On a busy night, the decision to cook or order takeout happens pretty quickly. You come home from work tired and hungry, and the idea of dragging out a bunch of pots and pans to cook a meal that may take an hour or more to finish can seem daunting.

Even worse, you’d have to clean up the mess when you’re done. So out comes the phone and takeout is ordered. Problem solved. Or is it? You still have to wait for the pizza or whatever you ordered to be delivered. You know it will take longer than expected, and it’s never as good after it’s been driven around for 30 minutes in someone’s car as it is right out of the oven.

Never fear, there’s a skillet in one of your kitchen cabinets that’s waiting to save the day, or at least the dinner.

Skillet dinners can be lifesavers to the busy cook. They are generally designed to be quick and easy. And, if you can avoid the processed boxed options (trust me, nothing out of a box is going to be much of a helper to your hamburger), they will likely be fresh and flavorful, too.

Skillet Chicken Poblano Enchiladas are the perfect example. A creamy, slightly zippy sauce is made by adding chicken broth and sour cream to sautéed onions and poblano chiles (add a serrano if you like yours extra zippy). Shredded chicken and cut-up corn tortillas are added, along with a gooey topping of cheese. The entire dish is garnished with fresh cilantro, avocado and red onion. Dinner is served.

Only one pan is dirtied and the entire dish is done in under 30 minutes. Since it’s so good that your family will be scraping out every last bite, the pan should be easy to clean too. Now that’s a winning recipe for a stress-free meal.


Meredith Deeds is a cookbook author and food writer from Edina. Reach her at meredith@meredithdeeds.com. Follow her on Twitter ­at @meredithdeeds.