You get home from work, you’re tired, you’re hungry, and you’re thinking, “How can I make a quick dinner for one that won’t take forever to cook?” You open the refrigerator, and stare inside, hoping for inspiration. You’re tempted to go for fast food, or reach for the menu from the pizza place.
Skip the takeout and make one of these quick dinner recipes for one person instead. They’re all a single serving, but you can make enough for two, save the rest, and reheat it a day or two later (then you get dinner in 2 minutes!).
Most of these recipes take about 20 minutes to cook. Cut up some fruit, heat some rice (I always make extra), make a quick salad, or grab some crusty bread, and you’ve got dinner!
Quick Dinner Recipes for One
Chicken with Broccoli and Mushrooms
1 chicken breast (or thigh)
1/2 egg (beaten)*
flour for dredging
salt/pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. dried tarragon
pinch mustard powder
2T olive oil
1/2 C frozen broccoli
1/2 C. portobello mushrooms
4 T chicken broth
1. Season flour with tarragon, mustard, salt and pepper.
2. Dip chicken in beaten egg, then in flour mixture.
3. Cut the chicken into thin strips, about 2 inches long and 1/4 inch wide.
4. Heat oil in heavy skillet. Add the mushrooms and cook a minute or two. Add the broccoli, then the chicken broth, and the chicken. Cook stirring about 1-2 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
*Note: Beat the entire egg, then pour off half of it into a container. Use that to make a Single Serving Eggplant Parmesan Recipe.
Ham Steak with Apples and Calvados
Most ham steak recipes go straight for the pineapple. Pineapple is good, but I thought apples and a splash of calvados might be a bit more sophisticated. It was!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
1 small apple, sliced
1 tsp brown sugar
1/4 C calvados (or cider or apple juice or a combination)
1 slice ham steak
1. Saute sliced apples in butter. Add nutmeg, brown sugar, cloves, and calvados (or cider or apple juice)
2. Add slices of ham. Cook until heated through. Add flour if necessary to thicken sauce.
This has become one of my favorites during the summer. It’s tasty (and quick) when it’s hot and I don’t feel like cooking. Use greenmarket tomatoes (if you can get them).
More Quick Dinner Recipe Ideas
Get in and out of the kitchen quickly with tasty food that’s easy to prepare. Add some bread, maybe some wine, and you’re done. Note that these are (as the author notes), not “formal recipes, but outlines.” Follow along, adapt, or mix and match as it suits you.
Start with a French chef and you know the food will be good. His version of fast food has no Big Macs in sight. Instead, you’ll get sweet potato chowder, oven baked salmon with sun-dried tomato and salsa mayonnaise.
Here are 101 recipes you can make quickly. Less time in the kitchen, more time in the park!
Get dinner in a hurry with recipes for tilapia parmesan, Asian beef with snow peas, and a yummy Vietnamese sandwich (among others).
Easy chicken, seafood, fish, and pasta meals in minutes: gyro steak salad, fiesta pizza, Joanne’s cioppino (fish stew), and potato and chorizo frittata,
Quick Dinner Cookbooks
Mark Bittman is the king of quick and easy cooking. Many of the recipes don’t even require measuring. The book is divided by seasons; 101 dishes for each one. He’s got Latin, Creole, Caribbean and Asian flavors, including pasta jambalaya, Korean barbecued beef, and white bean stew.
The name pretty much says it all. It’s got over 1,000 recipes made with ingredients that are easy to find. This book uses everyday ingredients, tells you what’s in season, and organizes the recipes by both types of foods and meals. Great if you’ve got some fish and don’t know what to do with it.
Before Rachel Ray, there was Eduard de Pomaine. This cookbook shows you how to make veal, beef, fish, desserts, and even soups in only a few minutes. And, it’s funny and well-written.
Yes, it was written long ago, but the translators have kindly included instructions on updating it for the modern kitchen (if it took 10 minutes chopping by hand, imagine what you can do with a mini-chopper!)