Getting back into a weeknight mealtime routine is always a challenge. With after-school activities, play dates and homework to supervise, life gets busy. But these 25 dinners are on the table in 30 minutes or less, so you can do it all and still have time for wholesome, flavourful weeknight dinners.
With the addition of cumin’s smoky spice, this classic comfort food gets a Tex-Mex flavour makeover.
Tip: Serve leftovers over spaghetti and top with shredded Monterey Jack for a Tex-Mex pasta night.
Shiitake mushrooms and beef broth provide the flavour base for an easy stew that tastes like it’s been bubbling on the stove all day.
Tip: Cover leftovers with a sheet of puff pastry and bake in an ovenproof pan at 375ºF (190ºC) until lightly browned, and you’ve got a shortcut pot pie.
Hoisin sauce, honey and rice wine vinegar form a sweet and sour meatball sauce that comes together in minutes, so you can focus on the important things—like game night with the neighbours or planning your holiday party.
Tip: Replace rice with quick-cooking rice noodles or store-bought fresh noodles for an even shorter prep time.
Garlicky pork is complemented by buttery smashed potatoes, which are pre-cooked in the microwave to save loads of time.
Tip: Want to dial up the salad’s flavour? Substitute bitter kale or peppery arugula for the baby spinach.
The crunch of this family favourite is balanced by bright, tangy dill in the accompanying cucumber salad.
Tip: Serve leftover schnitzel on a bread roll for dinner on the go.
Ginger seasoning paste is the secret ingredient in this one-pan dinner. Adding broccoli to the sauce ensures that everyone will enjoy eating their vegetables, too.
Tip: Make an extra batch of the five-ingredient stir-fry sauce and store it in the refrigerator for up to four days.
Crunchy Fish Sticks
Crunchier than traditional breadcrumbs, panko breadcrumbs mean that nobody will miss deep-fried fish sticks. Serve with plenty of lemon wedges and tartar sauce.
Tip: A simple salad dressed with oil and vinegar is the perfect side to balance a breaded main.
Lemon-Ginger Chicken & Broccoli
Bright lemon (zest and juice) is the star of this recipe. Combined with fresh ginger, sweet honey and salty soy sauce, it hits all the right flavour notes.
Tip: Chop up leftover chicken and broccoli, and use it as a filling for lunch box wraps or tacos.
A sharp mustard and brown sugar glaze takes salmon to the next level, while roasted radishes make for a colourful, spicy sidekick.
Tip: Try carrots, asparagus or zucchini as an alternative to snow peas. They pair well with the roasted radishes and cook quickly.
Salty, sweet and spicy—olives, capers, cherry tomatoes and hot pepper flakes bring this Mediterranean pasta dish to life. A simple toss-and-serve main like this is your best friend on a hectic night.
Tip: Sprinkle with small cubes of salty feta and toasted nuts for extra festive flair.
There is nothing better than sitting down after a long day and indulging in a taste of Canada’s East Coast. Featuring a variety of seafood and veggies, this dish goes perfectly with a crusty baguette.
Tip: Add bacon, thyme and jalapeño for a spicy kick to this soup.
Seafood can be your friend when it comes to putting delicious and nutritious meals on the table in under 30 minutes. Tilapia is popular because of its mild flavour and 12-month availability, usually at a budget-friendly price. This savoury dish is brimming with greens.
Tip: Sub out the spinach for kale for a different and even more fibrous green.
This recipe combines three classic Canadian ingredients: beer, bacon and mussels. If we didn’t have you at beer, bacon and mussels – this dish comes together in one pan, so cleanup is a breeze.
Tip: Swap in clams if you can’t find mussels.
The honey-and-hoisin sauce combo offers a sweet contrast to spinach, carrots and cabbage. This Asian-inspired recipe is easy to multiply if you want to turn this 30-minute dinner into a tasty next-day lunch.
Tip: Use leftover rice or plain pasta, or top it with a fried egg and serve with Asian-style hot sauce and soy sauce.
The jalapeño peppers give this 20-minute stew some serious bite — non-spice lovers, beware!
Tip: If you aren’t into heat, sweet green bell peppers in place of the jalapeños will be more your thing.
Ready in just 30 minutes, this cook-off-worthy chili recipe is budget-friendly, as it uses chicken thighs.
Tip: Come home to a ready-made dinner! In the morning, throw everything into your slow cooker, nestling the chicken thighs into the bean mixture. After simmering for six to eight hours on low, gently remove the chicken, chop and stir chunks of it into the chili.
Busy fall nights call for a taste of the season. This meal-sized salad brings together sweet root veggies, a honey sauce and savoury pork.
Tip: A mandolin will make slicing the carrots, radishes and celery a breeze.
The turkey adds a twist to traditional carbonara (which uses bacon), while the creamy sauce elevates this dish above usual pasta-night fare.
Tip: Use trusty spaghetti if you don’t have capellini or spaghettini.
Stir-fry recipes are a great go-to for busy weeknights. Store-prepared vegetable stir-fry mix cuts down even further on your prep time. This recipe is on the table in just 25 minutes.
Tip: Make the dish meat-free by swapping in equal amounts of extra-firm tofu for the shrimp.
Mired in the routine of busy fall schedules, it is important to get creative with your weeknight dinners. You may not always think of nachos as a meal, but these nachos are hearty enough to fill you up after a long day. They are the perfect dinner if you want to kick up your feet and watch baseball playoffs or some weeknight football.
Tip: Try fresh jalapeño peppers if you don’t have pickled ones.
The lemon-ginger sauce makes this a zesty dish, and the broccoli helps boost the nutrition.
Tip: For a little more spice, add 1/2 tsp (2 mL) chili flakes to the sauce.
With whole wheat pasta and a variety of vegetables, this Mediterranean-inspired dish is a handy way to use leftover veggies.
Tip: Sprinkle toasted pine nuts on top for added crunch.
Store-made Italian-style meatballs are the secret to this 30-minute kid-friendly dish, and the potato-carrot mash is a welcome twist on traditional mashed potatoes.
Tip: Spice things up with store-made sriracha meatballs instead of the Italian variety.
Thick breadcrumb-coated eggplant slices are downright delicious, and after two minutes under the broiler, the bread will be lightly toasted and the Parmesan cheese bubbling.
Tip: For a more protein-heavy sandwich, add slices of prosciutto or ham before baking, or substitute half the cheese with grated tofu.