It’s 5 o’clock, you’re starving, and take-out menus are calling your name (again). It might take a bit more effort, but with a well-stocked kitchen, you can have a healthy dinner ready in less time than it takes to get a pizza delivered. Check out our picks for the easiest, quickest weeknight recipes and get ready to eat!
Italian Panini (Serves 4, ready in 10 minutes)
This unique spin on the classic ham and cheese sandwich tastes gourmet, but is ready in under 10 minutes. Feel free to swap in provolone cheese or sundried tomato spread if you prefer.
8 slices of whole grain bread
4 Tbs. pesto
1 lb Italian prosciutto (or ham)
8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
1-2 handfuls of arugula
Preheat a panini press or large frying pan over medium heat. Take one slice of bread and layer on 1 Tbs. pesto, ¼ lb prosciutto, a few slices of mozzarella, and a few arugula leaves. Top with another slice of bread. Repeat this for the remaining 3 sandwiches. Put 2 sandwiches in the panini press and cook until cheese melts. If cooking in a frying pan, melt a bit of butter before adding the sandwiches and then cook until cheese melts. Repeat with the remaining 2 sandwiches. Cut sandwiches in half and enjoy!
Quesadilla with peppers & onions (Serves 4, ready in 20 minutes)
When it comes to quick and delicious, quesadillas fit the bill. If you’re making dinner for a crowd, cook the quesadillas in the oven to save time.
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1 large pepper, seeded and sliced
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 tsp. ground cumin
8 small flour tortillas
2 cups shredded monterey jack or pepper jack cheese
Salsa and sour cream, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Slice onion and pepper into strips. Add the oil to a large frying pan and heat over medium high. Add the peppers, onions, and cumin and cook until vegetables are soft. Remove pan from heat. On a large baking sheet, place 4 tortillas and divide the peppers, onions, and shredded cheese amongst them. Top each loaded tortilla with another tortilla. Bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until cheese melts and tortillas are slightly crispy. Cut into slices and serve with sour cream and salsa.
Cacio e Pepe pasta (Serves 6, ready in 15 minutes)
The name of this dish means “cheese and pepper” in Italian. It contains just a few simple ingredients, but it’s a major upgrade over jarred sauce. If you’re making this dish when fresh tomatoes are out of season, consider tossing in a bag of frozen broccoli instead. Just be sure to cook it first!
1 lb of uncooked spaghetti
2-4 large tomatoes, diced (or a bag of frozen broccoli, cooked according to package directions)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling. Add pasta, give a quick stir, and cook according to package directions (usually about 10 minutes). Dice tomatoes and grate cheese while the pasta is cooking. Drain pasta and toss together with the tomatoes, olive oil, cheese, and black pepper. Divide into 6 portions and dig in!
Egg tacos (Serves 4, ready in 10 minutes)
Eggs are inexpensive and quick - perfect for busy weeknights. If you’re looking for a break from the usual toast pairing, try this recipe!
1 Tbs. milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tbs. oil or butter
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
8 corn tortillas
Sliced avocado and salsa, for serving
Crack eggs into a bowl and whisk with the milk and a dash of salt and pepper. Add oil or butter to a large frying pan and heat over medium high. Add the eggs and scramble until yolks and whites are set. Stir in cheese and remove the pan from heat. Divide the eggs amongst the tortillas and top with avocado and salsa.
When you’re pressed for time, save the gourmet recipes for another day and whip up one of these easy, kid-friendly recipes. Bon appetit!
Megan is a writer, RRCA certified running coach, and new mom living and training in rural upstate New York. She competed in DIII track and cross-country at Wesleyan University and now focuses on the half-marathon and marathon distance.
Main Photo Credit: Kiian Oksana/shutterstock.com; Second Photo Credit: Slawomir Fajer/shutterstock.com; Third Photo Credit: Julie208/shutterstock.com; Fourth Photo Credit: Elena Veselova/shutterstock.com