Half a bag of elbow pasta, a bottle of my favorite sun-dried tomato pesto, sliced hotdog and silvered kai lan for extra protein and vitamins (hey, you just gotta make do with what you have) and voila, dinner! It was hearty, filling and delicious. And I was glad the girls were satisfied. I was really encouraged to do this more often.
Likewise you can do the same, but do stock up on some essentials. I usually keep a few types of pasta since I am fickle - fettuccini, spaghetti and linguine are my favorites; somehow, I don't like short ones.
Bottled sauces are a saving grace. I prefer oil-based like tartufo, pesto and sundried tomato and they keep well in the fridge. If I feel especially elaborate that day, I'd rummage to find a can of tuna. In any case, even in the worst case scenario, you could do an aglio olio.
Eating at home does not mean less of an experience. I would like to suggest investing in a set of nice dinner ware and cutlery. The mind is a odd thing. You will have to agree that food somehow gets an instant glorification when plated on an excessive large and spanking white plate.
So there you have it, recipe for an easy peasy dinner at home.