Five Fast-Prep Dinners for Busy Nights

Follow this plan for a week of easy meals ready to eat in 30 minutes or less.

Some nights, the rush hour isn’t over just because you’re finally home—as soon as you walk in the door, the demands on your time intensify and the rushing around goes into overdrive. If your week ahead looks like it’s going to be that way, here’s our plan for five easy, family-satisfying dinners that can be on the table in 30 minutes or less. The ingredient lists are short and the prep can be managed despite distractions. Let us take the pressure off: put it in Park and enjoy the rest of your evening.

—Wendy Ruopp, Managing Editor

Watch: See video tips for more fast-prep dinners


Monday: Hot Chile Grilled Cheese

Pictured Recipe: Hot Chile Grilled Cheese

Monday: Hot Chile Grilled Cheese

This deconstructed version of a chile relleno turned sandwich packs some heat and an ooey-gooey filling. We like the flavor of sourdough, but any kind of bread will work well. Serve with coleslaw and sliced pineapple.


Tuesday: Tortellini Primavera

Pictured Recipe: Tortellini Primavera

Tuesday: Tortellini Primavera

This creamy tortellini and vegetable pasta is a real crowd pleaser. To make it even quicker, use frozen chopped vegetables instead of fresh. Serve with a green salad and whole-grain baguette.


Wednesday: Cube Steak with Mushroom-Sherry Sauce

Cube steak is a tougher cut of meat pounded to make it tender. We like it because it cooks quickly and is inexpensive—perfect for a weeknight dinner. Look for presliced mushrooms to save even more time on prep. Serve with mashed potatoes and grilled broccoli rabe.


Thursday: Pork Chop Suey

Pictured Recipe: Pork Chop Suey

Thursday: Pork Chop Suey

The secret to the rich, dark sauce for this easy stir-fry is blackstrap molasses. Chop suey is often made with bamboo shoots and water chestnuts—feel free to add them to this recipe if you wish. Serve with udon noodles or brown rice.


Friday: Turkey Cutlets with Rhubarb Chutney

You may just think of rhubarb as a spring treat to be enjoyed in sweets, usually with strawberries, but it’s also great in savory preparations. Try it in this tangy chutney with golden raisins and fresh ginger, served with turkey. This sauce is also delicious with grilled boneless, skinless chicken breasts or lean pork chops. Serve with whole-wheat couscous and steamed asparagus.