My quick go-to cheat dinners

As sure as the bottom of your laundry basket will NEVER be seen, your family will inevitably ask you “what’s for dinner?!” and APPARENTLY it’s up to us to feed them. Again. I know! Every night. I definitely have my shortlist that hit the dinner table every week but I thought we could all help each other out with some SUPER fast cheat dinners that you can pull out of your arse at the last minute.

Here are some of my favourites. These are not sponsored, just what I use and buy and cook when I literally cannot think of anything or have run out of time and into the front door after dance when everyone is losing their shit. OR when I have fed the kids nuggets and frozen chips (yes I do that too) and Rob and I need something quick and tasty to eat. Because let’s face it, frozen nuggets are shite to eat when you are an adult. Unless they come from Maccas and you have a hangover. Yes I do that too.

1. Eggs

Any which way: fried, boiled, scrambled, poached. Seriously, if I could eat eggs every night for dinner and cook for no one else, I would.

2. Created with Jamie Fish (any kind)

These are SO bloody good. Discovered them through a sponsored post for Woolies years ago now and use them ALL THE TIME. These are usually for just Rob and I, cook them in literally 10 mins (I always pan fry them) serve with some greens they are packed with flavour and are a bloody life saver. They are about $13 and feed two…here’s a link to them at Woolies.

Here’s a different kind with some oven roasted cherry toms and olives and baby spinach (roast the toms & garlic cloves for like 10 mins on super hot with olive oil salt and pepps, throw in the fish cook for another 10 min, throw in spinach and olives and set aside for a few mins (the spinach will wilt in the residual heat).

3. Marion’s Kitchen

Any of these half done pre-packaghed things are good. ANY OF THEM. And I have tried the lot, believe me. You usually just have to add in some fresh veggies, greens and meat and you are done. They have great flavour and spice and any muppet could follow the instructions and have dinner in no time. I follow Marion on Insta and she’s gorgeous – just had the cutest baby in the world too. Family business that I like. Here’s a link to it at Woolies but most supermarkets have it.

3. Instant rice

Sure, get your organic stuff and soak and cook etc etc but most of the time I reach for this stuff in the pantry. I just do, say what you will be about me. Fry up a few odds and ends (shallots, bacon or ham, some egg, frozen peas and greens) whack this in the microwave and then into the pan and you have fried rice in under 10 minutes. It just works, it just does. You can get this stuff anywhere from most supermarkets.

Those are my favourite instant meals. I use 2 minute noodles with some chicken and greens, I cook pancakes for my kids for dinner, sometimes cereal, sometimes just toasties. We are all human, and busy and frazzled and doing the best we can every day and it’s BULLSHIT most of the time that we are the ones that have to do all the cooking, all the time, so any shortcuts we can get, TAKE THEM.

So tell me, PLEASE, what’s your go-to cheat dinner?
Got something good that you have tried and loved?
Tell us EVERYTHING. Please. We’re tired, and people are hungry.


  1. I’m here for the comments 🤗

    Seriously though, hot supermarket chicken, wraps and Asian noodle salad bag. Everyone happy.

    Quiche, or impossible pie if no pastry with salad. Sometimes just some cut tomato and cucumber.

    Some kind of meat placed on sweet potato/hunks of Pumpkin and cooked in the slow cooker. I like using boneless chicken for even less drama. Add spinach or peas for green. Delish.

  2. My fave go-to easy dinner is stuffed potatoes. Microwave some potatoes and top with leftovers or grated cheese and salad, or even just sour cream and sweet chilli sauce. Kids can’t get enough of them.

  3. My cheat dinner is tuna pasta.
    Large tin of Sirena tuna in oil, sauté some garlic in olive oil, add can of crushed tomatoes and then the tuna.
    Season with salt and pepper, add black olives if you have them.
    Serve with pasta, kids love it and very easy!

  4. This is so easy to throw together and whack in the oven and tastes good too..As a bonus I never get any complaints from my fussy kids with this one.

    Works well with drumsticks and chopped taters too.

  5. We also make liberal use of the Created With Jamie range. So good!

    A never fail go-to dinner for us is Green Pasta – basically pasta, pesto, tinned salmon and green veg (peas, spinach, zuch – whatever is easy and QUICK to chuck in). Super tasty and it’s green so it feels extra healthy…

  6. Corn fritters. Tin creamed corn, tin corn kernels, some SR flour, an egg or two and some grated veg or cheese if you want. Serve with a poached egg if you’re feeling fancy.

