Weeknight Recipe Roundup - Dinner in 30 Minutes or Less

 Photo by Pexels

Photo by Pexels

The kids are (finally) back in school this week and I am playing catch up on all things work and home. At home, I've been working on updating our family calendar, finalizing the girls' after school activities, and fine-tuning our family organizational tools and systems like updating the girls' daily routine checklists (see sample here). If you are like me and still doing some back to school catchup or prep, check out my previous blog post Back to School To-Do List & Organizing Tips

I am also trying to catch up on work. Normally I blog weekly, but the lead up to back to school was a tad crazy, so we will call this the biweekly blog installment. Ha. In thinking about what might be most helpful to you mamas and papas out there who are adjusting to the new normal of school and home routines, I thought a quick roundup of recipes that can be made in 30 minutes or less (active time) would be ideal for this time of year. Check them out, hope you enjoy, and may the first few weeks of school be as smooth as possible for you and yours!

(Please note, the following post is provided for informational purposes only; the information is accurate and true to the best of my knowledge, but there may be omissions, errors or mistakes, and no guarantees are made.)

Soup

Avgolemono Chicken Soup with Rice by Grace Parisi for Food & Wine (March 2009)

Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

*This recipe makes me think of the Maurice Sendak book, Chicken Soup with Rice. Fun bedtime reading on the night you serve this.

 

Tortellini in Brodo from Food Network

Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

*Serve with a crusty baguette for a simple weeknight meal.

Pasta/Noodles

Bacon-Tomato Linguine from Food Network Kitchen and Food Network Magazine

Time: 25 minutes

Serves: 4

*Serve with a simple salad. 

 

Momofuku Ginger Scallion Noodles from Saveur, excerpted from Momofuku by David Chang and Peter Meehan

Time: 30 minutes 

Serves: 2-4 (makes enough for two nights in our house)

*Once you have the sauce recipe, you can improvise with the noodles and toppings. This dish can be eaten hot or cold, but I prefer cold. We always make extra toppings so we can have this dish again for dinner the following day. It is best to make the noodles fresh the day you are going to eat it. We usually use soba noodles. For toppings, we like to have quick-pickled cucumbers (recipe below), sliced raw radishes, and blanched baby broccoli. My husband and the girls sometimes have a soft-boiled egg on top. 

Quick salt pickle recipe (also from Momofuku): Thinly slice two to three baby cucumbers. Mix with one tablespoon sugar and one teaspoon of kosher salt (or more to taste). Let sit for 10 minutes. Enjoy. 

 

Orecchiette Pasta with Salmon, Arugula, and Artichokes by Grace Parisi for Food & Wine (December 2012)

Time: 25 minutes 

Serves: 4

*Can be served with a simple salad or alone as the recipe already has plenty of greens. 

 

Orecchiette with Mini Chicken Meatballs by Giada De Laurentiis for Food Network's "Everyday Italian"

Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4 to 6 

*Serve with a vegetable or a simple salad. 

 

Stovetop Lasagna from Food Network Kitchen and Food Network Magazine

Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4  

*Serve with a simple salad. 

*Spice - can always skip the red pepper flakes.

 

Winter Pasta by Heidi Swanson on 101 Cookbooks (great site for healthy, vegetarian, and vegan recipes)

Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4-6

*Vegetarian, but you could easily add chicken or fish. Can be served with a simple salad or alone as the recipe already has plenty of greens. 

Frittata

More-Vegetable-Than-Egg Frittata by Mark Bittman for Cooking New York Times* (*please note that the New York Times only allows you to access a certain number of articles per month for free if you do not have an account; be sure to print or save the recipes when you access them)

Time30 minutes

Serves: 2 or 4

*Can be served with a simple salad or alone as the recipe already has plenty of veggies.  

Stir-Frys

Spinach, Tofu and Sesame Stir-Fry by Martha Rose Shulman for Cooking New York Times

This is a delicious, healthy, and super easy work night stir-fry. I usually go easy on the ginger and only add red pepper flakes to the adults' plates so that my kids are more likely to eat this dish. You can serve the dish with rice or noodles, but it is also a perfectly filling meal without it. 

