We live in an on-the-go society where everything, including eating, needs to happen quickly. But a fast-paced life shouldn’t lead to a dependence on fast food, delivered pizza, or other junk. Home-cooked meals not only give us more control over our families’ diets, but give us a sense of satisfaction that can’t be bought over a counter or at a drive-thru food stop.
So, what alternatives are there to chopping, cutting, stirring and baking your way to a hearty meal? Try these recipes, all of which can be cooked in 30 minutes or less.
1. Broccoli and Noodles with Lemon Chicken
- 2 skinless chicken breasts cut into strips
- 250 milliliters of water
- 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil
- the zest and juice of one lemon
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 2 tablespoons of grated fresh root ginger
- 2 tablespoons of cornflower
- 125 grams of dried egg noodles
- 2 broccoli florets
Got 20 minutes? Good! Because that’s all it will take you to cook this healthy dinner for two. First, you’re going to need to put one tablespoon of sunflower oil into a non-stick pan. Next, throw in two skinless chicken breasts cut into strips.
In a separate pan, pour in 250 milliliters of water, then add the zest and juice from one lemon, one tablespoon of sugar, and two tablespoons of grated fresh root ginger. In a bowl, mix two tablespoons of cornflower with enough water to make it smooth, then whisk the mixture into the pan with the lemon, sugar, and ginger.
The chicken should cook for about five minutes. If it’s not quite done by that time, don’t worry, because we’re not done cooking it yet. Once the mixture of cornflower, lemon, sugar and ginger comes to a boil, add the chicken, turn down the heat and let it simmer.
Now comes to the easy part. Boil 125 grams worth of dried egg noodles and broccoli for four minutes. Drain them, put them on a plate, top it with the chicken, and viola! Dinner is served in less time than it takes to watch your average sitcom!
2. Turkey Burgers and Baked Potato Chips
- 500 grams of minced turkey thigh
- 85 grams of grated cheddar cheese
- potato chips (your choice)
Family of four to feed? No problem. These turkey burgers will satisfy their burger craving without the grease.
Put 500 grams of minced turkey thigh into a large bowl with 85 grams of grated cheddar cheese, then chill it for 15 minutes. Once chilled, make four patties, and cook them for 10 minutes on medium heat in a large frying pan. The burgers should be golden brown when they’re finished. Serve with your favorite brand of baked potato chips for a healthier alternative to the typical beef burger and fries meal.
3. Mushroom Veggie Pizza
- 1 pound of dough
- 2 broccoli florets
- ½ pound of mozzarella cheese
- ½ pound of mushrooms (shiitake mushrooms)
If meat isn’t your thing, then this vegetarian pizza will prove an able substitute. First, preheat the oven to 450 F and coat the baking sheet with your choice of cooking spray. Next, roll out a pound of dough and cook it until it is lightly crispy. It should take anywhere between 8 and 10 minutes.
Cook the broccoli in a skillet with four tablespoons of water for about three minutes, then place it on top of your pizza with a half pound of chopped brown mushrooms and one cup of mozzarella. Cook the pizza for another 8 to 10 minutes and you’ll have a delicious meatless dinner that will serve six people.
4. Veggie Fried Rice
- 4 cups of cooked or leftover rice
- 3 eggs
- 2 tablespoon of sesame seed oil
- 2 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 grated piece of ginger
Is 30 minutes too much for you? Well, if you have some leftover cooked rice hanging around in the refrigerator, then here is a meal you can make in 10 minutes. In a large pan on medium heat, add one tablespoon of sesame seed oil and two cloves of minced garlic with a grated piece of ginger. Stir fry everything for a minute. Now, crack three eggs into the pan and push them around gently.
Add four cups of cooked or leftover rice (making sure it’s separated), add another tablespoon of the oil, and let the rice sizzle. Two minutes later, you’ll be ready to serve yourself and four other guests.
5. Ramen Noodle Soup with Vegetables and Chopped Cashews
- 2 packages of Ramen noodles
- 1 tablespoon of peanut oil
- 1 peeled and sliced carrot
- 150 grams of thinly-sliced snow peas
- 4 green onions cut into three-centimeter lengths
- 1 cup of cashews
- 4 cups of vegetables broth
When you’re in a hurry and on a budget, nothing beats Ramen noodles. They’re cheap, quick and require absolutely no culinary know-how. They’re also vegan, so if you have a friend or family member who doesn’t eat any animal products, Ramen noodles are the way to go.
