These 30-Minute Meals Are Just What You Need During the Busy Holiday Season

Our easy dinner recipes will keep you and your family well fed even when your schedule is packed.

vegetable and black bean fried rice
Photo: Con Poulos

'Tis the season for office holiday parties, school performances, and festive get-togethers with friends and family. When there's a lot going on, optimizing weeknight dinners for speed and ease is essential—this ensures our collective sanity can be saved for the actual holidays that come along in December. To prove that busy days and healthy eating don't have to be mutually exclusive, we're sharing sensible strategies and stellar everyday dinner recipes that take just 30 minutes to make.

Pasta-e-Fagioli Pasta
Kate Sears

Use What You Have

If your place is the mothership for large gatherings over the holidays? Then you probably have some perfectly good produce leftover from that weekend party or dinner. Think of what's possibly languishing in the back of your crisper drawer, such as that quarter of an onion or hunk of cut butternut squash, and consider how you can transform it into a meal (or at least part of one) tonight. With the right recipe and resourceful attitude, these seemingly disparate parts can become a complete dinner in no time! Our recipe for Vegetable and Black-Bean Fried Rice, pictured at top, is practically designed for using up those small hunks of leftover produce. Another good option is an Italian comfort food classic with a twist: Pasta-e-Fagioli-Pasta, pictured here. Both ideas are vegetarian but can easily be modified for omnivores (perhaps with that leftover shredded turkey that you stashed in the freezer?).

quick broccoli frittata served with avocado
Frank Frances

Eat Breakfast for Dinner

Eating breakfast entrées for dinner can be a fun change to the routine, and breakfast recipes are often more affordable, easier, and quicker than traditional evening meals. This recipe for a Quick Broccoli Frittata, seen here, uses frozen broccoli to make getting a serving of vegetables extra easy; serve it alongside a big salad and crusty bread to make it a well-rounded meal. If you're a fan of the kind of breakfasts that come hot off the griddle, then you won't regret eating this Savory French Toast BLT no matter the time of day.

Andrew Purcell

Meet Store-Bought Ingredients Halfway

Reserve your energy for those special-occasion recipes you make once a year during December, and take advantage of the modern-day conveniences that the grocery store offers for the average weeknight dinner. Gnocchi with Quick Meat Sauce, pictured here, is a comforting weeknight meal that only takes 30 minutes to make. Our extra fast dinner of Chicken-Sausage and Asparagus uses the healthier option of pre-cooked chicken sausage. After it's sautéed in the skillet with crisp-tender asparagus and sliced red onion, you pile it on top of creamy cheese grits for a quick dinner that can be ready in just 20 minutes.

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