15 speedy dinners for when you can’t face the kitchen

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We’ve all been there—those days when the thought of facing the kitchen feels like gearing up for a battle you just can’t win. These 15 speedy dinner solutions are your secret weapon against the dinner-time slump.

Mexican casserole in a glass dish.
Walking Taco Casserole. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Mexican chicken tortilla soup in a white bowl.
Chicken Tortilla Soup. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

When time’s ticking and hunger’s kicking, Chicken Tortilla Soup swoops in to save dinner with a zesty, cozy embrace. Dunk those tortilla strips and savor the spicy magic that turns last night’s chicken into tonight’s treasure.
Get the Recipe: Chicken Tortilla Soup

Air Fryer Brats

Two brats on a plate in buns topped with sauerkraut.
Air Fryer Brats. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Craving that grilled sausage sizzle but stuck in a time crunch? Air Fryer Brats have you covered with that snap-worthy crust in just 15 minutes, no matter if they’re fresh, pre-cooked, or straight from the freezer.
Get the Recipe: Air Fryer Brats

Taco Rice Skillet

Closeup of a skillet with ground beef, cheese and tomatoes.
Taco Rice Skillet. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

In the race against the clock, the Taco Rice Skillet is your winning steed, galloping from pantry to plate in a flavor-packed jiffy. It’s a one-dish wonder that transforms the simplest ingredients into a meal that will keep everyone happy.
Get the Recipe: Taco Rice Skillet

Minestrone Soup

Olive Garden Minestrone Soup in a white bowl topped with basil.
Minestrone Soup. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Instant Pot Minestrone is your speedy ticket to a veggie-packed Italian wonderland, where dinner is just a pressure release away. Forget the all-day simmer; this soup brings the garden to your bowl in a flash.
Get the Recipe: Minestrone Soup

Air Fryer Cod

Air fryer cod fillets without breading topped with lemon and herbs.
Air Fryer Cod. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

On the hook for a quick dinner? Air Fryer Cod to the rescue, delivering flaky, tender fish in a mere 15 minutes—no breading required. It’s the healthy, fast, and delicious way to fish for compliments at the dinner table.
Get the Recipe: Air Fryer Cod

Chicken Stroganoff

A bowl of chicken stroganoff with bread and parsley.
Chicken Stroganoff. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Thirty minutes and a skillet—that’s all it takes to whip up a creamy Chicken Stroganoff . Creamy, dreamy, and oh-so-mushroomy, this dish turns “What’s for dinner?” into “That was amazing!” faster than you can set the table.
Get the Recipe: Chicken Stroganoff

Walking Taco Casserole

Mexican casserole in a glass dish.
Walking Taco Casserole. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Turn taco night on its head with a Walking Taco Casserole that’s ready faster than a stroll around the block. This dish is a layered masterpiece of meat, cheese, veggies, and Fritos that’s as fun to make and eat.
Get the Recipe: Walking Taco Casserole

Mongolian Beef

Closeup of crispy beef in a bowl with green onions and sesame seeds.
Mongolian Beef. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Let the air fryer work its magic and turn strips of beef into a feast faster than you can say “table for two at P.F. Chang’s, please.” This dish packs a punch of sweet and savory in every crispy bite, and it’s ready before the family starts eyeing the takeout menus.
Get the Recipe: Mongolian Beef

Instant Pot Orange Chicken

Plate of orange chicken in a metal bowl from the top.
Instant Pot Orange Chicken. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Skip the line at Panda Express and let the Instant Pot whip up some Orange Chicken with a zest that rivals your favorite takeout. In just 45 minutes, you’ll be serving a dish that’s popping with citrusy goodness.
Get the Recipe: Instant Pot Orange Chicken

Air Fryer Chicken Fajitas

Plate of chicken fajitas with chicken, red bell peppers and onion.
Air Fryer Chicken Fajitas. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Got 15 minutes? That’s all you need for Air Fryer Chicken Fajitas that bring the sizzle without the hassle. Tender chicken, crisp veggies, and a sprinkle of spices—it’s the quick, no-mess meal that’s big on flavor and short on time.
Get the Recipe: Air Fryer Chicken Fajitas

Thai Red Curry Chicken

A plate of Thai chicken curry with rice and vegetables.
Thai Red Curry Chicken. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Ditch the takeout and dial up the flavor with a Thai Red Curry Chicken that’s quicker than your local delivery guy. The rich coconut curry sauce is a flavor bomb, ready to party with tender chicken in your very own kitchen.
Get the Recipe: Thai Red Curry Chicken

Air Fryer Breaded Pork Chops

Two breaded pork chops on a gray plate with parsley.
Air Fryer Breaded Pork Chops. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Say hello to juicy, tender pork chops with a crispy breading that the air fryer whips up while you’re setting the table. It’s the easy-peasy pork chop squeeze that brings the crunch without the time crunch.
Get the Recipe: Air Fryer Breaded Pork Chops

Fajita Burgers

A burger topped with peppers and onions with guacamole.
Fajita Burgers. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

When your burger cravings collide with a hankering for fajitas, the Fajita Burger is there to party on your plate in no time flat. Fire these up and watch your regular burger night take a delicious detour south of the border.
Get the Recipe: Fajita Burgers

Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs

Three bacon wrapped hot dogs in buns topped with cheese and onions.
Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

Unleash the ultimate upgrade on your hot dog routine with Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs straight from the air fryer—no grill, no fuss, all flavor. It’s the kind of hot dog that’ll make you wonder why you ever settled for plain old buns and mustard.
Get the Recipe: Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs

Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin

Air fryer pork tenderloin on a plate with potatoes on a cutting board.
Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin. Photo credit: Upstate Ramblings.

When the clock’s ticking but your appetite’s fancy, Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin swoops in to save the evening. It’s your secret weapon for a quick but classy dinner that’ll have everyone thinking you’ve been cooking all day.
Get the Recipe: Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin

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