Healthy Go-To Dinner Recipes

Hello from Europe!

Okay, fine, so I’m not blogging from Europe… I’m blogging from the past. :) I scheduled this post to pop up while I’m traveling around to keep you guys entertained. I’m so high tech. ;)

Let’s get started, shall we?

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve received some emails from readers interested in my favorite go-to healthy dinner recipes. It seems like most of these readers are either graduating college and entering the “real world” for the first time or are moving in with their significant other and are nervous about preparing healthy yet delicious and satisfying meals.

As you know, I live with a he-man meat eater, so our meals have to satisfy Ryan’s manly cravings (protein, protein, protein) and my desire to include nutritious foods like vegetables.

Make Us BOTH Happy!

Both Ryan and I will wholeheartedly say that we love our home cooked meals and look forward to making dinner together every night. (Okay, well, I make dinner most nights, but he does help and pops green beans and slices onions… Plus he cleans the bathrooms – I literally never have – and I consider that a fair trade.)

We’ve been living together for a couple of years now and while we enjoy experimenting with recipes and trying new things a lot, we do have several go-to meals that we make whenever we’re not feeling particularly creative.

These meals are easy and require very few ingredients, most of which we have on hand all the time.

  • Crock pot pulled pork or pulled chicken. This meal is so, so simple. All you need are chicken breasts + chicken broth or pork shoulder + beef broth. That’s it. Just combine the meat and the broth in a slow cooker, making sure the broth covers the meat. Let it cook on low for 6 – 8 hours before removing the meat and pulling apart with a fork. You may eat it as is or smother it in BBQ sauce like Ryan and I do! The chicken is also great when used to make buffalo chicken sandwiches. Serve with a side of roasted vegetables.

Pulled Buffalo Chicken Sandwich

  • Tacos. Everyone loves tacos! All you need is ground beef, ground chicken or fish, water and a packet of taco seasoning, hard and/or soft shell tacos and your favorite taco fillers (we love tomatoes, lettuce, cheese and salsa) and you’re good to go! Spray a pan with cooking spray before cooking the meat for about 5 minutes (3 minutes for fish). Add a bit of water and the taco seasoning and cook until the meat is completely done. (You may also prepare the meat in the crock pot to enjoy slow cooker tacos or use two-ingredient salsa chicken as the filler.)  If you prefer vegetarian tacos, simply sauté peppers and onions in a bit of olive oil on the stove top and sprinkle with taco seasoning before filling the taco shells with the veggies and toppings.
  • Meatloaf. Meatloaf is so, so easy and tastes great leftover the next day! We’re huge fans of meatloaf in our house and really enjoy these recipes:
  1. BBQ Meatloaf (Ryan’s all-time favorite)
  2. Homestyle Turkey Meatloaf
  3. Asian Meatloaf
  4. Sweet Potato Meatloaf
  5. Taco Meatloaf

BBQ Meatloaf

  • Homemade pizza. Using flat bread, whole wheat tortillas or store-bought pizza crust, Ryan and I love to make homemade pizzas, such as BBQ chicken pizza or his and hers pizzas, with his pizza brimming with sausage and pepperoni and mine topped with lots of cheese and fresh veggies.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

  • Breakfast for dinner. When it comes to breakfast for dinner, the possibilities are endless! We’ll enjoy dippy eggs, oatmeal pancakes, quiches or frittatas. All options are delicious and so, so easy.

Frittata

  • Ravioli or whole wheat pasta with steamed veggies. We’re a pasta and ravioli-loving duo! I love to line the bottom of a big bowl with freshly steamed broccoli and cauliflower before adding ravioli or whole wheat pasta, marinara sauce and parmesan cheese on top. This makes me feel like I’m enjoying a HUGE, indulgent serving of ravioli or pasta when really I’m enjoying a reasonable serving (1 – 1.5 servings from the package) and a ton of veggies, too!  Ryan will often throw in some leftover meat or chicken sausage into his bowl to get some more protein.

Ravioli Bowl

Question of the Day

  • What is your favorite go-to dinner recipe?

Comments

  1. Leslie says

    I love making salsa chicken – 2 chicken breasts, 3 cups of salsa in the crockpot, low for 6-8 hrs, and you have a very yummy pulled chicken and it’s so good on whole wheat tortillas!

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  2. Tori (Fresh Fruition) says

    Dinner for breakfast is always a winner in my book. Especially sweet recipes! I have such a sweet tooth. The only thing that makes sweets better is adding nut butter! haha.

