Fifteen Minute Recipes for One

I have a whole page of quick dinner recipes (usually under thirty minutes), but sometimes even half an hour is too long to wait. You’ve got an appointment. Or, you got home late. And sometimes you can almost feel your blood sugar plummeting and if you don’t get food fast, you may fall over.  So, here are some fifteen minute recipes for one (some lunch, some dinner) that you can put together super quickly.

When you’re in a rush eggs, tuna, and sandwiches are your friends.  These are minimal prep, minimal cooking, one pot meals, that are finished faster than you can order takeout. But they are still real meals (not just standing in front of the sink eating out of a container of yogurt). And not a smoothie either. I like smoothies, but that’s not a meal in my opinion.

They’re all sized for one person, so there’s no leftovers.  And, there’s very little cleanup too. Because when you’re tired or rushed, the last thing you want to do is make a big mess making something to eat.

A little menu planning trick: when you make rice, make extra.  It reheats well (you can even freeze it in small bags and then microwave it), and it’s an easy way to fill out your dinner).




tuna cannellini bean saladItalian Tuna with Beans

Lighter than tuna with mayo, and made entirely with ordinary pantry and kitchen ingredients. The only fresh thing you need is some scallions (or onions).  Other than that, just open some cans and mix it all together.

 

cherry tomato basil frittataCherry Tomato Basil Frittata

Just four main ingredients, and ready in minutes. No special shopping trip required, these are all standard kitchen/pantry staples (eggs, cheese, tomatoes, and basil).

 


strawberry balsamic grilled cheeseStrawberry Balsamic Grilled Cheese Sandwich

This grilled cheese sandwich is comfort food for grownups.  Melty cheese with strawberries and balsamic vinegar for an extra jolt of flavor. The berries and vinegar complement each other beautifully.


easy canned tuna curryCanned Tuna Curry

Another super easy recipe, with canned tuna,  just a couple of things to chop or grate, and a quick spin on the stove. It’s curry in a hurry.

 

 


fried egg burritoFried Egg Burrito

Versatile, budget friendly, and ready to eat in about ten minutes.  You can make it as is, or add pre-cooked beans, top with guacamole, or add several types of cheese instead of just one.

bacon spinach tomato aioli sandwichBacon Spinach Aioli Sandwich

Mmmm bacon with some bell peppers for sweetness to balance the bacon’s saltiness. And a super-sneaky fast way to make aioli (it’s not hard)

 


eggs with spinach and chili pepperEggs with Spinach and Chili Peppers

Fast, delicious, and you only need one pan to make it.  Chop some veggies and aromatics, add the eggs, cook them and you’re ready to eat.

 

 

cranberry chipotle turkey enchiladaCranberry Chipotle Turkey Enchilada

A tasty, quick way to use up leftover turkey (or chicken).  Chipotle salsa gives it a smoky kick, and craisins (sweetened, dried cranberries) add sweetness.

 

 




Belgian Potato Salade Liegoise

I confess I’d never heard of Belgian potato salade liegoise until recently.  It may make you think at first of French salade niçoise, but there’s no tuna or olives. And definitely no anchovies! Instead, this is a traditional Belgian warm potato salad made with green beans, and bacon! It’s all topped with a quick vinaigrette that takes only seconds to make.

Well, you’re supposed to use bacon, but I had none so I substituted kielbasa instead (which June, who wrote the original recipe said was just fine).

It’s an easy lunch or light dinner without a lot of fussing. Just the thing for this time of year when you need a bit of a break in between stuffing yourself for all the holidays.  The salad comes together in about twenty five minutes, which makes it perfect for a relatively quick meal. Serve it warm and eat it right away, or save it for another time and eat it cold. It’s good either way.

Plus, it only requires one pot! Yes!

I used frozen green beans, since that’s what I had, but you can use fresh as well. Just cook them a bit longer, just enough so they’re tender/crisp. You want them to retain a bit of crunch.

I confess I did think about getting fresher beans and the bacon, but I’d already been up and down twice that day and that was enough! Living in a walkup does make you think about how often you climb all those steps.




