51 More 30-Min Meal Ideas

If you’re like me, you think about food a lot. Recipes, especially. But for all of the recipes I have, I still struggle with easy dinner ideas every single night. I’m just as burnt out like the rest of you from trying to figure out meal ideas. So, here are 51 more that may be new to you ideas to keep in your back pocket.

Some of these look so delicious. I can’t wait to try a few of them this week.

Week Round Up

I was busy at work this week with the Easter rush. In addition, I woke up one morning with a crazy whiplash like pain on the left side of in my neck that ran down into my back, so it was hard to do anything when I wasn’t being paid to. All I wanted to do was sit or stand still until the pain went away eventually.

As a result of my immobility, we ended up eating a lot of quick things like chicken patties that I could give the McDonalds treatment to using my DIY McChicken sauce (1/2 C mayo + 1/2 teaspoon onion powder) and topping them with small tears of lettuce.

We also ordered in Swiss Chalet one night, and turned that Quarter Chicken dinner into chicken poutine on the fly by topping the fries with some grated mozzarella from my fridge and laying down the very hot Swiss Chalet dipping sauce to melt it.

At one point this week, this A&W coffee made up my dinner meal. I know, I know. Ugh.

A few nights ago I cooked some pan fried pizzas using some naan I had kicking around that needed to be used up. I bought some sauce (I really didn’t want to stand in front of a stove that night) and pepperoni. I added a few bits and bobs of veg and smothered each pizza with the last of the cheddar and the pepper jack cheeses. It went into the pan one at a time, and covered for up to 8 mins to crisp up the bottom and to melt the toppings.

Last night we uncovered the bbq smoker for the first time this year. It took us awhile to remember how to cook meat and in what order, but we got there eventually. I started with baked potatoes in foil as the temp started to rise from 200 up to 400. At that point, the chicken thighs were added to the grill. A bit later, the steaks went on.

Why do I think of The Ponderosa Steak House when I look at these steaks? *drooling*

 

Food Lurve

I could stare at this kimbap platter all day long. I tried to make it my desktop wallpaper, but it was far too busy and distracting, so I went back to my old boring picture. 🙂

I lurve me some Korean street food!

Different Taco Bowl Vehicles

Sometimes I want Mexican food, but I don’t want to have rice be a part of it. It’s just not what I’m in the mood for, the heavy starch. That’s when different vegetables can be turned into a delivery vehicle to get that delicious food into my greedy gob. Here are two I’m fond of. Give them a go.

Spicy Chickpea Stew

Spicy Chickpeas

Spicy Chickpeas

I love this recipe! I can’t wait to make it again this week.

(From the archives)

Spicy Chickpea Stew:
1 glug Olive Oil
1/2 C Onion, fine diced
1/2 tea Cumin
1 tea Yellow Curry
S&P
16 oz Diced Tomatoes, fresh or canned
16 oz Chickpeas, dried or canned
2 tea Dried Parsley

Sweat onions and seasoning in olive oil for five minutes. Add drained diced tomatoes; cook another 5-8 minutes. Add the chickpeas and parsley. Cook another ten minutes till the beans are soft but not mushy. Serve over rice of your choice. (optional)

This entry was posted on July 14, 2011.

Bowtie Ballsagna

(From the archives.)

Here is a dish I have been wanting to update for awhile now.

Bowtie Ballsagna:
2-3 C bowtie noodles
2-3 C fresh spinach
3 C homemade pasta sauce + 12oz of tomato puree
24-36 mini meatballs
6-8 fresh Thai basil leaves
2 C ricotta cheese with S&P to taste
2 C grated mozzarella and parmesan cheeses
2 C toasted breadcrumbs (optional)

Bowtime Ballsagna layering, from the bottom up:
Thin coating of pasta sauce (no meatballs)
Cooked bowtie pasta noodles
Pasta sauce with meatballs
Wilted spinach (in a thin covering)
Ricotta cheese
Cooked bowtie pasta noodles
Pasta sauce with meatballs
Wilted spinach (in a thin covering)
Ricotta cheese
Pasta sauce (no meatballs)
Mix of grated parmesan and mozzarella cheeses
Breadcrumbs (toasted, and optional)

Start by cooking your bowtie noodles in water that’s been generously salted. In a large non-stick pan, start wilting down the spinach with a small pinch of salt and a teaspoon of oil; set aside to cool when it’s all cooked down.

As you cook the pasta and wilt the spinach, reheat your prepared or jarred pasta sauce in a deep sauce pot. To this, add your freshly cooked (if you had time to make any, of course) or frozen meatballs, the tomato puree, some freshly picked and cleaned Thai hot basil (if using dry leaves, half the called for amount; whole or chiffonade) and freshly cracked black pepper. Let that cook long enough to heat the meatballs all the way through.

Note: If you don’t have fresh or dried out Thai hot basil leaves, fresh sweet basil will be fine in the sauce. We like a bit of zing in our lasagna sauce, so that’s why I grow Thai hot basil in my garden.

Scoop out a bit of the pasta sauce to spread all over the bottom of your lasagna pan thinly. Scoop out a few more spoonfuls of just the pasta sauce and set aside (this is for the topping). When your pasta is done cooking, drain it well. Layer more or less than half of the cooked pasta over the sauce in the lasagna dish. (Only use enough to cover the sauce, otherwise this lasagna will become very bulky.) Over the pasta, place a generous amount of sauce with half of the meatballs to cover the pasta noodles, but not much more.

