Meals That Impress in 30 Minutes or Less

Publish Date January 2, 2024 2 Minute Read

The Secret to 30-minute Meals

Our busy schedules can often make a nourishing, homecooked meal seem out of reach. However, with a few helpful hints and a handful of quick dinner ideas, you can create a feast that the whole family can enjoy in only 30 minutes.

Check out some of our favorite tips for quick meals as well as some delicious recipes to serve up on busy weeknights.

Recipe for Success

Channel your inner prep cook to get meals on the table in record time. Whether you’re aiming for a 30-minute meal, or just a stress-free dinner, planning and prepping are vital to creating quick, easy dinners.

  • Prep and Plan Ahead
    The more prep you can do ahead of time, the quicker you can get things done in the kitchen. If you know what meals you’re planning, you can wash and cut vegetables, marinate meat or mix up a salsa hours or even days before you start cooking. Washing and cutting produce can be done as soon as you get home from the store to save time on busy nights. Chop the vegetables for this fresh Greek Tortellini Salad earlier in the week and enjoy how quickly it comes together. Herbs for this Creamy Herb Chicken can be washed and cut beforehand and placed in a paper towel-lined container or zipper bag to maintain freshness. By deciding on a menu and prepping your ingredients before you start cooking, you can save yourself time once you begin.
  • Organize Your Ingredients
    Before you start cooking, take a moment to gather the ingredients you’ll be using. Organizing your ingredients helps to create a cohesive workspace, and can also help cut down on time spent running back and forth from the stove to the pantry.
  • Hands-off Help
    As far as time-saving secrets go, slow cookers and pressure cookers reign supreme. You can add meat to your slow cooker in the morning for a flavorful feast by the time you’re home from work, or you can help cut cook-time in half with a pressure cooker. For flavor that tastes like it took hours, try this Pressure Cooker Beef Stew. For more easy inspiration, we've collected some of our favorite dump and go slow cooker meals here.
  • Pre-cooked Meat
    Flavorful, juicy meat often takes not only good technique, but time. For quick and easy dinner ideas, look no further than pre-cooked meat options. Pick up a rotisserie chicken for these Easy Chicken Quesadillas or Italian-style meatballs for these Meatball Hoagies that come together with just a few minutes in the oven.

Tips for Quick Clean-up

What good is a 30-minute meal if you’re stuck with a ton of clean-up when it’s done? Here are a few tips to help cut down on clean-up.

  • Clean as You Go
    Use any cooking time when you don’t need to be hands-on to get ahead of clean-up. Put ingredients back in the pantry, wipe down counters or even use the mess to your advantage and prep something for tomorrow’s meals. By cleaning as you go, your work for the night can be done when dinner is.
  • Single Pan Solutions
    Clean-up is a breeze when cooking only takes 1 pan. Try this Sheet Pan Salmon with Avocado Salsa or this One Pot Stovetop Lasagna for a nutritious meal that’s as quick to make as it is to clean up. For more one-pan meals, check out some of our favorite recipes here.

Hungry for More Quick and Easy Dinner Ideas?

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