Belgian Potato Salade Liegoise Substitutions and Variations

  • saute the onions first and then add them to the salad
  • top with chopped walnuts
  • try different kinds of vinegar (such as sherry or raspberry)
  • swap the standard potatoes for red ones

More Potato Salad Recipes

dill caper potato saladDill Caper Potato Salad

Sour/sweet capers with lemony dill and a light hand on the dressing combine for an easy summer potato salad.

 

dijon mustard vinaigrette potato saladFrench Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette Potato Salad

Love starch, but not mayo in the usual potato salad? This version has no mayo at all. It does have olive oil, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard.  Lots of flavor, no heavy eggy mayonnaise.

mixed greens egg potato chicken saladMixed Greens Egg Potato and Chicken Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

A hearty lunch (or light dinner) without a lot of fussing. Boil a potato and an egg, throw in some leftover chicken, and chop some veggies. Done!

 




Zucchini Carrot Fritters

Like starch? Like fried foods? Want to be a bit more healthy about eating them?  Think of these zucchini carrot fritters as “healthy veggie” potato pancakes. Except, instead of potatoes, this recipe uses zucchini (or yellow squash) and carrots (for vitamins!) and is topped with a yogurt mint dip instead of sour cream or applesauce.  You end up with tiny, crispy, slightly salty fritters which you can gobble down in two bites.

I got the recipe from the NY Times (which I would link to, except they now hide everything behind a paywall). I’ve cut it in half, to make it more suitable for one person. The recipe writer developed them for her picky daughter.  It was something she’d eat, and a semi-sneaky way to get in some veggies.

I confess this is a bit messier than usual, but they do taste good! And most people probably have a dishwasher and don’t fuss about cleanup as much as I do.




Zucchini Carrot Fritters Substitutions and Variations

  • try different combinations of vegetables, such as mashed up chickpeas, potatoes, or diced bell peppers
  • spice it up with some curry (and swap the mint for cucumber)
  • add a chopped scallion (which was supposed to be in there, but I blanked out!)
  • swap the coriander with basil
  • add some diced onion
  • add a few red pepper flakes to the batter
  • try panko instead of flour, for more crunch

More Vegetable Recipes

honey mustard glazed carrotsHoney Mustard Glazed Carrots for One

An easy side dish, great with roast chicken, roast beef, or lamb.  It’s both sweet and savory at the same time.

 

rosemary olive oil broiled eggplantRosemary Olive Oil Broiled Eggplant

Meltingly tender eggplant with a splash of olive oil, dusted with rosemary and grated cheese.

 

crispy garlic basil potato bitesCrispy Garlic Basil Potato Bites

Little bite size bits of potato heaven.  Fresh garlic and summery basil add flavor, aroma, and character to this easy side dish.

 

butternut squash brown sugar vanillaRoasted Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar and Vanilla

The veggie side dish that thinks it’s a dessert. You may want to eat this twice in a row.  Topped with nuts and craisins, and only slightly sweetened.  The squash provides all the “sugar” fix you need.

 




Eggs with Spinach and Chili Peppers

So here we are again with two major holidays on the same weekend.  And, they’re two holidays with entirely different food requirements!  One traditionally goes for brisket and matzo; the other gets lamb or ham. However, there are two common themes. The first one is eggs.  Lots and lots of eggs.  The second is everyone stuffs themselves silly at either one or two big dinners.  But, you still have to eat something in-between all of that. Eggs with spinach and chili peppers is just the thing. It’s quick, and easy to make. And, it’s not a big, heavy meal.  It’s essentially a sort of egg pancake or frittata, except with South Asian flavoring.

The other nice thing about this recipe, is it’s done in two stages, but you only need a single skillet to make it.  First you cook the veggies, garlic, and ginger, then add the eggs to the same pot.  Let those cook, and you’re done.  Add the yogurt (or not) to serve.  Depending on your affiliation, serve with toast, matzo, or just some fresh fruit. If your chili is super hot, the sweetness in the fruit will also help reduce the burn from the pepper.

