How To Get Dinner on the Table in 30 Minutes or Less!

It’s the age old struggle – what’s for dinner and how do I get it on the table in 30 minutes or less? 

There is always at least one night a week (and often 2 nights or more) that we don’t have a lot of time to make and eat dinner. Since not making dinner because we don’t have time isn’t an option. I like to rely on leftovers. The trick is I don’t always have leftovers to rely on... What to do? Here are some of my tried and tested tips to getting dinner on the table quickly.

On the weekend before grocery shopping I make a dinner plan. Looking at the week ahead we plan dinners based on the amount of time we have each night and make a list, both a grocery list and a dinner list which gets posted on the fridge – front and centre!

After grocery shopping when I am cutting up vegetables from lunches I also cut up extras for dinners for the week or at least for the night(s) we will be pressed for time. 

I also purchase items like sliced mushrooms, minced garlic and minced ginger which help to decrease prep time. And if I buy the club pack of chicken, I’ll slice or dice it (before freezing) so it’s ready to go when I need it. Just be sure to label your freezer bag with the amount in it – I am not always good at this.

With this prep done ahead of our busy nights I do find it possible to get a delicious and nutritious meal on the table in less than 30 minutes. Try this delicious broccoli, cauliflower and chicken stir-fry for a quick dinner tonight! I also served this over rice noodles because they are easy and quick to prepare.

The key to a stir fry is to have everything ready to go because your start cooking. 

Makes 4 servings


  • 1 large boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1 cup of cauliflower florets
  • 1 package of sliced mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ cup oyster sauce
  • ¼ cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • pepper to taste


  • In a bowl whisk together the oyster sauce, water, sugar, sesame oil and soy sauce.
  • In a small container with a leak proof lid or jar with a tight fitting lid mix the cornstarch with a tablespoon of cold water and shake until well mixed. The mixture should be lump free. 

  • Prepare rice noodle according the package directions.
  • Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a fry pan over medium heat. Add the broccoli, cauliflower and mushrooms and cook for approximately 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

  • Add the ginger and garlic to the pan and cook for 30 seconds more.

  • Remove the vegetables from the pan; place them on a plate and cover.
  • Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel and turn the heat to high. Add the remaining teaspoon of oil.
  • Season the chicken pieces with pepper and add them to the pan in a single layer. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through. Chicken should reach an internal temperature of 74 C (165 F).

  • Add the vegetables back to the pan and cook for 2 more minutes to warm through.

  • Pour the oyster sauce mixture over the chicken and vegetables; cook for 30 seconds. 

  • Try your best to move the chicken and vegetables to one side of the pan and the sauce to the other side. Whisking the sauce and slowly add the cornstarch to it. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 more minute or until sauce has just started to thicken.
  • Stir the sauce and chicken and vegetables together and enjoy over rice noodles.

Enjoy & Good Luck!
Shannon RD
Registered Dietitian 

Original recipe from