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5 dinners in 20 minutes--or less!

By Hilary Meyer, July 21, 2009 (All day)

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I’ve been pretty busy this summer and I’m happy to report that the one thing that hasn’t suffered at home are my healthy home-cooked dinners. My secret? Some ultra-quick dinner recipes and a little bit of planning. I can be out and about all day and still have dinner on the table in 20 minutes or less.

Here’s my system: At the beginning of each week I shop for meats and seafood, such as salmon and chicken tenders, that I can cook quickly. I use those up at the beginning of the week with vegetables that come presliced or are easy to chop up. Later in the week, I rely on pantry items, such as pasta, beans and a few spices, for ultra-quick dinners that are done—start to finish—in 20 minutes or less every time.

Here are five of my favorite ultra-quick dinner recipes:

Salmon with Pepita-Lime Butter – Lime juice, chili powder and pepitas give this salmon Mexican flair.

Gnocchi with Zucchini Ribbons & Parsley Brown Butter – For this recipe, convenient store-bought potato gnocchi are tossed with delicate ribbons of zucchini, shallots and cherry tomatoes that have been sautéed in nutty browned butter.

Moo Shu Vegetables – This vegetarian version of the classic Chinese stir-fry, Moo Shu, uses already-shredded vegetables to cut down on the prep time. Serve with warm whole-wheat tortillas, Asian hot sauce and extra hoisin if desired.

Marmalade Chicken – Orange marmalade and freshly grated orange zest make a deliciously tangy sauce for quick-cooking chicken tenders. Serve with brown rice.

Chili-Rubbed Steaks & Pan Salsa – Any cut of steak will work for this recipe, but we especially like the flavor and texture of rib-eye with these seasonings; look for steak that has been thinly cut. A cold ale, sweet potato fries and vinegary coleslaw can round out the meal.

What do you like to cook if you only have 20 minutes? Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Hilary Meyer, Food Blog, Dinner, Quick meals

Hilary Meyer
Hilary Meyer develops and tests healthy recipes in the EatingWell Test Kitchen. She is a graduate of New England Culinary Institute.

Hilary asks: What do you like to cook if you only have 20 minutes?

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