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How to Make Dinner with Three Ingredients

Created August 14, 2023
From the best slow-cooker chicken recipe to kid-approved classics like crescent dogs and mac and cheese, these quick, three-ingredient dinner ideas work every time.

Your Back-to-School Routine Just Got Easier

No matter how busy or chaotic your weekly routine is, one thing always falls on the calendar at the same time every day: dinner. Whether you’re running from karate to ballet or music lessons to football practice, the family has to eat! That’s why we’ve collected a list of recipes that you can count on for a quick and easy dinner from one night to the next, and most of them come together in 30 minutes or less.

Each recipe has only three ingredients, so you can keep your shopping list short or even use what you have on hand. From the best slow-cooker chicken recipe to kid-approved classics like crescent dogs and mac and cheese, these quick and easy dinner ideas are full of ingredients and flavors your hungry family — and your schedule — already love.

1. Slow-Cooker Shredded Mexican Chicken

Slow-Cooker Shredded Mexican Chicken

A home-cooked Mexican dinner is an instant win. Loaded with a handful of simple ingredients, this quick dish comes together with minimal effort — no prep work, no slicing or dicing. Thanks to Old El Paso™ taco seasoning mix and salsa, you need just 10 minutes in the morning to set it and forget it, though your family will remember it and ask for it again and again.

Quick Tip: If you’re the meal-planning type, this one is great to make at the start of the week and freeze for later. Serve with rice or inside taco shells with lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. Don’t have chicken thighs on hand? Chicken breasts work great too.

2. Crescent Dogs

Crescent Dogs

This nostalgic recipe is everything you love and remember from your childhood, and just as delicious and satisfying in adulthood. Whether you know it as a “Pigs in a Blanket” or simply hot dogs in biscuit dough, we call it a classic that never goes out of style. Not only is it a quick meal you can get on the table in no time, but it’s an easy “make your own” recipe as well. Set out all the fixings (including different cheeses for picky eaters) and let everyone roll their own before baking.

Quick Tip: Serve with your family’s favorite dipping sauces — barbecue sauce, ranch dressing, ketchup and mustard are all tasty options. For a more adult version, sprinkle Everything Bagel seasoning across the top of the crescent before baking.

3. Three-Ingredient One-Pot Mac and Cheese

Three-Ingredient One-Pot Mac and Cheese

If this three-ingredient wonder is not already one of your go-to’s, it’s soon to become one. Creamy, dreamy and easy, this 20-minute twist on the classic mac is easy to quickly customize — toss in a handful of fresh steamed broccoli or diced tomatoes to give the dish a flavorful twist, and your family an extra sneaky serving of veggies.

Quick Tip: Feel free to swap the elbow macaroni for another noodle in your pantry, but don’t forget to keep it cheesy. Use pasta noodles with little nooks and crannies that can catch the sauce — rotini, shells, farfalle and orecchiette are all great choices. Skinny, smooth noodles like spaghetti and fettuccine? Not so much.

4. Crazy-Easy Chicken and Broccoli Bubble-Up Bake

Crazy-Easy Chicken and Broccoli Bubble-Up Bake

Yes, you can make a delicious cheesy bubble-up bake with only three ingredients! And just like the name says, it’s crazy easy. In just five steps, you’ll have a quick, easy and hearty dish that’s big on flavor and great for the whole family. Who knows, it might even be one of those recipes that get passed down through the generations.

Quick Tip: Double the frozen broccoli and cheese sauce for extra cheesy goodness and another serving of veggies! If you have sour cream or shredded cheddar cheese, these taste great across the top of the bake.

5. Ham and Cheese Crescent Roll-Ups

Ham and Cheese Crescent Roll-Ups

Ham and cheese crescents are a classic, simple dinner dish that pleases even the pickiest eaters. Ready in just 25 minutes, this recipe lends itself to a whole bunch of easy substitutions, depending on the meats and cheeses you have in your fridge. Swap cheddar for American, Swiss or mozzarella. Go with deli turkey or roast beef instead of ham. Or give your family the option to create their own. No matter how you roll it up, it’s a recipe that won’t grow old.

Quick Tip: Serve with your favorite dipping sauces and vegetables for a well-rounded meal that works for any whirlwind weeknight.