30-Minute Recipes That Feed a Crowd

When unexpected guests drop in, don't panic! Make one of these easy and filling 30-minute recipes that serve eight or more.

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Chicken Nuggets

I like to make these golden chicken nuggets because they’re so quick and easy. My whole family loves them. The seasoning can also be used on chicken breast halves to make amazing sandwiches. —Annette Ellyson, Carolina, West Virginia

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Veggie Fajitas

For a scrumptious and super healthy party dish, these colorful, hearty veggie fajitas packed with crisp-tender vegetables are perfect. —Sarah Mercer, Wichita, Kansas
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Smoked Gouda Spinach Pizza

My daughter actually created this savory gouda and spinach pizza recipe as an appetizer. There’s never a crumb left! —Marie Hattrup, Sparks, Nevada
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Buffalo Sloppy Joes

Lean ground turkey makes this a lighter sloppy joe than the standard ground beef version. A hefty splash of hot sauce and optional blue cheese provide an authentic Buffalo-style flavor. —Maria Regakis, Saugus, Massachusetts
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Sloppy Joe Pizza

If your kids like sloppy joes, they'll love this pizza. I came up with the six-ingredient recipe that's easy to assemble. —Brenda Rohlman, Kingman, Kansas
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Broccoli Beef Braids

Each slice of this fast-to-fix golden bread is like a hot sandwich packed with beef, broccoli and mozzarella. —Penny Lapp, North Royalton, Ohio
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Cheesy Fiesta Beef Casserole

Over the years I’ve tweaked this recipe to end up with a delicious, quick weeknight meal. Feel free to spice it up with jalapenos if you prefer a little heat. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
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Fire-Roasted Ziti with Sausage

We punch up our pasta with smoked sausage and fire-roasted tomato sauce. It's an easy recipe to switch up—use whatever noodles and spaghetti sauce are in your pantry. —Jean Komlos, Plymouth, Michigan
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Flavorful Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Folks can find me grilling, no matter the weather. This moist pork tenderloin has loads of flavor thanks to its special spice blend, and it doesn't get much easier to make. My wife especially likes that she doesn't have to do the cooking! —Steve Ehrhart, Villa Park, Illinois
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Dressed-Up Meatballs

Frozen meatballs and a jar of sweet-and-sour sauce make this microwave meal a last-minute lifesaver when racing against the clock. The flavorful sauce is dressed up with a hint of garlic and nicely coats the colorful mixture of meatballs, carrots, green pepper and onion. —Ivy Eresmas, Dade City, Florida
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Wasabi Beef Fajitas

Beef fajitas get an eastern spin with gingerroot, sesame oil and wasabi, a type of Japanese horseradish. You can find it in the Asian section at your supermarket. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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White Cheddar Mac & Cheese

My mac and cheese is simple and has lots of flavor from the cheeses and ground chipotle chile. I use conchiglie pasta because its shape allows more melted cheese to pool inside. Yum! —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia
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Tangy Turkey Tostadas

I'm a health fitness specialist and personal trainer, so I know how important it is to make smart food choices to fuel my day. These fast and filling tostadas are packed with lean protein, fiber and a good dose of veggies. Have them any night of the week. —Julie Huntington, Memphis, Tennessee
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Herbed Artichoke Cheese Tortellini

This flavor-packed meatless recipe features tomatoes, black olives and artichoke hearts tossed with tender cheese tortellini. —Karen Anzelc, Peoria, Arizona
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Barbecue Pork and Penne Skillet

I'm the proud mother of wonderful and active children. Simple, delicious and quick meals like this BBQ pork skillet are perfect for us to enjoy together after school activities, especially if I have leftover pulled pork. —Judy Armstrong, Prairieville, Louisiana
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Caesar Orange Roughy

I'm so thankful that my mother taught me to cook at a young age. She won several cooking contests over the years and this is one of my favorite recipes of hers. —Mary Lou Boyce, Wilmingon, Delaware
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Quinoa-Stuffed Squash Boats

