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Dinner in 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes. No excuses.

By Carolyn Malcoun, July 29, 2010 - 11:19am

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There are about 97,634,347 things I’d rather do after work in the summer than make dinner. (Gardening, hiking, swimming, running, biking and porch-sitting-with-cocktail-in-hand, just to name a few.) I’m sure you can relate.

Even so, we still need to eat. And while it’s so easy to grab a burger on the way home, I’d rather make something that I know tastes great, is good for me and will help me save the money I would have spent on takeout. Armed with these recipes—ready in just 5, 10, 15 and 20 minutes—the excuse that there’s not enough time to make dinner flies out the door. I even paired each recipe with a super-quick side dish.

Got 5 Minutes? Make Turkey Pastrami Sandwich—At our house, “dinner in 5 minutes” often translates to PB&J. But in the same amount of time, I can make this savory sandwich with turkey pastrami, tangy sauerkraut and sweet apple slices.
Click here for the recipe, plus more easy sandwich recipes.

What to serve it with that won’t tack on more time: Baby carrots and celery with light ranch dressing for dipping.

Got 10 Minutes? Make Tuscan-Style Tuna Salad—My pantry is always stocked with canned tuna. I like to add it to my lunchtime salad or to make this full-flavored tuna and white bean salad. If I’m going somewhere after work, like to a concert in the park or a hike, and I want to bring dinner with me, I can throw this together and just grab it on my way out the door that night.
Click here for the recipe, plus more 10-minute recipes.

What to serve it with that won’t tack on more time: Tuck it into whole-wheat pita along with crunchy romaine lettuce.

Got 15 Minutes? Make Black Bean Quesadillas—I always keep canned beans, tortillas and cheese on hand for emergency meals like these quesadillas. We like them with black beans, but pinto beans work well too. If you like a little heat, be sure to use pepper Jack cheese in the filling.
Click here for the recipe, plus more 15-minute dinners.
What to serve it with that won’t tack on more time: Pre-shredded coleslaw mix tossed with canola oil and rice vinegar.

Got 20 Minutes? Make Cornmeal-Crusted Chicken Nuggets with Blackberry Mustard (pictured above left, recipe follows)—Tossing chicken tenders with cornmeal gives these chicken nuggets great crunch without deep-frying. Blackberries (or raspberries, if you prefer) combined with whole-grain mustard make for a sweet-and-savory dipping sauce. The nuggets also taste great dipped in whole-grain mustard or your favorite barbecue sauce.
Get more delicious 20-minute dinner recipes.
What to serve it with that won’t tack on more time: Steamed broccoli and carrots.

Related Link: Have a little more time? These produce-packed summer dinners are ready in 30 minutes.

What are your favorite super-fast dinners to cook? Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Carolyn Malcoun, Food Blog, Budget meals, Dinner, Quick meals

Carolyn Malcoun
A graduate of New England Culinary Institute and University of Wisconsin with a degree in journalism, Carolyn pairs her long-standing love for food with writing as EatingWell's senior food editor. Carolyn’s culinary interest is rooted in her childhood; she grew up making thousands of Christmas cookies every year with her mom and picking leaves off bunches of parsley to make tabbouleh with her dad. Away from the kitchen, Carolyn enjoys seeking out rare craft beers and exploring the outdoors with her husband, 2-year-old daughter and dog.

Carolyn asks: What are your favorite super-fast dinners to cook?

Tell us what you think:

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