Dinner tonight, or any other night, should be an enjoyable experience.
Why, then, does dinner sometimes seem more like a chore than a pleasure? Well, life can and will get in the way — soccer practice, extra-long workdays, car trouble, doctors' appointments. There can often seem like a million obstacles between you and a relaxing meal on a Tuesday night.
Overcoming those obstacles can seem impossible, but if we examine the biggest one, perhaps we can lower the bar just a bit.
Time is always the issue for me, and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone. We tend to think there will be more than there is, especially during the week. So we put off things like finding a special ingredient or getting a start on the prep work until the day of. Then, shockingly, we run out of time.
That's why it's important to choose meals that are less demanding on days we know will be more challenging. Let me introduce you to one such meal: Smothered Chicken Cutlets With Mushrooms and Onions.
Here's a dish that only takes a handful of ingredients (especially if you don't count salt, pepper, oil and flour) and most of them can be found in your fridge, freezer or pantry. Since none of them are specialty items, you won't have to search long and hard for any of the ingredients, so we've already eliminated the time to shop.
If you take advantage of the many convenience items offered in the produce section of most grocery stores, such as pre-sliced mushrooms, then the prep gets a lot easier. I'm always amazed at the variety of pre-sliced/cubed/shredded/spiralized vegetables that can be purchased. While I'm usually averse to convenience items, as they typically fall into the processed foods category, these are simply cut up veggies, and if I can avoid that task, I'm all for it.
Lastly, there's the time it takes to cook the meal. This recipe calls for chicken cutlets, not chicken breasts. Cutlets are simply a breast that's been cut in half crosswise, making two thinner pieces of meat, which will cook more quickly and increase the number of servings if you have light eaters.
You can buy cutlets, or if you want to save a little money (I do!), buy chicken breasts and cut them in half yourself. It only takes a minute, but it can save you a few bucks.
Once the chicken is cooked, the rest of the meal comes together in a snap. The whole dish should take less than 30 minutes from start to finish, especially if you can multi-task a bit and cook some rice and perhaps a salad or green beans to go with it. The result is a soul-satisfying and nutritious homemade meal, so quick and easy to prepare that it can hurdle most obstacles, even on a Tuesday night.
Meredith Deeds is a cookbook author and food writer from Edina. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at