My colorful “boats” with quinoa, garbanzo beans and pumpkin seeds use delicata squash, a winter squash with edible skin that’s cream-colored with green stripes. In a pinch, acorn squash will do—but don't eat the skin! —Lauren Knoelke, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Grilled Brown Sugar-Mustard Chicken

I came up with this recipe in college and it's been a household staple ever since. It's a snap to throw together with ingredients I have on hand. —Kendra Doss, Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Ham and Pea Pasta Alfredo

When I want a filling meal that even the kids enjoy, I toss ham and sugar snap peas with Romano cream sauce and pasta. —C.R. Monachino, Kenmore, New York
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Quick Bean and Rice Burritos

These hearty and zippy burritos can be whipped up in a jiffy. —Kimberly Hardison, Maitland, Florida
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Buttery Grilled Shrimp

This grilled shrimp recipe is easy and delicious! These shrimp are great with steak, but for a special occasion, brush the sauce on lobster tails and grill. —Sheryl Shenberger, Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Meatball Pizza

I always keep meatballs and pizza crusts in the freezer to make this specialty on the spur of the moment. Add a tossed salad and you have a delicious dinner. —Mary Humeniuk-Smith, Perry Hall, Maryland
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Shrimp Fried Rice

This delectable shrimp fried rice is filled with color and taste that makes it vanish fast. Our family of four can't get enough of it. Bacon adds crispness and a hint of heartiness. Consider it when you need a different main dish or brunch item. —Sandra Thompson, White Hall, Arkansas
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Hearty Vegetable Beef Ragu

This recipe is healthy yet satisfying, quick yet delicious. It's on the table in less than 30 minutes, and it's something that my children will gobble up! If you are not fond of kale, stir in baby spinach or chopped broccoli instead. —Kim Van Dunk, Caldwell, New Jersey
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Spiced Salmon

This delicious, moist fish is very quick and easy to prepare. It gets a little sweetness from brown sugar, but overall the seasonings are mild and give this dish broad appeal. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy healthy salmon. —Donna Reynolds, Innisfail, Alberta
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Crispy Fried Chicken

If you've wanted to learn how to make crispy fried chicken, this is the recipe for you. Always a picnic favorite, this deep-fried chicken recipe is delicious either hot or cold. Kids call it my Kentucky Fried Chicken! —Jeanne Schnitzler, Lima, Montana
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Brief Burritos

With three children in school, evenings are often hectic and short on time—especially during the holiday season. I can put this dish together after school and still have time to run back to town for evening activities. Best of all, the kids love it. —Ginger Burow, Fredericksburg, Texas
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Rosemary Garlic Shrimp

Delicate shrimp take on fabulous flavor when simmered in a chicken broth mixed with garlic and ripe olives. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Blushing Penne Pasta

I reworked this recipe from an original that called for vodka and heavy whipping cream. My friends and family had a hard time believing a sauce this rich, flavorful and creamy could be light. —Margaret Wilson, Hemet, California
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Ginger Veggie Brown Rice Pasta

Once I discovered brown rice pasta, I never looked back. Tossed with ginger, bright veggies and rotisserie chicken, it tastes like a deconstructed egg roll! —Tiffany Ihle, Bronx, New York
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Bistro Mac & Cheese

I like to serve this mac & cheese with a salad and crusty bread. It's a satisfying meal that feels upscale, but will fit just about any budget. And because the Gorgonzola is so mild in this dish, even the kiddos will go for it. —Charlotte Giltner, Mesa, Arizona
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Pepperoni Pizza Bake

I rely on this one-dish wonder on nights my husband works late or our children have after-school activities. It's a life saver! —Catherine Yeats, Lewiston, Idaho
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Grilled Tilapia with Pineapple Salsa

Years ago I found a grilled tilapia recipe in a seafood cookbook. The pineapple salsa with cilantro has a touch of spice and goes so well with the flaky, tender fish. —Beth Fleming, Downers Grove, Illinois
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Ravioli with Snap Peas & Mushrooms

