03/23/2012 09:27 am ET Updated Aug 31, 2012

Weeknight Menus That Don't Feel Minimalist

Life has been busy recently. But then again, when is it not? We've all got a million projects on our plates (okay, make that more like 10), and the ability to whip together quick, cheap dinners has real value.

Look, most of the time we can rely on easy staples like Pasta with Whatever's in the Vegetable Drawer, Anything with a Fried Egg, and Soups Invented by Busy Moms.

But with busy week following busy week, sometimes we've got to transcend such whatever's-in-the-fridge minimalism and make slightly more involved dinners. Here are menus that fit in with our busy lives but still taste great and involve some -- but not much -- fussing around in the kitchen.

--Cara Eisenpress