Oh, and a third thing. It’s ready in about 15 minutes.  So, if you’re hungry, and it’s late (as it was the first time I made this), you don’t have to wait long for a hot meal.

I adapted this from Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick and Easy Indian Cooking.  In addition to reducing the amounts, I replaced the coriander with spinach. I don’t particularly like fresh coriander and I know lots of other people don’t care for it either.  And, since my jalapeño pepper turned out to be really, really super hot, I added a dollop of Greek yogurt to cool it off, even though that wasn’t in the recipe.  I found I liked it better that way too.




 

 

Eggs with Spinach and Chili Pepper Substitutions and Variations

  •  use the coriander if you like it
  • add two or three sliced mushrooms to the vegetable mixture
  •  toss in 1/4 C diced canned tomatoes
  • if you’re not a spicy food fan, replace the chili with some bell pepper

 

More Egg Recipes

egg and tomato gratinEgg and Tomato Gratin for One Person

Fragrant with thyme, onions, and tomatoes, then topped with Swiss cheese. Perfect for a light meal (especially around big holidays).

 

cherry tomato basil frittataCherry Tomato Basil Frittata

Only four ingredients, ready in just a few minutes.  Just the thing when you want something fast.

 

fried egg burritoFried Egg Burrito

Great for breakfast, lunch, or brunch.  It’s flexible too: add mushrooms or bell peppers, change the cheese, top with chili garlic sauce, or leave it as is.  Delicious food without a lot of fuss.

egg chili cheese burritoEgg Chili Cheese Burrito

A tortilla, a couple of eggs, some chilis, and cheese: poof, it’s a meal! And since eggs cook quickly, you don’t have to wait long to eat.

 

 




Spaetzle Recipe Without a Spaetzle Maker

OK, two confessions. The first is that this spaetzle recipe is nearly identical to Tyler Florence’s spaetzle recipe.  Also, his version claims it’s six servings. I suppose that’s as a side dish. Or maybe it’s a typo. My second confession is that it was soooo good I ate the whole thing. All at once.

First of all, it was delicious! But that alone wouldn’t make it something I’d normally share, especially since I made so few changes. The important thing about this recipe isn’t that I adapted it or altered it. What I did do was figure out a way to make it without any special equipment.

I hate single use gadgets and while the recipe is really good, I wasn’t going to go out and buy a special spaetzle maker. Besides my dislike of one-use gadgets, there’s just no place to keep the thing. Tyler’s recipe, as well as many others, suggest using a slotted spoon or a cheese grater instead of the spaetzle machine. I tried both of those. They just didn’t work very well.

Then I had a brainstorm. The potato masher! It worked perfectly! Just hold it in one hand, scoop up some batter with a spoon in the other hand, and scrape the spoon back and forth over the masher (like you were grating cheese). Ta da!!!

You want the flat-bottomed sort of masher, with lots of holes, not the squiggly kind that looks like a bicycle rack.

There’s no brand name on the one I have, so I don’t know exactly what it is, but the masher on the left is the closest I could find. The holes on mine are rectangular, not round, but I think that will be OK, since real spaetzle maker holes are round. The key is that there’s a flat surface, with lots of holes in it.

I included the image below so you could see what it should look like.  That design will work fine.  The one on the right will mash potatoes, but will be useless for spaetzle.




Flat potato masher
Squiggly potato masher

Spaetzle Recipe Substitutions and Variations

  • Serve with grated cheese, like Emmenthaler or Gruyère
  • Cook some onions until caramelized, add them to the spaetzle (with or without cheese)
  • Cut off small pieces of dough and flick them into a pot of simmering chicken soup or broth (like mini dumplings!)

More Pasta Recipes

white ragu papardelleWhite Ragu Pappardelle Pasta for One

Earthy porcini mushrooms, rich sausage and bee, white wine, and a touch of cream simmered gently and served with hearty fresh pasta.

 

butternut squash cream sauce pastaButternut Squash Cream Sauce Pasta

A welcome change from the usual tomato or cream pasta sauces. And nothing says fall like butternut squash.

 

smoked salmon pasta with tomato cream sauceSmoked Salmon Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

A silky smooth sauce with just a bit of cream, layered over pasta. It tastes decadent, but it isn’t.

