When it’s getting colder out and you’ve had a busy day, there’s nothing like ending the evening with a piping hot meal. But if said hot meal takes almost an hour to put together, the idea of it goes from soothing to stressful, fast.
If you don’t want to spend ages cooking but also don’t want to resort to packaged microwave dinners, there’s a happy medium! These 29 warm dinner ideas can be whipped up in 30 minutes or less, so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time curled up on the couch.
Beef and Pork
Just a few pantry staples–canned tomatoes, basic spices—make this meat sauce a breeze to put together. With lots of ground beef, olives, and feta cheese, it’s a delicious cross between a Bolognese, a puttanesca, and a Greek pasta.
Be sure to have your veggies chopped, your steak seasoned, and your sauce prepped before you heat up the skillet for this speedy stir-fry. The components are all cooked in separate shifts, but once they start hitting the pan, everything comes together in a flash.
Instead of a crust, the pepperoni, cheese, and tomato sauce here get piled onto zucchini noodles. Is it pizza? Is it pasta? Call it by any name (pizzasta?) and it would be just as tasty (that’s the lesser-known Shakespeare quote).
Joined by garlic, soy sauce, and cayenne pepper, the honey in the marinade for this tenderloin provides just enough sugar to lend a touch of sweetness and form an irresistible glaze on top of the meat. One note: You do need to let the meat marinate overnight, but all it needs is 15 minutes in the oven once you’re ready to eat.
A splash of wine makes pretty much any recipe instantly fancier. A generous pour of white into this meat, beans, and veggies dish kicks the elegance factor up a notch, making it a great choice whether you need a quick meal to entertain or just want to whip up something speedy for yourself.
This easy pepper steak is a simple yet satisfying dinner for when you want a balanced meal without putting too much effort—or too many ingredients—into it. Although the work is minimal, the taste is super satisfying thanks to the Worcestershire sauce and the light but buttery roux.
It doesn’t get more comforting than a hearty bowl of stew to warm you right up on colder evenings. This one, featuring both chorizo and chickpeas, is a protein all-star too.
There’s something about pearl onions that feels retro and gourmet, and their mild flavor goes perfectly with the peaches in this unique chicken dinner. With garlic, rosemary, and Dijon mustard cutting through the syrupy fruit, this meal is a great example of how sweet and savory flavors can co-mingle.
Save the cool slaws and the fresh salsas for summer weather. This recipe opts for a warm chicken, black bean, and corn filling so you can keep taco Tuesdays going strong all through winter.
The fad these days is turning zucchini into noodles, but here’s something even more fun: turning zucchini into boats! Scoop out the seeds; fill the cavity with sauce, veggies, turkey sausage, and cheese; and you’ve got a low-carber’s pizza dreams come true.
Most chilis need to take their time on the stove to taste as good as possible. This one not only cuts down the number of ingredients needed to just five, but it also makes sure that each one packs a punch, from the sweet potatoes to the spicy taco seasoning and cayenne. With all that intense flavor going on, no wonder it only needs 25 minutes before it’s ready to dig into.
This spicy chicken and sauce dish will make you feel like a master chef in your own kitchen. Plus, unlike most oven-cooked casseroles, it’s made on the stove, meaning it comes together a lot faster.
Give this Italian classic a Mexican twist with layers of tortillas instead of pasta, salsa instead of tomato sauce, plenty of beans, and cumin stepping in for the oregano. You’ll go loco for this lasagna.
Most risottos take upward of an hour to make. Thank goodness for this shortcut dish. A “sauce” made of flour, butter, chicken broth, and milk gives it that signature risotto-like creaminess, but it takes about half the time to whip up.
Sweet potatoes, kale, and turkey make it onto practically every “good-for-you" food list out there. Putting all three into one dish is healthy enough, but add some creamy, protein-rich goat cheese on top like this recipe does, and you’re really winning at eating well.
Seafood + citrus = always a success. Instead of just the usual lemon, though, this recipe gets creative by adding a splash of orange juice and fresh orange slices to give this superfood dinner some subtle sweetness.
If you’ve got leftover rice on hand, give it a second life by sautéeing it up with shrimp, veggies, and sausage. This is one version of fried rice you’d never find at your local Chinese take-out joint.
You hear piccata, you might think pats and pats of butter. This recipe knows how to cut the richness without compromising flavor. There are just two tablespoons of butter here, but paired with a bit of heart-healthy olive oil, it’s more than enough to make the lemony, garlicky sauce that coats the shrimp.
The oven is one of the best ways to cook eggplant, since roasting it often takes away its bitterness and brings out a deliciously smoky flavor. And when it’s combined with Mediterranean ingredients like olive oil and cumin, and stuffed with a healthy tuna mixture, you’ll be craving it every day of the week.
Scallops cook super quickly, which makes them ideal for dishes you don’t want to spend ages making. Another time-saver? Using butternut squash for the “rice.” The veggie cooks much faster than the grain—and makes this dish Paleo-friendly.
Rather than a rich tomato or a heavy cream sauce, this spaghetti recipe opts simply for some olive oil and herbs to stay bright and light. This is also a great way to elevate canned tuna from the depths of your pantry to make it the absolute star of the dish.
Not only does this recipe come together in just 22 minutes, it also requires next to no work on your time other than mixing and drizzling a dressing on top of the fish and veggies. The oven takes over the rest, turning the salmon into succulent flakiness and the miso-based sauce into a fragrant glaze.
No need to pick between a salad and carby comfort for dinner. This recipe gives you the best of both worlds, using a whole-grain pasta variety, plenty of green veggies, and even chickpeas for some vegan protein.
When you’re tired of cold salads—or it’s just too chilly for them—get your produce fix with this warm French dish. Sautéed in a blend of olive oil, paprika, and herbs de Provence, the veggies are so tasty, it’s easy to see why Pixar considered this dish movie worthy.
This nondairy, oil-free take on an Indian-inspired korma trades out the cream and butter for coconut milk, so vegans can get in on that velvety gravy too. Packed with cauliflower, carrots, and peas, this is also a great way to eat your veggies while feeling like you’re being decadent.
Long before it was cool to put turmeric in lattes and oatmeal, it was a staple ingredient in Indian cuisine. Take the golden root back to its… well, roots, with this earthy, mildly spiced bowl, where turmeric and coconut infuse the red lentils and cauliflower steps in for rice.
If you thought chickpeas were boring, try them this way and then we’ll talk. Covered in a spicy tomato gravy and served on top a creamy, goat cheese-studded polenta, they’ll blow you away.
Filled with veggies and pasta, minestrone is a pretty hearty soup already. This recipe makes it even more main meal worthy by adding butternut squash cubes and kale, while still keeping the ingredient list to under 10 items.