Kirbie's Cravings

30 Minute Meals for Busy Weeknights

Sometimes it’s a challenge to make dinner during the week when times are busy, so I’ve rounded up some of my favorite 30-minute meals we like to make when there isn’t a lot of time to cook. Easy chicken dinner ideas, comforting pasta recipes, one-pot and sheet pan recipes plus some of my favorite easy low-carb meals are all here in one place for you to browse. I hope you find some new easy recipes to try.

overhead photo of sheet pan chicken fajitas

Chicken Dinner Recipes

When I need a quick and easy dinner during the week, more often than not, I turn to chicken to make it happen. Chicken is so versatile and cooks fast so it’s great to have on hand when you are pressed to get dinner on the table. Here are 12 of my favorite easy chicken recipes for you to try!

photo of chicken caprese in a skillet

Caprese Chicken | This 30-minute chicken dinner is a twist on Caprese salad. The chicken is drizzled with balsamic glaze and served with blistered tomatoes and fresh basil.

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas | Your favorite Mexican restaurant dish made easy at home with a sheet pan! Serve the fajitas with tortillas or low carb tortillas and all of your favorite toppings for an easy weeknight meal.

Bang Bang Chicken Lettuce Wraps | These chicken lettuce wraps are an easy and tasty meal ready in less than 30 minutes. Lettuce leaves are filled with ground chicken that is topped with an addictive bang bang sauce.

Baked Honey Garlic Chicken | Crunchy baked chicken pieces coated in a simple honey garlic sauce is one of my favorite easy weeknight dinners.

overhead photo of chicken lettuce wraps

P.F. Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps | No need to go out when you’re craving lettuce wraps. This homemade copycat recipe for P.F. Chang’s chicken lettuce wraps are easy to make and taste just like the restaurant version.

Bruschetta Chicken Zucchini Noodles | If you’re craving a light dinner with tons of fresh flavor, this chicken and zucchini noodle recipe is for you. Inspired by bruschetta it’s loaded with fresh tomatoes and basil.

Baked Orange Chicken | Take-out orange chicken can be on the unhealthier side of things, so I created this homemade orange chicken that’s lighter and healthier than what you might get from a restaurant. You still get crispy chicken with the delicious orange sauce, but it’s baked instead of fried.

Kung Pao Chicken | This is one of my favorite Chinese restaurant dishes to make at home. It’s a simple stir-fry with just a few ingredients that’s easy enough to make on a weeknight.

photo of chopsticks holding a piece of chicken

Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken | Bites of chicken coated in a flavorful honey garlic sauce for an easy meal that is cooked in the Instant Pot. It’s a one-pot dish that’s ready in less than 30 minutes with minimal clean-up.

Sheet Pan Teriyaki Chicken | This is another easy clean-up dinner but this time chicken teriyaki with fresh vegetables bake in the oven on a sheet pan.

Healthier Honey Sriracha Chicken | Chicken in a sweet and spicy sauce is a great weeknight meal.

Healthier Honey Sesame Chicken | This healthier honey sesame chicken recipe takes only about 20 minutes, making it a quick and easy weeknight dinner.

Pasta and Noodle Recipes

When busy weeks happen, sometimes all I want is a comforting plate of pasta or noodles for dinner. Whether it’s in the Instant Pot or on the stovetop, all of these pasta and noodles recipes are ready to serve in less than 30 minutes.

overhead photo of a plate of spaghetti

Instant Pot Spaghetti | Instead of slow cooking a meat sauce on the stove I like to use my Instant Pot to make spaghetti. Everything cooks together (including the pasta!) so you can serve up hot bowls of spaghetti in about 30 minutes.

One Pot Pizza Pasta | All you need is one pot and two easy steps to make this comforting pizza pasta. The creamy tomato sauce and pasta cook together in one pot. Add some pepperoni and cheese and you get a fun twist on pizza.