 

pasta olives tomatoes capersPasta with Olives Tomatoes and Capers or Puttanesca

The name is a little risqué, but this pasta has nothing to be ashamed of.  The briny capers, salty olives, and sweet tomatoes meld together in your mouth. It’s spicy, zesty and takes very little time to prepare too.

 




Egg and Tomato Gratin for One Person

There are three holidays this weekend: two big ones and one silly one. The big ones are Easter and Passover and since each holiday has entirely different traditions and foods, I was initially stumped. What do I post that works for both holidays? Then it hit me! These holidays do have something in common: eggs.  This egg and tomato gratin is just the thing.

I adapted this dish from a recipe by Jacques Pépin.  It’s from his Fast Food My Way cookbook. I haven’t changed much, other than the quantities, and using canned tomatoes instead of fresh. The fresh tomatoes aren’t very good this time of year, and besides, I dislike fresh-cooked tomatoes.

The eggs are mixed with tomato and onions, garlic, and thyme. The thyme adds a slightly spicy flavor and pairs beautifully with tomato.  The whole thing is then finished with grated, slightly nutty Swiss cheese.  Delicious!

And it works whether you’re on Team Pesach or Team Easter. Not to mention that whether you observe Easter or Passover, you’re likely to want a light lunch before your big meal(s) or want to take it easy the next day.  This egg dish is relatively light and won’t fill you up too much before or after all that heavy food. I’ve listed it as lunch, but it would also make a good breakfast or light brunch.

The third holiday? That’s April Fool’s.  There’s no specific food for that (except in France maybe when they call it April Fish), but somehow the tomato cheese mixture on top of the eggs looks like bacon if you squint. April Fool’s!




Egg and Tomato Gratin Substitutions and Variations

  • At the end, turn up the toaster oven to broil and cook for a couple of minutes to brown the cheese
  • Don’t just have a dish that looks like bacon, add some real bacon and crumble it on top
  • Vary the cheeses: try Gruyère or mozzarella or Monterey Jack
  • Sauté some sliced porcini mushrooms with the onion/tomato mixture

Cooking tip: Poking the end of the eggs with a pin reduces the pressure inside, making them less likely to burst in the boiling water.

More Egg Recipes

egg and pasta gratinEgg and Pasta Gratin with Chives

A crispy egg, gooey cheese, and tender pasta layered together equals comfort food. This dish is easy to make too.

 

cherry tomato basil frittataCherry Tomato Basil Frittata

Who says you can’t make something delicious with simple ingredients? This frittata has only five. And you likely have most of them in your fridge and cupboard too.

 

egg chili cheese burritoEgg Chili Cheese Burrito Recipe

A versatile recipe that’s great for lunch, brunch, or breakfast.  Make the eggs, add seasonings, and wrap it all up.

 

shakshouka for oneShakshouka for One

Haven’t heard of shakshouka before? It’s just poached eggs with a spicy tomato sauce. Think traveling to the Middle East, without leaving home.

 




Egg and Pasta Gratin with Chives

Quick, what’s gooey, melty, cheesy, and great comfort food?  This egg and pasta gratin has crispy eggs, tender noodles, and lots of cheese. It’s almost a cousin to pasta carbonara (but no bacon).  The flavor is simple and delicate and the recipe incorporates two of my favorite “food groups”: pasta and cheese!

It’s adapted from a a new cookbook I just got (because given a bookstore gift card as a gift, I naturally headed straight for the cookbook section!). The cookbook is called Fast Food My Way and it’s chock full of inspiration. As you may have guessed from the title, all the meals are relatively easy and quick. They’re just perfect for those days when you don’t feel like fussing (or simply don’t have the time).  Of course, you can also make this for a leisurely weekend brunch or scale the recipe up and serve it to guests.

The whole thing fits in perfectly with my own philosophy, which is delicious food for one person, made from real ingredients. Because, just because you’re cooking for one rather than two or more doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a home-cooked meal.And, of course, making it yourself is much cheaper than going out, or ordering a meal kit.

