This is about the time I start getting panicked emails from mom-friends who are paralyzed like a deer in the school bus headlights, having completely forgotten how to make a weeknight meal with substance that doesn’t require hours slaving in the kitchen to make it. I befall this same fate, believe me. The transition to the school year is digital, leaving no transition for kids and moms alike. We have to spring into action to pack exciting, nutritious lunches AND make evening recipes that fuel and satisfy in a boot camp sort of fashion.
For me personally I like to feature a main recipe that I can easily build around with a simple green salad, steamed or roasted vegetables, fast grains like quinoa or rice. At this time of year there are many fresh, raw options too of ‘crudité’ (with or without a dip), sliced fruit or a relaxed fruit salad of whatever is in season. Weeknight dinners for those working, or parents, doesn’t need to be a big to do; it just needs to be filling, taste good and hopefully avail some nutrition in the process.
I’m sharing a little round up of some of my favorite quick recipes, all but a few are done start-to-finish in 30 minutes. I’m a big fan of marinating meat overnight and have included a few of those too. To me if I can spend 5 minutes before bed and then just cook the next day for dinner, even if it’s a few minutes over 30 minutes, it’s worth it.
At the risk of being considered a Grill-a-Holic after my summer full of grilling recipes, don’t forget something simple on the grill is a great choice too. Keeps the kitchen cool, adds great flavor and most simple proteins like burgers, hot dogs, sausages, steaks, and chicken breasts are done in far less than 30 minutes (especially if using a gas grill where you can set the temperature and allow it to heat unattended like an oven).
Baked Coconut-Pecan Chicken Tenders
Butternut Squash Noodles in Sage Brown Butter
Tarragon Pesto Chicken Breast with Dressed Greens
Orange Chicken and Romanesco Stir Fry with Clementimes (broccoli or cauliflower can be substituted if romanesco is not available)
Mini Taco Meatballs (originally developed as an appetizer a serving of these along with a taco-themed iceburg lettuce-tomato salad would make a full meal; or add them to your favorite pasta with a simple spiced tomato sauce)
Smoky Ham and Cheese Potato Frittata
Muffin Tin Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes
Cheesy Ham and Black Bean Nachos (for a more casual one dish meal that is very filling)
Spiced Indian Cauliflower and Potatoes Aloo Gobi (this hearty vegetarian dish could be augmented with sausage added into the dish itself or on the side for some more protein)
Spicy Garlic Sriracha Shrimp and Broccoli Stir Fry
Thai Chicken Thigh Basil Quinoa Bowls
Lean Turkey Black Bean Quinoa Chipotle Burrito Bowls
Spicy Southwestern Steak Stir Fly with Cilantro-Lime Rice
Spicy Pineapple Shrimp Fried Rice
Spicy Cumin-Lime Pork Tenderloin
Corie Jones says
I hate cooking so this will make it quick and tasty all at the same time so please feel free to send all your 30 minute recipes our way, because I am sure i am not the only one whi would rather be crafting or playing with the kids instead of cooking ha ha. Thank you for posting this.
Chris Scheuer says
What a great round up! I want to taste everyone, pinning, pinning, pinning!!
Toni Dash says
Thank you Chris!
I think the Frittata sounds super delicious! I love all the cheese added.
Kelly Hutchinson says
I think the Butternut Squash Noodles in Sage Brown Butter sounds really yummy. My kids would like the taco meatballs.
Ann Bacciaglia says
These recipes all look so delicious. I will have to try the Taco Meatballs this week. My kids are going to love them.
Wow this is so awesome. Lots of great meals I will be book marking for busy school nights!