Make Speedy Weeknight Dinners Even Speedier


This is a partnered guest post.


Working a full or part time job can be exhausting for anyone, but that exhaustion level can skyrocket when you’re a parent in addition to a hardworking member of the workforce.  After a long day at the office, it can be tempting to grab takeout or order delivery at dinnertime, but doing this too often can take a toll on your wallet as well as your health.

Instead of avoiding making dinner entirely after you get home, try making fast and easy meals that are still nutritious.  Healthy, delicious and hearty meals don’t necessarily require boatloads of time in the kitchen or expensive ingredients, and there are shortcuts that can make cooking for your family even easier.  Follow the tips below to help make your weeknight dinner planning a lot less stressful and hopefully a lot more enjoyable:

Prep Beforehand

Spend a couple hours on a Sunday night chopping up carrots, celery, onions, and other vegetables that can be used in various meals throughout the week to save you time later on.  You can even go so far as to boil pasta or cook some chicken breasts and keep them in the fridge for extra-fast weeknight dinner prep.

Reduce Cooking Time

Choosing meals that take 2 hours to prepare and 5 hours to actually cook are probably not the best meals to plan for your busy weeknights.  Instead, stick to recipes that can be made from start to finish in under an hour to avoid spending the whole night in the kitchen.  Making smaller versions of main dishes is another way to save time, since smaller portions will cook more quickly.

Use Your Freezer

Pre-making meals on a weekend or morning and then keeping them in the freezer until dinnertime is an excellent way to save time after work.  Casseroles, soups and chili recipes all tend to freeze nicely, and you’ll love just having to heat something up when you get home instead of starting a recipe from scratch.

Involve Everyone

Getting your kids to help out in the kitchen will not only make prepping and cooking dinner go a lot faster, but also creates an excellent opportunity to catch up on each other’s days.  Choose basic recipes that don’t require complex kitchen skills to help even novice chefs feel comfortable in the kitchen.

This recipe for quick mini meatloaves from Hunt’s® is perfect for a busy weeknight when you’re craving a hearty meal in a flash.  Because these mini meatloaves are made in muffin tins instead of a larger pan, they cook up much more quickly than your average meatloaf and the prep work required is extremely minimal.  They also make great leftovers for lunch the next day, so double the recipe if you want to cook even less this week!

Hunt’s® Quick Mini Meatloaves

  • PAM® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
  • 1 can (8 oz each) Hunt’s® Tomato Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Gulden’s® Spicy Brown Mustard
  • 1 pound ground chuck beef (80% lean)
  • 1 can (14.5 oz each) Hunt’s® Petite Diced Tomatoes, drained
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 3/4 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper


Preheat your oven to 400°F.  Lightly spray 6 medium muffin cups with cooking spray; set aside.  Combine tomato sauce, brown sugar and mustard in a small bowl; set aside.

Combine all remaining ingredients in a large bowl.  Add ¼ cup of the reserved sauce mixture to your meat mixture and mix together.  Divide meat mixture evenly and place into prepared muffin cups.  Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.

Bake for 25 minutes or until meatloaves are no longer pink in the centers.  Top each loaf with 2 tablespoons of sauce and bake for 5 minutes more, until the sauce is set.  Serve with remaining sauce.

Author Bio: Meredith K. writes on behalf of Hunt’s®.  For this
easy meatloaf recipe and other timesaving tomato recipes perfect for busy weeknights, visit


I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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  1. I saw a display in the store for this earlier this week. It for for one skillet lasagna. It looked great.

  2. I don’t do ground beef, but would totally braise some chicken in this.

  3. I love this, it looks so good! I am always looking for ways to make dinner easier!

  4. That mini meatloaf looks good!

  5. This looks really good.

  6. Looks good never heard of it before.

  7. Oooh I love the idea of mini meatloaves. Looks delicious!

  8. I so want to make some mini meatloaves now!!

  9. Easy week night dinners are a must!

  10. I try to prep once to twice a week for meals 🙂

  11. This looks really good!

  12. My husband and I were just talking about how we’re both craving meatloaf!

  13. Those are quick and easy! Thanks!

  14. I love anything that helps get dinner ready fast! &Those look so good!

  15. That sounds so delicious to me right now!

  16. New to me! I’m all about quick and easy.