Is it me or does it seem like the fall season becomes this time where all we do is run around like crazy?  School starts and everyone is trying to get into the new schedule. There are more extracurricular activities, more meetings at work, and the holidays seem to be looming over us. Instead of spending time stressing about dinner, here are three 20 minute recipes to make sure your family still gets a good meal.

Sesame Chicken and Noodles

Ingredients

Makes 6 servings

  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup  \green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tsp Asian garlic-chili sauce
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, grilled and cut into strips – or you can buy grilled chicken strips
  • 12 ounces dried udon noodles or whole-wheat spaghetti – I bought the already cooked udon noodles which only need 2-3 minutes of cooking time
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 medium yellow, red and/or orange sweet peppers, cut in bite-size strips
  • Fresh cilantro

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl stir together vinegar, green onions, honey, soy sauce, ginger and garlic-chili sauce.  Add chicken and stir to coat.  Set aside to allow flavors to meld.
  2. Meanwhile, in large saucepan cook noodles in boiling water about 8 minutes until just tender. Drain noodles well and return to saucepan.  Drizzle with oil and toss to coat.  Add chicken mixture and pepper strips and toss together.  (If you use the already cooked noodles, all you need to do is heat the sesame oil in a pan, add the noodles and toss in the oil for 2-3 minutes, then add the chicken and pepper strips.)
  3. Serve in bowls with a cilantro on top.

Pizza with Beef and Blue Cheese

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 1 Italian bread shell (such as Boboli)
  • 8 ounces cooked roast beef, thinly sliced and then sliced into strips
  • ½ of a medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small sweet pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • ¼ tsp pizza seasoning (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In large skillet cook onion in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat 3-5 minutes or until onion is just tender. Brush the remaining oil onto the pizza shell and place on baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes.
  2. Change over to broil.  Top pizza shell with beef, sweet pepper, onion, cheese, and pizza seasoning.  Broil pizza 4-5 minutes or until toppings are heated through and crust is browned. Cut in wedges.

Beef and Cabbage Wraps

Ingredients

Makes 4 wraps

  • 8 flour tortillas – 8 inches
  • 12 ounces lean ground beef
  • ½ cup medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup bottled barbecue sauce
  • 2 cups packaged shredded cabbage with carrot (coleslaw mix)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Wrap tortillas tightly in foil; place on baking sheet and cook 10 minutes or until heated through.
  2. Meanwhile, in large skillet cook ground beef and onion until beef is brown and onion is tender. Drain any excess grease.  Stir in corn and 1/3 cup barbecue sauce.  Cook and stir until heated through.
  3. To serve, spread one side of tortillas with some of the remaining barbecue sauce. Spoon about 1/2 cup filling on each tortilla.  Add shredded cabbage mix.  Roll to make wraps.

While spending time around the dinner table is something I love, especially having each person talk about what was their favorite part of the day, speeding up the preparation of the meal gives me and the family more time to spend together.