Out of dinner ideas? Try these 30-minute meals and recipes

Suffering from decision fatigue? Katie Workman has four quick and easy(ish) meals to add to your dinnertime rotation.
Honey garlic shrimp
A handful of ingredients turns a pound of shrimp into a terrific quick and easy weeknight dinner in under 30 minutes.Cheyenne Cohen
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By Katie Workman

During the week sometimes we're thinking about cooking chicken, sometimes we are thinking about making Mexican food, but most of the time we are thinking about ... time. And how to get dinner on the table with a limited amount of it; it's a perennial challenge for all of us home cooks — even if we're stuck at home on lockdown.

These are 30-minute dinner ideas that you can add to your meal plan, or just keep in your back pocket when you have nothing planned. If there is a side dish involved it will be something you can make while the main course is sautéing or baking or occasionally Instant-Potting, and you will still be out of the kitchen with a meal on the table in half an hour.

Honey Garlic Shrimp

Cheyenne Cohen

A handful of ingredients turns a pound of shrimp into a terrific quick and easy weeknight dinner in under 30 minutes. Shrimp is one of the foods I have in the freezer at all times: they defrost quickly and they cook up quickly. Honey and garlic are combined with a bit of lemon juice, soy sauce and red pepper flakes to make a fast and flavorful sauce. Serve with rice (make sure to get the rice cooking before you start the shrimp, which cook in minutes), and a simple green salad.

Pepper-Mustard Strip Steaks

Cheyenne Cohen

A modified and simpler version of steak au poivre, this is the recipe to make when you have the desire for a steak with a little something going on, but only about 5 minutes to make that something happen. Steaks just love mustard and pepper — it’s a timeless and winning combination. Pair it with sauteed Swiss chard and some quinoa.

>> Trying to eat less meat? Try these meatless options this month

Stir Fried Chicken with Scallions

Cheyenne Cohen

As with all stir fries, get all of your ingredients prepped and chopped before starting the cooking process, since the skillet or wok time is quite fast. And again you’ll want to serve this with rice, and again that should be the first thing you get on the stove to ensure that the rice is ready at the same time as the stir fry is done. Brown rice will put you a bit over the half hour mark, but it is certainly an option.

Easy Creamy Fettuccine Alfredo

Cheyenne Cohen

Sure, I sometimes open a jar of prepared tomato sauce, heat that up while the pasta cooks, and call it a night. And that’s fine. But while that’s sustenance, it’s hardly soul-satisfying. Which brings us to this pasta. With a silky, creamy sauce that leans on real whole milk for its body and richness, this feels decadent and homey at the same time. Pair with a crunchy green salad to provide some textural and color contrast.

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