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Quick and Healthy Dinner Ideas

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

You’re in your apartment and have so much to do (like always), and you can hear the library faintly calling your name—but you’re hungry.  You don’t want to spend the money on buying food, and you want to eat something a little more nutritious than boxed mac and cheese. How do you solve this dire problem?

Never fear—the answers are in this article/recipe book! I began really getting into cooking when I moved into my first apartment about a year ago, and these are some recipes that are so quick, healthy, easy, and delicious that I make them all the time. You’ll impress yourself and your friends, but mostly your taste buds. These recipes can be made in around 10 minutes with ingredients you probably have lying around your kitchen, and they’re definitely more on the healthy side.

Ramen Stir Fry

Serves one:

I love this dinner because it is so quick, and I always have the ingredients to make it! It’s super tasty too, especially if you love noodles! I always have noodles, frozen veggies, and soy sauce in my kitchen. You can always add any protein—I recommend shrimp or chicken—and use fresh veggies. Ramen noodles can also be substituted for rice or angel hair pasta.


-1 pack of ramen (throw away the flavor pack, you won’t need it)

-A generous handful of frozen stir-fry veggies (you can buy a bag of a frozen stir-fry veggie medley at any grocery store, or you can use/add whatever fresh veggies you have lying around your kitchen too)

-2 tablespoons vegetable oil (you can use canola oil or sunflower oil—basically any oil you have)

-1 tablespoon soy sauce

-1/2 tsp of sesame oil*

-1/2 tablespoon of Hoisin sauce**

– Handful of frozen chicken, shrimp, or unfrozen firm tofu*


      **This dish is 100x better with ½ tablespoon of Hoisin sauce on top. It can be found in any grocery store where you’ll find other Asian sauces.

How to make it:

  1. On medium heat, in a nonstick skillet, heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil. Once hot, add frozen stir-fry veggies. (If you’re cooking with frozen chicken or shrimp add it onto the same skillet about 5 minutes before you add veggies). The veggies should take 5-7 minutes. Stir every minute. Pour ½ tablespoon of soy sauce and ½ tsp sesame oil on top of the veggies.
  2. Meanwhile, follow the ramen packet cooking instructions, and cook noodles in boiling water for three minutes.
  3. When veggies and noodles are done, place both in the same plate or bowl and mix together. Add the hoisin sauce or the rest of the soy sauce if you don’t have hoisin sauce. You can also add whatever Asian flavored sauce you have instead or in addition to the soy sauce.

Fried Rice

Serves one:

I’m staying in this Asian take-out theme for another recipe. This one is also super easy. It’s pretty similar to recipe above, but this one uses egg and is cooked a little differently. TIP: Day-old rice tastes better in fried rice than just-made rice. I love this recipe because it is super well balanced. It has grains, vegetables, and protein from the egg. Feel free to add whatever extra protein you have. I suggest frozen chicken.


-½ cup rice. Use whatever rice you have in your cabinet. I prefer white jasmine rice, but any type will work for this recipe. Day-old rice also tastes better in fried rice.

-Handful of frozen peas and carrots or just use stir-fry veggies. Fresh veggies also work in this one too. Use whatever you have.

-2 tbs oil- vegetable or canola.

-2tbs soy sauce

-1 tsp sesame oil*

-1 egg

-1 pinch salt and pepper

*optional, but a pretty essential flavor to this meal.

How to make it:

  1. Cook your rice according to the instructions on the package. Easiest if you have rice from the day before that you can use.
  2. On medium heat, in a nonstick skillet add the oil and let it heat. Add peas, carrots, frozen veggies or fresh veggies—WHATEVER—and let it heat for about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Move veggies to the side of the pan. Crack an egg directly into the center of the pan and scramble and then break apart (If you are clumsy like me and get egg shells all over the place, crack the egg into a bowl first and then pour it into the pan).
  4. Add the rice to the skillet, and combine eggs, veggies, and rice. Pour soy sauce and sesame oil, salt and pepper on top and mix well.
  5. Place into a bowl or a plate and enjoy. You’ll never get takeout fried rice again because you now know how make it just as good at home

Easiest Pasta and Meatballs

Serves one:

This is the easiest and most classic recipe. People will be amazed when you make it because it looks special and fancy, but it is hands down so easy. I prefer to use frozen turkey meatballs because they are healthier than regular meatballs, but to each their own. You could always make your own meatballs from scratch, but we’re going for “quick and easy” here.


