6 Simple and Fast Dinner Recipes to Try Any Night

As any Plated fan will know, we pride ourselves on recipes that are satisfying, delicious, and don’t take forever to make. But, for those days and nights when you literally have no time, we’ve come up with a couple of radically fast recipes, many of which are adapted from our expansive cache of Plated dishes—these definitely won’t sacrifice on flavor.

Chicken Stir-Fry

A stir-fry is hard to beat for both heartiness and ease. You can mix and match veggies, and it comes together with a few shakes of soy sauce. Serve it atop a quick rice, or rice noodle, and you’ve got a perfect dinner.

Quick Chicken Milanese

This recipe is a Plated favorite for a reason: It’s quick, tasty, and a total crowd-pleaser. We’ve adapted and simplified it a bit here so that it’s ready in no time. Go forth and Milanese!

3/4 cup grape tomatoes
5 ounces arugula
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 lemon
1/2 cup flour
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 egg
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Black pepper

Rinse tomatoes and arugula. Pat dry and set aside. If you have extra time, halve the tomatoes.

Pat chicken dry with paper towel, place between 2 large pieces of plastic wrap and, using a meat mallet or heavy pan, pound to .25 inch thickness. Season all over with .5 teaspoon salt and black pepper as desired.

Place flour on a large plate and season with .125 teaspoon salt and black pepper. In a large shallow bowl, whisk egg. Place breadcrumbs on a separate large plate. Dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg, allowing excess to drip off. Dredge in breadcrumbs, pressing to adhere.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add chicken and sear until crust is browned and chicken is cooked through and no longer pink, 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

While chicken cooks, halve lemon and squeeze juice of into a large bowl. Whisking continuously, slowly add 2 tablespoons olive oil, and season with .125 teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Add arugula and tomatoes, toss to coat, and add to serving plates.

Serve chicken Milanese with arugula salad and dig in!

Pasta Aglio e Olio

Few things are as satisfying or easy as a big bowl of garlicky spaghetti. In Italian, aglio e olio literally means garlic and olive oil, which are the two primary seasonings in this totally breezy dish.

2 garlic cloves
Pinch red pepper flakes 
.5 pound spaghetti
Olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Thinly slice garlic cloves.

Season boiling water generously with salt, stir in spaghetti, and cook according to package directions until 1 minute less than al dente. Reserve .5 cup pasta cooking water, then drain and set aside.

While pasta cooks, combine 3 tablespoons olive oil, sliced garlic, and red pepper flakes (if using) in a large pan over medium heat. Cook until garlic turns very light golden, about 5 minutes.

Transfer cooked spaghetti to pan with garlic and oil, add reserve pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time, and increase heat to high. Cook, tossing rapidly, until sauce coats pasta. Add additional salt as needed and serve!

Grilled cheese

There’s a reason grilled cheese sandwiches remain a classic beloved by adults and kids alike. They’re melty, cheesy, and ready in a snap! Here, we’re sharing with you our favorite grilled cheese pro-tip: get into the mayo. We love the combo of Fontina and Gruyère, but feel free to swap your favorites.

4 slices sourdough bread
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 ounces shredded Gruyère cheese
2 ounces shredded Fontina cheese
3 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Place bread slices on a clean, dry surface. Spread mayonnaise on 1 side of each slice. Flip slices and spread mustard on plain sides. Top mustard sides with shredded cheese and finish with remaining bread slices, mayonnaise-side up.

Place a large nonstick pan over medium heat.  Carefully hover your hand a few inches away from the pan—when you can easily feel heat, add sandwiches. Place a medium heavy pan or large plate on top. Cook until bread is golden brown and cheese is melted, about 4 minutes per side. Add to plates and dig in!

Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

Thanks to their quick cooking time, shrimp is one of our go-to proteins for a fast meal. Here, they turn crispy thanks to a rice flour batter, and then get layered crunchy lettuce wraps, along with a lime-laced slaw. A drizzle of Sriracha makes the perfect garnish. Pro tip: if you have extra time and want a heartier meal, feel free to make a pot of rice and add that to the lettuce wraps!

1 lime, divided
1 head Boston lettuce
2 ounces mayonnaise, divided
.25 cup shredded green cabbage
.25 shredded red cabbage
4 teaspoons Sriracha
10 ounces shrimp
.25 cup rice flour
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
.5 cup seltzer water
Canola oil
Kosher salt
Black pepper

Halve lime. Rinse lettuce, pat dry with paper towel, and separate large leaves for wraps (at least 3 per person).

Pat shrimp dry with paper towel. In a large bowl, whisk together rice flour, Old Bay, ½ cup seltzer, and ¼ teaspoon salt to make tempura batter.

In a large nonstick pan, heat enough canola oil to reach about 1 inch up sides of pan over medium-high heat. Add shrimp to bowl with batter and toss gently to coat. When oil is shimmering, use tongs or a fork to add shrimp to pan, letting excess batter drip off (see recipe tip). Working in batches, fry shrimp, stirring occasionally, until crisp and golden brown, 3–5 minutes. Transfer shrimp to a paper towel–lined plate to drain.

While shrimp cooks, in a large bowl, whisk together half of mayonnaise, juice of ½ lime, ⅛ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Add slaw mix to bowl with dressing and toss to coat. Add Sriracha to container with remaining mayonnaise and stir to combine. Set Sriracha mayo aside until ready to serve. Slce remaining lime into wedges.

Divide lettuce leaves between serving plates. Top with slaw and shrimp and drizzle over Sriracha mayo. Serve with lime wedges and dig in!

Avo toast

We know, we know, avocado toast. But, let’s be real, it’s so quick, so easy, and just so satisfying. You know you still eat this when you’re in a crunch (or, just because).


Love experimenting in the kitchen? Try Plated!

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