Saturday, March 10, 2012

30 Minute Meals - March Question Month

Jan asked, "I would like to know what is your go to dishes that you can make in 30 minutes for dinner? I have a full-time job, kids, serving Master and I just need some quick go to dinners."

I imagine some of the other writers will chip in here too, but here are my ideas and philosophies for quick meals.

First, I believe as a general rule we make food way more complicated than it needs to be most of the time.  I like a big production of a meal when time allows but for everyday: simple, healthy, and fast is the way I prefer.

If you have a crock pot / slow cooker.  Find some recipes your family loves and use that thing to death.  I make lots of soups and roasts in mine and love coming home to a house that smells like yummy food when I've done hardly any work.

With that being said here are our favorite meals:

Chicken Taco Salads: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Saute cubed chicken breasts sauteed with onions and green peppers.  Add some water and taco seasoning, letting the water evaporate and leaving you with seasoned chicken meat.  Cut corn tortillas into wedges and spread onto a baking sheet, spray the wedges with olive oil or cooking spray.  Cook in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes until crisp and just starting to brown.  Divide the tortilla wedges among your plates, top with seasoned chicken meat, lettuce, salsa, cheese, sour cream, etc.  Alternatively you could just use store-bought tortilla chips instead of baking the corn tortillas. You could also add some reheated black or pinto beans to the salads to bulk it up more.

Pan Fried Meat & Roasted Asparagus: Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Trim rough ends from asparagus and spread out onto a cookie sheet.  Drizzle the asparagus spears with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Using your hands coat the spears with the oil.  Bake in the preheated oven for about 12 minutes, until tender.  While the asparagus roasts cook up some pork chops, steaks, or chicken breasts in a pan over high heat.  Simple, healthy, and filling.

Bean & Cheese Quesadillas: Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a bowl mix together a can (or two depending on how many you're serving) of refried beans with some salsa - just enough to get it all moving together.  On a baking sheet place a few flour tortillas, spread each tortilla with a layer of the bean and salsa mixture, sprinkle some shredded cheese on top of that.  Top with another flour tortilla and bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until tortillas is browning and cheese is melted.  Serve with more salsa, sour cream, cheese, etc.  Add a salad and you have a quick and filling meal.

Hope that helps and gives you a few ideas!


  1. Yum! That Asparagus sounds sooo good!

    My favorite go-to meals are Breaded Steak, Mushroom Slow-Cooker Roast and Chicken Hash.

    Breaded Steak:

    1 lb thin sliced top round
    1 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
    1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
    2 eggs
    olive oil

    Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl. In another shallow bowl, mix bread crumbs and cheese

    Cut the steak into portions. Heat oil in a frying pan. Dip the steak into the egg and then the bread crumb mixture. Fry in a hot pan, 2-3 minutes on each side until done. I like mine a little rare, so you may need to cook it longer.


    Mushroom Slow-Cooker Roast

    1 Chuck Roast about 3 lbs
    1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
    1 packet Lipton Golden Onion Soup Mix
    1 3 quart slow cooker

    Put the roast in the crock pot, add soup and soup mix and mix well. Cook 6-8 hours on low.


    Chicken Hash (this recipe serves two)

    2 chicken breasts, cubed
    Small potatoes, cut into quarters
    onion and garlic to taste
    1 tbsp fresh dill or 1 tsp dried
    Salt and pepper
    2 eggs
    Olive oil

    Dice chicken breasts and either halve or quarter potatoes depending on how small they are. I like using a mix of red, purple and white baby potatoes. I use the very very small ones (like 1/2 inch across), as the cook faster. Season with salt and pepper and dill.

    Heat oil and add onion and garlic. I generally use 1 clove garlic and about 1/4 of a small onion, but you can add more as you prefer. Cook 2-3 minutes then add chicken and potatoes. Cook through. Plate the chicken and potato mixture.

    In a separate skillet, cook eggs to order(Sir likes his scrambled hard whereas I prefer mine over easy. Traditionally has is with over easy, but we make concessions for our Sirs don't we?)

    Serve eggs over the hash.

  2. Thank you Katie and Rheya! Katie, I agree that we make food more complicated then it needs to be. I know when I am so busy that I tend not to see the quick and easy food right in front of my face.



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