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Busy weeknights call for easy dinners. However, if your family is tired of mac and cheese and hot dogs, today might be the day to try something new. Delight their tastebuds – and their eyes – with these deceptively fancy meals.

1. Cauliflower Gnocchi with Bruschetta and Sausage

Since Aldi posted a simple recipe for cauliflower gnocchi, we’ve been in love but have you tried adding sausage and bruschetta to it? This recipe combines these three classic Italian ingredients to create a mouth-watering dish that’s easy as one, two, three.

First, saute the gnocchi with the sliced Italian sausage in a skillet. Then, add the bruschetta and simmer on low heat. Fold in a handful of arugula until the leaves begin to wilt. Then, load everything into a bowl, top with cheese and dig in!


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2. Shrimp Scampi

Get dinner on the table in as little as 30 minutes with simple shrimp scampi. This delicious dish only requires a handful of ingredients and very few dishes, making cleanup a breeze. Plus, it allows you to add some pizzazz to your weeknight menu without adding more prep time to your schedule.

While your linguine is cooking, saute butter and garlic until lightly golden and add wine. Simmer for two to three minutes and add the shrimp. Season and stir in lemon juice and parsley. Finally, toss the shrimp and lemon-garlic sauce with your pasta and serve.

3. Pasta and Mussels

Are your kids big seafood fans? Skip the shrimp and go straight for the mussels. These little guys are full of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, selenium and more to support your growing children. Plus, they’re easier to make than you think.

In a large pot, combine the wine and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Cover them mussels and cook them just until they pop open wide. Remove them from the broth and add saffron to the pot, discard any unopened mussels and toss the open ones with butter. Then, whip up some lemon-garlic sauce and serve it — and the mussels — over spaghetti. Bon appetit!

4. Sesame Seared Tuna

Ahi tuna is one of those effortless dishes that never fails to impress. While it may look fancy, this meal takes a grand total of 20 minutes, making it the perfect solution for feeding hungry kids — and spouses!

Combine the soy sauce, mirin, honey and sesame oil and divide the mixture into two parts. Stir rice vinegar into one to make your dipping sauce. Then, coat the tuna steak with the other half and roll in sesame seeds. Sear the fish for about 30 seconds on each side, slice, plate and serve with wasabi paste, mashed potatoes and dipping sauce.

5. Salmon en Papillote

Does salmon sound like way too much work? Think again! Parchment paper cuts your cleanup time in half, making this fancy meal easy work. So feel free to show off a little and bake this delicious salmon en papillote for your next girls night — or family dinner.

First, cut and fold your paper into a packet. Then, fill it with zucchini, fennel, salmon, dill, lemon slices and seasonings and close up the packet with a series of small folds. Pop it into the oven for 10 to 12 minutes and serve immediately.

6. Chicken Souvlaki With Tzatziki

Whether you’re currently on the Mediterranean diet or simply having a hankering for Greek food, this chicken souvlaki with tzatziki should fill your grumbly tummy and satisfy any cravings. Luckily, this dish is much easier to make than pronounce, so you can have dinner ready in just a few minutes.

First, soak your onion in a mixture of sugar, vinegar and salt and whip up a batch of that creamy tzatziki sauce. Then, cook the chicken until crisp and add chilli, oregano and garlic. Top your pita with the meaty mixture, tzatziki and tomato and serve.

7. Pork Chops With Mushroom Cream

This pork chop dinner looks like something you’d order at a fancy restaurant, but it’s deceptively simple easy to make. All you need is a half hour and a dozen ingredients.

First, pepper your pork and brown them in a skillet. Then, cook your mushrooms and garlic, remembering to add the thyme and dry wine to make the sauce. Add heavy cream and mustard and stir until it starts to thicken. Add a splash of lemon juice and a sprinkling of chives just before serving.

8. Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon

Want to make a fancy date night dinner at home this week? These bacon-wrapped filet mignons are sure to impress your significant other. Still, they’re incredibly easy to prepare and only require a handful of simple ingredients.

Season your fillets and wrap them in bacon, remembering to secure the strips with toothpicks. Then, broil for a few minutes, top with shallots and flip and broil again. Serve with a carb and vegetable to round out the meal. Asparagus and mashed potatoes are always a delicious choice.

9. Asian Snapper with sweet chilli and lemongrass

This Asian snapper is a fresh, fragrant and simple dish for the whole family to enjoy! It looks impressive but is really easy to make. Serve with Asian greens or brown rice. Delicious.

Check out the recipe here.

Asian snapper

10. Ricotta Strawberry French Toast

Who says you can’t have breakfast for dinner? This eye-catching ricotta strawberry french toast is prettier than most weeknight meals, not to mention easier to prepare.

Make your egg wash and dip each side of each slice of bread in the liquid. Then, heat them until golden brown and add the ricotta, honey, sea salt and strawberries. Top with a mint spring for added flair and serve!

Getting Creative In the Kitchen

As you get more comfortable with these quick and easy recipes, feel free to experiment with your family’s all-time favorites. What kinds of creative solutions can make prep and cook time quick and easy? Experiment with different cooking methods and try new recipes to keep your creative juices flowing!

What are your favourite dishes that are super easy but looked like you’ve slaved in the kitchen for hours? Tell us in the comments below.

  • These look pretty good. My new favourites are ones from the meal delivery service I get (eg like hello fresh) as they look restaurant quality but are so quick and easy to make!

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  • A lot of fish there lol good revipies tho

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  • These recipes look great!

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  • Pasta dishes, or slow cooker meals, or one pot wonders

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  • I think slow cooker or oven dishes are always a big hit and present well :)


    • Too little vegetarian dishes on this list and personally I wouldn’t have Ricotta Strawberry French Toast for dinner as it isn’t the most nutritious.

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  • Slow cooker meals always look terrific and taste so good. Pasta meals are the same, they look impressive and are super easy to cook too.

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  • Pasta is our favourite. Always quick and easy, yet can be fancied up to look like a restaurant dish!


    • I agree with your comment about pasta. Fancy ingredients can be added to pasta and the dishes can be presented with style.

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  • I like anything I can hide zucchini and other vegetables in.


    • Yes! I’m a mum of a picky boy so anything that he’ll eat and let’s me sneak veggies is a winner for me

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  • I love anything thats made with fresh ingredients and produce, that can be made for the whole family to enjoy
    Cauliflower gnocci looks delicious

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  • My kids love anything if it’s in a big bowl and they get to serve themselves at the table.

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  • I like the idea of Chicken Souvlaki With Tzatziki. My whole family love this.

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  • Some great ideas- however, not sure where to buy tuna steaks. I love the French toast idea!

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  • Some good recipes here – thanks for the tips

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  • I’m always on the look out for new and different recipes. I get so bored with meal ideas. However, my hubby and son would eat the same all the time. Once I discover something, I slam it for weeks until we’re over it. Pastas are always a go to and much loved. The simple and tasty one is bacon, spinach, mushrooms and parmesan with spaghetti. A fan favourite.

    Reply

  • Filet Mignon is our go to!

    Reply

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