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Ready, Set, Cook! 20 Delicious Meals in 30 Minutes or Less

Pressed for time, but still want to make fresh, tasty meals for your family? These 20 meals in 30 minutes or less will make your mealtimes a breeze!

Everyone loves a quick meal that they don’t have to spend the entire evening preparing, eating, and cleaning up.

Unfortunately, though, that often means fast food or take-out, neither of which are good for the waistline or the wallet.

Well, recipes like these are the solution.

They can be just as fast as stopping at the restaurant down the road and waiting for your order to be ready, and are much tastier and healthier.

For example, check out the restaurant-quality Sriracha Shrimp Salad, which packs a whopping 25 grams of protein, or the Walnut & Rosemary Oven-Fried Chicken, which uses extra crispy panko, walnuts, and fresh rosemary to make a baked chicken dinner that only seems fried (and comes in at less than 300 calories per serving!).

So, give these quick and easy recipes a try and you can thank me later for all the extra time in your schedule. 🙂

Enjoy!

Sweet & Sour Glazed Pork Chops

Serves 4

If you don’t want to overcook pork chops, start by searing them in a pan for a couple minutes on each side. Then while the chops roast in the oven, whisk together a sweet and sour glaze. It’s made with balsamic vinegar, honey, and dried herbs.

This is an easy entrée to pair any side dish, like roasted root vegetables, mashed cauliflower, or quinoa.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

393

Calories

38 g

Protein

16 g

Carbs

19 g

Fat

Ingredients

Pork Chops:

4 bone-in pork chops (about 8 oz. each)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Sweet & Sour Glaze:

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

3 Tbsp. pure honey

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. dried basil

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

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Sriracha Shrimp Salad

Serves 2

To have a restaurant-quality salad, you only need a handful of ingredients and about 15 minutes. And with a half-pound of shrimp, there’s enough protein in this to count as a light entrée or lunch. Yet because there’s avocado, this has lots of healthy fats to keep you full.

The salad can go with a variety of dressings, but if you make this jalapeno lime dressing from scratch, there’ll be lots left to stash in the fridge (about 10 servings, to be exact).

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

423

Calories

25 g

Protein

25 g

Carbs

29 g

Fat

Ingredients

Shrimp Salad:

1/2 lb. small shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp. Sriracha

1 tsp. minced garlic

8 oz. heart of Romaine lettuce

1/2 cup corn kernels

1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1 large avocado, sliced

Lime Jalapeno Ranch Dressing:

3/4 cup low-fat sour cream

3/4 cup lite mayo

1 Tbsp. lime juice

1 Tbsp. ranch seasoning

1 jalapeno, deseeded and diced

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Lemon Chicken with Asparagus

Serves 4

This chicken and asparagus might look gourmet, but it’s actually an awesome meal to make when you’re short on time and energy. Along with a couple pantry staples, all you need in addition to the chicken and asparagus are some items to make the honey butter sauce.

Then this 5-ingredient dinner is finished with lemon slices. Since they can be bitter, you can think of the lemons as fancy-looking garnish that contributes flavor to the overall dish.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

303

Calories

35 g

Protein

8 g

Carbs

14 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 Tbsp. butter, divided

1 tsp. lemon pepper seasoning

2 cups chopped asparagus

2 lemons, sliced

2 Tbsp. honey

Fresh parsley (optional garnish)

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Chicken, Lentil & Bacon Stew

Serves 8

With a pressure cooker, it’s possible to make a 30-minute stew with two kinds of meat – and you don’t have to start with precooked chicken. That’s definitely impressive, but it’s nothing compared to the fact that you can pressure cook dried lentils in a half hour.

There’s no need to soak them overnight. Crisp the bacon and soften the onions in the pot first, and then add everything else to pressure cook for 20 minutes.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

538

Calories

44 g

Protein

18 g

Carbs

32 g

Fat

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

8 oz. bacon (or pancetta), cut into 1/2” lardons

1 medium onion, diced

2 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

8 oz. dried French lentils

12 sprigs fresh parsley, roughly chopped

2 bay leaves

2 1/2 lb. bone-in, skin-on chicken drumsticks and thighs

1 quart low-sodium chicken stock

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tsp. sherry vinegar (or more to taste)

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Baked Tilapia with Radish Relish

Serves 4

This dinner is pure protein thanks to the nutritional profile of tilapia. And the radishes contribute health benefits and flavor too, only they barely contribute to the total calories.