  7. This is gold.
    Just tonight I may have had an internal melt down about the fact that I’m over cooking every f##&ING night, for a fussy husband and child (only 1 left at home). Sick of trying to please everyone except myself and thinking we are all doomed to a slow painful death if I don’t make every meal a fully balanced gourmet meal. My cooking has been crap lately, even the old faithfuls haven’t worked, perhaps it’s because I really don’t want to be doing it. Hmm anyway thanks for the space to rant, and the ideas (and permission) to keep it simple!
    Cheers Kate

  8. Pesto pasta, adults sometimes get it with some sauteed veg on top, usually mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and zuchinni chunks. Cheesy pasta in various forms depending on how desperate and dire things are: the very lazy version is pasta, butter, grated cheese, frozen peas and corn. The less lazy is a white sauce wth grated cheese and chopped herbs thrown in. And lately I have discovered Barilla cheese tortellini which is somehow kept on the dry goods shelves next to the pasta whilst also claiming nothing artificial. It is less hideous than t sounds!

  9. I don’t know if you have Bisquick down under, it’s an all-in-one baking mix. But this recipe is easy and quick and can use up leftovers.

  10. So our family go-to easy dinner is one of two tuna recipes. There’s the old faithful tuna mornay, or the current fave is my husband’s creation – curried tuna. And the bonus is most of the ingredients come from the pantry which is a godsend when I’ve neglected to get something out of the freezer. Bloom some curry powder or paste in a little oil, add 400ml can coconut milk or cream (I usually use the lite), tin of pineapple pieces + the liquid, couple of spoons of peanut butter (crunchy is nice for texture), large tin of tuna, some peas & corn and simmer for a few minutes until sauce thickens. Serve with 2 min noodles or rice. If it’s too saucy I’ve often crushed the uncooked noodles into the wok and cooked it together for the perfect one pot dish.

    Also works well with chicken or prawns.

    This was a dish that was my husband’s go-to when we first go together because it is so quick and easy to make, and now our kids hoover it down!

  11. Mine is home made chicken souvlaki or pita bread pizza (depending on what ingredients I have hanging around). We always have some sort of flat bread in the house so I just use that. Spread whatever dip you have hanging around, some rotisserie chicken, cheese and whatever salad or left overs you can fine. I can smash these out in 5 minutes and feel a little more up market than a simple sambo.

  12. Cheat’s Roast (Supermarket cooked chook + throw some vegies in the oven and some greenery in a pot – top with instant gravy).
    Cheat’s chicken and salad (supermarket cooked chook with bought salads – yep, I get THAT lazy)
    Quiche and salad (supermarket quiche, bagged leaves, punnet cherry tomatoes – might go all out and chop a cucumber).

    I actually love cooking and often go pretty gourmet for a weeknight. Then sometimes I just can’t be arsed!

  13. My kids love the spice traders butter chicken – very mild if you have kids that 🙅🏻 spice. Just add chicken to the mixes in the packet, steam some rice and greens and puppadums done in the microwave. My girls both have after school activities 4 nights a week ( different times and places) so dinner is dictated by drop off and pick up times. I try and balance out the dinners by making an effort on the 3 nights when I’m not playing taxi. Love Jamie’s ranges too – the chicken breasts in the freezer section are also tres tasty.

  14. Those packs of rice are the best invention! I always have white ones in the pantry for a quick fried rice & to place in the bottom of a freezer container with some casserole or similar on top. No longer cooking rice for my fried rice is so good!
    I have a quick meal I love – some frozen chopped onion (there is another fast food helper!) in some butter in a pan, add the rice that has been cooked in micro, then a tin of salmon juice & all, mix together and then add your fave tasty cheese and let it go toasty and brown with the rice. Needs watching but is made in under 10mins. Back in my days of kids at home it was our fave easy meal. Husband wouldn’t touch it, hates salmon. He must have made his own dinner!

  15. Bookmarking this page! I’m due with my first baby in just 4wks (eeek!) and these “instant” dinner ideas will definitely come in handy for those evenings when the freezer no longer has any of my pre-cooked meals left and neither I nor hubs have the time or energy to be stuck in the kitchen!

    Thanks Beth, great post.

  16. The easiest dinner I have ever made and that the kids actually eat too is devilled sausages… you pop everything in the slow cooker, set it and forget it! I don’t pre-cook or brown anything I just chop up onion and snags and throw them in, then some tinned diced tomatoes and gravy mix and bob’s your uncle. Throw in anything else that tickles your fancy and you are good to go. Goes well with mash and veg or pasta. I do the same with the Beef Strog on the side of the Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup Tin – don’t pre-cook anything – throw it all in and cook in the slow cooker – SO EASY AND GOOD. Thanks for your fabulous easy dinner ideas Beth. Love them.

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