Complete Easy Weeknight Dinner Guide
InComplete Easy Weeknight Dinner Guide gives you everything you need to know to make quick, easy & delicious homemade dinners in under 30 minutes.
Quick, easy and delicious sheet pan dinners, skillet dinners, crock-pot, Instant Pot and even grilling ideas all packed with amazing flavor and fresh ingredients.
Can you quickly serve up the best meals at home? Absolutely!
Good food doesn’t have to be hard work. This complete guide will show you how quick and easy recipes can make you look like a rockstar in the kitchen!
Yes! I’ve been called a Kitchen Rockstar!
Hi everyone! I’ve been out of the blogging world for a lot longer than I would like to admit. You know how it goes, life happened, a coffee stand happened and then next thing you know I had no time to do anything. Well, the coffee stand has been sold and life is going back to normal for me.
For the first time in months I had a chance to catch up with some family and friends and it came up in conversation that everyone we know hates fixing dinner after a long day at work. Honestly, I was a little shocked when I heard this because it’s so easy to have dinner on the table in under 30 minutes. And that’s when it hit me…how do people not know this is a thing? I started by asking my friends why they hated it and how they felt about easy weeknight dinners made in 30-minutes.
Some of the questions I got were….
- 30 minute meals, are they delicious?
- Will they cost me a small fortune in pre-prepped vegetables?
- Will there be a ton of stuff to clean up?
- 30 minutes from start to finish? Seriously? No way! Lies!
I want to be number one in Google search for quick and easy weeknight dinners! So I was challenged to write down everything I know about easy weeknight dinners, and that’s what I did! So the next day and the day after I wrote a little then a little bit more. I’ve compiled all of this information into a guide and I know you’ll find this not only a fun, but informative read! I hope you reference it often and share it with your friends!
Do you love a quick, easy and delicious dinner that can be on your table in less than 30 minutes?
I do! And it has been a necessity in my home for years!
When I make recipes to share with you I want to make sure of several things.
1 – I didn’t want 30 minutes to be an illusion
2 – It needs too be a recipe that wouldn’t blow my food budget
3 – I need recipes that cooked in 30 minutes but wouldn’t take even longer to clean up the mess
4 – I absolutely did not want the 30 minutes to mean my dinner was tasteless.
To make sure all of these goals were met, I had to come up with one basic rule; keep it simple! There are tons of reasons to keep things simple when you’re aiming for a total of 30 minutes in the kitchen but 30 minute meals are meant to be delicious, easy meals that can be prepped, cooked and served with minimal effort while covering all of your nutritional needs for your family.
Complete Easy Weeknight Dinner Guide Step 1
Make A Plan Stan
Number one tip to remember is to have a plan. I mean seriously you gotta know what you’re cooking, right? Now, I’m sure most of you already know this but now is the time to put it into practice. Meal planning doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep it simple!
Start by planning the next day’s meal the night before; or if you feel comfortable sit down and pick out five of your family’s favorite meals. Ask your family for some ideas here, you might be surprised by some of their input! It never fails my husband always picks some sort of Mexican food and Miss Emma selects a salad – BAM! Both are easy, delicious, ready in minutes and I didn’t have to come up with a plan because they did it for me.
Here are a few recipes to help you plan easy meals:
Complete Easy Weeknight Dinner Guide Step 2
Use and Abuse the “Meanwhile”
Y’all, this is absolutely one of the very best tricks to help you get dinner on the table quickly. What is “use & abuse the meanwhile”? I know you have all seen this in the recipe instructions…when a recipe says ‘meanwhile chop carrots’ or something to that effect, that’s what I’m talking about. It’s not the same as multitasking, so you don’t need to worry about having to do two things at one time. The “meanwhile” is the idea that allows you to take advantage of those few minutes when you have nothing to do during the recipe like while you’re waiting for water to boil, you can work on something else like chopping the carrots.
For instance, instead of prepping all the ingredients at the start you can read the full recipe, then prep what you need to get started and do the rest in the “meanwhile” phase. Obviously this will look different from recipe to recipe, but the concept is the same. It’s these small steps that to add up to minutes and ultimately saving you time along the way.
Complete Easy Weeknight Dinner Guide Step 3
Create A Love Affair with Freezer and Pantry Must-Haves
A well-stocked freezer and pantry can literally be the butt saver that lets you bring dinner together faster. A package of frozen broccoli florets cuts down on prep and cooks up faster for a warm and fragrant Garlic Beef and Broccoli Noodle Bowls. Turn emergency bag of cheese tortellini into a hearty Tomato Tortellini Soup. Cooking from your pantry means you’re working with ingredients you’re familiar with and have on hand. Again the key is keep it simple! When you want to make a meal fast, all you need to do is keep it simple by sticking with ingredients you know and you’ll have dinner in a flash.
In my pantry and freezer I make sure to always have:
- Brown Sugar
- Refined Sugar
Herbs, Spices & Seasoning:
- Bay Leaf
- Chili Powder
- Red Pepper
Oils & Vinegars:
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- Red Wine Vinegar
- Soy Sauce
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Hot Sauce – like Tabasco or Siracha
Veggies & Grains:
- Kidney Beans
- Diced Tomatoes
- Tomato Sauce
- Tomato Paste
- Rice – like White, Brown and Wild rice
- Pasta – like penna, spaghetti and orzo
- Soup – like cream of mushroom, chicken and celery
- Veggies – like broccoli, corn and mixed
- Chicken Breasts
- Pork Chops
Complete Easy Weeknight Dinner Guide Step 4
Instruments of Destruction – The Kitchen Tools That Will Help You
There are two sides to an easy weeknight dinner or a 30 minute meal. It comes together quickly and you could quickly clean it up. To do that, you’ll need to reach for the right instruments or tools if you will. Pull out a baking sheet for Seasoned Honey Apple, Brussel Sprout and Chicken Sheet Pan, your entire meal is served up all at once. A single pot like a Dutch oven is your ticket to a warm White Chicken Chili. Don’t forget your beloved cast-iron skillet for a Swedish Meatballs. All of these tools make an entire dinner possible with just one pot or pan. How’s that for simple and easy?
My list of go-to kitchen tools:
- Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker’s Half Sheet
- Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer
- Lodge L8SK3 10-1/4-Inch Pre-Seasoned Skillet
- Lodge EC6D43 Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 6-Quart, Island Spice Red
- Mercer Culinary Millennia 8-Inch Chef’s Knife, Blue
- EXTRA LARGE Organic Bamboo Cutting Board with Juice Groove – Best Kitchen Chopping Board for Meat (Butcher Block) Cheese and Vegetables | Anti Microbial Heavy Duty Serving Tray w/ Handles – 18 x 12
If you made it this far I thank you and congratulate you!
You have the basics now to start making your weeknight dinners a little quicker! In conclusion, dinner time is when you gather your friends and family giving you a chance to sit down and de-stress, catch up with those that we love and enjoy quality time. Take the stress out of dinner and enjoy food, family and friends! Just remember, keep it simple and you will see that fast, healthy meals are not only possible, they’re easy and tasty!