22 Quick and Easy Recipes in 30 Minutes (or less) + 5 Secrets for Getting the Recipe Right Every Time!

Fifty 30-Minute Meals Your Family Will Love

Tested & Perfected Recipes

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“What’s for dinner” doesn’t have to send you into a tailspin at the end of a long day. With tested, perfected, and easy recipes in your arsenal, you can have a family-friendly dinner on the table in no time. Because time is of the essence on weeknights (and sometimes on weekends!), these 30-minute meals will keep you from resorting to takeout or cereal.

Fifty 30-Minute Meals Your Family Will Love

1. THE BEST STEAKHOUSE BURGERS

Thought it wasn’t possible to make a steakhouse-worthy burger at home? Think again. By combining ground beef with seasonings and a mixture of milk and bread (a panade), you can impress your family and friends with these juicy, flavorful burgers.  Get the recipe

2. ORECCHIETTE WITH SAUSAGE AND BROCCOLI

Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli

This recipe is pretty much guaranteed to make everyone in your family happy. The combination of pasta, sausage, and broccoli makes for a plate-cleaning dish. Get the recipe

3. SMOKY CHICKPEA, RED LENTIL & VEGETABLE SOUP

This soup checks lots of boxes: it’s healthy, filling, quick, and relies primarily on pantry staples. Another plus is that it’s versatile; for the veggies, you can use whatever frozen or leftover veggies you have at home. Get the recipe

4. CHICKEN CURRY

This family-friendly curry dish promises to deliver tender chicken in a slightly sweet, aromatic curry sauce. It’s perfect over basmati rice. Get the recipe

5. BAKED SALMON WITH HONEY MUSTARD AND PECAN-PANKO CRUST

With a crunchy and flavorful topping, this dish tastes like something you’d order at a nice restaurant — and you can get it on the table in 20 minutes. Get the recipe

6. THAI-INSPIRED CHICKEN & RICE NOODLE SOUP

Thai chicken rice noodle soup

Perfect for a chilly day, this soup is fragrant and comforting. Bonus — it’s made with a store-bought rotisserie chicken, so pulling it together is a snap. Get the recipe

7. SWEET AND SOUR SHRIMP

sweet and sour shrimp with broccoli

Healthier than the Chinese restaurant staple yet just as flavorful, this dish is so quick to make that it will be on your table before the delivery guy would be able to make it to your house!  Get the recipe

8. GRILLED CHEESE WITH SANDWICHES WITH SUN-DRIED TOMATO PESTO

grilled cheese

This grilled cheese sandwich is an Italian take on one of the most comforting foods around. With copious amounts of cheese and sun-dried tomato pesto, you’ll swoon over every bite. Get the recipe

9. CAULIFLOWER FRIED RICE

cauliflower fried rice

This cauliflower fried rice is a great low-carb alternative to the Chinese restaurant staple. Plus it’s hearty enough to serve for dinner. Get the recipe

10. BROILED SPICY CHICKEN THIGHS WITH SWEET & TANGY HONEY GLAZE

Beautifully seasoned chicken thighs broiled with a tangy-sweet glaze – this recipe is simple to make and will please the whole family. Get the recipe

11. HOISIN BEEF BOWLS

asian beef bowls

These customizable bowls are a combination of tender ground that’s been cooked in a flavorful sauce and dressed up with toppings of your choice. They’re incredibly flexible, so they’ll make all your eaters happy. Get the recipe

12. SOUTHWESTERN MAPLE GLAZED SALMON WITH PINEAPPLE SALSA

salmon

A bit sweet and a bit spicy, these Southwestern-spiced salmon fillets are topped with a cilantro-flecked pineapple salsa.  Get the recipe

13. GRILLED MOROCCAN MEATBALLS WITH YOGURT SAUCE

These meatballs are seasoned with fresh herbs and warm spices. They get a great smoky flavor from the grill and are served alongside a creamy yogurt-cucumber sauce. Get the recipe

14. THAI-STYLE RED CHICKEN CURRY

thai red curry chicken

This tender chicken cooked in a rich, aromatic red curry coconut sauce requires very little prep work and just a few staples from the Asian food aisle in your grocery store. Get the recipe

15. CHICKEN PICCATA

Chicken Piccata

The briny, lemony sauce that tops crispy chicken in this classic dish is quick and easy to make. Feel free to serve the sauce on the side if your kids prefer the chicken plain. Get the recipe

