No time? Need to eat as soon as possible? You’re in the right place. These recipes will take you from turning on the stove to that first bite of dinner in 15 minutes (no, really!), and you likely have all the ingredients you need already in the fridge.
One-pot pasta took the world by storm a few years ago, and with good reason. When the pasta and sauce are cooked together in one pan (yes, the pasta goes in uncooked!), the resulting dish isn’t just fast and easy—it’s also incredibly creamy and luxurious. As the starch cooks out of the pasta, it mixes with the water (and other yummy ingredients) to create a sauce that clings to every strand. You’re going to wonder where this method has been all your life (I know I did!).
There are three important secrets to this recipe: First, you need a pasta shape that cooks in less than six minutes. Just check the package directions. Second, you need to cook this in a wide but shallow pan that can accommodate the pasta without it hanging out over the side. I use a three-inch-deep frying pan. Finally, use fat spears of asparagus. They’re tastier, and they also cook in the right amount of time. Really thin asparagus will get too mushy. If you can’t find any, just omit the asparagus and double the peas instead.
I have to warn you: These sesame noodles are addictive. I discovered them on a trip to New York City, where they are a mainstay on every Chinese restaurant menu. The sauce is creamy and rich but also quite spicy, which makes for a delicious contrast to the cool noodles. But to me, it’s the distinctive chewiness of the ramen noodles that’s behind my inability to stop at just one bowl.
These noodles are also another fun way to make a store-bought rotisserie chicken exciting and new. Don’t be put off by what looks like a long list of ingredients—I’m pretty sure you already have all of these on hand, and they just need to be whisked together.
Steak with salad is one of my favorite meals. It’s hearty without being heavy, and I love the contrasting textures. For this recipe, I wanted to mimic a classic beef carpaccio salad—a chilled appetizer of raw beef tenderloin with arugula and parmesan—but make it warmer and a little more substantial. The pesto dressing is delicious, not just here but on any of your other green salads.
This classic Korean flavor combination is out-of-this-world delicious. It’s traditionally made with really thinly sliced beef, but since that’s time consuming and a difficult technical skill to master, I simplified it by using ground meat instead. The key here is to use a pan that is not non-stick and to let the beef cook without touching it at first so the meat gets a little bit crispy. Then, the sugar in the sauce makes the beef sticky while the other flavors meld into a dish that’s basically impossible not to like.
If you have time to cook a pot of rice, it’s the ideal accompaniment. If not, spoon the beef into lettuce cups or even warmed tortillas. Or just eat it with a spoon—it’s that good.
Rotisserie chicken is a boon to the time-crunched dinner maker, but it can end up being the default to just eat it plain in a salad or sandwich. This is a quick way to gussy it up—it’s even nice enough to serve for a casual weeknight dinner guest. Couscous itself is another game-changer for busy evenings; it barely needs to cook, unlike pasta, rice or potatoes. Just mix it with boiling water and five minutes later you’ve got a filling side dish or base for a meal.
Keep this recipe in mind for summer evenings when it’s just too hot to cook. Stir a cup of frozen peas into the couscous along with the currants for a hit of vegetables, if you like.