There’s no question about it: Americans are getting busier and busier with each passing year, propelling millions to go to the drive-thru for a fast meal. Rather than filling your belly with greasy junk food, try making some 30-minute recipes for your family throughout the week.
I know, I know—many meals that are billed as 30-minute dinners quickly go into overtime when you factor in the preparation or if things going awry (what if you’re out of an ingredient?). The following recipes, however, will get you through the day spending less than a half hour on each meal. These recipes, that serve four people each, are better because they’re super adaptable to whatever you have in the fridge on any given day.
Breakfast: Tofu Scramble with Garden Veggies and Toast
Packed with protein and overflowing with flavor, this quick breakfast will provide you with the fuel you need for your busy day in under 30 minutes. Substitutions are easy and even encouraged, as the tofu can be swapped for eggs or zucchinis and the tomato can be swapped with any veggies of your choosing. That’s not to mention that you can use any bread your family prefers!
Here are your ingredients:
- 1 block firm tofu
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- ½ tsp. turmeric for color (optional)
- 2 zucchinis, chopped
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 cup spinach
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 slices sourdough toast
Remove the tofu from its packaging and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Preheat a pan over medium heat. Cube the tofu into large chunks and place into the pan with the olive oil. With a big wooden spoon, crush the tofu chunks to break them up and make them into a scramble and add turmeric for color, if desired. Cook for five minutes. Add the chopped zucchinis, tomato, and spinach. Cook for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, and top with salt and pepper. Finally, you’re ready to serve it with sourdough toast.
Lunch: Everything Salad
I love having a salad for lunch. It’s fast, fresh, and full of nutrients. The best part is salad doesn’t require any cooking time, so you’re ready to eat in no time. Substitute any of the veggies for whatever fresh ingredients you have in your fridge and choose whichever beans and nuts are your personal favorites to make this recipe your own.
The ingredients you need are:
- 1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cucumber, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- ½ cup walnut pieces
- 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup your favorite salad dressing
Combine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, carrot, celery, walnuts, and chickpeas in a large bowl. Top with salt, pepper, and your favorite salad dressing.
Dinner: Tofu Stir-Fry with Rice
This stir-fry is my go-to dinner when I’m short on time. The cooking time is really fast, and I love that you can substitute out the bok choy for cabbage, carrots, celery, or whatever vegetable is your favorite. Pro tip: Since you did all the cooking, ask one of your family members to do the dishes while you continue on with your busy day.
Your ingredients are:
- 1 block firm tofu
- ½ cup teriyaki sauce
- 4 cups white rice
- 1 cup chopped bok choy
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp. sesame seeds
Remove the tofu from its packaging and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Preheat a pan over medium heat. Cube the tofu into large chunks and place into the pan with the olive oil. Cover the tofu with teriyaki sauce and cook for five minutes. Cook rice per the instructions on the package in your rice cooker or on the stove (whichever is your preferred cooking method). Toss the tofu and cook for an additional five minutes. Add bok choy, red pepper flakes, and sesame seeds, and cook covered for an additional 10 minutes. Top the rice with the tofu stir-fry and serve.
Don’t let your diet suffer just because you’re pressed for time. Incorporate these 30-minute recipes into your weekly meal plan and enjoy healthy, delicious food without resorting to takeout. For additional healthy meals that fit into your busy schedule, try Sher’s slow cooker recipes and Maureen’s meatless kabobs and then share your favorites with us on Twitter!
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Why It’s Good
It's so easy to shirk balanced nutrition when we're busy and feeling stressed, but that's probably the most important time to be eating well. After all, busy days and fast food don't have to go hand in hand. These 30 minute recipes are quick, easy, delicious, and much healthier than eating greasy takeout. Your taste buds and your schedule will thank you!