But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for powder-made broth and dry vegetable slivers. Instead, try this recipe. Add one tablespoon of peanut oil to a wok (you may substitute a large frying pan) and stir fry one peeled and sliced carrot, 150 grams of thinly-sliced snow peas, and four green onions cut into three-centimeter lengths. Stir fry for about three minutes, then add the cashews and stir for another minute.
Now, boil two packages of instant noodles in four cups of vegetable broth. After five minutes (or until the noodles are soft) stir in the vegetables, and you’ll have a surprisingly hearty, vegan dinner that will serve about five people.
6. Tomato and Lentil Soup With Ground Beef
- 1 pound of ground beef
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 cans of lentils
- 1 can of tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon of paprika
- 1 tablespoon of dried chili
Here’s another hearty soup, though it certainly isn’t vegan friendly! Cook one pound of ground beef in a large frying pan with three tablespoons of olive oil. Let the beef cook until it’s brown and remember to stir it periodically.
For the soup, put two cans of lentils, one can of tomatoes, one tablespoon of paprika, and one tablespoon of dried chili into a saucepan and let it simmer. Next, crush the tomatoes and let the mixture simmer for another two or three minutes. Add the beef and enjoy with a friend.
7. Vegetable and White Bean Stew With Tuna
- 2 cans of undrained beans
- 2 cans of tomatoes
- 2 to 3 sliced zucchinis
- 2 tablespoons of paprika
- 1 bag of spinach
- 2 cans of tuna
Maybe you’re in the mood for something a little bit thicker than soup. If so, then try this stew! Add two cans of undrained beans, two cans of tomatoes, two to three zucchinis and two tablespoons of paprika into a saucepan. Let it simmer uncovered until the zucchini is soft, then add the spinach and tuna, and continue to cook until the spinach is wilted. In less than 15 minutes, you’ll have a hot, thick stew for yourself and two others.
8. Spicy Rice with Crispy Tofu
- a 14-ounce block of tofu
- 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
- cooking spray
- 1 cup of white rice
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- one and two thirds cups of water
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- ½ tablespoon of salt
- ½ tablespoon of cumin
- 1 jalapeno
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
Looking for something spicy? Try this recipe. Take a 14-ounce block of tofu and set it on a plate covered with folded paper towel. Put a plate on top of the tofu, then set a heavy object (like a full can of soup) on top of the plate. This will drain the juice out of the tofu. Leave it alone for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes have gone by, cut the tofu, put it in a shallow dish, and coat each piece with cornstarch. Put the tofu on a parchment-lined baking sheet sprayed with your choice of cooking spray and cook it in a 350 F oven for 20 minutes.
Now, onto the rice. Saute one cup of white rice in two tablespoons of vegetable oil on medium heat. When the rice is a nice, toasted brown, add one and two-thirds cups of water and two tablespoons of tomato paste with a half teaspoon of salt and cumin. When the water boils, add a whole jalapeno, cover and let the rice simmer for 20 minutes. Your rice should be done at about the same time as your tofu. Add the chopped tofu to the rice, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve yourself and three guests this spicy, vegetarian recipe.
9. Chicken Tacos
- 2 one-pound chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 grated carrot
- 3 scallion whites
- 1 tablespoon of chili powder
- ½ pint cherry tomatoes cut into quarters
- 12 taco shells
- 2 cups shredded lettuce
How about something as simple as it is quick? Get two, one-pound chicken breasts and cook them for four minutes on each side in a saute pan with one tablespoon of sesame oil. Then cut them into strips and set them aside.
In another pan, heat two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add one grated carrot, the whites from three scallions, one tablespoon of chili powder, and a half pint of cherry tomatoes cut into quarters. Cook them for about three minutes or until the tomatoes release their juices.
Now, put 12 tacos on a baking sheet and warm them in a preheated, 350 F oven for about six minutes. Put all of the ingredients in the tacos, top with some shredded lettuce, and serve to up to 12 guests.
10. Low-Carb Chicken With Parsley and Caper Sauce
- 1/3 cup chopped parsley
- 3 tablespoons rinsed and chopped capers
- 3 tablespoons dry sherry
- one and a half tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- one and a half cups chicken broth
Watching your carbs? Then try this low-carb delight! For the sauce, add 1/3 cup of chopped parsley, three tablespoons of rinsed and chopped capers, three tablespoons of dry sherry, and one and a half tablespoons of lemon juice to a small saucepan cooking on low heat. Cook it until it has a sauce-like consistency.
Next comes the chicken. Place two boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a saucepan with one and a half cups of chicken broth. Cover and reduce the temperature to low and let it simmer for about 10 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink on the inside.
Finally, put the chicken on a plate, cover it with the sauce, and enjoy!