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Aug 13, 2007 01:18 PM

45-minute dinner recipes?

In an attempt to get more exercise without sacrificing too much time out of the day, we added a nice elliptical machine to our home. It's in front of the tv AND air conditioning unit so we can stay cool and also go through the piles of shows on the DVR. My workouts are typically 45 minutes. However, this means that, if I get home by 5:30 (which is very optimistic) and workout when I get home, this means I'm not off until about 6:30 at which time I can start dinner. So, then we don't eat until 7-7:30 and after cleaning we're at 8:30.

The solution is not to wake up early for a workout. It just won't happen.

I have a lot of dinner meals that can be made in 30-40 minutes, but they all require kitchen supervision. What I want is something I can prep in the morning or when I get home from work and then toss into the oven for at least 45 minutes and not have check on it, flip something, stir or add. I found a recipe for braised chicked that takes 45 minutes in the oven. It takes some prep work beforehand, but I can leave it along for 45 minutes and then take it out and finish dinner. Cooking for an hour would be fine, too, but preferably not a slow roast that takes 2 hours in the oven.

Please don't suggest pressure cooker recipes, as I just don't want to go that route right now. Fridge to prep to oven to table - what recipes do you have?


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  1. What about a roast chicken - we do ours at v. high heat and it takes about 50 minutes. Only catch is that we cook it at 500-550 for 20 minutes, and then turn the oven down to 425, so you'd have to get off the machine to do that! You could prep the chicken in the morning, then stick it in the oven when you get home, and get on the machine after the 20 minutes.

    1. A crockpot would also help, although the newer ones cook at a higher temperature so things are done more quickly than in the past. Some people suggest putting the meat in frozen into the crockpot so it won't overcook, although I've never done that.

      1 Reply
      1. re: LindaWhit

        Meat Loaf and baked potatoes take little prep and take 45 mins. Meatloaf can be completely prepared and in the fridge, throw together a salad before the workout, and maybe some veggies in the m/w after, which takes all of 3 mins.


      2. spaghetti squash is great for this, however, I do cook the sauce/topping on the stovetop towards the end- so if you're willing to cook for 15 minutes after the workout it's great.

        also, thinly sliced chicken, turkey cutlets, & pork work. and of course fish- I just made a great salmon that I frequent, and added veggies & potatoes right into the dish this time.

        1. Hmmmm. You sound a lot like me!! I go the meatloaf route somewhat often. Stuffed pasta is another option--lasagna, manicotti, whatever. I make enchiladas in advance as well. I make the sauce the night before and store in tupperware. I also poach the chicken and complete the filling with shredded cheese, seasonings, etc. You can then quickly roll and toss in the oven after your workout on a higher temp for 20 minutes or so, or lower temp for 45 minutes. Or how about a pork loin cooked with roasted potatoes?

          1 Reply
          1. re: jules127

            I can see meatloaf, lasagna, and enchiladas working well... hey, if I roast a chicken one night I can use leftover meat for enchiladas the next night!

          2. What about preparing the meal 90% and then cooking your protein at the last minute? E.g:
            - flank steak with tabouleh and grilled veggies - won't take more than 10 min to cook the steak, but you could prepare everything else & marinate the steak while working out
            - Mexican - same idea, prepare the salsa/guac/etc, then just cook up your protein