Weeknights are rarely the time to bust out a complicated, time-consuming recipe, but that doesn't mean you need to skimp on flavor or rely on takeout either. Instead, choose from this extensive collection of dinner ideas — 57 recipes, to be precise — that can be ready in about an hour or less. (Many take even less time than that.)
— Additional reporting by Aemilia Madden and Hilary White
Like a cross between pasta carbonara and mac and cheese, this creamy option  is ultracomforting.
Zesty Taco Salad
This greener take  on traditional tacos is proof that all you need to shake up an average salad is fresh veggies and a little bit of spice!
Greek Pasta With Tomatoes, Wine, and Feta
Inspired by the island of Santorini, Greece, this Greek pasta dish  is made primarily from pantry staples, making for a short grocery list.
Cod With Asparagus En Papillote
The fancy French name of this baked cod dish  might make you assume that it's tricky to make, but that couldn't be further from the case.
Linguine With Kale and Chickpeas
Greens and chickpeas bulk up an otherwise basic plate of linguine .
Chickpea Soup With Garlic Tortilla Triangles
With its broth-y base, abundance of carrots and celery, and noodles, this cold-busting soup  shares much in common with chicken noodle. Where it diverges is by swapping a handful of chickpeas for the poultry, making it vegan-friendly (provided you use vegetable broth).
Sun-Dried-Tomato Pasta Salad
A duet of fresh cherry tomatoes and their sweeter sun-dried sisters add bold flavor to this summery pasta salad .
Black-Bean Butternut-Squash Quesadilla
When stuffed with black beans and butternut squash , a quesadilla becomes meal-worthy.
Larb Gai (Thai Chicken Salad)
Pretend you're on a vacation throughout Southeast Asia while nibbling on this classic Thai chicken salad .
Vegan Farro Salad
If you are looking for lighter fare for dinner, try a sweet and savory vegan farro salad .
Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Pasta
You can add your own touch to this pasta dish  by tweaking the recipe to fit your personal preferences. Translation: for best results, add as much garlic and cheese as your heart desires.
Lemon-Garlic Chicken Drumsticks
Cooking an entire chicken takes a while. If you're in a rush, these lemon-garlic drumsticks  are a delicious alternative that will cut down the work for you.
Vegetable Medley Pasta
Don't feel limited by the assortment of vegetables used in this colorful pasta dish ; use pretty much whatever veggies that look good at the market or that you have on hand.
Spicy Pumpkin and Butternut Squash Ramen
Give ramen a Fall-ready spin  by adding a dollop of pumpkin puree and chunks of butternut squash.
Chicken Cobb Salad Wrap
Wraps aren't only for lunch; case in point, this filling take on chicken Cobb salad .
Spicy Tomato Soup With Grilled Cheese Croutons
If you're particularly short on time, float a handful of Goldfish or Cheez-Its atop this spicy tomato soup  instead of the gooey grilled cheese croutons.
Grilled Chicken Salad With Herb Vinaigrette
If the first lady puts her stamp of approval on something, then we are all ears. This simple salad recipe  is a standout from Michelle Obama's cookbook, American Grown .
Caprese Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese might not seem like a speedy, weeknight-friendly affair, but when simmered on the stovetop (rather than baked) like this caprese-salad-inspired stunner , it's totally doable.
Kale, White Bean, and Meatball Soup
This hearty option packs three of our favorite things — kale, meatballs, and white beans — into one broth-y, piping-hot bowl .
Rotini With Butternut-Sage Sauce
The pairing of butternut squash and sage is a classically delicious one, and this easy pasta recipe  utilizes the flavor combination in a magically flavorful way.
Served with a loaf of baguette and a simple green salad (if you're feeling fancy), steamed mussels  are the perfect weeknight meal.
Green Garlic Soup
Four types of alliums — green garlic, scallions, leeks, and chives — combine forces for a recipe that's ultrasimple to prepare  but never short on flavor.
Pasta Carbonara With Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Leeks
We'd be remiss to leave off this lighter, brighter veggie-packed take on pasta carbonara .
Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Sure, you could make a meal of wings, but for something a bit more meal-like, take those flavors and pile them atop pizza instead .
Garlicky Arugula Pasta
The secret ingredient to this 10-minute pasta's success  — fish sauce — might sound odd, but know that it adds a salty-savory punch, rather than an overwhelmingly fishy flavor.
Mediterranean Lamb Kebabs
For something unexpected, try meaty Mediterranean ground-lamb kebabs .
Campanelle With Hard-Boiled Eggs, Capers, and Watercress
The saltiness of an anchovy-caper sauce adds the perfect touch to this rich pasta , but just wait until you taste the pièce de résistance: hard-boiled egg.
Chicken Thighs With Rhubarb and Cucumber Salsa
A spicy cucumber and rhubarb salsa  might sound like an unusual topping for chicken, but just trust us — it adds bright flavor, crunch, and interest.
Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad
For the best results, allow this Mediterranean-influenced orzo pasta salad  (and virtually all pasta salads) a few hours in the fridge to chill to let the flavors mingle and make friends. That said, it's still very tasty when eaten just after assembling, the prep time is minimal, and leftovers only improve overnight.
Stuffing a burger patty with brie  is far easier than it looks and even tastier than you'd expect.
Creamy Butternut Squash Soup
Creamy but not heavy, this pureed butternut squash soup  is even tastier the second day, making it a great candidate for leftovers.
Shells With Red-Pepper Tomato Sauce
Basil, bell peppers, and tomatoes combine in this simple recipe  to create a sweet, summery sauce that's perfect on pasta shells and in other dishes.
Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry
You can't go wrong with beef and broccoli .
Put a Tex-Mex spin on pasta with this bold chicken spaghetti casserole .
Humboldt Fog and Ham Grilled Cheese
Grilled ham and cheese goes from basic to brilliant when fancy cheese is involved .
Spaghetti Aglio, Olio, e Peperoncino
It doesn't get much simpler or more speedy than this Italian classic, spaghetti aglio, olio, e peperoncino . Even if your pantry is almost empty, you likely have all of its ingredients — spaghetti, garlic, chili flakes, and olive oil — on hand.
Chicken Lo Mein
Don't be tempted by takeout. Make chicken lo mein  at home instead and celebrate your culinary talents.
Bacon and Tomato Pasta
Essentially a spin on pasta amatriciana, this hearty pasta dish  packs in the bold flavors of bacon, tomatoes, and parmesan cheese.
One-Pan Roasted Sausages, Peppers, Potatoes, and Onions
Keep both dinner prep and clean-up simple with this one-pan wonder .
Broccoli-cheddar soup can edge into heavy territory but not this lighter, brighter take  that gets its creaminess from Greek yogurt.
Pasta With Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes
Even out-of-season cherry tomatoes will shine in this pesto-slicked option , as a brief trip to the oven concentrates their flavor. For a final flourish, toss the linguine with garlicky toasted breadcrumbs for crunch.
Lemon and Lavender Chicken
A dish as elegant as lemon and lavender chicken  can be yours on a weeknight, provided you plan ahead and get it marinating before you head to work.
Unlike traditional tabbouleh, which has much more parsley than grains, this bulked-up quinoa-based recipe  can serve as a stand-alone meal.
Mac and Cheese With Tortellini and 2 Secret Ingredients
The "secret ingredients" in this macaroni and cheese dish  ensure that it's the creamiest, most decadent pasta you'll ever taste. Is your curiosity getting the best of you?
Chicken Parmesan Sub
A sandwich may sound more like an option for lunch, but this chicken parmesan sub  is robust, meaty, and worthy of your evening meal.
Pesto Pasta Salad
Bring this bold, colorful pasta salad  to a potluck dinner and prepare to get inquiries for the recipe.
Cider-Spiked Butternut Squash Soup
Thanks to a few ingenious shortcuts, cider-spiked butternut squash soup  can be ready in under 30 minutes.
Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese
No, this isn't a cousin to cauliflower rice; there's plenty of pasta at its base. This recipe from Michelle Obama employs pureed cauliflower to cleverly add body to the cheese sauce for a lighter version of the classic .
Rotisserie Chicken Tacos
Bulk up leftover chicken by stuffing it in homemade tacos . Corn tortillas with guacamole, pico de gallo, hot sauce, and cotija cheese are all you need to make that chicken shine.
Spaghetti and Clams With Brown Butter and Garlic Breadcrumbs
You'll love this comforting combination of clams, garlic, and brown butter  for any occasion.
Love P.F. Chang's? Make our take on the restaurant's orange chicken .
Chicken Noodle Soup
On a night when you're craving something cozy, there's nothing like a rich bowl of chicken noodle soup  to warm you up.
Orecchiette With Brown Butter, Brussels Sprouts, and Walnuts
Nutty brown butter, walnuts, and brussels sprouts make for an irresistible bowl of orecchiette .
Chili Con Queso Nachos
Some nights, junk food like nachos is all you crave. This cheesy recipe  with chicken sausage fits the bill.
One-Pot Creamy Pumpkin Penne
This creamy pasta  might usurp pumpkin pie as your favorite Fall pumpkin dish. We're not joking.
Chicken and Kale Salad
A healthy salad can taste amazing. Don't believe us? This kale and chicken salad  is proof that you can pull together unexpected flavors and textures to create a fresh, quick, and flavorful dinner.
Pasta With Nettles, Almonds, and Feta
For something a little unexpected, try this pasta with nettles, almonds, feta, and sesame seeds . Nettles not in season? Substitute spinach.