In my family home we never went hungry. THAT IS A FACT. The refrigerator was always well stocked and dinner magically appeared on the table every evening. It was like clockwork, and I could always expect something delicious. Looking back, I realize that I took Mom and Dad's cooking for granted. Quite frankly now that I'm on my own, married, and working a full time job, I wonder how my parents did it.
I realize now more than ever, how busy weekdays can be. After a full day of work, it's hard to find the time, energy or motivation to prepare dinner. For those days, which by and large is most days, I look for easier ways of getting dinner on the table. While take-out may seem like a good option, it can get pretty expensive (and can be very unhealthy), which is why I decided to put together a list of 30-minute meals that are perfect for busy weeknights. From an easy chicken dinner recipe to the best cacio e pepe you've ever tasted, you're sure to find some easy and delicious meals that you and your whole family will love!
1. Whipped Ricotta Salad: This is a Giada De Laurentis special and I absolutely love it! This is an easy meal to prepare and it can be done in 20 minutes! This salad is made with baby kale, frisée, or if you prefer, baby arugula. It has a base of whipped ricotta with a homemade basil based dressing. It is light and refreshing for summer! You and your family will absolutely love it!
2. Farmer's Market Garlic Naan Pizza: Ladies and gentlemen, I JUST made this last night and it was to die for! Check out my dear friend, The Petite Chef's blog post on this fantastic dish! Made with pancetta, roasted red peppers, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil, you're sure to enjoy this dish in under 20 minutes!
3. Cacio e Pepe: OK, so this one takes a little bit longer than 30 minutes, however, trust me, it is worth it! Picture rich cheese, al dente pasta, and freshly-ground pepper — it's the ultimate comfort food. I got this recipe from Eataly's website after having tried it while dining out. It is right on the money when it comes to simple ingredients and big taste!
4. Chicken Stir Fry: This is easy to make and can actually be super healthy (use brown rice)! My husband and I make this pretty often and I love that you can mix in a medley of veggies! Better yet, this dish can be prepared in under 30 minutes!
5. Shrimp Scampi: This is one of my favorites and a total classic! Imagine simple garlic, white wine and butter sauce that goes well with a dish of pasta or with a delicious crunchy piece of bread!
There you have it! Five fresh, wholesome, family-friendly 30-minute meals. Some 20-minute meals, and one, gasp!, 45ish-minute meal! I know, I know, you are busy- I totally get it. But if you take 30 minutes tonight to stop and smell the roses, I mean garlic, you will see that these meals are easy and family friendly! You will have dinner on the table in no time and still have a chance to catch up on THIS IS US. Don't worry, I cry too.