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How to Make Easy Fast Dinners after Outdoor Adventures

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Have you ever been out all day hiking, walking, exploring, bike riding and then suddenly you’re hungry for dinner and you’re ravenous and have no idea what to make? ME TOO. With a little planning, you can come home to a delicious dinner to fill you up after a day of adventuring! These meals are particularly focused on fall and winter adventures, when you want hot food to warm you up as well as fill you up, although I did include a couple of burger grilling options! I have a few categories of easy, fast dinners for after adventures (make ahead, slow cooker and pick up).. I’ve included ones for different types of dietary restrictions so hopefully everyone can find something delicious to suit their needs and taste! By the way, these are all great dinners on an ordinary weeknight after work too.

Easy, Fast Dinners – Make Ahead

A homemade pizza is on a plate on a wooden table. The pizza has red sauce, white cheese and greens on top
If you make the crust ahead of time, homemade pizza whips up fast and is a great way to make a social meal with friends and family

One option for having easy, fast dinners is to make them ahead of time and then just heat them up! Here are a few of my favorites:

Burgers (Vegetarian or Meat)

You can make your own burgers and keep them in the fridge or freezer, and they’ll cook very quickly on your grill. Pair that with a bagged salad or a salad you whip up and you’ll have dinner on the table for hungry adventurers super fast. In our house we love to make these beef and mushroom burgers, and for vegetarians or those like me who just like veggie burgers, try these tasty black bean and walnut ones!

Homemade Pizza (Vegetarian, Vegan or Meat)

Homemade pizza doesn’t sound easy, but it’s easier than you think! If you make the crusts ahead of time, you can fix this dinner in just a few minutes. It’s a really fun social meal if you’re looking to make an easy, fast dinner after a group adventure. The crusts keep a long time in the freezer, or you could make them the day before and just cover them. You could also shortcut by being a premade pizza crust and going from there!

A Big Pot of Soup (Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy free, Gluten Free)

Try one of my best soups for winter adventures, because in addition to being great on the trail, they are also amazing AFTER the trail! Some of the soups are vegan and dairy and gluten free. Easy to make during the week for another dinner (or lunch) and save a bunch for your after adventure meal, and all you have to do is heat it up!

Easy, Fast Dinners: Slow Cooker

A silver slow cooker on a counter with food inside.
Crock pot = lifesaver!

Our household would be in big trouble without a slow cooker (this is an affiliate link, which means if you purchase something Ordinary Adventures gets a small commission at no cost to you)! A slow cooker is an affordable appliance that allows us to come home to dinner already made which is an absolute lifesaver. we’ve found the 6 quart size to be a good option for a family of two that often has guests or needs leftovers. Here are a few of our favorites easy fast dinners made in the slow cooker!

Mushroom Pot Roast (Gluten Free, Low Carb)

This pot roast is ridiculously easy to make and delicious! It takes about 5 minutes to make in the morning before putting it in the crock pot. It makes great leftovers too. You can add mashed potatoes or roasted potatoes and salad or roasted vegetables if you’d like some side dishes!

Chicken Fajitas (Gluten Free, Low Carb)

These fajitas are easy to whip up in a few minutes in the morning and you’ll come home to delicious fajita filling that you can make into fajitas, tacos, a bowl or anyway you want! Check out Isabel’s wonderful blog for lots of other meal ideas. Yum!

Enchilada Quinoa (Vegetarian)

Super duper fast slow cooker meal that’s vegetarian and protein packed, perfect for after an adventure (and great leftovers again). Yum!

Easy Fast Dinners – Pick up

Let’s face it…sometimes despite the best intentions, you need dinner on the way home from an outdoor adventure and you have no plan and no ideas! And you’re hungry! Don’t worry, this happens to me too. In our family we have two go to plans for that:

  • Costco: We keep frozen Costco lasagna (meat and vegetarian) as well as frozen Beecher’s mac and cheese stocked in our freezer and can always have that as a delicious option (you can stop and get garlic bread and a bagged salad to round it out). If our freezer stock is empty, they also have fresh lasagna, mac and cheese and other ready to go food that you can stop and pick up on the way home.
  • Rotisserie chicken and bagged salad: You can get this at pretty much any grocery store which makes it really convenient. If I stop and get this I pretty much always get a garlic bread because when I’m hungry I always want it! This is a great option because you can eat it immediately when you get home.
  • Things that your past self put in the freezer that your current self can enjoy now! If you’re the kind of person who does meal prep, or makes meals ahead and freezes them, that is awesome…enjoy one of those meals!
A multi colored cloth napkin on the snow. On the napkin is a silver colored thermos with soup in it. Text reads: Easy fast dinners for after hikes
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Jennie Flaming
Hi! I'm Jennie. I’m a fourth generation Seattleite who lived in Alaska for 7 years. I've been a tour guide in both Alaska and Washington and I love to share the places I love with visitors, newcomers and my fellow locals. I’m so glad to have you along on the journey to experience your best low key adventure in Washington, Alaska and Western Canada!