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no-cook dinner recipes

Creating tasty recipes for your family can be fun, but not every mama has time to spend several hours in the kitchen. There are certain recipes that, while great in theory, are just a bit too complicated. You know the labor of loves we're talking about—homemade pasta from scratch, multi-step soups and classic cassoulet dishes. We get it: At the end of a day filled with school drop-offs and pickups, organizing, helping with homework and working a full-time job, the last thing you want to do is spend your valuable time away from your little one or that new Netflix series you've been dying to watch. (No, just us?)

To lend a helping hand, we curated our favorite no-cook dinners that are perfect for your entire family. No oven required!

1. Buffalo chicken lettuce wraps

Buffalo chicken lettuce wraps

Serves: 2

Time to prep: Under 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 1 cup buffalo sauce
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2 leaves green leaf lettuce
  • 2 oz blue cheese, crumbled, for garnish, optional
  • green onion, sliced, for garnish, optional

Greek yogurt ranch dressing:

  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice

Instructions:

  1. In a medium bowl, add the chicken and buffalo sauce. Stir to combine.
  2. Add the celery, red onion, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and set aside.
  3. Make the Greek yogurt ranch dressing: in a small bowl, add the Greek yogurt, dried parsley, garlic powder, dried dill, onion powder, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Stir to combine.
  4. Lay each lettuce leaf flat on a plate and scoop the chicken mixture into the middle. Top with a spoonful of Greek yogurt ranch dressing. Garnish with blue cheese crumbles and sliced green onion, if desired.
Recipe from Tasty.

2. Crunchy avocado tuna wraps

Crunchy avocado tuna wraps

Serves: 4

Time to prep: Under 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 5 oz tuna, 2 cans, drained
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • 1 cup carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 4 whole wheat tortillas
  • 4 leaves green leaf lettuce
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, add the tuna and avocado. Use a fork to smash the avocado and tuna together.
  2. Add the carrots, celery, red onion, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  3. Lay a tortilla flat on a plate. Lay a lettuce leaf on the tortilla. Scoop ¼ of the tuna mixture into the center of the lettuce and spread down the middle. Top with cherry tomatoes and carefully roll the the tortilla to create a wrap. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Recipe from Tasty.

3. Chinese chicken mandarin salad

Chinese chicken mandarin salad

Serves: 8

Time to prep: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

For the salad:

  • 3 cups shredded lettuce
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 2 cups shredded chicken
  • 1/2 cups jarred mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 instant ramen packet crushed
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/3 cups sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cups sliced almonds

For the dressing:

  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Instructions:

  1. Make salad: In a large bowl, toss together lettuce, red cabbage, chicken, mandarin oranges, crushed ramen noodles, carrots, green onions and sliced almonds.
  2. Make dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, honey, sesame oil, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, ginger and garlic. Slowly drizzle in vegetable oil, whisking constantly until emulsified.
  3. Before serving, drizzle dressing over salad and toss to combine.

Recipe from Delish.

4. Shrimp noodle bowl with peanut-ginger sauce

Shrimp noodle bowl with peanut-ginger sauce

rachaelray

Serves: 6

Time to prep: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 4 1/2 tbsp lime juice, plus lime wedges for garnish (from 3 limes)
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 3 chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 8 cups, plus 1 to 2 tbsp. water, divided
  • 1 (8.8 oz) pkg. rice stick noodles
  • 3 cups shredded napa cabbage
  • 1 1/2 cups halved and thinly sliced seedless cucumber
  • 1 1/2 cups matchstick carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced red bell pepper
  • 1 1/2 pound steamed medium shrimp, chilled
  • 3/4 cup chopped lightly salted dry-roasted peanuts

Instructions:

  1. Place peanut butter, lime juice, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, ginger, oil, salt and crushed red pepper in a blender, and process until smooth, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of the water, as needed to reach drizzling consistency.
  2. Microwave remaining 8 cups water in a large microwavable bowl on high until boiling, about 10 minutes. Place noodles in boiling water, and let stand until softened and tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Rinse and drain noodles in cold water.
  3. Divide noodles, cabbage, cucumber, carrots, bell pepper and shrimp evenly among six bowls. Drizzle each bowl with 2 to 3 tablespoons peanut butter mixture. Sprinkle each bowl with 2 tablespoons peanuts. Garnish with lime wedges. Serve remaining sauce on the side.

Recipe from Myrecipes.

5. Tuna and pickled vegetable pita pockets

Tuna and pickled vegetable pita pockets

Serves: 4

Time to prep: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 oz) pkg. microwave-in-bag haricots verts (French green beans)
  • 1 cup chopped pickled vegetable salad (such as cauliflower, red peppers, and onions)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 (6 oz) can albacore tuna, broken into large flakes
  • 6 pitted kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1/4 cup prepared plain hummus
  • 2 (6 inch) whole-wheat pitas, halved and toasted
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 2 large hard-cooked eggs, sliced

Instructions:

  1. Cook haricots verts per package directions. Remove from package, and plunge into ice water. Drain and pat dry. Cut half of haricots verts into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Reserve remaining half for another use.
  2. Gently toss together chopped haricots verts, pickled vegetables, oil, juice, salt, black pepper, tuna and olives in a large bowl.
  3. Spread 1 tablespoon hummus inside each pita half; then fill each with about 1/4 cup spinach leaves and 1/2 cup tuna mixture. Top evenly with egg slices.

Recipe from Myrecipes.

6. Shrimp, watermelon + feta salad

Shrimp, watermelon + feta salad

Serves: 4

Time to prep: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 drops hot sauce
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound jumbo cooked peeled and deveined shrimp with tails
  • 1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh mint or small mint leaves, divided
  • 4 cups seedless watermelon, cubed or cut into small wedges
  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • 3 oz of feta cheese, crumbled (about ¾ cup)

Instructions:

  1. Whisk together the first six ingredients in a large bowl. Add shrimp, onion and 2 tablespoons mint; toss well. Add watermelon, tossing very gently.
  2. Divide arugula among four serving plates; top with shrimp mixture. Sprinkle with feta and remaining 2 tablespoons mint.

Recipe from Myrecipes.

Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

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