30 Minute Dinners – Perfect For A School Night

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30 Minute Dinners Perfect For A School Night

There’s a lot going on in the life of an average parent when school starts back. Getting kids back into their school routine can be like pulling teeth, and there always seems to be something that needs doing, or something going wrong. One key area of stress for time poor parents is getting dinner on the table every night for their kids. It’s hard enough to make it through the day sometimes, without also having to slave away in the kitchen for hours.

That’s why our saving grace, particularly during the first few weeks of a new school term, are these 30 minute dinners. They are absolutely perfect for a school night, when you’ve low on time and high on bellies to fill. These recipes are all on the table in 30 minutes or less, and offer satisfying and delicious dinners that everyone can love.


One Pan Spanish Chicken. Photo: Creme De La Crumb.

Chicken is an easy favourite for families looking for satisfying meals. Its low price-point and subtle flavour mean it’s easy to add into almost any meal for a protein that really delivers. For the family-friendly 30 minute meals, cooking parents can’t go past this One Pan Spanish Chicken and Rice or this Mozzarella Chicken in Handmade Tomato Sauce. For something with a bit more spice, we’d recommend this Jalapeno Chicken, or perhaps this Skinny Caramelised Cashew Ginger Chicken Stirfry.


Mongolian Beef. Photo: Dinner Then Desert

Beef is a very versatile meat, with a wide variety of cuts available that each offer their own unique flavour and texture. Not everyone thinks that beef can be cooked well in 30 minutes, but it’s all about choosing the right cuts, and the right meals. For an Asian-style feast it’s easy to love this 30 Minute Ginger Beef, but we’re also big fans of this Easy Mongolian Beef. For more familiar flavours, you might consider having a go at this Beef Stroganoff, or a fiery One Pot Chili Mac. Alternatively you could opt for the easy-favourite of this One Pan Mexican Fried Rice.


Curried Sausages. Photo: Strayed Table

Beef and chicken tend to take the spotlight for family meals, but pork can be just as easy to get cooked in 30 minutes and there are lots of delicious options out there for meals. If you’re looking for something with chops, we give big points to these Easy Pork Chops with Sweet n’ Sour Glaze as well as these Pork Chops in Creamy Garlic Herb Sauce. Of course, for a classic family meal that never fails to deliver, you’ve got to try these One Pot Curried Sausages. This recipe is nourishing, filling and simple, and is a great way to save on your groceries, using cheaper ingredients that do go further.


One Pot Asian Noodles. Photo: Babble

If you’re looking for fast and affordable, adding a few vegetarian meals to your line-up is a smart option, particularly when there are so many mouth-watering recipes that get dinner on the table, under budget, in 30 minutes. We’re fond of this 10-Minute Cauliflower Rice, a fried rice alternative that’s easy on the waistline, as well as this One Pot Asian Noodles or Vegetable Stir Fry With Noodles. Beans make for a great meat replacement in vegetarian meals, and if you don’t believe us try this Vegetarian Black Bean Chili or these Black Bean Enchiladas.


Garlic Parmesan Pasta. Photo: Eat Cake For Dinner.

For families looking to fill the most bellies for the longest time, pasta has long been a go-to option, and it’s particularly good for when you need to get dinner on the table in a hurry. Pasta is satisfying, and still offers a decent amount of variety along the same flavour profiles. We love this Garlic Parmesan Pasta With Crispy Chicken, and this Creamy Mozzarella Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Spinach Tortellini. When we’re looking for something a bit different, it’s nice to mix up traditional pasta with something like this Creamy Sausage Gnocchi, or for something easy on the waistline try this Lighter Chicken Spinach Alfredo.


Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Soup. Photo: Damn Delicious

Soup is surprisingly under-utilised as a family dinner staple, considering it generally offers the most bang for your buck and oftentimes the fastest turnaround time for meals. There are literally endless options for soups, and it’s easy to tweak the flavours in recipes to suit your preferences. When it comes to soup, we love this Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Soup or this Easy Pho Soup. For a nice big hit of veggies that will warm your cockles, both this Roast Garlic Cauliflower Chowder or this Garden Veggie Barley Soup are also worth trying.

What are your favourite meals in a hurry? Are there any 30-minute dinners that you swear by for families?


Katie is the Managing Director and Editor at Mums of Brisbane. Most days will find her drinking coffee, playing racing cars and trying not to step barefoot on Lego. She lives with her husband and three children in beautiful Brisbane. You can read her story here.


Katie -


Katie is the Managing Director and Editor of Mums of Brisbane. Most days will find her drinking copious amounts of coffee, cuddling her kids and trying not to step barefoot on lego. Katie lives in Beautiful Brisbane with her husband and four gorgeous children.