Easy Back-to-School 30 Minute Dinner Ideas

True confession. When I was in college I was borderline obsessed with Rachel Ray’s 30 Minute Meals on Food Network. Any of my friends can attest to this. I know a lot of people find her annoying or overly cheery, but seriously, you’ve got to hand it to her. 30 minutes? And dinner is done? With a smile? Yes, yes, and yes. These days I would consider myself more of a Barefoot Contessa or Pioneer Woman convert, but I will never forget my Rachel Ray days.

But let’s get back to why we’re really here. 30 Minute Meals. The weeknight’s best friend. It’s just, sometimes Pinterest finds require so much prep that they’re really more weekend projects and less get-dinner-on-the-table-now. Since most of us are preparing (or already) back-to-school, it’s time for quick, easy, crowd-pleasing dinners. Even though Harper has quite a few years before she starts school, my husband Eric is a high school teacher, so we are all about the 30 Minute weeknight meal.

So in honor of back-to-school time, today I am sharing 5 Pinterest finds, all of which can be made in 30 minutes! When you try one of these recipes, let me know how it turns out and how much time it took you! I have made all of these recipes before, some multiple times (turkey chili mac), and can attest to the fact that they can all be made around the 30 minute time frame (this of course really depends on how many times you have to stop Harper from trying to climb the stairs).

Amazing ideas for 30 Minute Meals all found on Pinterest. Definitely need to pick out some of these to try for back to school!

Are you ready? Time starts now!

Meatless Monday: Spicy Whole Wheat Pasta with Roasted Red Peppers (leave out sausage, add chickpeas for meatless)

Taco Tuesday: Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas

Wednesday: Easy Cheesy Turkey Chili Mac

Thursday: Sesame Mango Chicken Teriyaki (use storebought teriyaki to save time – we like the Organicville brand)

Fun Friday: Buffalo Chicken French Bread Pizzas or Buffalo Chicken Skewers 

Bonus 30 Minute Dessert: M&M Oreo Cookie Bars (for a healthier version use Newman O’s or Back-to-Nature Classic Creme Cookies instead of Oreos and SunDrops instead of M&Ms)


Pinterest Pro-Tip: Use Pinterest like you would Google. In the search bar, type in a key word. Below, you can see I typed in “30 Minutes” – then I selected “Your Pins” – so any pins that have the key word “30 Minutes” in the description will show up. Easy! You could also search “All Pins” but usually I like to see what I’ve already pinned before I go searching for more (aka the blackhole that is Pinterest).

Easy, 30 Minute Meal Ideas to get dinner on the table fast!
What’s your go-to weeknight meal? Share below!

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  • Sarah Louise
    August 23, 2016 at 1:04 PM

    I also like to just plan out like 3 meals and have a couple nights for leftovers! Less cooking and planning 🙂
    Sarah | http://www.sugarmaplenotes.com

    • Marla
      August 23, 2016 at 2:44 PM

      Yes! That is always a good strategy. I used to hate leftovers, then I had a baby. Now I love them!

  • Christina Rambo
    August 23, 2016 at 2:55 PM

    I am always looking for fast meals. I love that you do Meatless Monday too!!

    • Marla
      August 23, 2016 at 3:13 PM

      Yay! We always make it a point to do that every week. Easy on the budget and we feel good about doing it!

  • beansandpeanut
    August 23, 2016 at 4:01 PM

    These sounds delicious! Pinning for sure!

    • Marla
      August 23, 2016 at 9:07 PM


  • Jenni Laplow
    August 23, 2016 at 6:59 PM

    Yum! Sign me up for Fun Friday! My family is a big fan of buffalo chicken meals 🙂

    • Marla
      August 23, 2016 at 9:08 PM

      Right? Something so addictive about it!

  • Naya @ Lactivist in Louboutins
    August 23, 2016 at 10:16 PM

    We started school this week and we. are. beat. You’ve got so many great ideas. I pinned this post for reference when meal planning! Thank you!

    • Marla
      August 24, 2016 at 7:51 AM

      Thank you! Yay! So glad to help 🙂

  • Jenna
    August 24, 2016 at 9:13 AM

    I was totally obsessed with Rachel Ray in college too! I used to make her meals all the time back then! She did get annoying but I still adored her perkiness. These recipes are great ideas for quick meals on busy nights!

    • Marla
      August 28, 2016 at 8:23 PM

      Haha, yay! Glad I’m not alone there.

  • sayhellonature
    August 25, 2016 at 11:50 AM

    These all sound delicious! Love quick meals during the week.

    • Marla
      August 25, 2016 at 12:00 PM

      Busy moms lifesaver!

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  • GiGi Eats Celebrities
    September 1, 2016 at 11:08 PM

    I eat out a TON unfortunately – but if I do cook at home – SALMON!!! Salmon is ALWAYS my go-to!! 😀

    • Marla
      September 2, 2016 at 2:25 PM

      We love salmon around here! Especially grilled. Although I love saving money, I actually LOVE eating out more (no dishes!!)