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Make family meals, fast — even on weekdays

Even with today's busy schedules, making a fresh, homemade dinner for the family doesn't have to be saved for the weekend. In the October issue of Cooking Light magazine, you’ll find a number of recipes that take about 20 minutes to prepare. Registered dietitian and Cooking Light editor Ellen Carroll was invited to share some ideas for “Superfast” meals on “Today.” Check out the recipes:

Even with today's busy schedules, making a fresh, homemade dinner for the family doesn't have to be saved for the weekend. In the October issue of Cooking Light magazine, you’ll find a number of recipes that take about 20 minutes to prepare. Registered dietitian and Cooking Light editor Ellen Carroll was invited to share some ideas for “Superfast” meals on “Today.” Check out the recipes:

This month, "Superfast" provides valuable lessons in cooking with a skillet. Many of the recipes instruct you to begin heating the skillet before other preparations to give it time to reach the right temperature. A hot skillet (or grill pan) sears the outside of fish or meat while leaving a rare middle in Tuna With White Bean–Cucumber Salad or Filet Mignon With Mushroom-Wine Sauce. It allows you to stir-fry for quick cooking that retains the crisp texture of fresh vegetables, and it helps to create a satisfying crust on the Peanut-Crusted Snapper and Chicken With Black Bean Sauce.

Shrimp and Snow Pea Stir-FryEllen Carroll

Yield: 7 servings (serving size: 12/3 cups).

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Combine ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and garlic, stirring with a whisk.

3. Add bell pepper and onion to pan; stir-fry 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add snow peas and shrimp; stir-fry 3 minutes or until shrimp are done. Add soy sauce mixture, and cook 1 minute. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Calories 274 (23% from fat); fat 7.1g (sat 1.2g, mono 2g, poly 3g); protein 37.4g; carb 14.1g; fiber 2.7g; chol 259mg; iron 5.4mg; sodium 838mg; calc 117mg

Serve with rice and jasmine tea.

91232676048160499dark sesame oil1teaspoon1 teaspoon dark sesame oilbottled minced fresh ginger2tablespoon2 tablespoons bottled minced fresh gingerlow-sodium soy sauce3tablespoon3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauceseasoned rice vinegar2tablespoon2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegarsugar2teaspoon2 teaspoons sugarbottled minced garlic1teaspoon1 teaspoon bottled minced garlicred bell pepper,11 small red bell pepper, cut into 1-1/2-inch piecesred onion11 small red onion, cut into 8 wedgessnow peas1cup1 cup snow peas, trimmedlarge shrimp1.5pound1-1/2 pounds peeled and deveined large shrimpsesame seeds3tablespoon3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

Pan-Seared Scallops With Tomatoes and PestoEllen Carroll

Yield: 4 servings.

1. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Pat scallops dry with paper towels; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lightly coat pan with cooking spray. Add scallops to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove scallops from pan; keep warm. Reduce heat to medium. Add rind and next 4 ingredients (through garlic) to pan; bring to a simmer. Add tomatoes; cook 45 seconds, tossing to coat.

2. Spoon about 2 teaspoons pesto on each of 4 plates. Arrange one-quarter of scallops and about 1/2 cup tomato mixture on each plate. Sprinkle with basil.

Calories 252 (33% from fat); fat 9.1g (sat 1.9g, mono 5g, poly 1.1g); protein 31.4g; carb 10.4g; fiber 1.3g; chol 60mg; iron 1.4mg; sodium 517mg; calc 133mg

For a golden-brown crust on the scallops, don’t disturb them while they cook except to turn them over.

9123267604816049960486sea scallops1.5pound1-1/2 pounds sea scallopssalt0.25teaspoon1/4 teaspoon saltblack pepper0.25teaspoon1/4 teaspoon black pepperCooking spraygrated lemon rind0.25teaspoon1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rindfresh lemon juice2tablespoon2 tablespoons fresh lemon juicebalsamic vinegar2tablespoon2 tablespoons balsamic vinegarolive oil2teaspoon2 teaspoons olive oilbottled minced garlic0.5teaspoon1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlicgrape tomatoes2cup2 cups grape tomatoescommercial pesto3tablespoon3 tablespoons commercial pestochopped fresh basil1tablespoon1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Filet Mignon With Mushroom-Wine SauceEllen Carroll

Yield: 2 servings (serving size: 1 steak and 1/4 cup sauce).

1. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat.

2. Combine first 7 ingredients in a bowl.

3. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add steaks to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness Remove steaks from pan. Add mushrooms to pan, and cook 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove mushrooms from pan. Remove pan from heat; add Marsala, scraping the pan to loosen browned bits. Reduce heat to medium. Return pan to heat. Add broth mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in mushrooms.

Calories 318 (31% from fat); fat 11.1g (sat 4.2g, mono 4.5g, poly 0.6g); protein 26.3g; carb 11.9g; fiber 0.6g; chol 78mg; iron 2.3mg; sodium 410mg; calc 32mg

This quick but posh dinner for two goes nicely with packaged refrigerated mashed potatoes and bagged salad greens with bottled dressing.

91232676048154554less-sodium beef broth0.5cup1/2 cup less-sodium beef brothwater0.25cup1/4 cup waterall-purpose flour2teaspoon2 teaspoons all-purpose flourdijon mustard0.75teaspoon3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustardbottled minced garlic0.5teaspoon1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlicsalt0.25teaspoon1/4 teaspoon saltblack pepper0.125teaspoon1/8 teaspoon black pepperCooking spraybeef tenderloin steaks22 (4-ounce) beef tenderloin steakspre-sliced mushrooms1cup1 cup pre-sliced mushroomssweet marsala0.5cup1/2 cup sweet Marsala