16. KOREAN-STYLE BEEF BULGOGI BURGERS

bulgogi burgers

These flavor-packed, juicy burgers are inspired by Korean bulgogi. The chili mayo that gets slathered on top is next-level delicious – you’ll want to put it on everything. Get the recipe

17. NEW ORLEANS STYLE BARBEQUE SHRIMP

sauteed shrimp

In terms of 30-minute meals, this shrimp recipe really delivers — it’s packed with flavor, quick to pull together, and kids love it! Get the recipe

18. CASHEW CHICKEN

cashew chicken

Don’t pick up the phone to order take-out. This cashew chicken is tender, saucy, and ready in under 30 minutes. Get the recipe

19. RESTAURANT-STYLE PAN SEARED SALMON

how to make pan-seared salmon

You can get this salmon on the table in 15 minutes! The pan-searing technique is the cooking method used at many restaurants to give fish a beautiful golden crust and perfectly cooked interior. Get the recipe

20. KUNG PAO CHICKEN

Perfect with steamed rice, this version of kung pao chicken, with its sweet, sour, and spicy notes, replaces some of the more traditional Chinese ingredients with staples from your grocery store. Get the recipe

21. BLACKENED TILAPIA

blackened tilapia

Tilapia fillets are rubbed with bold Cajun seasonings and pan-fried, rendering fish that is tender inside and nicely crisped on the outside. Get the recipe

22. EASY THAI SHRIMP CURRY

shrimp curry

You can get this shrimp dish, infused with authentic Thai flavor, on the table in 25 minutes. The fragrant coconut sauce will lure everyone to the kitchen. Get the recipe

23. CHICKEN TACOS

Do you have Taco Tuesday at your house? If so, this lighter take on beef tacos is just as tasty, if not tastier. Get the recipe

24. EGG ROLL IN A BOWL

Love egg rolls? This is an unwrapped (and much healthier) version. It’s got most of the components of an egg roll sans the frying. Cashews will add some crunch and you won’t even miss the wrapper! Get the recipe

25. BROILED ASIAN-STYLE FLAT IRON STEAK

flat iron steak

This tender (and inexpensive) cut of beef is broiled and topped with a rich Asian-inspired sauce. Get the recipe

26. PARMESAN CRUSTED CHICKEN

Kids love this recipe because of the crunchy coating, and you’ll love because it’s quick and easy! Get the recipe

27. SHEET-PAN BLACKENED SALMON WITH GARLICKY KALE

This sheet-pan dinner is not only easy to pull together but also packed with healthy and flavorful ingredients. You’ll want to put on repeat. Get the recipe

28. GRILLED CHICKEN WINGS WITH SEASONED BUFFALO SAUCE

chicken wings

I love chicken wings but not the thought of deep frying. Grilled wings are not only super easy to make, but they also have deliciously crispy skin. Get the recipe

29. SHEET-PAN GARLIC BUTTER SHRIMP

There are so many reasons to add this garlicky, buttery shrimp recipe to your repertoire — it’s quick, requires very little prep or clean-up, and is a huge family pleaser. Get the recipe

30. PAN-SEARED STEAK

Pan-searing is the best way to cook steak. It produces meat that has a flavorful, golden-brown crust and a juicy interior. There’s a reason most restaurants do it this way! Get the recipe

31. SPAGHETTI WITH KALE & WALNUT PESTO

Spaghetti with Kale & Walnut Pesto

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

Need to sneak in some greens? This take on pesto pasta calls for kale, making it perfect for the cooler months when basil is hard to find. I promise your kids won’t know they’re eating kale. 🙂 Get the recipe

32. SKILLET TURKEY BURGERS

Think the only worthwhile burger is made with beef? Think again! These turkey burgers with a browned crust, deep flavor, and juicy texture are guaranteed to please. Get the recipe

33. Old Bay Shrimp Salad

I love this shrimp salad for a light dinner during the summer. It gets its pop of flavor from Old Bay seasoning and is perfect on top of greens or piled onto a croissant.  Get the recipe

34. BLACK BEAN SOUP

black bean soup

This black bean soup is flavored with plenty of garlic and onion. It’s hearty, healthy, and you probably have most of the ingredients on hand in your pantry. Get the recipe

