When the heat is on and time is scarce, complicated dishes can be recipes for disaster. Take the easy way out instead. Simpler dishes made with basic ingredients are the way to go. From breakfast to lunch, dinner, and dessert, here are 50 dishes that can be prepared in 20 minutes or less.
This no-cook treat from Rachael Ray can be a breakfast, dessert, or snack. It looks impressive and can be whipped up quickly to feed a crowd in almost no time at all. It's as simple as layering yogurt, granola, and fresh or preserved fruit in a glass and serving. You can also use whipped cream instead of yogurt and cookies instead of granola for a sweeter twist.
Smoothies can be a delicious utility meal any time of day, made even more filling with the addition of protein powder or protein-packed nut butters and seeds. This berry shake uses all frozen and raw ingredients that just get blended together. You'll even have enough time to wash the blender before heading out the door.
There's no need to rely on fast-food restaurants for a good egg sandwich. It takes about three to five minutes to cook an egg. Meanwhile, toast bread or a roll in a broiler with a slice of cheese. Then set the egg on top of the cheese and cover with the other half of the bread or roll, adding seasonings to taste.
In this dish, eggs are simmered in a spicy tomato sauce and eaten with pita or crusty bread for a satisfying brunch, lunch, or dinner. While you could certainly take your time simmering homemade sauce for hours, this dish can also be whipped up lightning fast with a jar of sauce.
Canned chipotles can be a busy cook's best friend. They add a ton of slow-cooked flavor instantly. But once the can is open, transfer the contents to a jar to keep them fresh as you work your way through them. This recipe calls for a chipotle mayonnaise, but substituting one pepper from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce and adding mayonnaise also works well.
Often mistaken for a grain, this budget-friendly pasta cooks in just five minutes. Cooking the couscous in broth rather than water and adding a few spices yields a flavorful result, which can be tossed or topped with practically anything for a quick meal. Canned beets give it a pink color.
Recipe:Food in a Minute
Soba noodles, also known as buckwheat noodles, cook very quickly, which makes them a pantry must-have for whipping up meals on the fly. Rinsing them after they boil is crucial and takes only an extra minute. Then toss the noodles with just about anything to make a delicious meal.
A pressure cooker is a game changer for anyone who needs quickly prepared meals. It can churn out delicious soups and stews in practically no time. Lentil soup is a particularly fast recipe that starts with dried lentils, a relatively quick-cooking legume taken to lightning speed with this method.
Shrimp don't take long to cook, which makes them a good option when in a hurry. A simple Rachael Ray recipe flavors them with a base of herbs and garlic. With this versatile preparation, the shrimp can be enjoyed with a variety of sauces, as a filling for sandwiches, or on pastas and salads.
A simple pile of greens topped with medium-rare slices of steak and dressing is a healthy and satisfying lunch or dinner. To make this and other salad recipes lightning fast, wash salad greens as soon as they're brought home and store in the fridge wrapped in a dishcloth for maximum freshness.
Coconut milk and canned chickpeas make this and other similar recipes a breeze to prepare. Because the coconut milk is so rich and flavorful, you can season the dish with powerful aromatics such as ginger and garlic without overwhelming its taste or having to rely on an expensive pre-made sauce.
The key to having all the components for shrimp tacos ready at the same time is to heat the tortillas while preparing the shrimp filling. If the oven takes too long to heat up, warm the tortillas on a griddle at the last minute or, in a pinch, heat them in the microwave.
This clever recipe swaps out the bacon in a classic BLT sandwich for savory smoked salmon. Since smoked salmon doesn't require any preparation, the sandwiches come together in just a few minutes. If you miss the crunch of bacon, consider layering in a few potato chips.
If you have your heart set on pasta marinara but no pre-made sauce, or you simply have a container of cherry tomatoes past their prime, this recipe is an easy go-to. Cook the tomatoes until they burst and caramelize while the pasta cooks separately for a flavorful meal that is fast and low-effort.
Recipe:Food & Wine
This sexy and sumptuous dish comes together in the time it takes to cook the tortellini. The pasta comes in dry and fresh varieties and can even be used straight from the freezer by adding an extra two minutes to the cooking time. While the pasta cooks, you can prepare the sauce and even have time left over to open a bottle of wine.
A tostada is basically an open-face taco on a crunchy fried tortilla, although pre-made tostadas are much more expensive than tortillas. This recipe saves money by baking fresh tortillas at home for eight minutes to get them crunchy and layering them with beans, lettuce, and cheese.
Recipe:Yellow Bliss Road
Shrimp curry is a popular takeout and delivery item, but this recipe can be ready in less time than it takes even the swiftest restaurants to prepare an order. Cooking rice from scratch can slow things down, so people in a real hurry could serve this with noodles or couscous.
Recipe:Green Healthy Cooking
Pesto comes together quickly, as there is virtually no cooking involved. It also freezes well, so it's worth making a large batch and freezing in individual portions for later use. Make this dish come together even faster by using pre-made pesto, either store-bought or homemade.
Traditionally, pork with apples and vegetables would take at least 30 to 60 minutes to prepare. This recipe gets it done faster by making everything together in one skillet. Another advantage to this method is that all the flavors meld together, so every bite is flavorful.
Ham and cheese are a satisfying combination in many dishes. Combined with nutritious and fast-cooking eggs (and possibly other add-ins), they become a full meal. The key to getting this done quickly is to preheat the oven, so it's hot by the time you're ready to put the pan in.
This impressive dessert must be made just before serving. It comes together in just 20 minutes, some of which is entertaining to watch and makes the time go by even faster. If you are planning to make this for a dinner party, do the five minutes of prep ahead of time and have the ingredients ready to go.
Ice cream sandwiches are a well-loved treat that are simple and quick to prepare. It's important to let the ice cream sit out of the freezer for five minutes or so to get the right texture before layering it between two cookies.