10 stress-free dinners that come together in 30 minutes — part 1

1. Sesame Peanut Noodles

The easy dressing — with peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and garlic — is made quickly in a blender.

Ingredients for 4 servings

½ cup (120 g) peanut butter
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons water
2 ½ teaspoons brown sugar
1 clove garlic
½ tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
8 oz (225 g) spaghetti, cooked according to package instructions
½ cup (55 g) shredded carrot
½ cup (50 g) shredded red cabbage
¾ cup (95 g) edamame, shelled
peanuts, for garnish
black sesame seeds, for garnish
scallions, sliced, for garnish


  1. In a blender, combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, water, brown sugar, garlic, and ginger and blend until smooth.
  2. In a large bowl, add the spaghetti, carrots, cabbage, and edamame and pour over the peanut sauce. Use tongs to mix well, until sauce is fully incorporated.
  3. Transfer to bowls and top with peanuts, black sesame seeds, and scallion.
  4. Enjoy!

2. Parchment Garlic Butter Salmon

If you haven’t tried cooking fish in parchment paper, it’s time to give it a shot. No mess at all.

Ingredients for 1 serving

1 oz small white potato, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
6 oz (200 g) skinless salmon


SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: parchment paper, or aluminum foil, 12×18 inches (41x46cm)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Fold the parchment paper in half, then open up.
  3. On one half of the parchment, arrange the sliced potatoes. In a small bowl, combine the butter, garlic, and parsley. Drizzle half of the garlic butter mixture over the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Lay the salmon over the potatoes, and drizzle over the remaining garlic butter. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Fold the parchment paper over the salmon, and cinch the paper together by folding it over itself along the edges.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until internal temperature of salmon reaches 145˚F (63˚C).
  7. Enjoy!

3. Chicken Chow Mein

You can whip up these Asian-inspired noodles quicker than it would take for your take out order to arrive.

Ingredients for 5 serves

1 10-ounce (285g) package of fresh egg noodles (dried egg noodles work too)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound (450g) chicken breast, chopped
1/2 medium yellow onion, sliced
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 large red pepper, seeded and sliced
8 ounces (225g) Chinese broccoli (gai lan), roughly chopped
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 green onion, roughly chopped


  1. In a small pot, bring about a quart of water to boil. Once the water boils, drop in the noodles and cook for 7 to 8 minutes. Drain the water and rinse the noodles under cold water.
  2. Heat a saute pan with 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil. Saute the chicken breasts until they are fully cooked (about 6 to 8 minutes). Season with a tiny pinch of salt, and turn off the heat.
  3. In a large saute pan or wok, heat the remaining oil. Once the pan is hot, add the onions, and let it cook for about 2 minutes. Add the carrots, pepper, and Chinese broccoli, and cook the vegetables for about 5 minutes, until fully cooked. Add the cooked noodles and chicken, and stir everything together. I find it easiest to use two spatulas and mix everything like you are tossing a salad. Add the oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, and green onion, and mix again. Turn off the heat.
  4. Serve immediately.

4. Microwave 10-minute Loaded Potato

Got ten minutes and a microwave? Great, dinner is served. (P.S.: You can even make this filling creation in a dorm room.)

Ingredients for 1 serving

1 russet potato, washed and scrubbed
1 tablespoon oil
salt, to taste
2 slices bacon
¼ cup (25 g) shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream, to serve
fresh chives, to serve


  1. Poke holes in the potato with a fork, then rub with oil and salt.
  2. Place the bacon slices on the same plate as the potato, microwave for 7-9 minutes until the bacon is crispy and the potato is tender. Make sure the bacon does not burn.
  3. Crumble the bacon after it’s cooled down.
  4. Slice the potato in half, then use a fork to fluff up the insides.
  5. Sprinkle the cheese on top, then microwave for another 30 seconds.
  6. Top with sour cream, the crushed bacon bits, and the chives.
  7. Enjoy!

5. Broccoli Cheddar Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Give your favorite boxed mac and cheese and upgrade with veggies and, of course, more cheese.

Ingredients for 2 servings

1 box mac ‘n’ cheese
1 cup (150 g) broccoli, cooked
½ cup (55 g) cheddar cheese, grated
pepper, to taste


  1. Prepare 1 box of Mac ‘N’ Cheese according to instructions on box.
  2. Add cooked broccoli, cheddar cheese, and pepper stir until fully incorporated.
  3. Top with desired garnish. Serve immediately.
  4. Enjoy!

6. Teriyaki Shrimp

Marinate the shrimp for about 10 minutes, then toss them with your favorite veggies and call it dinner.


1 tablespoon (7g) cornstarch
1 tablespoon (15ml) room temperature water
1/4 cup (50g) brown sugar
2 Tablespoons (42g) honey
1/2 cup (120ml) soy sauce
1/4 cup (60ml) vinegar (either rice wine or apple cider is great)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 – 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger (I use 2)
1 and 1/2 lbs medium-large uncooked shrimp, peeled & deveined1
2 teaspoons sesame oil or olive oil
2-3 cups snap peas or any stir-fry veggie
optional: sesame seeds for garnish


  1. Make the sauce: Whisk cornstarch and water together in a small bowl. It will be a milky liquid. This is for thickening the sauce. Combine the cornstarch mixture, brown sugar, honey, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and ginger together in a small saucepan over low heat. Allow to simmer while whisking occasionally. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat.
  2. Place shrimp into a heat-proof bowl, then pour half of the sauce on top. Give it a stir and set aside for 10 minutes, uncovered at room temperature. If cooking later on, you can marinate the shrimp for up to a day. Keep it covered and refrigerate. (I usually begin cooking rice to have on the side at this point, but that’s optional.)
  3. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the snap peas, then stir and cook until crisp-tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add the shrimp, then the remaining half of the teriyaki sauce. Stir and cook until shrimp is pink and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Serve with rice and a sprinkle of sesame seeds if desired. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for a few days.