For a low-calorie dinner, serve with a green salad or veggies. If you need to get some carbs in, choose a side dish like brown rice or quinoa.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

230

Calories

47 g

Protein

2 g

Carbs

4 g

Fat

Ingredients

4 boneless skinless tilapia filets (8 oz. each)

1/8 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/2 lemon, thinly sliced

1 bunch radishes, trimmed and finely chopped

1 green onion, trimmed and thinly sliced

2 Tbsp. drained capers, chopped

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

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Herb & Caper Crusted Salmon

Serves 4

Don’t let delicious parsley and dill go to waste. It can be hard to use up a whole bunch of herbs, and this is one delicious way to do it.

Start by chopping them up roughly with garlic and capers, and combine with lemon zest and red chili flakes. Rub down the salmon filets with olive oil, cover in the fresh herb mixture, and bake for just a few minutes to finish.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

361

Calories

37 g

Protein

3 g

Carbs

22 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 cup loosely packed parsley leaves

2 Tbsp. fresh dill

1 1/2 Tbsp. drained capers

Zest of 1 lemon

2 cloves garlic

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pinch of red pepper flakes

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

4 salmon filets (about 6 oz. each)

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Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

Serves 2

Instead of ordering greasy takeout, try this vegetable pad Thai, which uses spaghetti squash instead of rice noodles. Since the stir-fried spaghetti squash can be both tender and crunchy, it adds great texture as well as flavor to this tofu pad Thai.

And if you prefer meat, use this trick to reduce calories and carbs in beef or chicken pad Thai too.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

441

Calories

14 g

Protein

47 g

Carbs

25 g

Fat

Ingredients

Pad Thai:

1/2 medium spaghetti squash

2 1/2 Tbsp. peanut oil

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced

2 large eggs, whisked

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 scallions, cut into 1” pieces

1/2 cup bean sprouts

2 Tbsp. chopped peanuts

Lime wedges, to serve

Fresh cilantro, for garnish

Sauce:

2 Tbsp. tamarind paste (or rice wine vinegar)

2 Tbsp. fish sauce

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

2–4 Tbsp. water, to thin

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Pesto Turkey Burger

Serves 4

Because it’s such a lean meat, ground turkey can dry out more easily than beef. That’s why these turkey burgers have a touch of pesto and crumbled feta. The olive oil in the pesto makes the burger patties tender and juicy while amping up the flavor.

These pesto burgers are good with simple toppings like tomato and cucumber slices, as well as Mediterranean sauces like tzatziki and hummus.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

307

Calories

32 g

Protein

11 g

Carbs

15 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 1/4 lb. lean ground turkey

2 Tbsp. basil pesto

1 tsp. minced garlic

1/2 cup crumbled feta

2 tsp. salt, divided

1/2 cup bread crumbs

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Skinny Zuppa Toscano

Serves 6

With Italian sausage, cauliflower, and kale, you can make a soup from scratch in a half hour. It’s inspired by the zuppa Toscano from Olive Garden, but has healthy substitutions. It has cauliflower instead of potatoes, turkey sausage and bacon, plus kale for good measure.

To make this 30-minute soup, sook the sausage while boiling cauliflower in a pot of chicken stock. Half the cauliflower gets pureed, and then everything is mixed together and warmed to the perfect serving temperature.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

376

Calories

30 g

Protein

21 g

Carbs

19 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 1/4 lb. lean Italian turkey sausage

1 sweet onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 medium heads cauliflower, chopped

4 cups chicken stock

1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk

4 cups fresh kale, thinly sliced

1/2 cup (2 oz.) grated Parmesan

4 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

6 slices turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled

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Lasagna in a Skillet

Serves 4

When you make lasagna in a skillet instead of in a casserole dish, it comes together in just 15 minutes. Not only is it a quick pasta dinner, but it’s a great use for broken noodles because they don’t have to lie flat to get the layers right.

This lazy lasagna begins with browning the beef and onions. Then the pasta, pour the sauce on top, and put the lid on the pan. Add cheese once the noodles are tender, and serve when it’s melted.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

580

Calories

46 g

Protein

53 g

Carbs

21 g

Fat

Ingredients

1/2 lb. lean ground beef

1/2 lb. pork breakfast sausage

2 cups diced onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

10 lasagna noodles, broken into quarters

1 can (10 oz.) diced tomatoes

1 cup tomato sauce

2 cups water

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup (4 oz.) shredded part-skim mozzarella

4 oz. fresh mozzarella

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Thai Steak Tacos

Serves 4 (Makes 8)

Steak tacos are normally filled with carne asada, thin strips of beef marinated in white vinegar, garlic, Jalapeno, and lime. This Thai version uses similar ingredients but with Asian influences like rice wine vinegar, chili garlic paste, and fish sauce.

