30 minute meals.
Are they the unicorn of the recipe world? Do they actually exist?
Do you ever look at a supposed “30 minute meal” and think to yourself there is no way you could do all that in just 30 minutes? Or is it just me?
In the hopes that it’s not just me, I went in search of 10 dinners that I can actually make (start to finish, not just prep) in under 30 minutes.
10 easy dinners in 30 minutes or less
It took me a while of trying recipes that certainly took much longer than the allotted 30 minutes. Others were just too bland or not liked by my not-so-picky family. So if my family said no, I tossed the recipe.
But eventually, after some trial and error, Pinterest did come through for me and I found 10 recipes that fit the bill.
- easy to make
- something the whole family will enjoy
- won’t break the bank
If these criteria look like something you and your family are interested in to not only save time, but also money, then let’s jump right in!
Pork chops in mushroom sauce
I make this meal more often than I care to admit! 30 minute meal,plus only one pot? Um, yes please!!
Trust me, this one is so easy! I actually start the side dish before I even start the dinner because it can take longer depending on what I am making.
Brown rice definitely needs to cook longer than it takes to make this entire dinner from start to finish. Plus brown rice will push this recipe over 30 minutes.
White rice while not as healthy will keep you to under the 30 minute time frame. For me, this really just depends on what I have in my pantry!
Herb baked chicken with veggies
Sheet pan dinner plus 30 minute meal makes this one a true winner. When it comes to quick and easy dinner ideas, this one takes the award.
The picture in the pin uses green beans and small diced potatoes while the recipe doesn’t mention green beans and only calls for quartering your potatoes.
So to be honest I didn’t follow the recipe and instead made mine to look like the picture.
You can probably use whatever vegetable your family likes, luckily mine loves fresh green beans. So, like I said, I just used that and made my dinner to look like the picture.
Dinner doesn’t get any easier than sheet pan meals!
Dinner Then Dessert has become one of my go-to bloggers for great recipes. She is however, a very good and experienced cook.
So, if you are like me, then this is one of those recipes that might take you more than 30 minutes the first time around.
But once you have the steps down, this is a great meal for those busy school nights. I like to prep the meat early as that is definitely my least favorite part of the prep.
The second time I made this was much easier and certainly came in under 30 minutes.
Creamy skillet chicken and mushrooms
Not quite as easy as my chicken marigold recipe, but equally as delicious and a super yummy dinner on a busy weeknight.
This is a great alternative if my usual chicken and rice has been used too many times lately. The egg noodles as the base are crazy easy to make and provide a good change of pace.
Also, the first step includes making the chicken and then setting it aside. I actually put it in a small baking dish and kept it in a warm oven while I was finishing the rest of the dinner. I am not sure if that did anything to change the recipe but it just made me feel better that the meat was still cooking a bit while I was continuing on with the rest of the steps.
Adding this step means that this is definitely not a one pot meal especially since the noodles require their own pot as well. But it is very yummy and quick to make. Your family is sure to love it!
One Pot Italian Florentine Chicken Pasta
Pasta, check. Chicken, check. Just one pot. Check. Basically the easiest and cheapest dinner around. Love it.
When I hear a recipe name such as Florentine Chicken I think of something super fancy that I won’t be able to make and my family won’t eat.
But surprisingly, this one was neither. You do need to baby sit your pot and stir it frequently as the recipe says or your pasta will stick together and be difficult to serve…ask me how I know!
So this isn’t a set it and forget it meal, which are my absolute favorite. But if you are getting sick of the usual and looking for an alternative meal that will stick be quick and easy, then this is it.
Creamy parmesan one-pot chicken and rice
This one is so insanely easy! And all the ingredients for dinner in one pot. Yes please!
If you haven’t tried this one yet, you are missing out on an internet sensation. And not the kind that involves the Kardashians.
One that will actually help make your life easier. Seriously this one needs to be added to your regular rotation.
As mentioned in the recipe above, I love set it and forget it dinners. and this one definitely fits that bill.
Once you get to the point of cover and simmer for 20 minutes – pour yourself some vino and relax, you deserve it after a long day momma!
10 minute teriyaki chicken and broccoli
The only thing that makes this a 30 minute meal is that fact that I make my rice on the stove instead of the instant in the bag.
If you use instant rice, then this is literally like a 15 minute dinner – from the time you walk in the door after a crazy day to sitting at the table to an actual home cooked dinner.
Kid you not, dinners like these are what keep me away from the drive-through!
I mean, seriously, it can sometimes take longer than 10 minutes to wait in line at the golden arches…and it is definitely more expensive.
So, try this dinner recipe instead, your budget (and your waistline!) will thank you later!
Cheesy chicken broccoli and rice
Anything with cheese will pretty much ensure my kids will eat it! This is a great way to get them to eat their vegetables, but I am going to have to start doubling the recipe because there are never any leftovers.
Tough problem to have, I know. But I am concerned about doubling it with the rice, I am going to have to just bite the bullet one of these days and start experimenting with what it will do to the cook times.
This one is definitely a winner in our family, check it out!
Smoked sausage and rice skillet
Use up leftover rice and get dinner on the table crazy quick? Why thank you, yes I would like that very much!
If you have some leftover rice that nobody seems to want to eat, throw it in this dish and watch them devour it like they haven’t eaten in a week! Using cooked rice from the night before makes this recipe more like a 10-15 minute meal.
Since the sausage is already cooked, this is one of the meats that I don’t add extra cook time. Again, this is another meal that, when I follow the recipe exactly, there aren’t any leftovers.
Easy taco mac
This one’s a classic. No meal planning would be complete without a little taco mac or cheeseburger casserole!
In fact some sort of taco something is pretty much on my meal planning rotation way more than I care to admit (taco casserole, taco salad, build your own tacos – my favorite! just prep and serve!).
And since the noodles are cooked right into the casserole – one pot meal! Can you see a trend towards the types of meals I like to keep in my steady rotation?!?!
Try them for yourself
I hope you like these suggestions as much as my family did. These quick and easy dinners are cheaper and sometimes faster than fast food. By having these dinner ideas in my back pocket as my secret weapon, I can stay on top of meal time while also keeping our budget in check.
Have you created your weekly meal plan yet? If not, check out my free meal planner printable here and get started today. This has become my one main tool in my arsenal to keep my sanity and keep our grocery budget from ballooning out of control.
With two growing boys to feed each night, dinner time can become a hectic nightmare.
30 minute meals keep me in control – and my sanity in check! Enjoy!