Ten 30-Minute Dinner Ideas That are Tasty and Quick

Ten 30-Minute Dinner Ideas That are Tasty and Quick

recipesUpdated December 26, 2022

by Nicole Vidaurre

Masters in Elementary Education

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If you’re like most busy moms, you don’t always have a ton of time to spend making dinner. But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for unhealthy fast food or bland frozen meals. There are plenty of delicious and healthy 30-minute dinner idea options out there, and here are 10 of my favorites.

Ten 30-Minute Dinner Ideas Your Family Will Love

1. Amber Chili

Bow full of chili with shredded cheese on top and a spoon grabbing some of the chili.

On a cold winter night, sometimes you just crave a little comfort, and a big bowl of chili with all the toppings makes you feel warm and cozy. This amber chili recipe puts a little twist on traditional chili with the added flavor from the amber beer. You’ll never go back once you try it.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 tbsps. olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
  • 2 pounds of ground beef or venison
  • 3 tbsps. chili powder
  • 2 tbsps. cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup amber beer
  • 28 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 28 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes
  • kidney or black beans

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and bell peppers and sauté until translucent.
  3. Add jalapenos and garlic and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add meat and seasoning and cook, breaking apart the meat, until no pink remains.
  5. Add in the amber beer. (Then drink the rest!)
  6. Stir in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and beans.
  7. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  8. Serve with your favorite chili toppings.

2. Fajitas

shrimp fajitas on a white plate

Tacos are the perfect meal for busy families. This 30-minute dinner idea is quick (made in under 30 minutes) and easy, and everyone loves them. Plus, there are endless possibilities for toppings, so you can customize them to please even the pickiest eaters.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound protein of your choice (beef, chicken, pork, sausage, shrimp, or a combination), sliced or diced
  • 1 pack of mushrooms
  • 1-2 bell peppers (any color)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • 8 tortillas, warmed

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients into a large Ziploc bag and mix well.
  2. When ready to cook, heat a large skillet and pour in all ingredients.
  3. Cook for about 10 minutes until the meat is fully cooked through.
  4. Serve in a warm tortilla or a bowl with your favorite fajita toppings.

3. Shake and Bake Pork Chops or Chicken

Shake n' bake pork chops. One being held by tongs and the rest sitting on a plate.

Some nights, you just need something that takes no brain power to prep. This 30-minute dinner idea is so easy to make. Grab a pre-made, bagged salad or heat some veggies for a quick side, and you’ve got an easy and delicious weeknight meal. Best of all, clean-up is a breeze!

Ingredients:

  • Shake ‘N Bake Season Packets
  • pork chops or chicken breast (slice thin to cook faster)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (this will make clean-up easy).
  3. Pour the Shake’ N Bake seasoning packets into the provided bag.
  4. One at a time wet the meat with water and shake it in the bag, coating it with seasoning mix.
  5. Place the coated meat on the baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on the thickness.
  6. Serve with a side salad or veggie of your choice.

4. Chicken Fried Rice

Chicken fried rice in a pan sitting on the stove with a wooden spoon.

This quick and easy chicken fried rice is a family favorite. It is very tasty and makes a ton which is great for leftovers throughout the week.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 tbsps. olive oil
  • 1 pound chicken breast, diced
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 bag of Trader Joe’s vegetable fried rice or 4 cups of brown rice with 1 bag of frozen carrots and peas
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tbsp. of soy sauce or coconut aminos

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet or wok, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add chicken and cook for about 5 minutes until it is no longer raw.
  3. Move the chicken to the outer edge of the pan and scramble the eggs in the center. You can also do this in a separate pan if you prefer.
  4. Add rice (or rice and veggies) and stir until evenly combined.
  5. Heat until all ingredients are fully cooked.
  6. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and soy sauce.

5. Burger Bowls

A bowl full of lettuce, hamburger meat, cheese, and spoon drizzling on a sauce.

When you’re craving a juicy burger but don’t want to fire up the grill, burger bowls come together in a snap. It’s a favorite dinner idea that can be made in 30 minutes. They are a lighter option than a traditional burger and can be customized to satisfy everyone’s taste buds.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef or chicken
  • 4 tbsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil for cooking
  • lettuce or rice for base
  • bacon

For the burger sauce:

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsps. ketchup
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • ½ tbsp. relish
  • ½ tbsp. maple syrup
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook bacon in the oven or on the stovetop until brown.
  2. While bacon is cooking, heat olive oil in a skillet and add ground meat.
  3. Cook ground meat, breaking apart until no pink remains. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  4. Prepare your base by cooking rice according to the package or washing and chopping lettuce.
  5. Combine all ingredients for the burger sauce and mix well.
  6. Assemble all ingredients for your burger bowl. Top with your favorite burger toppings like pickles, onions, and cheese. Finish with a drizzle of the burger sauce.

6. Easy Meatball Stromboli from Kait’s Kitchen

This Easy Meatball Stromboli from Kait’s Kitchen is a perfect weeknight meal; plus, it’s a great way to use any leftover meatballs.