7. Spring Pesto Minestrone Soup

Bookmark this springy soup for chilly nights.

Ingredients for 8 servings

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 medium carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 leeks, sliced (white and light green parts only)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
8 c. vegetable stock
4 oz. short-cut pasta (I used shells)
1 (14-oz.) can cannellini or Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
2 medium zucchini, diced
1 c. peas, fresh or frozen
1/4 c. chopped parsley
1/4 c. chopped scallions
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 c. basil pesto
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and leeks. Saute until tender, about 6-8 minutes. Stir in the garlic for 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the vegetable stock slowly, increasing the stove heat to high. When the stock is boiling, add the pasta and cannellini beans. Reduce heat to low and simmer according to the pasta package directions (typically 9-11 minutes). Halfway through cooking, add the sliced zucchini (if you add them too soon, they will get mushy).
  3. When the pasta is done, turn off the heat. Stir in the peas, parsley, scallions, and lemon juice.
  4. Before serving, top each bowl with 1-2 Tbsp basil pesto and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Serve with multigrain bread!

8. Greek Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner

Put all your ingredients on a sheet pan and dress it in an easy marinade made with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, paprika, and oregano.

Ingredients for 4 servings

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons oregano, dried or 1 tablespoon fresh

For Veggies and Chicken
4 Chicken breasts, boneless
2 red peppers, sliced keep slices thick
1 red onion, cut into 8 wedges
8-10 whole garlic cloves
1 pound baby mixed color potatoes quartered red or yellow will work as well
1/4 cup crumbled Feta
1/4 cup kalamata olives
2 whole lemons cut in half


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Combine all marinade ingredients in small bowl.
  3. Place sliced veggies on large sheet pan.
  4. Place Chicken in and around the vegetables.
  5. Pour marinade all over veggies and rub onto the chicken.
  6. Arrange mixture evenly, and nestle sliced lemons around sheet pan.
  7. Place in oven and roast for 30-35 minute or until veggies are slightly brown and chicken reaches 165 degrees.
  8. Sprinkle with crumbled feta and kalamata olives.

9. Broccoli Rabe Pasta with Smoky Chickpeas

Cooked in garlic and white wine then drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice, this protein-packed pasta is simple but delicious.

Ingredients for 2 servings

6 oz orecchiette pasta
Olive oil
1 can chickpeas rinsed and drained
Salt + freshly ground black pepper
1 heaping teaspoon smoked paprika
1 large bunch broccoli rabe 1-2 pounds, depending on how much you love your greens, trimmed and cut into thirds
2 cloves garlic minced
1/3 cup white wine
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan plus more to serve
a few tablespoons reserved pasta cooking water
Zest and juice of 1 small lemon plus more to serve


  1. Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously and cook the pasta 1 minute less than the package says. Remember to reserve a mugful of pasta cooking water before you drain it.
  2. Roast the chickpeas: While the pasta is cooking, heat some olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the chickpeas and season with salt and pepper. Toast until starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the smoked paprika and toast for another minute. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Wilt the greens: Without wiping the skillet, bring it back up to medium-high heat. Add a little more oil if necessary and cook the broccoli rabe until starting to wilt, about 2 minutes. add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Pour in the white wine and cook until the raw alcohol smell is gone, about 2 more minutes.
  4. Tossing party: Add the cooked pasta to the greens in the skillet, along with the parmesan and a few tablespoons of pasta cooking water. Keep gently tossing everything until the sauce looks smooth and luscious and the pasta is fully cooked. You can add more pasta cooking water if necessary, but don’t overdo it.
  5. Season: Take the skillet off the heat and add the zest and juice of the lemon. Check for seasoning and add salt and freshly cracked black pepper to your liking. Serve immediately with the toasted chickpeas, extra parmesan, black pepper and lemon.

10. Grilled Chicken Margherita

Start with boneless skinless chicken breasts and you can make this satisfying dinner with just a few ingredients.

Ingredients for 4 servings

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to less than 1 inch thickness
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (OR ½ teaspoon dried oregano + ¼ teaspoon dried basil + ¼ teaspoon dried thyme)
4 slices mozzarella cheese
½ cup basil pesto (try my easy 5 minute pesto recipe – it’s the best!!)
½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ cup packed basil leaves, very thinly sliced
cracked black pepper



  1. In a large bowl combine chicken, salt and pepper, olive oil, garlic power, and Italian seasoning. Toss to combine.
  2. Grill chicken over medium-high heat for about 6-8 minutes on each side until cooked through. Top each piece of chicken with a slice of mozzarella cheese and cook another minute or so until melted.
  3. Toss tomatoes, lemon juice, and basil together. Top each chicken breast with about 3 tablespoons pesto, a scoop of tomatoes, and some freshly cracked black pepper. Serve immediately.


Source: buzzfeed

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