One of the reasons the fast-food drive-thru window seems so appealing is that it’s fast. You can probably hop in the car, drive to the restaurant, order a meal for the family, drive back home and have dinner on the table in about a half hour.


Or, you could make a home-cooked meal with fresh ingredients and a whopping variety of nutrients that a Whopper and fries just don’t have. You just need a little help coming up with ideas for those quick dinner ideas. We’re here to give you that help. We’ve got some great meals that take about 30 minutes from start to table — some with meat, some meatless and a few breakfast-for-dinner ideas thrown in for good measure.


Quick dinners with meat

  • Chicken Piccata – Buy already flattened chicken breasts to make the preparation of this simple, flavorful dish even quicker. The thinner the chicken, the quicker it will cook. Serve with a salad and a side of fresh vegetables and some rice.
  • Honey Chicken Stir-Fry – Chicken breast and a frozen stir-fry vegetable blend are the main ingredients in this 30-minute stir-fry. Cook rice while the stir-fry is going, add them together at the end, and you’ve got an entire meal.
  • Roasted Halibut with Garlic Sauce – Stir together a quick sauce and pop this halibut dinner into the oven for 15 minutes. While it’s cooking, steam some asparagus or broccoli as a side dish.
  • Chicken with Olives and Peppers – Colorful, nutritious peppers are plentiful in this one-skillet, Spanish-inspired meal that’s as quick to clean up as it is to cook.

Quick meatless dinners

  • Rajas Vegetable Skillet – Seven colorful vegetables are in this 15-minute skillet dinner (you’ll probably need another 10 to chop the veggies). Serve these Mexican-style vegetables with a side of Mexican rice and you’ve got a quick meal.
  • Soba Noodles with Fried Egg - Crunchy carrots, fresh herbs, a green onion, healthy sesame seeds and buckwheat noodles sit beneath a fried egg in this Asian dish.
  • Potato Tacos – Potatoes instead of meat make these tacos hearty. Lots of vegetables including spicy poblano peppers give flavor to the neutral potatoes and chopped cilantro and lime make it fresh tasting.
  • Pasta with Garlic and Kale – Garlic lovers will flip for this fast pasta dish that uses two whole heads of garlic that get sautéed in olive oil before adding fresh tomatoes and kale for a sauce that’s served over a lemony pasta.

Quick breakfast-for-dinner ideas

  • Whole-Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes – Half the flour in these pancakes is whole-wheat flour so they’re healthier than pancakes made with only white flour. Serve with fresh cut up fruit and real maple syrup.
  • Apple and Cheddar Frittata – Eggs, cheddar cheese and apples go into a skillet and come out of the oven as a satisfying dinner. Serve with a side salad or fresh fruit.
  • Breakfast Pizza – Use pre-made pizza dough or even Naan for these pizzas that are topped with ricotta cheese, pizza sauce, fresh herbs and eggs.

What’s your favorite 30 minute-ish dinner?

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Quick dinner ideas
You just need a little help coming up with ideas for those quick dinner ideas. We're here to give you that help.