Over the sauce and meatballs layer, lay half of your wilted spinach all over and top that with a few blobs of ricotta cheese; (I use a medium size offset spatula to) spread the ricotta over the spinach in an almost opaque layer. Top the ricotta with the second half of your pasta noodles and top them with the last of the sauce and meatballs. Top those with the last of the wilted spinach, and then top the spinach with the last few blobs of ricotta spread out and the reserved pasta sauce before finishing the lasagna with your two grated cheeses (and toasted breadcrumbs if you like).

Pasta Carbonara

Using the rule of five, you too can dive into a bowl of silky, luscious bacon pasta.

Pasta Carbonara:
5 oz Spaghetti
5 Bacon Strips
5 Egg Yolks
5 Cracks Black Pepper
.05 oz Parmesan Grate (the good stuff only)

As your water boils, pan fry the bacon and separate the yolks. Reserve the egg whites for something else, like adding a bit to oatmeal to up your protein intake, or use them to make some meringue cookies.

Add two teaspoons of salt to the boiling water and dump your pasta in. Immediately start to stir it around so it falls under the water line and it doesn’t stick together.

When the bacon is to your liking, remove to rest on paper towels for chopping when you can touch the strips without burning your fingerprints off. Keep stirring the spaghetti so it doesn’t clump up.

When the pasta is close to el dente, add a tablespoon or two to the yolks in a large bowl and whisk into the yolks quickly so the eggs don’t scramble. What you should have is a silky, shiny liquid egg custard. Add the cooked pasta in the bowl, top with the cheese, pepper, and bacon chops.

Toss it all together and add a bit more pasta water to loosen up the noodles as needed. As you twirl the spaghetti when you eat it, the strands should glide apart from each other because the sauce coats all of the noodles evenly and properly, not stick together like they were crazy glued together by all the cheese. Test it before you plate the noodles.

Serve with more cracks of fresh black pepper and a bit more parm on the side.

Auntie Stacey’s Taco Bowls

l love any recipe that cleans out my fridge. This is one I keep returning to over and over again. I know it seems like a lot of prep, but it’s fast, easy prep. Nothing too complicated or even expensive. Give it a go when you’re craving Mexican rice bowls but don’t want to leave the house or even pay $15 for one serving.

Auntie Stacey’s Mexican Spice Blend:
2 tea each: Onion Powder / Garlic Powder / Ground Cumin
1 tea ea: Black Pepper / Seasoning Salt
1/4 tea Ground Red Hot Chili Pepper Flakes

Auntie Stacey’s Mexican Rice Bowl:
1 cup Jasmine Rice, rinsed twice + 1 1/2 cup water
Pinch Salt
2 tea Mexican Spice Blend
1″ x 2″ knob of Unsalted Butter, cubed
1/4 cup Red Pepper, diced
3 fistfuls Frozen Corn
1/3 cup Pinto Beans, canned/rinsed

Basic Mexican Ground Beef:
1 tbsp Oil
1/4 small Onion, diced
1 lbs Ground Meat of choice
1 tbsp Mexican Spice Blend

Topping Selections:
1/2 Roma Tomato, diced
1/3 cup Marble Cheese, grated
1/4 cup Sour Cream
1/2 cup Leaf Green, 1″ x1″ torn pieces
Pickled Jalapeno Rings (optional)
Pickled Red Onion Slices (optional)
Salsa of choice (optional)

And if you have any leftover ingredients like the cheese, the meat and the rice blend,  mix them together and stuff them into some steamed bell pepper halves. Top with a bit more cheese grate if you have it.

A Burger For The Ages

I don’t make a lot of burgers by hand at home. When we do burgers, it’s typically store bought pre-formed and frozen for convenience only. The husband takes them to work fully cooked on the smoke bbq and cooled down, with a slice of cheese and anything else he wants to add to it on the fly.

I was cleaning out the two freezers last night (the one attached to the fridge, and our cube stand up mini freezer) and found some portioned ground pork in ziplock bags. I pulled them out thinking I can use it for a dinner this week. Not specifically anything like burgers, but sometimes I like to form them into a meatloaf or meatballs before even thinking about burgers.

Tonight I made burgers for a change of pace. And now my husband is demanding to be kept in the style to which he quickly became accustomed to (as of tonight). *sigh* Ok, fine. Here is what I made him:

Creole Burgers:
14 oz Ground Pork
3 tea Creole Dry Rub
I Egg
3/4 C Breadcrumbs (of your choice, though I used Italian flavoured)
1/4 C Parmesan Cheese, grated up

Don’t overwork the meat mixture as you combine everything. I measured out meat for three patties at 4.6/4.7/4.7 oz each. Each was hefty and fantastic. It was a tasty burger on its own that could forgo a bun if need be. But, of course we topped it with sauces, veg and lettuce from our herb garden.

I was spoiled Beyond when this truck showed up at my workplace.

I was, I suppose, trying to give that Beyond Meat burger I had earlier this week a run for its money. I think this burger is just as tasty as the meatless one. Similar flavour palette, same texture, same satisfying feeling in our tummies.

Try this burger recipe and tell me what you think.