I have perfected the art of the 15-minute dinner, something I never thought possible in my pre-baby days. Long ago, when a friend mentioned her mother cooked, served, and cleaned up dinner all in one hour or less, I was flabbergasted. Before Lucy was born, getting dinner on the table in 45 felt rushed. Now I’ve beat her mom’s timing in the kitchen several times over.
Here are my favorite 15-minute dinner recipes, including recipes submitted by readers on our Facebook page!
- Bean and Cheese Burritos – Heat 1 T canola oil in a pot, add diced garlic when hot. Stir for 30 seconds before pouring in a can of beans, including the liquid. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat tortillas in a pan, your toaster, or microwave. Scoop beans onto warm tortilla, and sprinkle with cheese. One can of beans makes 3-4 burritos. Optional add-ons: cilantro, onions, diced leftover meat, spicy peppers, rice, salsa, guacamole, sour cream.
- Scrambled Egg and Cheese Wrap – Scramble two eggs per person with your favorite seasonings and just before eggs are done cooking, sprinkle with grated cheese. Heat tortillas in the toaster or steam on top of eggs with lid on.
- Pasta with Olive Oil-Based Sausage Tomato Sauce – While water is heating up in one pot, heat up another large, deep pan. Heat oil, sautee onion and garlic, add broken up pieces of sausage. Cook until sausage is no longer pink. Scrape into another bowl and return pan to heat. Add in whatever chopped veggies you have on hand – peppers, broccoli, green beans, or leafy greens. Open a can of diced tomatoes and add with liquid. Cook until veggies are nearly done and tomatoes have heated up. Add sausage-onion mix back in and cook until veggies are tender. Salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over pasta. Optional: grate cheese over mixture.
- Grilled Cheese With Mushrooms – Follow your favorite grilled cheese recipe, but add mushrooms, spinach leaves, or whatever veggies you have on hand to make a more balanced meal. Cook and serve as normal. Optional: serve with cut up raw veggies.
- Quesadillas Plus – Toss a tortilla into a very warm pan, top with thin slices of cheese, mushrooms, spinach, peppers, or whatever veggies you have on hand. Optional: Add whatever leftover meat you have, or open a can of beans a nutritious and delicious serving of protein.
- Hummus and Veggies with Warm Tortilla – Pop a tortilla in the toaster while cleaning and prepping whatever veggies you have on hand, including celery, carrots, mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, snow peas, etc. Dip pieces of your tortilla and veggies into the hummus for a balanced and healthy meal!
- Tortellini with Garlic Olive Oil Sauce – Prepare tortellini as per the directions. Make a side sauce in another pan using the directions above for Pasta with Olive Oil-Based Sausage Tomato Sauce.
- Ramen with Veggies – When you really need a quick, comforting meal, sometimes only ramen will do. Heat the water and toss in finely chopped carrots, asparagus, peas, corn, or whatever vegetables you have on hand. Cook until veg is al dente, then add noodles and follow directions as normal.
- Orrichette w/sausage, garlic, broccoli and Parmesan – Sandy Webster Hall says: Not 15 minutes, but pretty darn close!
- Hamburgers! Submitted by Maggie Chung Hill.Pasta – Always a quickie- longest part waiting for water to boil. We always cook an entire pound, then bake the leftovers another night. Thanks, Lindsey Chester!Fried rice- make the rice the night before to really save time- slice onions and some veggies, throw in some leftover chicken stir fry all together with soy sauce. Lindsey Chester says: Fast and cheap
- Cajun Shrimp with Brown Rice – I sauté onions and garlic in a little olive oil add a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies. Add Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder and a little salt. Put a bag of steamable brown rice in the microwave and throw some shrimp in with the other mixture on the stove. Divide the rice up and top with hot mixture. Can have that ready in about 15 mins. If I add a salad from a bagged mix, it’s even better. Thanks, Symone AustinsMama McClure!
- Omelet with Side Salad – With little kids, eggs are your friends. Omeletes cook up in minutes…tart up with a side salad and voila! Or poached eggs on a variety of things…rice (buy the kind you microwave at Trader Joe’s), fancy breads, polenta…and all toddlers love buttery scrambled eggs for dinner! Thanks, Julie Tilsner!
- Crockpot Anything – Make enough for 3 meals and freeze for meals ready to reheat for another night! Stew, spaghetti, chili….. Tons of crockpot recipes online for free! Thanks, Janet Lusk Robertson!
- Shredded Turkey in Spanish Rice – Sauté onion and turkey in a deep skillet, when brown add cupof rice, can of tomatoes, taco seasoning packet, and some water and cover for 20. Cover with shredded cheese, let it melt, and… Tah-dah! Great meal. Thanks, Jenni Somdal Porter!
- Ground Meat Wrap – Brown 1# ground beef, turkey (chkn, whatever) add 1 jar salsa, can of corn (beans, whatever) Make a wrap out of it n add shredded lettuce, cheese) It takes roughly 15 mins. Great for kids to make up their own too. Thanks, Nicole Smith Ofiesh!
- Sauteed Chicken with Steamed Vegetables and Salad – Wham, done. Or even faster, poached eggs for the protein instead of chicken. May I recommend a cookbook called “Parents Need to Eat Too” by Debbie Koenig? She has a chapter on how to cook in stages as your child naps, and a chapter on food you can eat one-handed. Thanks, Lee Skinner!
- Grilled Seasoned Blackened Boneless Chicken Breast Over Greens – Healthy & only takes 15 minutes to make! I use the Old Bay Blackened seasoning. This is great on steaks & fish too! Thanks, Kimberly Beck Glant MacDurmon!