I know what you are thinking when you see my title but this is a little different. If I saw the title, "20 minute skillet dinner," I might think of sloppy joe or some other casserole-like concoction made on the stove. But this type of dinner is more delicious and easier to make!
The idea is to put everything in a skillet so it all comes out of the oven on time.
It is easy to keep all of these ingredients on hand:
Protein items like chicken breast, chicken thigh, fish, or pork or anything you can bake quickly. I have left beef off because I don't eat red meat and you can't really bake it the way you can for chicken or fish but if you want to use it by all means add that to your own list.
Vegetables that freeze well like corn, peas, succotash, carrots, lima beans
Potatoes such as red potatoes, Yukon gold potatoes or any small potatoes that cook quickly; however please keep them in a light-proof brown bag so they do not turn green. Sweet potatoes or yams can be included here and left out in the open.
Seasonal vegetables, slaws, and salad mixes.
It only takes 5 easy steps for this 20 minute meal:
- Defrost fish or chicken in the microwave.
- Season your protein and place it in a nonstick skillet that is oven proof (you can also use any non-stick baking dish or pan). Spray with a little oil for easy cleanup.
- Bake your protein in your skillet at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. It is a good idea to set the timer so you don't get distracted and overcook your dinner!
- Microwave potatoes or yams until fork tender (3 minutes per potato or use potato setting) and add them to the skillet so they crisp up while baking with the protein item. They will taste like you baked them for an hour!
- Vegetables can be added to the skillet based on cooking time or you can make a salad or steamed veggies at the last minute. Here I have added asparagus because it roasted just fine at this higher temperature. Also pictured is arctic char fish and baby Yukon gold potatoes. This fish was on sale in a local store but you can use any fish.
It is all so simple that you don't need a recipe and there is almost no attended cooking time. Cleanup is a snap. And the cost is always much lower than eating out.
To add more variety you can change seasonings or use sweet potatoes or a grain such as quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat cous cous, or pearled barley.
Frozen peas often take about the same time as the chicken.
Use a seasoning blend so you can season your food deliciously with one shake. Favorite blends include guacamole, Italian seasoning, or fines herbes. But Cajun or garlic herb is great, too. Baking a lemon along with the chicken or fish yields the most delicious flavor that can take the place of butter.
This is a great strategy for time-pressed weekdays.
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world-famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. After a decade in food service for Hyatt Hotels, Judy launched Food and Health Communications to focus on flavor and health. She graduated with Summa Cum Laude distinction from Johnson and Wales University with a BS in Culinary Art, holds a master’s degree in Food Business from the Culinary Institute of America, 2 art certificates from UC Berkeley Extension, and runs a food photography studio where her love is creating fun recipes.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science and Dietary Guidelines to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.