My first rule of thumb? Choosing a protein that cooks virtually instantly. Shrimp and thin fillets of fish always do the trick, but last night, I was in the mood for something heartier, like pork. The easiest way to make pork in a flash is to pound down some center-cut pork chops — it helps them cook quickly and evenly.
For a little textural contrast, I recommend breading them with panko or Italian bread crumbs, then making a quick mustardy pan sauce. Add a salad or sautéed greens, and dinner is served. See the recipe when you read ahead.