dinner table with plates of food, napkins, silverware

My 3-Step Weekly Routine for Quick and Delicious Dinners in 30 Minutes

Do you ever feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, especially when it comes to preparing dinner? I hear you! Life gets busy, and sometimes the last thing you want to do after a long day is spend hours in the kitchen. But guess what? You don’t have to!

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table set for dinner with flowers on it

I’m excited to share with you my tried-and-true method for getting dinner on the table in about 30 minutes every day. It’s all about having a solid weekly routine that keeps things simple and stress-free. My secret? It comes down to three key steps that I do once a week: Plan, Shop, and Prep.


In this post, I’ll walk you through each of these steps and show you how they can transform your dinner routine. Trust me, with a little bit of organization and a few smart strategies, you’ll be whipping up delicious, homemade meals in no time—even on the busiest of days.

Step 1: Plan To Eat

The first step in my weekly routine is all about planning. It might seem obvious, but a solid plan is the foundation of stress-free, quick dinners. Here’s how I do it:


Ask the Family

I always start by asking my family what they want to eat for the following week. This simple step not only ensures that everyone is happy with the menu but also gets them involved in the process. Plus, it saves me from the guesswork of trying to figure out what everyone might enjoy. I usually do this on Thursday nights during dinner since I shop on Fridays. 


Survey Your Pantry, Fridge, and Freezer

Next, I take a thorough survey of what I already have on hand. I check my pantry, fridge, and freezer for ingredients that need to be used up. This helps in two ways: I save money by not buying what I already have, and I reduce food waste by using up items that are close to their expiration date. This quick inventory also sparks creativity, as I think of ways to incorporate these ingredients into my meals. It’s also a way for me to tidy up the spaces I’ll be restocking so that when I get home from the grocery store, I can easily and efficiently put everything away in its place. 


Create a Weekly Menu

With the family’s input and a list of ingredients I already have, I create a weekly menu using one of my meal plan templates. I aim for a mix of easy, no-prep meals and slightly more involved dishes that can be prepped ahead. This balance ensures that I have quick options for the busiest nights and more elaborate meals for when I have a bit more time.

A solid plan doesn’t just make your week easier—it transforms dinnertime into a more enjoyable, stress-free experience. Instead of rushing into the kitchen after a long day and picking your brain about what to cook, you know exactly what’s on the menu.

Step 2: Shop With Purpose

With a solid meal plan in hand, the next step in a weekly routine is to shop smart. Efficient grocery shopping is key to saving time and staying organized. Here’s how I make my shopping trips quick and hassle-free:


Write a Detailed Shopping List

Before heading to the store, I always write out a detailed shopping list. But I don’t just jot down items randomly—I organize my list according to the layout of the store. This way, I can make my way through the aisles in one smooth loop without backtracking. It’s a small step that makes a big difference in getting in and out of the store quickly. 


Efficient Grocery Bagging

Once I have all my items, I make sure to bag my groceries according to whether they go in the fridge or pantry. This method speeds up the process of unloading and putting everything away when I get home. I can quickly put away perishables first, then take my time with the pantry items. It’s all about making the most of those few extra minutes!


Immediate Vegetable Prep

As soon as I get home from the store, I wash and store all my vegetables immediately. This might seem like an extra step, but it saves so much time during the week. Clean, ready-to-use veggies mean one less thing to worry about when it’s time to cook dinner. Plus, they stay fresher longer when stored properly. I use a mix of methods: some veggies get stored in airtight containers, while others go in breathable produce bags.


Efficient shopping sets the stage for easy meal prep and quick dinners. With a well-organized list, strategic bagging, and a bit of immediate prep work, you’ll find that the entire process becomes smoother and more enjoyable.

A woman washing asparagus in the sink

Step 3: Prep Fun

With a well-planned menu and a fridge full of organized groceries, the final step in a weekly routine is prepping for the week. Prepping not only saves time but also makes cooking dinner a fun and enjoyable end to my day. Here’s how I make the most of my prep time:


Set the Mood

First things first—I set the mood. Prepping meals doesn’t have to be a chore. I play my favorite playlist and have my favorite drink alongside me. Whether it’s an upbeat mix to keep the energy high or a relaxing playlist to unwind, music makes the process enjoyable. It’s my time to unwind and get into a positive headspace for the week ahead.


Batch Cooking and Ingredient Prep

Next, I focus on batch cooking and prepping key ingredients. This means cooking larger quantities of certain components that I can use in multiple meals. For example, I might roast a big batch of vegetables or cook a pot of quinoa. These prepped ingredients can be mixed and matched throughout the week, making dinner prep a breeze.

I also marinate proteins, chop vegetables, and portion out snacks. Having these elements ready to go cuts down on cooking time during the week. Imagine reaching for pre-chopped veggies when you’re in a rush—that’s a lifesaver!


Create a Prep Routine

Here’s a step-by-step guide to my typical prep routine so I’m in and out of the kitchen in 2 hours or less with about 6 different meal components prepared. I order my prep so I’m always active — while something is marinating, I can roast vegetables, and while that’s roasting, something else is simmering. By the time I’m done, everything is complete. 

  1. Make marinades: Since most proteins taste better the longer they marinate, I do this first so they have time to soak in the delish while I prep everything else.  
  2. Roast or bake: Roast vegetables, bake tofu, and put any casseroles in the oven. 
  3. Cook anything on the stovetop: Prepare staples like rice, quinoa, and beans, and prepare any fillings.
  4. Assemble sauces and dressings: Mix up a few go-to sauces and dressings. They add flavor and can be used in various dishes.

By the end of my prep session, my fridge is stocked with ready-to-use ingredients, making it super easy to throw together a healthy, delicious meal in about 30 minutes each night.

The 3-Step Weekly Routine in Action

With these three steps—Plan, Shop, Prep—you’ll find that dinner time becomes less about stress and more about enjoying a homemade meal with your family. Remember, the key is to tailor your plan to fit your schedule and make the process enjoyable.





  1. Plan: Involve your family in meal choices, survey your pantry for ingredients, and create a weekly menu.
  2. Shop: Write a detailed shopping list organized by store layout, bag groceries strategically, and prep your produce immediately.
  3. Prep: Make meal prep enjoyable with music and a favorite drink, batch cook key ingredients, and follow a structured prep routine.

This 3-step weekly routine saves me time, reduces stress, and ensures that me and my family enjoy delicious, home-cooked meals without the weekday scramble. Remember, the goal is to make your meal plan work for you, not the other way around so schedule these steps into your calendar so it makes your life easier.



I encourage you to try out this approach and see how it transforms your dinner routine. And don’t forget to share your experiences and any tips you have! 



Cheers to a week full of delicious, stress-free dinners and more time for the things and people you love.

Other Meal Planning Resources For Your Weekly Routine

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