Protein plus vegetables plus starch in less than half an hour? Believe it.
Meatballs with a Twist (er, a Flat Edge)
Meatballs may have a reputation for being the anchors of a Sunday supper, but crisp, tender portions of ground beef can be had on a weeknight. The trick is to take the "ball" descriptor as a mere suggestion; instead of rolling the meat mixture into perfect rounds, drop it by the spoonful into a hot pan. No one's really going to care that the finished balls look more like 3-D pentagons; the point is, they're supremely tasty, especially next to a tangle of lightly sautéed Swiss chard. Put a pot of water on to boil before you start, and the pasta will be ready just as the last meatball is coming out of the pan (toss it with some olive oil and grated Parmesan before serving).
When you coat chicken breasts in honey mustard then cook them, the sauce caramelizes a bit, giving the meat a sweet and crunchy exterior. A terrific, if unusual, accompaniment is strawberry salsa; it's chunky, fruity and tempered by red-pepper flakes, red onion and mint, all of which provide a cool contrast. Serve with pita wedges for scooping up extra salsa.
One of the most reliably foolproof ways to take some of the pressure off cooking dinner is to make sandwiches: What could be more stress-free than a casual supper that barely requires setting the table? You can make it even easier on yourself by going with this ultra-simple cheesesteak recipe, which calls for flank steak, a cut that cooks in about eight minutes. Thinly sliced, it's a savory complement to a fast version of pimento cheese that includes shredded sharp cheddar and hot cherry peppers.
No collection of under-30-minute meals would be complete without quick-cooking seafood, and here's a recipe you probably haven't tried before. It manages to pack a flavor punch with just six ingredients. Chorizo is the secret weapon; you only need a small amount of the richly seasoned dried Spanish sausage to bring depth and intensity. Cherry tomatoes soften in the skillet, and then you cook cod fillets until they're golden, about six minutes. Some crusty bread will soak up the juices nicely.
Here's a smart way to cut down on prep: Use veggies that are already small and don't require lots of chopping. Peas are the perfect example, which this unexpected recipe uses to great effect, as the bright green veggies bring a pop of color and flavor to fettuccine tossed in a butter-lemon-Parmesan sauce. Basil, fresh radishes and toasted walnuts are the other elements of this beautiful, multi-layered dish, which happens to be vegetarian but still has plenty of heft, thanks to the nuts and cheese.
Deep, dark green and purple kale takes on an even richer hue when you slightly char it on the grill, and boneless, skinless chicken breast never looked so good, thanks to a brushing of a zippy basil marinade and a quick pass over the flames.
<b>Get the recipe: <a href="http://www.oprah.com/food/Basil-Chicken-with-Grilled-Kale-and-Heirloom-Tomatoes-Recipe" target="_blank">Basil Chicken with Grilled Kale and Heirloom Tomatoes</a></b>