How to Get (a Rockin’) Dinner on the Table in 20 Minutes

Tuesday night:

5:30 Wrap up work in my home office — even though I meant to wrap up work before kids got home from school two hours earlier. Oh well.

5:40 Realize that Andy is out tonight and it’s Tuesday, which means everyone has their various extracurricular pursuits until almost 9:00. Make radical decision: Let’s eat dinner before practice tonight instead of after.

5:41 Realize this means I have to get dinner on the table immediately if my midfielders stand a chance at digesting in time to run around like maniacs. Remove flounder from fridge.

5:45 Place large skillet on stovetop, add a few glugs olive oil, turn heat to medium-high, set up dredging station (whisked egg, flour, panko crumbs) for flounder.

5:52 While four flounder filets brown in olive oil, slice half head of Napa Cabbage very finely, drizzle in a dressing (mayo, apple cider vinegar, celery seed, olive oil, salt, black pepper, sugar whisked in a measuring cup) and toss.

5:59 Remove four cooked flounders, tent with foil; add another two to the pan. Meanwhile, open a can of Trader Joe’s organic baked beans and dump into a small pot. Much like a cat who can recognize the sound of a tuna can opening from two rooms away, Abby arrives within seconds. “Are we having baked beans?” Got her.

6:05 Dinner. Game over.


Basic Everyday Fried Fish; Cole Slaw, Trader Joes Hit List.

Last Night’s Dinner: Pasta with Mint Pea Pesto;

Anatomy of a Monday Night Dinner: Baked Mustardy Chicken Drumsticks with Brussels Sprouts.


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You have a term for cooking techniques, or ingredients, that always make you turn the page (“pageturners”? “heartsinkers?” something like that). Well, for me, anything that requires dredging stations is a heartsinking pageturner. I’ve tried to make your fried chicken cutlets from your book so many times and I just can’t get it right. The dredging stations take up too much valuable countertop, the flour gets messy, and then the oil is either too cool (and the meat gets sodden with grease) or too hot (and the panko gets burned). What am I doing wrong?


I’m with gretchen–I love fried cutlets/filets but my biggest issue is the frying part. My first batch is usually photo worthy but after that it starts getting ugly (black, burnt pieces) fast. Any tips for keeping that under control???


Go you! I’m always amazed when I can get an amazing dinner together in short order. I’ll keep these ideas in mind for the weeknight rush!