Do your dinner plans seem to get derailed a lot? Maybe schedule changes, work obligations, or kids’ sports practices get in the way. Or maybe you’re just worn out at the end of the day, too tired to cook. Regardless of the reason, for many of us — myself included — ordering takeout often sounds a lot more appealing than spending an hour slaving over the stove.
So what’s the solution? The answer at my house is keeping a few recipes up my sleeve for meals that can be ready to eat in about 15 to 25 minutes. I count on fresh ingredients and basic pantry items that I always have on hand to take the think-work out of the preparation process. These meals involve minimal prep (think 12 minutes or less) and short cook times. Once they’re on the stove or in the oven, I’ve usually got a couple of minutes to spare to help with homework, check email, or catch my breath from the day.
Check out the five recipes below, which are all kid-approved and perfect for hectic weeknights. They’re also healthy, satisfying, and in my humble opinion, delicious. I’ve also included simple suggestions for sides, plus ideas for how to repurpose leftover ingredients in yummy ways. Making dinner shouldn’t feel like torture. Keep this list handy the next time life gets crazy.