Hi everyone, I'm looking for advice on weeknight dinners that can be fully prepared in 30 minutes or less OR things that take 30 minutes or less to prep and can be made in advance. I am working full-time with almost one-year-old twins and need a quick way to get a wholesome dinner on the table so that I don't have to spend my free evening hours cooking and/or waiting for my food to finish cooking. We go to bed early, so need to eat early and that's why I am looking for FAST recipes.
Generally I make dinner the night it will be eaten. I am not sure if strategies like cooking ahead on Sunday will work for me because I am currently not up for spending more than 1-2 hours per weekend day in the kitchen. But I'm open to hearing if big weekend prep strategies (like Food52's A New Way to Dinner) have worked for people. Open to hearing about favorite cookbooks that address these strategies as well.
-We generally eat whole, fresh foods and do not rely on prepared foods (but I do love a good fish stick taco!)
-We can't have pasta more than twice per week, maximum
-I have an Instant Pot but I'm not sure if it saves a lot of time, given the time required to come to and release pressure. If I'm wrong, educate me. If I can take 15 minutes from afternoon work to prep something in there and have it ready to eat after the babies go to bed, I'm interested.
-I'm not super keen on slow cooker fare (and have never used that function on my Instant Pot). I feel like a lot of the other threads on this topic recommend these types of meals.
-We are omnivores but eat vegetarian 2-3 times per week and happy to do more.
Some of our favorite dishes are Fuchsia Dunlop's vegetarian mapo tofu, pasta with Marcella Hazan's tomato, butter, & onion sauce, the salt & pepper pork chops from the Prune cookbook, and David Thompson’s stir-fried beef with basil, chile, & fried egg.
Perhaps this thread can also be useful to others in a similar situation. Thanks, and looking forward to discussing this topic.