Family Friendly 30 Minute Meals
When you’ve got a busy family to feed, cooking healthy meals from scratch every day can feel like a mission. While it can seem easier to reach for convenient freezer foods or grab the takeaway menu, there are so many speedy recipes that you can rustle up in half an hour.
We’ve pulled together this list of crowd-pleasing dinners that are on the table faster than you can say ‘the delivery is on the way’!
Best of all, every recipe is packed with goodness, balanced for nutrition, and so tasty that even the fussiest of eaters will leave their plates clean.
Quick Pasta Recipes
Pasta for dinner isn’t anything out of the ordinary, but that’s why we (and the whole family) love it! There are so many different types of pasta, and a whole host of sauces and accompaniments to serve it with.
Some homemade pasta sauce recipes need to be sauteed, simmered and reduced for hours, and when you’ve got hungry mouths to feed, that ready-made jar from the supermarket can start to look appealing.
Our Creamy Tomato Pasta is a time-saving dish that proves that speedy sauces can pack in plenty of flavour. It’s mellow, creamy, ready in just half an hour and packed to the brim with veggies. Easy to adapt, you can tweak this recipe to suit your family – add more veggies, throw in some chicken, or spice it up with a dash of chilli powder.
When time is really of the essence, you might fancy something that involves minimal chopping and prepping. Our BLT Pasta Salad recipe only needs a handful of ingredients and it keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days – so you can even make it in advance.
Hearty and satisfying, you’ll want to set your pasta to boil before you start preparing the bacon and other salad ingredients. Mix it all together for a tasty dish that’s just as good for lunch as it is for dinner.
It can be tricky to plan food that the whole family is happy with, especially when everyone is out and about all day. When you need dinner on the table in a flash, turning a midweek favourite into a family-sized meal is super convenient.
Chicken fajitas always go down well in our house, and swapping out the wraps for pasta transforms this classic dish into an instant family favourite. In just 30 minutes, you can be sitting around the table together, tucking into this Chicken Fajita Pasta. It’s easy, tasty and freezer friendly too!
Fast Family Fakeaways
The takeaway menu is never more tempting than after a long day. While it can seem like a great option for feeding the family in a hurry, the reality is that by the time it gets delivered, you could have rustled up a much healthier home-cooked meal that’s just as tasty.
Instead of nipping out to the Chinese takeaway, this Fakeaway Chicken in Black Pepper Sauce can be ready in 30 minutes. It’s really flavourful and easy to adjust how peppery it is – so you can keep it mild if you’re serving it to the kids too.
Our recipe is the perfect portion for two people, but you can easily double or triple the quantities if you’ve got a bigger household to feed.
A trip to KFC might seem like it saves time, but it definitely doesn’t save pennies! You won’t feel like you’re missing out when you choose to stay home and whip up this KFC Rice Box instead. As well as money, it saves on calories, without losing out on crunchy coated, succulent chicken.
We’ve used our Savoury Rice recipe to complete this dish, but you could use pretty much any rice that you like. This adds a few minutes onto the prep time, but you can still serve up these rice boxes in just over half an hour.
How about a Fakeaway for those nights where you can’t quite decide what you fancy? These Burrito Burgers are the best of both cuisines – punchy Mexican flavours in a juicy, comforting burger.
You can make the fresh salsa while the burgers are cooking, and in just 20 minutes everything will be ready to serve. Add a handful of Homemade Oven Chips on the side and you’re onto a winner!
Speedy Lunch Ideas
It’s not only dinner time when things can be a bit hectic. When you don’t have long to grab lunch, it’s tempting to let the healthy eating plan go out the window. With a few speedy lunch ideas up your sleeve, you’ll always be able to rustle up something in a rush.
We love this Crustless Quiche Lorraine as a midday treat – it’s delicious hot or cold with a little side salad. The whole thing can be made from scratch in 30 minutes, and portioned up for all of the family to have a slice.
At 336 calories per serving, it’s filling, packed with protein and so satisfying that you’ll never miss the pastry.
Pizza for lunch? It might sound a little too indulgent for the middle of the day, but not if you try your hand at our yummy French Bread Pizza. It only takes 10 minutes to make this cheesy snack – and there are just 289 calories in each individual serving.
Our recipe only makes one, but you could easily grab a multipack of gluten-free finger rolls and let the whole family pick their own toppings. Seriously speedy, fun and super versatile!
On the theme of pizzas, these Chicken and Sweetcorn Pizza Calzone are a lunchtime family favourite! They use low calorie tortillas, but instead of rolling them up into the usual lunch wraps, we’ve turned them into hot, cheesy parcels of deliciousness.
You can have them on the table in just 20 minutes – and the filling is fair game. There’s all kinds of different flavour combos to choose from….how about Ham and Mushroom?
Sometimes you just crave the classics. Comfort food doesn’t have to take an age to cook from scratch, and we’ve got plenty of options for when you need cosy vibes in less time.
If your house is anything like ours, spag bol is one of our go-to midweek meals – that’s why we mixed it with another Italian classic to create this hearty Bolognese Risotto.
The whole family will enjoy sitting around the dinner table with a bowlful of this – scooping up the tomatoey risotto rice and all those meaty bolognese flavours. And if you’re thinking a risotto needs way more than 30 minutes to cook, we’ve got a nice surprise for you…this recipe can be made from scratch in half an hour!
When you think of family-friendly food, often there aren’t as many veggies in sight as when you cook just for the grown ups. If getting greens into the kids isn’t all that easy in your house, you’ll love this Sneaky Mac and Cheese.
As well as being speedy to make, we’ve hidden bucket loads of vegetables in the cheesy sauce, so you know everyone is getting all those vitamins and nutrients. This is so creamy and comforting, it’ll be an instant classic in your house.
Who feels like chicken tonight? It’s so handy to have a versatile chicken recipe in your back pocket for nights when time isn’t on your side. This Cheesy Topped Chicken never disappoints, and it’s just as tasty served with salad, chips or some steamed veggies.
Butterflying the chicken breast helps it to cook much more quickly, so it’ll be juicy and cooked all the way through in around 20 minutes. The crispy, cheesy topping is totally irresistible – your family will want this on the meal plan every week!
What are your favourite quick meals?
Which family friendly recipes make it onto your menu on busy days? For even more speedy dishes, don’t forget to pick up our Quick & Easy cookbook – it’s filled with tasty, hearty meals you can rustle up in no time.
We’d love to know what your go-to dishes are when you need dinner on the table in less than half an hour. Head on over to our Facebook group to let us know! With almost 1 million members, it’s the place to be if you ever need a little inspiration or motivation to help you along on your slimming journey.