Dinner in 30 Minutes!

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By The Paula Deen Test Kitchen

30-Minute Meals

When it comes to fast weeknight dinners, you can never get enough ideas to keep things easy and delicious.  Everyone gets bored with the normal repertoire, and sadly, it’s often the kids who are the first to complain.  With Paula’s bounty of recipes, there’s no need to be fussy or repetitive if you’re busy.  From our takes on the classics to fun meals may never have thought of, we’ve got great recipes that won’t eat up your time!

General menu planning tips:

1. Look for things you can cook in one pot, enjoy raw, supplement with store-bought items, or don’t require a lot of chopping or other active preparation.
2. To ease the post-work time crunch, consider make-ahead or slow-cooker recipes like Stuffed Peppers and Harvest Stew.
3. Maintain a well-stocked pantry full of ingredients you feel comfortable using, liked dried spices, garlic, flour, olive oil, lemons, hardy herbs, frozen vegetables, or whatever you and your family likes. 
4. Don’t abandon your steadfast standards; you can always spruce them up and vary them, but most hungry eaters will not turn down a good grilled steak, pasta, hearty salad, giant sandwich, satisfying soup, or breakfast for dinner, (like our Sausage Pancake Egg Sandwich or our mouth-watering, Southern style Ham and Black-Eyed Pea Cake Eggs Benedict).

Some recipes to meet your needs:

Quick Crab Stew
Speedy Veggie Chili

Tried-and-true traditions for meat and fish lovers (Maybe serve with one of the sides or salads below…)
Lady and Sons Chicken Fingers
Oven Fried Catfish
Pork Chops with Bacon and Cheddar Grits

Speedy sides
Mashed Potatoes
Rice Pilaf
Spicy Green Beans
Sweet Potato Balls

For your health
Grilled Vegetables
Asian Chicken Salad

Pimento Cheese Sandwich
Southwestern Salad
Southern Cornbread Salad - Make the cornbread ahead or buy it.

Ham Fried Rice
Vegetable Pancakes
BLT Soup

Crowd pleasers
Pastas and casserole-style baked dishes (see Make Ahead below) are always safe bets, and portions are easy to double. 
Turkey and Black Bean Ziti
Walk Away Baked Spaghetti
Macho Nachos

Make sure you can always throw together something sweet by stocking things like ice cream, frozen or fresh fruit, chocolate chips, and piecrust.
Dessert Quesadilla
Bananas Foster
Napoleon (Don’t worry, it’s basically Oreos, wafers, and pudding mix!)

Penny Savers & Pantry Grabs
Stewed collard greens - Serve with instant rice or grits.
Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich
Paula’s Couscous Salad - Our Greek-inspired ingredients make a great combo but use whatever vegetables, cheese, or olives you have!

Make Ahead
Shrimp and Wild Rice Casserole - Cook the component ingredients ahead, assemble (leaving out the topping), and cover; then top and bake at dinnertime!
Enchiladas - Assemble and freeze!
Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad  - Cut and marinate the vegetables ahead of time and grill them quickly while you make the pasta.
Broccoli and Red Cabbage Slaw

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Read More From Kitchen Basics.

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By Tonya on October 02, 2012

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Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm