That time of year has come! It’s fall, the time of year when we are running from one activity to another with little time to have dinner. Sometimes twenty-minute meals are the answer. Sometimes dinner in the car is the answer. Whatever
Many of you are thinking how the heck am I going to feed my family a healthy dinner with little to no time? I’m here to say, it’s possible! You don’t need to eat the same thing night after night, either! I’ve got 20 twenty-minute meals that your family will love.
Let’s go to the chalkboard.
You may be wondering if true twenty-minute meals (from start to finish) even exist. They do! Nothing is more frustrating than picking a recipe to cook when you have NO TIME at all and then you realize that the quick meal the writer advertised takes 40 minutes! You want to scream, that’s not a quick meal! But you press on because you are already in too deep.
How do you really find a quick dinner?
- Read the recipe before you make it and review the timing. Sometimes a quick read will tell you it’s not a true twenty-minute meal. Add all the cooking times to see what they equal. Taking note of any recipe that says cook in batches (double the time there.)
- Avoid the oven. Preheating takes time and most recipes take at least 20 minutes to cook.
- Look for recipes that have quick-cooking proteins. Ground meats, shrimp, fish, and cut up chicken and pork will all be done in no time.
Use These Shortcuts for S
- Have a toaster oven? Use it! The preheating time is much shorter on a toaster oven than a regular oven and works just as well for simple meals.
- Use grocery store shortcuts where available. Pre-chopped vegetables, meats, and shredded cheeses are great to cut down on your prep time.
- Pre-cooked food is great, too. Trader Joe’s frozen brown rice cooks in three minutes. It’s delicious and healthy, too, which makes the perfect side dish.
- Use spare minutes wherever you can. Sometimes I chop vegetables while my kids are eating breakfast or doing homework. Then I throw them in the fridge until it is time to cook.
- Make use of canned goods. Chickpeas, tuna, and lentils all provide healthy proteins for your meals.
- I can’t say this enough, meal planning is the biggest time saver! Just a little bit of effort up front can save you throughout the week. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Meal Planning to learn exactly how to plan meals that work for your life and schedule.
20 Twenty-Minute Meals Your Family Will Love
Everyone loves pasta! This recipe is great cold or hot and provides plenty of leftovers. This dressing is yummy, but feel free to use your favorite Italian dressing to save time.
This recipe is hearty, filling and on the table in no-time. You can buy frozen chopped onion and green bell peppers to cut down on your prep.
This Big Mac Salad is a crowd favorite. I reduce the meat to half a pound and still find this salad filling. Even if you aren’t on the Keto diet you will love this one.
This tuna salad is anything but boring! Place in pita pockets for a hearty meal. You will look forward to having this for lunch, that’s if there are any leftovers.
Here’s a salad with a combination you have never had before, lentils and hard-boiled eggs! This protein-packed meal is very filling. Use canned lentils and hard-boiled eggs premade and dinner is on the table in no time.
Stir-fries are a great option for quick dinners. They incorporate a bunch of vegetables and cook quickly. I normally chop as I go through a recipe but for stir-fries, I recommend that you prep the vegetables before you start cooking. The quick cooking time doesn’t lend itself to prep as you go. Frozen Vegetables can easily be substituted when available or if you have a few spare minutes at another point in your day, feel free to chop all the veggies and store them in the fridge until you are ready to use them.
You may be thinking, what do you serve with these recipes? Trader Joe’s makes frozen brown rice that cooks in three minutes! That’s a huge timesaver.
The shrimp in this stir fry cooks quickly. I also like that this recipe incorporates a lot of ingredients you may already have on hand. We like to double the sauce.
My kids love this recipe! We use pre-chopped ham and Trader Joe’s rice to have this meal on the table in no time!
Are you sick of the usual stir fry flavors? Try these Kenyan braised collard greens from Skinnytaste. They are so yummy when served over rice.
ROTISSERIE CHICKEN FOR THE WIN
Here is another grocery shortcut — rotisserie chickens. Chop one up and use them in these wraps that are full of flavor and filling. Serve with carrots and celery sticks on the side to stick with the buffalo wing theme.
Homemade hamburger helper with cheese, need I say more? This recipe for the ultimate comfort food is made in one pot. My little guys love this one.
This versatile dish is so good you can use any ground meat you like, pork, beef, or chicken. In lieu of chopping vegetables use coleslaw mix or broccoli slaw and it’s simply a matter of cooking and mixing.
This Texas Toast Pizza can be made in less time it takes to call and pick up a pizza at the local pizzeria. Serve this dinner with a super simple side salad, I’m talking lettuce, tomato, and dressing.
SECRET INGREDIENT – RAMEN
Ramen isn’t just what you cooked up in your micro-fridge in college. The noodles are a secret weapon in the kitchen. They cook up in minutes and are great with a ton of different saucy dishes like our Scallion Sauce Steak
Don’t let the Thai in the name scare you, this dish is full of flavor and easy to make. Use the toaster oven to cut down on the preheating time. Make sure your foil packets are sealed well so they don’t leak.
This Teriyaki Beef will be on the table quicker than your fastest Chinese takeout. We usually use prechopped broccoli florets but you can use carrots, mushrooms, or whatever vegetables you have on hand.
This Chicken Yakisoba has a unique sauce that is so yummy! Use broccoli slaw to eliminate the prep time. This can be found near the salad and coleslaw mixes in the produce aisle of the grocery store.
A twenty-minute meal doesn’t need to be a one-pot one. Using frozen rice or ramen noodles as a side dish and some frozen vegetables will give you have a complete meal that’s on the table in no time.
This recipe has a ton of flavor and only four ingredients including the fish and salt. So simple!
This is a restaurant-quality meal in no time. Check out this halibut.
Just starting to eat fish or have a picky eater? This is a simple dinner that will get them hooked on fish (pun intended).
This blackened fish is a favorite! Make the spice rub while the pan heats and you are done. It is full of flavor and works on almost any fish.
Twenty-Minute Meals, What do you think?
Are you ready to make some twenty-minute meals?
Need more twenty-minute meals? Follow us on Pinterest and check out our Twenty-Minute Meals Board
What do you cook on days where you just have no time? I’d love to hear. Let me know in the comments below.
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