Most every home cook has a particular approach to the weeknight meal. Some of us are really into doing ahead. Slow cookers are their thing.

On the other hand, unless we're whipping up goodies for a dinner party, others of us can't bear the thoughts of starting supper in the wee hours of the workaday morning so it'll be ready at dinner time. (And we certainly don't want to deal with it the night before.) Indeed, the only challenge we're willing to take on in the morning is figuring out what to remove from the freezer to thaw for later.

It is the latter group we address here in our project du jour. In other words, we present a small compendium of dinners (main and side dishes included) that can be ready in about 30 minutes. And that are relatively healthy to boot.

We begin…

Snappy beef

A simple stir fry centered on flank steak, with carrots and sugar snap peas added, makes a yummy meal. The "hard" part is prepping the ingredients. Then the fun begins. Cook the rice while you're prepping the stir-fry elements.

We almost always serve stir-fries with pineapple chunks, either fresh or canned in their own juice. If you want to do an Asian style salad, use iceberg lettuce, some cucumbers, carrot shreds, grape tomatoes and a sesame vinaigrette.

Serve some green tea in little cups; the kids'll like the "grown up" offering.

P.S. Despite the fact that we tend to think of flank steak as a cookout staple that we have to marinate for a while before showing it to the grill, when thinly sliced on the diagonal before being cooked, this cut of beef can be quite tender. Unless we overcook it. Fair warning.

6 cups cooked brown rice and quinoa (see package directions)

1 pound flank steak, cut diagonally across the grain into thin slices

3 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce, divided

1 cup reduced fat/sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup beef consomme

3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon dark sesame oil

1 1/3 cups thinly sliced onion

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger root

1 teaspoon minced garlic