35. GREEK-STYLE LAMB BURGERS

These highly seasoned lamb burgers are a nice twist on your typical grilled burger. Tuck them into a pita, top them with tomatoes, onion, and feta, and dig in.  Get the recipe

36. FUSILLI ALLA CAPRESE

One of my favorite 30-minute meals, this dish is not only pretty to look at but also comes together in a snap, is great hot or cold, and requires just a few simple ingredients. Get the recipe

37. GINGER, GARLIC & CHILI SHRIMP

chili shrimp

Prior to being sautéed with garlic and ginger, the shrimp in this dish gets a bath in a sweet and savory brine. Both kids and adults will lick their plates clean. Get the recipe

38. PAN-SEARED SALMON WITH SOY MUSTARD GLAZE

seared salmon

The Asian-style glaze that adorns this salmon is tangy and sweet, and the addition of whole grain mustard adds little pops of flavor in every bite.  Get the recipe

39. SOUTHWESTERN CHEESEBURGER SLIDERS

southwestern sliders

These juicy mini burgers, enhanced with diced jalapeños and Southwestern seasonings, are topped with melty Jack cheese. Bet you can’t eat just one! Get the recipe

40. PEEL N’ EAT BOILED SHRIMP WITH COCKTAIL SAUCE

Looking for something that’s fun to eat and easy to make? You found it! These peel n’ eat shrimp are plump and flavorful, and the easy homemade cocktail sauce is the perfect accompaniment. Get the recipe

41. PASTA WITH SUN-DRIED TOMATO PESTO AND MOZZARELLA PEARLS

This family-approved pasta dish with sun-dried tomato pesto and mozzarella pearls is a cinch to prepare. It not only makes a great weeknight dinner, but it also makes a delicious potluck pasta salad when served at room temperature. Get the recipe

42. GRILLED TURKEY BURGERS

turkey burgers

Turkey sausage combined with ground turkey is the secret to making these lean burgers super moist and flavorful. Bonus: they only require 6 ingredients (including the buns)! Get the recipe

43. VIETNAMESE-STYLE CARAMEL SHRIMP

vietnamese caramel shrimp

A shortcut version of traditional Vietnamese caramel shrimp, this flavorful recipe comes together in a flash. Get ready for oohs and aahs at the table. Get the recipe

44. STEAK AU POIVRE

These tenderloin fillets have a lovely peppercorn crust and are topped with a rich Cognac sauce. It’s a French classic and très délicieux. Get the recipe

45. LINGUINE WITH CREAMY ARUGULA WALNUT PESTO

Need to get dinner on the table in 25 minutes? This recipe, adapted from Cook Like a Rock Star by Anne Burrell, is a delightful twist on pesto pasta. The creamy arugula pesto can be whipped up while the linguine cooks. Get the recipe

46. CRAB SOUP

Crab Soup

This Maryland favorite is chockfull of crab meat and seasoned with a blend of spices that will make you feel like you’re spending the day on the Eastern shore. Get the recipe

47. ENGLISH MUFFIN PIZZAS

English Muffin Pizzas

Did you eat these mini pizzas when you were a kid? I did, and I still enjoy them as an adult. This is a great recipe to make with your little ones (and your big ones will enjoy eating them too). Get the recipe

48. GRILLED BEEF TENDERLOIN FILETS WITH CHIMICHURRI

One of the best 30-minute meals when you’re craving steak, these grilled tenderloin filets are rubbed with flavorful spices and topped with zesty, herby chimichurri sauce. Get the recipe

49. VIETNAMESE SHREDDED CHICKEN SALAD

salad

With shredded rotisserie chicken and lots of chopped vegetables, this salad is easy to make and filled with bold and bright Vietnamese flavors. It’s perfect for a light dinner, and leftovers keep well for days. Get the recipe

50. THE REUBEN SANDWICH (AND THE RACHEL)

No need to head to your local deli for dinner. This classic Reuben (or Rachel) sandwich is loaded with flavor and just as good (if not better!) than what you’d order there. Get the recipe

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Comments

  • My family has loved every single recipe I have made of yours. Last night, I made your Roasted Corned Beef, Carrots, Potatoes, and Cabbage with horseradish cream sauce. It was absolutely delicious! Now all my family looks for are recipes from Once Upon a Chef! They love your food!

    • — Christina Mack on March 24, 2022
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      • — Jenn on March 25, 2022
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