20 Minute Recipes that Make Weeknight Dinner a Dream

This week’s meal plan is full of recipes with 20-minute cook times. Add a few minutes for prep and you’ll still have dinner on the table in no time.

September Meal Plan Week 1

The phrase I most regret uttering as a kid is: “I can’t wait to be an adult.”

I don’t know about you, but to me, adulthood is overrated. The question, "What do I make for dinner tonight?" is one of the major stressors of adulthood. And truth be told, you’re not alone if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed when seeking the answer. 

This week’s meal plan focuses on alleviating the stress that comes from laborious cooking times. Each recipe takes only a few minutes to prepare and cooks in about 20 minutes. I like to think of these types of meals as sanity-savers. I mean, really, who couldn't use more time!?!

Go a step further in your quest to reclaim your time by picking up ready-to-use ingredients like bagged, grated cheeses for Tuesday’s pasta dish and Thursday’s quesadillas. The flour tortillas you need for the kimchi quesadillas can also accompany Monday’s soup, so pick up a little more at the grocery store. 

Let’s embrace adulthood deliciously and take a few extra minutes to relax. 

  • Easy Mexican Chicken and Rice Soup

    Easy Mexican Chicken and Rice Soup
    Sally Vargas

    Get tons of help from the grocery store to cut down on prep time. Don’t fuss with making stocks from scratch when a couple of cartons will accomplish the same goal. Grab frozen corn, canned tomatoes, and pre-cut onions (found in the produce section), and while you’re at it, throw one of those rotisserie chickens in the shopping cart. Shred the meat and put it all together.

  • Pasta Carbonara

    Overhead view of a bowl of Spaghetti Carbonara.
    Karishma Pradhan

    This classic Italian dish calls for pancetta or bacon. Since I always have the latter on hand, that’s what I use here. Friday’s meatballs also use chopped bacon. I'm going to take care of the bacon for both recipes now and save time on Friday.

  • Coconut Shrimp with Sweet Chili Mayo

    Coconut Shrimp With Sweet Chili Mayo
    Jaden Hair

    These sweet-hot coconut shrimp can wear a whole lot of serving hats. Spoon them on top of steamed white or brown rice, toss them into boiled soba noodles, or wrap them in tortillas. Grab a bag of peeled and deveined shrimp with the tail on from the grocery store. You can usually find them in the freezer at the seafood section.

  • Kimchi Avocado Quesadilla

    Kimchi Avocado Quesadillas
    Elise Bauer

    Kimchi may be a new addition to your meal plan, but it’s a weekly thing for me and my crew. Instead of serving it as a side dish, this week, I’m folding it into a flour tortilla and making it the star of the show. This quesadilla recipe makes 2 servings, but it’s easily doubled or tripled. If you’re looking to bulk this meal up a bit, head to your local Korean market and grab other types of banchan (sides) to serve with the quesadillas.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • Greek Meatballs

    Greek Meatballs
    Elise Bauer

    Double this Greek Meatball recipe because they freeze for three months, you can pull them out, reheat them in the microwave, and save your future self even more time. I stuff them into warm pita bread and top everything off with the tzatziki sauce from this recipe, but you can also serve them in grain bowls over steamed orzo or farro.

  • Weekend Baking: No-Bake Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies

    No Bake Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies
    Cindy Rahe

    These no-bake cookies only require 3 minutes of cooking to boil the cocoa mixture. and 20-minutes of chill time. While the cookies chill prepare dinner for the evening!