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Here’s What to Cook Every Night This Week (December 12 – 18)

With the holidays just around the corner, you likely have cookie swaps, Secret Santa parties, potlucks and shopping sprees on your plate. Wouldn’t it be nice if you barely had to lift a finger to cook dinner? Enter this menu of seven meals that call for only five minutes of prep each. From lightning-fast flatbreads to low-and-slow pastas, this week is full of delicious dishes that require minimal energy to pull off.

54 Fast Dinner Ideas You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less


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Shopping List

Produce
2 large shallots
7 ounces baby spinach
1½ pounds sweet potatoes
3 ounces arugula
2 pears
4 grapefruits
4 clementines
1 lime
3 Yukon Gold potatoes
5 garlic cloves
2 onions
2 lemons
One 1½- to 2-pound winter squash
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch rosemary
1 bunch mint

Meat
5 large eggs
16 medium shrimp
One 4-pound chicken (or 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts)
1½ pounds ground lamb

Dairy
2 sticks unsalted butter
8 ounces Brie cheese
4 ounces feta cheese
4 ounces plain whole milk yogurt
14 ounces full-fat Greek yogurt
6 ounces whole milk
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving

Grains
16 to 20 ounces fresh or frozen cheese tortellini
2 pieces naan
7 ounces uncooked quinoa
1 pound long pasta (such as tagliatelle, fettuccine, linguine or spaghetti)

Canned and Packaged Goods
5 ounces hazelnuts
12 Moroccan dry-cured or kalamata olives
3 ounces pomegranate arils
Pomegranate molasses, for serving
2 ounces raw pistachios
6 ounces dry red wine
One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)

Pantry Ingredients: kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, balsamic vinegar, brown rice flour, ground cumin, extra-virgin olive oil, honey, chipotle chili powder or smoked paprika, sumac, cumin seed, dried thyme, ground cinnamon, ground cardamom, ground turmeric, crushed red pepper flakes, flaky sea salt, ground coriander

Monday: Balsamic Brown Butter Tortellini with Spinach and Hazelnuts

You’re only eight ingredients away from the tastiest 20-minute pasta you’ll ever eat. Chalk it up to the nutty brown butter (which we like to call liquid gold, since it makes everything taste unbelievably delicious).

Tuesday: Sweet Potato Rösti with Fried Eggs and Greens

Tonight’s dinner is free of gluten, dairy and meat, but it’s certainly not short on flavor. Rösti is Switzerland’s take on a latke, and this sweet potato version is topped with a runny egg and greens to make it more filling.

Wednesday: Pear, Brie and Rosemary Flatbreads

This cheater’s flatbread is equal parts indulgent, refreshing and elegant. In fact, we wouldn’t blame you for serving this seven-ingredient masterpiece at Christmas cocktail hour. Might we suggest topping it with crushed red pepper flakes or hot honey for a kick?

Thursday: Citrus, Shrimp and Quinoa Salad with Feta

Three cheers for citrus season. Make the most of December’s bounty with this 20-minute gem that’s packed with protein (and feta cheese). Feel free to swap the grapefruits and clementines for blood oranges, tangerines or whatever citrus fruits you’d prefer. 

Friday: Sheet Pan Persian Lemon Chicken

Sheet pan recipes are a lazy cook’s best friend, since they require minimal prep *and* leave you with only one dirty dish to clean. Here, chicken and potatoes unite under tangy yogurt, pomegranate arils and a flurry of Middle Eastern spices.

Saturday: Alison Roman’s Roasted Squash with Yogurt and Spiced Buttered Pistachios

Tired of butternut yet? This recipe can be made with a myriad of winter squash, including red kuri, kabocha and acorn. Don’t stress over your choice: A sea of melted butter, warm spices and lemon-kissed Greek yogurt tastes good on just about everything.

Sunday: Antoni Porowski’s Moroccan-Style Pasta Bolognese

This pasta is the perfect Sunday project, since all you need to do is pop the produce and spices in a large pot and let them simmer to perfection for a few hours. The recipe makes enough sauce for two pounds of pasta, so freeze the second half for busy nights to come.

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Taryn Pire is PureWow’s associate food editor. A former bartender and barista, she’s been writing about all things delicious since 2016, developing recipes, reviewing restaurants and investigating food trends at Food52, New Jersey Family Magazine and Taste Talks. When she isn’t testing TikTok’s latest viral recipe, she’s having popcorn for dinner and posting about it on Instagram @cookingwithpire.