Then I look at the ingredients and the recipe itself. The number of ingredients isn't usually a factor for me, but I do think about how much prep work will need to happen before cooking really starts. I keep an eye out for sneaky ingredients like cooked chicken and cooked grains that add extra time to a recipe if I don't have them already made.
I also look at active cooking time verses passive time like waiting for pasta to cook or a casserole to bake. I don't mind a little passive time, even if it technically makes the total cooking time longer. This is time when I can do a few dishes, answer mail, or just share an appetizer with my husband and catch up on our day.
All these factors together make a recipe "quick" in my mind. Of course, what happens when I actually get into the kitchen can revise that assessment, determining whether the recipe stays or goes! Formerly non-quick recipes can also edge their way into my weeknight meal rotation once I get faster at making them.
Do you go through a similar mental process? How do you define a quick recipe?
Related: On Learning How to Think Like a Chef