 

Gingered Stir-Fry with Shrimp and Snow Peas by Grace Parisi for Food and Wine (March 2011)

Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

Fish

Roasted Salmon Glazed with Brown Sugar and Mustard by Sam Sifton for Cooking New York Times 

Time: 15 minutes

Serves: Varies

*Serve with Simple Braised Greens (15 minutes as well)

*While I am vegetarian, my husband eats a lot of fish, particularly salmon. He loves this recipe, along with the next two. 

 

Miso-Glazed Fish by Martha Rose Shulman for Cooking New York Times

Time: ~30 minutes. 

Serves: 4

*Serve with vegetable and starch of choice.

 

Salmon with Anchovy-Garlic Butter by Melissa Clark for from Cooking New York Times

Time: 25 minutes

Serves: 4

*Serve with vegetable and starch of choice.

 

Salmon with Gingery Vegetables and Turmeric by Marcia Kiesel for Food & Wine (January 2009)

Time: 30 minutes.

Serves: 4

 

Poached Salmon with No-Fail Hollandaise by Andrew Zimmern for Food & Wine (October 2013)

Time: 30 minutes.

Serves: 6

*Serve with vegetable and starch of choice.

Beef

Herb-and-Mustard Sirloin With Baked Potatoes from Food Network Kitchen and Food Network Magazine

Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4

*Serve with a vegetable of your choice or a simple salad. 

Chicken and Pork

Chicken and Mushroom Fricassee by Joy Manning for Food & Wine (December 2012)

Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

*Serve with a simple salad or alone.

 

Chicken Flautas from Food Network Kitchen and Food Network Magazine

Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4

*Can serve alone or with quick, canned black beans and 15-minute rice.

 

Tacos al Pastor by Courtney Contos for Food & Wine (March 2015)

Time: Approximately 20 minutes day of the meal. You will need about 10-15 minutes the night before to prep the marinade and overnight to marinate the meat. 

Serves: 8, so you can cut the recipe in half or have plenty of leftovers.

*Spicy - can always cut down or leave out the chiles. 

Slow Cooker/Crock Pot

*In fairness, these recipes take longer than 30 minutes in non-active time, but are definitely less than 30 minutes in active time. These recipes are perfect to make on a Sunday and have for leftovers on Monday evening.

Slow Cooker Thai-Inspired Chicken Stew by Melissa Rubel Jacobson for Food & Wine (March 2010)

Time: 4 hours (20 minutes active)

Serves: 4-6

 

Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken with Apricots, Olives, and Almonds by Melissa Rubel Jacobson for Food & Wine (July 2014)

Time: 3 hours 15 minutes (15 minutes active) 

Serves: 4

*Spice – can always leave out the cayenne pepper. 

Lunch Box and Snack Prep Cheat Sheet

As a bonus, I thought I would throw in a sample lunch and snack ideas cheat sheet. I made this to use at home (inspired by the healthy snack food suggestions provided by the girls' school) for when we are tired and lacking inspiration when making lunches at night. Thought I would share it with you!

I also recently splurged and bought the girls PlanetBox lunch boxes and carriers, after eyeing them for some time (girls' lunches in their Rovers pictured above). There is something about the compartments in these lunch boxes that makes lunch-making a little more fun. I love that they have a five-year warranty, are non-toxic, environmentally-friendly, and dishwasher safe. Though they are an investment, I bought them during their Earth Day sale. They are currently running a similar 25% Back to School sale, now extended through September 3rd (promo code: SCHOOL25). Check it out, if interested. As always at Enriched Family - #not an ad - I have just enjoyed these lunch boxes and thought I would pass on the discount info to you. 

Happy ease of cooking weeknight meals and making lunches!

Best,

Esha/Enriched Family

Enriched Family is a unique, custom research and consulting business dedicated to providing families with the information, tools, and systems they need to live more organized and joyful lives. Services include: Custom family-focused research (child care, education, health and wellness resources, camps, and enrichment activities), family organization solutions (stuff and systems), and individual & organizational consulting (planning, productivity, and time management coaching). I offer a free, 20-minute initial phone consultation to all new clients to discuss matching your needs and priorities with my services. I invite you to check out my services and click the "Let's Get Started!" button below to contact me with any questions.