Topped with the toasty texture and flavor of hazelnuts, this pasta makes an easy, earthy weeknight dinner. I serve it with an herb and lettuce salad and white wine. —Charlene Chambers, Ormond Beach, Florida
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Haystack Supper

Served as the main dish at our family reunion buffet, this flavorful layered taco-style dish was a true crowd-pleaser. Folks were pleasantly surprised to find a rice layer, and everyone enjoys the creamy cheese sauce. —Jill Steiner, Hancock, Minnesota
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Corn, Rice & Bean Burritos

No one will miss the meat when you dish up these satisfying burritos bursting with a fresh-tasting filling. They’re fast to fix and won’t put a dent in your wallet. —Sharon W. Bickett, Chester, South Carolina
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Beef Skillet Supper

Sometimes I'll make extra of this comforting, noodle-y supper to guarantee leftovers. It's a great take-along dish for work or school. Trim calories from the entree by substituting ground turkey for the beef and low-fat cheese for the full-fat cheddar. —Tabitha Allen, Cypress, Texas
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One-Pot Chilighetti

Grab your stockpot for my meal-in-one chili and spaghetti. I’ve got a large family, and this hearty pasta takes care of everybody. —Jennifer Trenhaile, Emerson, Nebraska
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Chili Beef Noodle Skillet

A friend gave me this recipe. My husband likes the hearty blend of beef, onion and tomatoes. I like it because I can get it to the table so quickly. —Deborah Elliott, Ridge Spring, South Carolina
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Pizza-Flavored Pasta Sauce

I’ve been cooking since I was 6 years old and I’m always watching for recipes my friends and family will love. So when I tasted an unforgettable spaghetti sauce at a local restaurant, I just had to make my own version. —Angelina Falzarano, Midlothian, Texas
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Italian Turkey Skillet

It's a challenge to find imaginative ways to use leftovers, especially for turkey after Thanksgiving. Here's a favorite of mine that you can easily make ahead for another dinner option. Prepare the recipe as directed, then transfer to a casserole dish and freeze up to three months. —Patricia Kile, Nokomis, Florida
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Pigs in a Poncho

For pigs in a blanket Mexican style, we add refried beans and green chiles. Spice it up even more with pepper jack, jalapenos and guacamole. —Jennifer Stowell, Montezuma, Iowa
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Saucy Skillet Lasagna

Thanks to no-cook noodles, this skillet lasagna makes a fresh, filling, flavorful and fast entree for any Italian meal. —Meghan Crihfield, Ripley, West Virginia
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Italian Sausage and Provolone Skewers

My husband made sausage and veggie kabobs when we didn't have buns to make classic sausage bombers. Grill ‘em up, then add cheese cubes. —Cindy Hilliard, Kenosha, Wisconsin
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Chili Dog Pizza

My girls love it when I make this mash-up pizza with hot dogs and chili. It’s a marvelous way to use up leftover chili. —Jennifer Stowell, Smithville, Missouri
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Garlic Toast Pizzas

Between working full-time, going to school and raising three children, finding time-saving recipes that my family likes is one of my biggest challenges. These quick pizzas pack a huge amount of flavor. —Amy Grim, Chillicothe, Ohio
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Bow Ties with Gorgonzola Sauce

The name may sound fancy, but this pasta dish is comforting and simple to prepare. Add a mixed green salad to make it a complete meal for any occasion. —Nadine Mesch, Mount Healthy, Ohio
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Spicy Sweet Shrimp with Pineapple Salsa

I wanted to find a way to use pineapple salsa in a recipe. I came up with this super simple, delicious and quick dish! —Erin Schillo, Northfield, Ohio
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Broiled Chicken & Artichokes

My wife and I first made this chicken entree as newlyweds, and we have been hooked on it ever since. We make it almost weekly now. It's so simple and affordable, yet delicious and healthy. You can't beat that! —Chris Koon, Midlothian, Virginia

Dana Meredith
Dana is an editor and writer who shares her passion for travel, food and the beauty of American landscapes. When she's not wielding her red pen, she can be found tending her flower gardens, remodeling her house, creating one-of-a-kind jewelry or dancing to "Uptown Funk."