Amazing 20-minute dinners

Published on September 05 2012 - 5:21 PM
Amazing 20-Minute Dinners

Kneesocks and plaid skirts—that’s what “back to school” conjures up for me at this time of year. Then, after I reflect on how glad I am that that look is behind me (plaid’s really not my color), what lingers is the itch to learn something new. This fall, learn how easy it can be to make dinner for four in 20 minutes—even if you’re an elementary cook (like me).


Use our easy lesson plan to make 20-minute dinners for your busy week. The curriculum starts with geography and ends with math. Geography class is a 15-minute flyover to map the contours of Southwestern Sauté with Salsa Grits. (Convenient vegetables in your freezer contribute to the bird’s-eye view of this quick dinner.)


Smoky Maple-Mustard Salmon is a formula to turn just 4 ingredients (not counting salt and pepper) into dinner in 15 minutes.


Repeat after me: Pollo siciliano. Perfect! That’s Italian for chicken Sicilian-style (in our case, Sicilian Olive Chicken), for anyone who’s skipping class.


If you can identify Mark Twain as the author of this quote—“Nothing helps scenery like ham and eggs.”—give yourself extra credit. It’s likely Twain would have been just as happy with Quick Pastrami Hash & Eggs for supper, and you will be too. Since it’s ready in just 20 minutes, you can get right back to your reading or other extracurricular activities.


To show you’ve learned your lessons well, bring a couple apples for the teacher and turn them into Skillet Chicken with Cranberries & Apples (pictured above) for a truly autumnal one-pot dinner.

Skillet Chicken with Cranberries & Apples
Celebrate the flavors of fall with chicken cooked in a fast apple-cranberry sauce. If you prefer a less tart flavor, try dried cranberries instead of fresh. Serve with quick-cooking wild rice and roasted Brussels sprouts.

Wendy Ruopp has been the managing editor of EatingWell for most of her adult life. Although she writes about food for the Weeknights column of EatingWell Magazine, her husband does the cooking at home.