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5 Dinner Shortcuts for When You Need a Break in the Kitchen

Bowl of pasta with red sauce, tomatoes and wine.

You survived your dinner party or holiday feast. Or maybe you've just had a long week of work. Either way, we all need a break in the kitchen sometimes. The easiest way to do it? Keep your pantry stocked with simple shortcuts like canned soups and chili, pastas and sauces, and frozen pizza so you’ll always have something satisfying to eat — fast. Here are five tried-and-true shortcuts for when you just don't feel like cooking.

1. Pizza

Pizza, a simple green salad and a glass of wine — dinner is served. But before you call the delivery guy, try our ready-to-bake pizzas. These ready-to-bake pizzas are available in our Prepared Foods department, and they’re lifesavers. After just 15 minutes in the oven, your home will be filled with wonderful pizza-y aromas without any work. Make it your own by topping with freshly grated parmesan, a drizzle of chile oil or hot (chile-spiked) honey, if you’ve got it.

2. Classic boxed mac & cheese

Mac & cheese isn’t just a meal in a box. It’s a mood. And we love to indulge that mood with both Annie’s Homegrown Macaroni & Cheese and 365 by Whole Foods Market Organic Macaroni & Cheese. Make it your own by adding thinly sliced kale or spinach, steamed broccoli florets or shredded rotisserie chicken. Or eat it plain. Like we said, it’s a mood.

3. Easy pasta dishes

Vacations near the shore. A massage. Big plates of pasta. These things soothe the soul. We can help with the last one, but you’re on your own for the rest.

So double check the pantry now, and if you’re low, stock up on 365 by Whole Foods Market Organic Pasta and Organic Pasta Sauces. Mix and match with fusilli, spaghetti and more with a wide variety of sauces, from tomato basil to creamy vodka to marinara and beyond. Do you have any leftover roasted veggies from last night’s dinner? Add them to the sauce.

If you need a little inspiration to get you started and want to branch out beyond just pasta-and-sauce, try this recipe for pasta with greens or this recipe for pasta with mushrooms, spinach and Mt. Tam cheese.

And if you’ve got the time and energy (lucky you!) to make a simple pasta sauce or baked pasta dish, try using canned tomatoes in this whole wheat pasta with tomatoes and veggies recipe.

4. Soup and a sandwich

Some nights nothing beats a big bowl of hot soup — as long as someone else has done the work. Plus, it’s easy to find something that’s hearty, rich and satisfying. Amy’s Kitchen’s ready-to-heat Soups and Organic Chilis are weeknight heroes and make prep and clean up simple. Pair it with a sandwich of your choice (tomato soup and grilled cheese, anyone?)

Or make a classic tuna sandwich with 365 by Whole Foods Market Canned Tuna (bonus: all the canned tuna in our grocery aisles is sustainably caught). Our current pick for mayo is Sir Kensington’s Mayonnaise with its bright citrus tang and silky texture. Dinner — done.

5. Breakfast for Dinner

Yeah, let’s call eggs dinner food. Omelets, frittatas and scrambled eggs are all fair game. Start with 365 by Whole Foods Market eggs and go from there, and feel good about it while doing so: All of the eggs in our dairy cases are cage-free or better. Don’t eat eggs? Try tofu breakfast tacos.

Oh, and one more thing. Arguably, the ultimate remedy for stress is the trifecta of comfort food, comfy pants and wine. Visit our Wine department for a curated selection of wines personally chosen by our Master Sommelier and expert wine team.

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