and just making sure my kids don’t die of starvation!!! (Malnutrition maybe, but not starvation!) ;-|

  181. This is a great question to ask if you are dealing with a gluten allergy or you are concerned
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  182. Vanessa says:

    What are the proportions of stock to broccoli. I hate broccoli like you hate brussel sprouts. But the kids like it, so maybe broccoli soup would be a good fit? Go to dinner is grilled chicken with pesto pasta. I ALWAYS have frozen pesto and frozen chicken, and I use whatever shape of pasta is a full box. And if I am really in a pinch pesto is green so that counts as a vegetable, right?

    • Karen says:

      Pesto does indeed count as a vegetable. MANY vegetables. If you search “broccoli soup” in my “search bar” under the picture of me holding the fish you’ll find my recipe. But basically I use however much broccoli I have on hand cut up, then pour enough chicken stock on it until it’s covered. Just barely covered. That always works out to the thickness of soup I like. Add salt, pepper and top with a little cheddar cheese and croutons. ~ karen!

  183. Katie says:

    Rachel Ray’s spaghetti carbonara. Here’s the link: It only has 8 ingredients, all of which are readily available in the average kitchen. I use whatever fresh herbs I happen to have, and any hard cheese that isn’t cheddar will do. Swap out the pancetta for precooked bacon from Costco, and this dish can be made in under 12 minutes flat. (Yes, I’ve timed it.) Added bonus, it gives you a reason to keep a bottle of white wine on hand, and THAT comes in handy when you are stressed and trying to come up with dinner fast. Glass of wine for the dish, glass of wine (or two) for me, and Presto! Everybody’s fed and I’m relaxed. Perfect!

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