-3-4 frozen turkey meatballs. (You can use whatever kind of frozen meatballs you like/ have).

-A serving of whatever pasta you have in your cabinet. Spaghetti would probably be the most classic, but use whatever you have.


-1/2 jar of your fav canned tomato/marinara sauce. If you’re going for healthy, look for a lower-calorie and lower-sodium sauce.

-Fresh or frozen veggies*

*Optional, but I’d suggest broccoli or zucchini.

How to make it:

  1. Boil water in a saucepan, and add about two tablespoons of salt to the water. Add pasta once water reaches a boil, and cook according to package.
  2. In a separate saucepan, add the tomato/marinara sauce and your meatballs, and cook on medium low heat for about 15 minutes, or whatever it says on the meatball package. Stir around the meatballs every 5 minutes, turning them over.
  3. If you’re making veggies, you can simmer broccoli in water for 5 minutes, or cook zucchini with a little garlic on medium heat in a nonstick pan with some oil in it.
  4. Drain your pasta when it is fully cooked—soft but has a little bite to it. And put it on a plate. Put the tomato sauce and meatballs on top. If you made veggies, I usually put mine right on top, but put them on the side if you’d like. Basically, shock your friends with your beautiful plate of spaghetti and meatballs that took minimal effort since everything was frozen or pre-made, but somehow still impressive.

Huevos Rancheros 

Serves 1:

I love this recipe, and I’m so excited to share this with you all. You can eat this Mexican dish for any meal. It has a fried egg, which usually indicates breakfast, but I really only eat this for dinner. I try to keep corn tortillas in my kitchen at all times. I put mine in the freezer since there are always 50,000 tortillas in a package, and this way they stay useable for months. My mouth waters when I think about this dish. Just make it. No Ragrets.


-1 or 2 corn tortillas. Depending on how hungry you are. You could use a flour tortilla for this, but corn tortillas are more traditional to this dish, taste better, and are healthier.

-1 or 2 eggs, depending on how hungry you are.

-1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil (whatever oil you have works) or butter.

-2 tablespoons of your fav salsa.

-Salt and pepper


-1/2 Avocado*

-A serving of rice and beans*

*optional, but rice and beans are always great sides, and sliced avocado would taste great with this dish. Also, you can use queso fresco cheese, Monterey jack, or a mild cheddar cheese.

How to make it:

  1. In one skillet, add the butter or oil on medium low heat. When oil is hot or butter is bubbling, crack an egg or two into the pan and fry that baby up. Just let it sizzle in the pan for a little until the edges get browned at the white parts aren’t liquidy. It should take about 3 minutes or less to fry the egg.

NOTE: If you don’t like fried eggs, you can always make scrambled eggs, or cook them however you’d like.

  1. In a separate ungreased skillet, add your corn tortillas one at a time. Let heat for a minute or two on each side- a little longer if they’ve been frozen- and then transfer to your plate.
  2. Slide the fried egg(s) from the pan onto the center of your tortilla(s). Salt and pepper your egg to taste. Put your salsa on top of the egg. If you have avocado, rice, beans, or cheese, you can add all this on top or on the side! Then give yourself a pat on the back for making an amazing dish in less than 10 minutes. You are truly now a miracle chef.

I wrote these recipes from the top of my head, and soon they’ll be second nature for you too. Now go forth, chefs, and show the world what you’re made of—or better yet, what you can make!


Madison is a senior at the University of Wisconsin pursuing a major in English Literature with minors in Entrepreneurship and Digital Media Studies. Post college, Madison plans to complete her dreams of being the next Anna Wintour. In her free time, Madison enjoys listening to Eric Hutchinson, eating dark chocolate, and FaceTiming her puppies back home. When she isn't online shopping, or watching YouTube bloggers (ie Fleur DeForce), Madison loves exploring the vast UW Campus and all it has to offer! She is very excited to take this next step in her collegiette career as Campus Correspondent and Editor-in-Chief for HC Wisco. On Wisconsin!