9 Dinners in 30 Minutes or Less

The days are getting longer, the weather’s getting warmer, and the last thing you want to do is be stuck in the kitchen all afternoon. Well, let’s face it. There’s never a good time to be stuck in the kitchen.

Back in the 1950s, loving and nurturing our families meant slaving away at the stove all day making a painstakingly elaborate meal. But this is 2017, and there are plenty of delicious, creative meals to choose from that don’t cost precious hours out of our already-busy days.

Remember the old McDonald’s slogan, “You deserve a break today?” Well, you do! So here it is: 9 anything-but-boring dinner ideas on the table in 30 minutes or less.

Mediterranean Burgers

Put a playful cultural spin on an American classic! Pair with some baked frozen French fries or a little Greek salad on the side for a deliciously easy meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef or ground turkey
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • Feta cheese
  • Red onion, sliced
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp curry powder

Directions:

  1. Mix ground beef or turkey with ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, two garlic cloves (I use the premade minced kind) and 1 teaspoon ground coriander.
  2. Form the mixture into four patties and grill on medium-high heat, flipping once, until cooked through.
  3. Garnish burgers with feta cheese crumbles, sliced red onion and more cilantro.
  4. For a condiment with a kick, mix 1/3 cup ketchup with a teaspoon of curry powder and serve with your burgers.

Cheese Tortellini Antipasto Salad

A friend of mine shared this super simple pasta salad with me ages ago, and it’s one of my absolute go-to favorites.

Ingredients:

  • 19-oz bag frozen cheese tortellini
  • 8 oz chopped Land O’ Frost Simply Delicious Black Forest Ham
  • 8 oz chopped provolone cheese
  • 1 container of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 can of sliced black olives, drained
  • 1 can of sliced artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 sweet bell pepper, chopped

Directions:

  1. Boil a 19-ounce bag of frozen cheese tortellini in a large pot, drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with the cooled tortellini.
  3. Toss with your favorite creamy Italian dressing.
  4. Make ahead and chill, or serve right away—either way, it’s delicious!

BLT Salad

There are many versions of this salad on the internet, but sometimes the internet wants to complicate things, so I made up my own simple recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1lb bacon
  • 1 bag chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • Croutons
  • Your favorite Ranch dressing

Directions:

  1. Either fry some bacon the old-fashioned way or microwave pre-cooked bacon to make it really easy on yourself.
  2. Take a bag of romaine salad, sprinkle it with crumbled bacon, add in some sliced tomatoes and croutons and toss the salad with Ranch dressing.
  3. Rejoice. You’ve just made a crowd-pleasing dinner in under 10 minutes!

Grilled Flank Steak with Blue Cheese Corn Salad

This menu sounds fancier than it really is, and that’s what I love about it. If you’re not familiar with flank steak, you can find step-by-step grilling and slicing instructions and a great marinade here.

Ingredients:

  • Flank steak
  • 1 large frozen bag of yellow corn
  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • 1 container grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 container blue cheese crumbles
  • Your favorite balsamic dressing

Directions:

  1. Marinate flank steak according to above recipe.
  2. While the steak’s marinating, rinse the bag of yellow corn in a colander to thaw.
  3. Open a bag of pre-washed baby spinach and chop all the stems off.
  4. Add the spinach to a large salad bowl with grape tomatoes, chopped red onion (you can also buy containers of chopped red onion in your grocery store’s produce section) and blue cheese crumbles.
  5. Add the thawed corn, toss lightly with your favorite balsamic dressing and chill in the fridge while you grill the flank steak.
  6. Serve your “fancy” dinner to your amazed family.

Sheet Pan Almond Crusted Creole Salmon with Green Beans

Have I mentioned how much I love sheet pan dinners? This particular sheet pan recipe is every bit as healthy as it is easy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb trimmed green beans
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp Creole seasoning
  • Juice from ¼ of a small lemon
  • ¼ cup almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 4 skinless salmon filets

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees, and line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  2. In a large bowl, toss green beans with plenty of olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Arrange the beans on the lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
  4. While the beans are baking, stir together Greek yogurt, Creole seasoning and lemon juice.
  5. Spray the salmon filets with cooking spray or drizzle with olive oil.
  6. Spread the yogurt mixture onto salmon filets, and top with coarsely chopped almonds.
  7. Take your pan out of the oven, scoot the green beans over, place the salmon filets on the pan and bake for another 12 minutes or until salmon is cooked through.

Mustard Grilled Corn, Peppers and Sausage Kabobs

This meal, made up of only a handful of ingredients, could not be more perfect for a warm summer weeknight.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large ears of sweet corn
  • 1 large sweet pepper
  • 1 package smoked sausage (about 6 servings worth)
  • Italian dressing
  • Yellow mustard

Directions:

  1. Cut ears of corn into about 8 chunks.
  2. Chop bell pepper into 1 ½ inch pieces.
  3. Take the package of kielbasa and cut the links into about 12 pieces.
  4. Alternate the ingredients on skewers, brush with a mixture of Italian dressing and yellow mustard to taste and grill on medium to medium-high heat, turning and continuing to baste for about 10 minutes.

Herby Tuna Salad Sandwich

Even though it’s still easy to make, this is not your grandma’s tuna salad!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large can of tuna, packed in water
  • ½ cup mayo
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chives, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 ½ tsp fresh tarragon
  • 1 tsp fresh dill
  • ¼ tsp curry powder
  • Black pepper
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Tomato

Directions:

Mix all ingredients until incorporated and serve immediately over whole wheat toast with slices of tomato.

Smoky Peanut Chicken Tacos 

I found this yummy recipe on Good Housekeeping, and I’m planning to make it for my sister’s birthday this weekend. When I’m entertaining, the last thing I want to do is immerse myself in a complicated recipe; I can’t talk and cook at the same time!

In a “nutshell,” the recipe calls for pureeing a few ingredients like peanut butter, garlic, water, salt, chipotle sauce, and adobo sauce, pouring the sauce over one pound of boneless chicken breasts and baking at 400 degrees. Then you just shred the spicy chicken and serve with tortillas, cilantro and chopped red cabbage.

Grilled Veggie Couscous Salad

I found this recipe on Good Housekeeping too, and it caught my eye because of one magic word: couscous. Couscous is light, flavorful and—its very best attribute—ready in 5 minutes!

Your favorite box of cooked couscous (I like garlic and herb) served with seasoned grilled vegetables and combined with spicy arugula, olive oil, salt and pepper make a quick, delicious vegetarian dinner.

Easy dinners don’t have to cause mom guilt. There are all kinds of ways to nurture your family with a delicious meal while nurturing yourself with some much-needed downtime.

Take it from a mom who’s much nicer when she’s not juggling pots, pans and a counter full of mixing bowls: your family will be much happier when Mom’s happy too!

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