Serve with a simple cucumber salad or green papaya salad, which can be made the day before.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

522

Calories

27 g

Protein

39 g

Carbs

28 g

Fat

Ingredients

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

2 Tbsp. pure honey

1 Tbsp. fish sauce

1 Tbsp. chili garlic paste

1 tsp. toasted sesame oil

Zest and juice of 1 lime

1 lb. boneless New York strip steak

1/2 cup lite mayo

1 Tbsp. Asian hot sauce

1 cup shredded green cabbage

1 medium carrot

6 radishes

8 corn tortillas

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

1 Tbsp. sesame seeds

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Black Bean Cakes with Fried Eggs & Avocado Crema

Serves 6

This makes a delicious dinner or breakfast – or both. Since the black bean cakes can be made a day ahead, you may as well enjoy a couple that night. Then, they’re great to reheat in the morning while you fry some eggs to go on top.

You can even try them two different ways, for example with salsa and sour cream, or with fresh corn and queso fresco.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

388

Calories

17 g

Protein

34 g

Carbs

21 g

Fat

Ingredients

Black Bean Cakes:

1/4 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal

2 cans (15 oz. each) black beans, drained and rinsed

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large egg

1/2 cup plain bread crumbs

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1/2 cup white onion, finely chopped

4 tsp. hot sauce

1 Tbsp. salt

1/4 cup canola oil

Avocado Crema:

1 medium avocado, halved

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup sour cream

2 Tbsp. lime juice

To Serve:

6 fried eggs

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Whole-Wheat Tortilla Pizza with Prosciutto & Arugula

Serves 4

It’s possible to make homemade pizza in less time than it takes to order delivery. Just start with a whole-wheat tortilla, and add toppings from there.

Since there’s no dough you have to bake, the tortilla pizza only has to stay in the oven as long as it takes to melt the cheese. You can use Mexican ingredients like salsa, refried beans, and fresh cilantro. Or use the tortilla base to build a traditional pizza like this one with mozzarella, prosciutto, and arugula.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

394

Calories

27 g

Protein

34 g

Carbs

17 g

Fat

Ingredients

4 8-inch whole-wheat tortillas

8 Tbsp. marinara

2 cups (8 oz.) grated mozzarella

4 slices prosciutto

Handful of arugula

1/2 tsp. lemon juice

2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

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Pickled Cucumber & Shrimp Stir Fry

Serves 4

Cucumbers are most often eaten raw, but believe it or not, they make an awesome stir fry.

First, they’re pickled in rice vinegar, salt, and sugar for a half hour. When they’re ready, it only takes 5 or 6 minutes to fry them in a wok with red onion, red chili, garlic, and shrimp.

Serve with brown rice, quinoa, or riced cauliflower.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

167

Calories

14 g

Protein

10 g

Carbs

7 g

Fat

Ingredients

2 cucumbers

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. granulated sugar

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1 small red onion, diced

1 red chili, deseeded and cut into strips

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 tsp. cornstarch + 2 Tbsp. water

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Freezer-to-Grill Marinated Chicken

Serves 4

Keep your grill busy all summer long with these make-ahead marinated chicken packs. All you need are gallon-size freezer bags, chicken breast, olive oil, and seasonings of choice. Or, use your favorite marinades like honey with minced garlic, fresh cilantro with lime zest, or lemon zest with black pepper.

Thaw in the fridge during the day, and dinner will be ready for the grill. These premade chicken meals will last up to 3 months in the freezer.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

225

Calories

24 g

Protein

2 g

Carbs

14 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp. dried herbs and seasonings

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Walnut & Rosemary Oven-Fried Chicken

Serves 4

When chicken breast starts to seem boring, it’s time to try something new.

This recipe is a major upgrade from breaded chicken. It uses extra crispy panko, walnuts, and fresh rosemary to make a baked chicken dinner that seems fried. However, this has about half the fat of fried chicken and half the carbs of most breaded chicken breast.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

292

Calories

43 g

Protein

7 g

Carbs

10 g

Fat

Ingredients

1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk

2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

4 chicken breasts (about 6 oz. each)

1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts

2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan

3/4 tsp. minced fresh rosemary

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Cooking spray

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Egg Roll in a Bowl

Serves 2

It takes less time to make this cabbage and sausage stir fry than it does to pick up egg rolls from your favorite Chinese restaurant. But convenience isn’t the only reason to make this healthy version of Chinese takeout.

