The Busy Girl’s Guide to the 20-Minute Meal

By Megan Adams Brown
August 12, 2013 • comment(s)
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It’s 6:30 p.m. and you’ve just barely survived the week at the office. You’re hungry. You’re tired. And the last thing you want to do is cook dinner. Sound familiar? It’s a common predicament – you want to eat well, but you’re a busy woman, life is hectic, and you don’t have the time to spend an hour, or two, in the kitchen. On top of that there’s the shopping, planning… oh, just the thought of it all can be enough to make a gal stress eat. Stop. Step away from the pizza delivery coupon…

What if preparing healthy dinners during the week didn’t have to eat up your whole evening, or be stressful and complicated? With a little bit of strategy and some prep work on the front end, you can pretty painlessly set yourself up for five nights of simple, nutritious and tasty meals that you can throw together in 20 minutes or less. Follow our guide and you’ll be set for a week of eating well, saving money and feeling accomplished in the kitchen – all without missing a beat on that busy schedule of yours.

The Menu

Follow the links to get the recipes.  


Salmon[ma1]  with broccoli[ma2]  and brown rice 


Sweet potato[ma3]  with kale[ma4]  and quinoa


Curried chickpeas with brown rice [ma5] 


Stir-fried chicken and veggies with brown rice [ma6] 


Quinoa-stuffed acorn squash [ma7] 


Treat yourself! After a whole week of eating healthy (and saving money), let someone else do the cooking tonight. You deserve it!

The Planning & Shopping

Make just one trip to the grocery store to stock up on what you’ll need for the week. Before you go, think about what your week looks like. How many nights will you likely eat at home? Plan your meals for those nights. Not sure what the week might bring? Make at least one of your meals pantry/freezer-based (ie. frozen veggies).


The List

Here’s everything you’ll need for dinner this week:


-          Broccoli

-          Kale

-          Carrots

-          Red bell pepper

-          Parsley

-          Tomato

-          Sweet potato

-          Acorn squash

-          Yellow onions (2)

-          Garlic



-          Chicken breast

-          Salmon filet



-          Brown rice

-          Quinoa

-          Chickpeas (dried or canned)

-          Currants

-          Coconut milk (light)

-          Sliced almonds



-          Extra-virgin olive oil

-          Curry paste

-          Red wine vinegar

-          Tamari/ soy sauce

-          Honey

-          Lemon

-          Lime

-          Sea salt

-          Black pepper


The Preparation

Save time during the week by making your whole grains on Sunday. Cook them up and store them in the fridge so they’ll be ready to go with your meal. Follow the links for simple cooking instructions.


The Week

You’re ready to eat well this week. Instead of getting home after a long day and asking that dreaded question: “Ugh, what am I going to eat?” you’re on top of it. And you know you’re just a chop/sauté/throw in the mic away from something truly nourishing and delicious. With dinner taken care of, you’re off to do more important things, like [insert guilty pleasure here].


Megan Adams Brown is a self-proclaimed health nut with a fascination with the power of food and the effect it has on our bodies. As a holistic health coach, she works with people to help them achieve their own personal health goals. Find more tips from Megan at her blog, Megg Salad.














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