Our Favorite Easy Dinners for Busy Nights
Reliable, delicious and—take a deep breath—no-stress suppers.
Photo: Johnny Miller
Not only does this superfast supper require just a single pan, it also barely necessitates a knife. You start by warming canned black beans in some butter; then you toss in torn pieces of tortilla, crack eggs into the mix, scramble them and top with pico de gallo, scallion, cheddar and Greek yogurt. While this recipe serves one, you can easily double, triple or quadruple it.
Get the recipe: Burrito Scramble
Photo: Kathy Strahs
A New Way to Cook Grains
Adding uncooked couscous to a baking dish may seem a bit unorthodox, but it turns out to be a great way to infuse incredible richness to the North African staple. You pour a hot mixture of apple cider, mustard, cinnamon and thyme over the grains then arrange browned pork chops on top and cover with cooked onions and apples. Bake for 15 minutes and you'll have a juicy, fruit-enhanced meal.
Get the recipe: Pan-Roasted Pork Chops with Apples and Couscous
Photo: Oxmoor House
An Even Better Use for a Supermarket Shortcut
Cheese tortellini from the refrigerated section of the grocery store are just fine on their own with, say, some tomato sauce or butter. Let them cook in a pot of simmering broth, though, and they turn into something that tastes far more delicious than you'd expect: plump and flavorful, with a gooey inside that melts in your mouth. This soup combines them with canned diced tomatoes, some dried herbs and baby spinach for a veggie-rich dish that comes together in just 25 minutes.
Get the recipe: One-Pot Spinach and Tomato Tortellini Soup
Photo: John Kernick
An Asian Dish with a Little Bit of Everything You Want
When it comes to quick meals, it's hard to beat a stir-fry. And when it comes to the ingredients you put in that stir-fry, we wholeheartedly recommend chicken legs and thighs, since the dark meat tends to soak up delicious sauces so well. This chili-soy-garlic-flavored dish also offers a fantastic contrast of textures, from tender chicken to crunchy peanuts and celery, which falls nicely in the middle.
Get the recipe: Chicken Stir-Fry with Celery and Peanuts
Photo: Quentin Bacon
A New Take on Pasta with Veggies
The beauty of this recipe is that you boil the penne, ziti or bow ties together with the sauce ingredients, so it's truly, honestly, no-strings-attached one pot. You just add the vegetables (kale and tomatoes) to a big skillet or stockpot and pour in pasta and water. It'll simmer away, and in a few minutes you'll be topping the dish with grated Parmesan and fresh basil, then digging in.
Get the recipe: One-Pot Pasta
Photo: Signe Birck
A Pour-the-Sauce-on-Top-and-Bake Salmon
This recipe has it all: simplicity, flexibility (it's easily doubled), good looks—and it tastes delicious. It's as easy as whisking together Dijon mustard, honey and olive oil, pouring it over salmon (keep the skin on so it holds together), laying some lemon slices and herbs over it and baking for 10 minutes. You can finish the dish with some additional lemon juice, if you'd like a little extra zip.
Get the recipe: Roasted Salmon with Honey-Dijon Glaze