It also has less fat, fewer carbs, and hardly any oil compared to fried egg rolls. That means this sausage and veggie bowl is a quick dinner rather than a guilt-inducing appetizer.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

464

Calories

48 g

Protein

19 g

Carbs

23 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 lb. lean pork sausage

1/2 head cabbage, shredded

1 cup shredded carrot

1 tsp. sesame seed oil

1 tsp. rice vinegar

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. ground ginger

Sliced scallions, for garnish

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Paleo Crab Cakes

Serves 4 (Makes 8)

These crab cakes serve up all the seafood you love without the unnecessary breading. Instead, the recipe calls for a cup of cauliflower, a little coconut flour, and two eggs to bind the crab cakes together. The cauliflower has to be steamed first, which can be done the day before.

Once it’s ready, the crab cakes will come together in just a half hour. Let them chill in the fridge while the oven preheats. Then they’re pan-fried for just a few minutes before being baked to a crispy golden finish.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

255

Calories

19 g

Protein

7 g

Carbs

15 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 lb. cooked crab meat

1 cup cauliflower florets, steamed

2 large eggs

3 Tbsp. coconut flour

3 Tbsp. Paleo mayonnaise

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning

2 Tbsp. avocado oil

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Broccoli Taco Bowl

Serves 1

One ingredient that doesn’t come to mind when craving tacos is broccoli. But with this recipe, you can work the superfood into your meal plan along with ground beef, cheddar, and taco seasoning.

This fast dinner-for-one uses the microwave to prepare the broccoli, or you can steam it ahead of time. Everything else gets quickly cooked in a skillet. And for a spicier taco bowl, just add diced jalapeno.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

271

Calories

35 g

Protein

11 g

Carbs

7 g

Fat

Ingredients

4 oz. lean ground beef

1/4 cup (1 oz.) shredded cheddar

1 1/4 cups broccoli, chopped

1/4 cup diced tomatoes

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. onion powder

1/4 tsp. salt, divided

Pinch of red pepper flakes

2 Tbsp. low-sodium chicken stock

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Grilled Oysters

Serves 4 (Makes 16)

You grill beef. You grill chicken. You even grill vegetables. But one thing you probably haven’t considered grilling is oysters – and, like every other food that’s thrown on a grill, they are delicious.

Before you get to the grill, though, make a lemony butter sauce. Then how you grill the oysters will depend on their size. Big ones can nestle directly on the grates, whereas small oysters should go into a small pan on a bed of rock salt or rice.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

342

Calories

20 g

Protein

10 g

Carbs

25 g

Fat

Ingredients

16 oysters

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1 tsp. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (or tabasco to taste)

1/4 tsp. salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley

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OVER 100,000 PEOPLE HAVE USED MY COOKBOOK TO GET THE BODY THEY WANT EATING THE FOODS THEY LOVE. WILL YOU BE NEXT?

What if I told you that just about everything magazines and trainers “teach” you about dieting is wrong?

What if you could build muscle and lose fat eating “naughty” foods every week?

What if you didn’t have to suffer through low-carb dieting to get lean? In fact, what if you could eat all the carbs you wanted?

And what if you didn’t have to gorge yourself just to gain muscle and didn’t have to put on pounds and pounds of ugly fat, either?

In short, what if I told you that proper dieting--whether you want to maximize fat loss or muscle growth--is much simpler and more enjoyable than you’ve been led to believe?

Imagine eating delicious, filling meals every day...never feeling starved or stuffed...having great energy levels and workouts...and watching your body respond exactly as you desire, dropping fat or adding muscle each and every week.

And imagine finally understanding how proper dieting really works, never again falling for the BS, tricks, and gimmicks pushed by “gurus” and other shysters.

Well, I have good news.

All these “fantasies” can be a reality...if you know how to do a handful of “little” things correctly.

You see, when you know how to diet properly--and this doesn’t mean learning to eat boiled chicken and raw broccoli six times per day--getting lean and muscular becomes simple, convenient, and dare I say...enjoyable.

And this book will show you the way.

I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

If you like my articles, then you'll love my bestselling books. They'll show you exactly what you need to do to build muscle and lose fat without hating your diet or living in the gym.

If you're a guy, check out Bigger Leaner Stronger, and if you're a girl, Thinner Leaner Stronger is for you.

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