Ingredients:

  • Classic Pizza Crust Pillsbury Dough
  • 1 tbsp. of raw grits (can use five-minute grits)
  • 16 frozen meatballs
  • ½ cup jarred marinara sauce
  • ½ cup fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into small rounds
  • egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 tsp. water)
  • ¼ tsp. coarse sea salt
  • ¼ tsp. onion flakes
  •  ¼ tsp. garlic flakes
  • 2 tbsps. freshly grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Heat the marinara sauce and meatballs in a medium saucepan for about 10 minutes on low heat.
  3. Roll the pizza dough on a clean surface and sprinkle lightly with raw grits to prevent sticking.
  4. Flip the pizza dough onto a baking pan and gently stretch it out to create a rectangle approximately 13 x 9 inches.
  5. Slice diagonal lines on the outer edges of the dough, leaving about five inches in the middle.
  6. Place the sliced mozzarella down the center of the dough and top with meatballs and a small amount of marinara sauce.
  7. Enclose the mozzarella, meatballs, and sauce by folding the strips of the dough inward. Start from the bottom and work your way up the sides, crisscrossing the pieces. Make sure the meatballs are tucked in.
  8. Brush the stromboli with the egg wash and sprinkle with salt, onion, and garlic flakes.
  9. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-17 minutes.
  10. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and return to the oven for another minute to warm.
  11. Serve with marinara for dipping.

7. Air Fryer Egg Rolls and Edamame

Egg rolls. Chinese, Vietnamese, Asian side dish.

These delicious little rolled-up bundles can be prepared in 30 minutes or less, making them the perfect weeknight dinner idea. Plus, they’re versatile, so you can fill them with just about anything you like. These egg rolls will hit the spot if you’re in the mood for chicken, veggies, or something a little more adventurous.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 2 tbsps. minced garlic
  • ½ of a 10-oz. bag of shredded carrots
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 10 oz. bag of angel hair coleslaw
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp. of soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • drizzle of sesame seed oil
  • egg roll wrappers

Directions:

  1. In a medium pot, heat olive oil and sauté onions until translucent.
  2. Add in meat and cook, breaking apart until no pink remains.
  3. Add in coleslaw and cook for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add coconut aminos, sesame oil, and seasonings, and combine well.
  5. Lay out one egg roll wrapper and scoop a large spoonful of mixture into the center.
  6. Fold the egg roll wrapper envelope-style to form an egg roll. You can use a small amount of water on the edges to help it stick closed.
  7. Spray your air fryer basket with cooking spray.
  8. Cook egg rolls for 7-8 minutes, flipping halfway.

8. Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad

Cobb salad Blue cheese avocado egg bacon tomato grilled chicken in a bowl on a wooden table.

A grilled chicken Cobb salad is a perfect 30-minute dinner idea for those nights when you’re short on time but still want something healthy and delicious. A salad is ideal for even the pickiest eaters because it can be customized and assembled for each person’s liking.

Ingredients:

  • lettuce
  • eggs
  • bacon
  • blue cheese
  • avocado
  • red onion, diced
  • tomatoes, diced
  • grilled chicken breast or rotisserie chicken
  • dressing of choice

Directions:

  1. Cook your bacon in a skillet until brown or in the oven, and then chop it up.
  2. Hard-boil eggs for 10 minutes, peel and slice.
  3. Wash, dry, and chop the lettuce.
  4. Combine as much as you want of all the ingredients for your salad and top with your favorite dressing.

9. Skillet Ranch Chicken Thighs

Chicken thighs cooked on a pan sitting on the stove.

If you’re looking for a meal that tastes like it took hours to cook but is ready in about 30 minutes, you need to try these skillet ranch chicken thighs. This quick-and-easy recipe is the perfect weeknight dinner solution. It only requires a few ingredients and is packed with flavor thanks to the ranch seasoning. So go ahead and try it—your taste buds (and your wallet) will thank you!

Ingredients:

  • 4 to 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 ½ tbsps. olive oil
  • ranch season packet or make your own

To make your ranch seasoning, mix together:

  • 1 tbsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. dried dill
  • 1 tsp. dried chives
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Pat chicken thighs dry and season with ranch season mix on both sides.
  3. In a cast iron skillet, heat oil on medium heat.
  4. Place chicken thigh into oil, turn heat to medium-high, and sear for 5 minutes on each side.
  5. Put the skillet in the oven and roast chicken for about 20 minutes until the center temperature reaches 165 degrees.

10. Pizza

Pizza Margarita on old wooden table.

Who doesn’t love pizza? You can use store-bought dough or make your own (it’s not as difficult as you might think). Make several personal-sized pizzas customized with each person’s favorite toppings or one large pizza for the whole family to enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • pizza sauce or pesto
  • cheese of your choice
  • pizza toppings of your choice (pepperoni, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, jalapenos, pineapples, olives, etc.)
  • pizza dough

For your pizza dough:

  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Combine all ingredients for pizza dough (you can use a stand mixer to make it easier) if using homemade dough.
  3. Roll out dough (homemade or store-bought) on a flat surface using a little flour to prevent sticking.
  4. Add desired pizza toppings.
  5. Cook for 10-12 minutes.

We hope you enjoy some of these easy 30-minute dinner ideas that you can prepare in 30 minutes or less. Next time you have a busy weeknight, give one of them a try!

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