ThePrep: A Week of Our Best Quick Dinners

Top 30-minute dinners that will become your new favorites.  

Easy Pea & Spinach Carbonara

I love to get creative in the kitchen and try out new recipes, and reading recipe reviews is how I gauge what to make. This helps guarantee easy, delicious dinners during the busy week! This week's meal plan features some of our best 30-minute dinners, all of which have positive reviews and a 4.5-star rating or higher. From comforting pastas to cozy, cheesy casseroles and hearty stews, it's bound to be a tasty week of meals.

Your Meal Plan

One-Pot Garlicky Shrimp & Broccoli
Photography / Kelsey Hansen, Styling / Greg Luna

We start this week with Sunday's Quick King Ranch Chicken Casserole. Who doesn't love a good casserole? Plus, this recipe is made entirely in a single cast-iron skillet, so cleanup is easy. Even more so, this dish uses practical ingredients like canned tomatoes and precooked chicken breast, which reduces the total time to 30 minutes.

Monday's Easy Pea & Spinach Carbonara is another favorite among EatingWell readers, with 4.5 stars. In just under 20 minutes, you'll have a perfect toothsome and healthy pasta dish. This dinner calls for fresh pasta, which cooks in just 3 minutes, helping to keep the cooking time so low. But if you can't find fresh pasta, dried works (it'll just take a little longer to cook). Frozen peas and spinach heat up quickly and add a serving of veggies (and some beautiful color) to this dish. While this recipe doesn't use cream, its creamy consistency comes from egg yolks, which is classic to a carbonara. (The heat from the pasta gently cooks them.) The breadcrumbs mixed with garlic and Parmesan add a lovely touch.

Another winner is Thursday's One-Pot Garlicky Shrimp & Broccoli. I love seafood, especially shrimp. Shrimp is so versatile, easy to cook and goes with almost everything. The colorful veggies in this recipe—broccoli and red peppers—add plenty of nutrients and beautiful color. As they say … we eat with our eyes first! To make this a complete meal, I'll serve it with some precooked brown rice, and in just 20 minutes I'll have a flavorful, veggie-packed dinner on the table.

Sunday: Quick King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Monday: Easy Pea & Spinach Carbonara

Tuesday: Salmon Rice Bowl

Wednesday: Hearty Chickpea & Spinach Stew

Thursday: One-Pot Garlicky Shrimp & Broccoli with a side of brown rice

Friday: Chicken & Veggie Fajitas

Get the printable shopping list here.

Something to Sip On


For those of you who, like me, are looking for a yummy drink with fall flavors, this Maple Whiskey Sour is a tasty option. The maple and lemon juice give this drink tart, yet sweet flavor. If you like your drinks less sweet, you can cut the maple syrup in half. If you want to make the fancy foam garnish, save and refrigerate the aquafaba (canned chickpea liquid) when you make Wednesday's stew.

Get the Recipe: Maple Whiskey Sour

What's Inspiring Me This Week

an illustration of a person sleeping
Getty Images

I'm usually a good sleeper. However, there are times when I have too many things buzzing around in my head come bedtime. On those days (or weeks) where sleep is elusive, I turn to foods like walnuts, tart cherries and pistachios—all of which contain melatonin, or can increase the production of melatonin—or sometimes opt for melatonin supplements, which are considered safe in small doses. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the brain that plays a role in our sleep cycle. New research also suggests that weighted blankets might actually boost melatonin production.

Find Out More: Weighted Blankets Could Replace Your Daily Melatonin, a New Study Suggests

Nevertheless, incorporating sleep hygiene habits, such as avoiding caffeine late in the day, reducing your exposure to electronic devices in your bedroom and hydrating properly, is always the best way to go.

I wish you all a great week, and if you have any questions or requests for future newsletters, please let me know by emailing! Don't forget to add a recipe review if you try one.

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