Avocado Pesto Pasta | Pasta tossed in a creamy avocado sauce flavored with pesto is a super simple weeknight dinner. Plus, you can serve it hot or at room temperature. Be sure to check out my Creamy Avocado Pasta and my Avocado Pasta with Bacon, too.

One Skillet Lasagna | Is there anything more comforting than a bubbling hot lasagna? I love it, but a traditional lasagna can be a pain to make with all the steps. This lasagna is made on the stovetop in a single skillet so you get all of the cozy flavors of lasagna without all the work and mess.

chopsticks photo picking up lo mein

Instant Pot Lo Mein | You won’t order take-out lo mein again once you try this easy lo mein in the Instant Pot. It’s ready to go in the time you would wait for delivery!

One Pot Macaroni and Cheese | Beware this one-pot macaroni and cheese because it’s so easy and delicious you’ll want to make it every night! It’s extra cheesy and ready in 20 minutes.

Sesame Noodles | Another take-out favorite made easy at home! This is a quick and easy way to satisfy your cravings for take-out.

One Pot Creamy Tomato Pasta | Another one-pot pasta recipe. This easy pasta dinner has a creamy tomato sauce and everything cooks in the same pot on the stove.

overhead photo of a skillet of taco pasta

One Pot Taco Spaghetti | This pasta recipe is a fun twist for Taco Tuesday. Instead of wrapping up taco fillings in tortillas everything is cooked together with spaghetti for a quick and easy dinner.

Instant Pot Garlic Parmesan Macaroni and Cheese | This flavorful macaroni and cheese is so easy. All you do is cook the pasta with water, garlic, butter and spices for four minutes in your Instant Pot. By the time it’s done the pasta is cooked and you just add cheese and milk. The mac and cheese is creamy and so delicious. Or, if you want a more traditional version, try my Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese made with cheddar cheese.

Bang Bang Shrimp Pasta | I love bang bang sauce and for this dish, I combined it with pasta and shrimp for a super easy weeknight dinner. I’ve also made Skinny Bang Bang Pasta which has a lightened-up sauce.

One Pot Alfredo Pasta | This one pot recipe is perfect for a weeknight. All you do is combine a handful of ingredients in one pot, simmer it and it’s ready to serve.

Easy Low-Carb Meals

Here are some of my favorite easy low-carb recipes we like to make when we’re trying to eat a little healthier. If you want even more ideas you might like to check out my Low-Carb and Keto recipe collections, too.

close-up photo of chinese pepper steak

Chinese Pepper Steak | This is an easy stir-fry recipe. Tender slices of beef cooked with bell peppers in a savory sauce is a quick 30-minute dinner. Serve with your favorite rice substitute.

Sheet Pan Beef and Broccoli | This take-out favorite is so easy to make at home. Everything cooks together on a sheet pan!

Stuffed Pepper Tuna Melts | These stuffed peppers are a fun twist on a tuna melt sandwich. They’re low-carb and easy to make.

photo of avocado halves stuffed with tuna salad

Tuna Salad Avocado Boats | If you want a light, fresh and low-carb dinner, these stuffed avocados are one of my favorite easy dinners.

Szechuan Beef | This easy Szechuan beef tastes as good as a restaurant version. Tender slices of beef are cooked in a savory spicy sauce – from start to finish it only takes about 30 minutes to make.

Sheet Pan Cauliflower Rice | This low-carb fried rice is made with cauliflower, veggies and chicken. Plus, it’s baked in the oven on one sheet pan!

overhead photo of a skillet of taco zucchini noodles

One Pot Taco Zucchini Noodles | I make this easy zucchini noodles dish when we’re craving taco pasta. It has all the flavors of the original dish but lightened up with spiralized zucchini.

Sheet Pan Garlic Butter Steak and Eggs | Do you like breakfast for dinner? This sheet pan garlic butter steak with eggs is a fun and delicious way to get a breakfast fix for a weeknight dinner.

Garlic Butter Steak Bites with Zucchini Noodles | Tender bites of steak flavored with butter and garlic with zucchini noodles is a quick and easy low-carb dinner that’s perfect for weeknights.

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