When there’s a rush on dinner, the pressure is enough to make us reach for a take-out menu or microwave a few high-in-sodium frozen dinners.
But, as we’ve discussed in other blogs focused on meal planning, quick and easy family dinner ideas start with a little preparation, simple ingredients, the right appliances and a stick-with-it attitude.
Below are a few of our favorite, time-sensitive dinners to make during crunch-time on any night of the week.
Chicken Tortellini Recipe
Makes 6 servings / Prep time: 3 minutes / Cook time: 15 minutes / Source
- 1 package (9 ounces) of spinach tortellini
- 1 package (9 ounces) of cheese tortellini
- 1½ pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ tablespoon sea salt
- 1 bag (5 ounces) baby spinach
- 1 pint or 2 cups of halved cherry tomatoes
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Add water to a large pot. Throw in some salt and bring water to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook for 7 minutes or according to cooking directions on package.
As the tortellini cooks, dice chicken breasts into pieces of about 1 inch.
After the tortellini finishes cooking, drain and reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt, reserving some salt for the sauce. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes until brown on all sides.
Add the spinach, tomatoes, heavy cream and remaining salt. Let the sauce simmer for 1 minute. Add the tortellini and reserved pasta water and let simmer for 2 additional minutes.
Remove from heat and toss with Parmesan cheese. Grind black pepper on top before serving.
Bean Burrito Recipe
Makes 6 servings / Prep time: 10 minutes / Cook time: 18 minutes / Source
- 3½ ounces of brown rice
- 1 cup salsa
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 ripe avocado (cut into ½-inch pieces)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 6 soft flour tortillas
- 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
- 1 can (15.5 ounce) black beans (drained and rinsed)
Cook rice in a large pot according to directions on packaging (usually about 10 minutes).
Drain the rice and place in a medium bowl. Add cilantro and salsa. Stir and set aside.
In a smaller bowl, toss avocado slices with lime juice.
Place a tortilla on serving plates and add 2 tablespoons of cheese in the center. Add ¼ cup of black beans to the top of the cheese, and place 1/3 cup of the rice/salsa/cilantro mixture over the beans. Finally, add the avocado pieces.
Fold up the burrito like an envelope and fill the remaining tortillas.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Spray top and bottom of burritos with non-stick cooking spray. Grill the burritos, seam-side down, for 1 to 2 minutes on each side.
Finished burrito should be lightly browned and crisp.
Beef Stroganoff Recipe
Makes 4 servings / Prep time: 20 minutes / Cook time: 10 minutes / Source
- 12 ounces boneless sirloin steak
- 1 8-ounce carton of dairy sour cream
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ cup water
- 2 teaspoons of beef bouillon granules
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 cups of sliced mushrooms
- 1 chopped medium onion
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 2 cups of hot, cooked noodles
If meat is not trimmed, be sure to trim the fat before continuing.
Slice the meat thinly across the grain into bite-sized chunks.
In a small mixing bowl, stir together the sour cream and flour. Add water, beef bouillon granules and pepper.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the meat, mushrooms, onion and garlic in hot butter (or margarine). When the meat is cooked through, drain any remaining fat from the mixture.
Stir the sour cream into the skillet and cook until thickened.
Once the mixture begins to bubble, stir for an additional minute before serving over cooked noodles.