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  3. says

    Quesidillas are my go-to dinner haha! So easy and delicious :) Also beans and some steamed vegetables (yay for vegetarian!).
    Typically though it’s just whatever my boyfriends mom happens to cook up since I’m at their house every night ha <3

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  4. says

    I think big salads are my favorite go-to dinner recipe. They’re filling, really easy and pack a ton of nutrition. I like putting in just a can of tuna and some hummus to make them more voluminous and satiating!

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  5. says

    Lots of great ideas!!!! Some of our favorite quick dinners are spaghetti (I’m not a huuuge meat eater, so mom always saves some of the plain marinara sauce for me!), egg sandwiches and a fruit salad, burgers with baked fries, etc.

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  6. says

    Favorite go-to dinner recipe: baked tempeh seasoned with cumin, salt and pepper on top of pureed black beans (just blend the beans in the blender or magic bullet with some salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and garlic). Then top with fresh tomatoes, corn, avocado, and cilantro. Add a splash of lime juice and hot sauce if you like a kick, and you will be in food heaven :)

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  7. says

    I completely agree with you on the breakfast for dinner idea… that type of food tastes great anytime of the day :)
    My go to dinner food is cereal if I am super lazy, otherwise something with a microwaved sweet potato because I can’t get enough of those!

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  8. says

    Great recipes! My husband makes such a good meatloaf. I’ll have to try the sweet potato version!

    I like making stir fry’s as my go-to meal. So quick, easy and customizable. :-)

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  9. Dawn @ Blonde on a Mission says

    My go-to recipe is definitely the homemade pizza! You can customize it to whatever you want, and I love loading mine with fresh veggies. I also love cooking a huge pot of chili or soup and eating that for a week!

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  10. Abby says

    I think you and I have it figured out! :) We have the same routine in our house with the men cleaning the bathroom! lol. My favorite go to dinner recipe is definitely homemade pizza! It is so quick and versatile for my meat loving man and my veggie loving self!

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  11. says

    hmmm… taco soup is my go to dinner recipe: 1 lb cooked hamburger, can diced tomoatoes, can black beans, 1 packet taco seasoning, and some frozen corn… cooked in the crock pot on low… then top with sour cream and cheese, fritos maybe, or whatever else you like :)

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  12. says

    DANG youve got it down! i have never used a crock pot!! shocka!!.. my go to is a big mega salad with beans and hummus or a homemade dressing and then nuts and fruit on the side or something!! quick, easy and DELICIOUS!

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  13. Kathryn says

    Great post! I’ve been on my own for many years and still trying to get quick, easy go-to meals! Sometimes I try to go all out and end up exhausted before the meal begins!

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  14. Lauren says

    Great post & very helpful because I’m moving in with my boyfriend in July! I love meals that can be versatile like tacos, so I can eat them without meat, and he can add meat to his.

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  15. says

    I always see your pulled chicken or pork sandwiches and wish I had the foresight to throw something like that in the crockpot in the morning. They look so good!
    Our go-to is definitely the homemade pizza b/c even if we don’t have dough on hand you can use pita’s, english muffins, whatever!

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  16. Amy says

    Wow! Awesome post Julie. The BBQ chicken sandwich looks really good.

    If it were up to me my go-to meal would be spaghetti and marinara sauce with some Italian sausage fried up and in the sauce. Not sure that the rest of my family would agree though ;)

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  17. Laura says

    My go-to is spaghetti squash–chop it in half, throw it in the oven with some water, scrape it, top it will marinara and steamed broccoli, brussel sprouts or asparagus :) Easy peezy

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  18. says

    Breakfast for dinner is defintely one of my easy go-to dinners! I’ve also been making proteinified pb+banana sandwiches..ie instead of using bread as the base, i use an oatmeal pancake which works out to like 20g of protein!

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  19. says

    You are my go to girl for quick easy recipes! So inspiring for the new year’s resolution to eat at home more. My fave go tos are taco salad, chicken fajitas with Archer Farms green salsa, cheese, lettuce, pico, and olives, and rotini pasta with basalmic chicken and zucchini and squash.

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  20. mallory_knox says

    I could probably eat stir-fry everyday! lol it’s so quick & simple (I chop & store my veggies when i buy them, saves even more time) & anyone can easily customize it to their liking. besides that, definitely tacos/fajitas, egg white veggie & cheese omelette, & my husband’s fav, whole wheat (lean) beef stroganoff :D

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