As written, the flavor is pure comfort food; not spicy or salty. However, if you want, you can add other flavors (more on that in the substitutions and variations section).




Egg and Pasta Gratin Substitutions and Variations

  • Add crumbled bacon on top
  • Go for more sweetness and crunch with a sweet bell pepper
  • Try some leeks instead of the chives
  • Dice some sun-dried tomatoes

More Pasta Recipes

spaghetti with green olives and lemon pankoSpaghetti with Green Olives and Lemon Panko

Wake up your taste buds and welcome spring with this light, zesty spaghetti dish. It takes only thirty minutes to make.

 

savory mac and cheeseSavory Mac and Cheese Recipe with Three Cheeses

This mac and cheese has some ingredients you might not expect. Like garlic and bay leaf. But don’t worry, the flavor becomes savory, mellow, and brings out the cheesy taste of the sauce.

egg and tomato gratinEgg and Tomato Gratin for One Person

Fragrant with thyme, onions, and garlic, and then topped with Swiss cheese. Great for a light meal, especially when there’s a big holiday meal in-between.

 

quick and easy summer pastaQuick and Easy Summer Pasta

Bright, colorful and great either hot or cold.  Perfect as a summer salad (since there’s no mayo to worry about).  And very little cooking too (just the pasta).

 




Cherry Tomato Basil Frittata

There are times when a simple recipe is just the thing. This cherry tomato basil frittata takes only a few minutes to prepare and only requires four primary ingredients (eggs, cheese, tomatoes, and basil).

Despite its simplicity, it’s full of flavor, even though it only has a few ingredients. You don’t necessarily have to fuss for hours or use a long list of twenty ingredients to get something delicious to eat.

The other nice thing is that it uses ordinary pantry/fridge staples you probably already have in your kitchen. No special shopping trip required!

This is adapted from a recipe I cut out from The New York Times (I think) long ago. I added the goat cheese, since I had a little bit left I wanted to use up. If you don’t have goat cheese, use something else. Any relatively mild cheese would do the trick.

I also reduced the servings, and adjusted the cooking time. The beauty of single servings is that it takes a lot less time to cook and prepare. The original recipe called for 6 eggs and a pound of tomatoes!

This is a great quick lunch, weekend brunch, or even breakfast. It only takes a few minutes to make, so it’s great when you’ve got a bad case of the “hungries.” Add a chunk of crusty bread and you’ve got a meal.




Substitutions and Variations for Cherry Tomato Basil Frittata

  • make it with mozzarella cheese or Monterey Jack instead of goat cheese
  • add some fresh spinach
  • use a pinch of red pepper flakes in addition to the black pepper
  • swap the plain goat cheese for herbed goat cheese
  • mix up the tomatoes: try one of those yellow/orange/red tomato blends

More Egg and Frittata Recipes

Frittata Recipe for One Person

Spinach and Egg Frittata

Shakshouka for One

Egg Chili Cheese Burrito Recipe




Fried Egg Burrito

Fridays are tricky. Sometimes, I want to make a big feast because the week is over.  Other times, I just want something quick and easy so I can relax. This fried egg burrito recipe is perfect for the days when I’m leaning toward the quick and easy side. That’s why I have a list of “15 minute meals” on the blog.

Fried egg burritos are also versatile. You can have them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner (make two).  And, they’re ready in about 10 minutes.  So, they’re not only delicious and easy, they’re dinner in less than 15 minutes. It’s faster (and tastier) than takeout. Plus, since you made it yourself, you know exactly what’s in it.




I added some Monterey Jack cheese to the eggs, then tossed in a bit of jalapeño pepper and topped that with some salsa and sour cream to serve.  You can use pepper jack cheese or cheddar or any other mild cheese you like.

Substitutions and Variations for Fried Egg Burrito

Like any other burrito, this is endlessly customizable.

  • add some canned beans or refried beans
  • cook up some chorizo sausage
  • if you like it less hot, use bell pepper instead of the jalapeño
  • add a spoonful of chipotle peppers
  • top with guacamole

More Egg Recipes

eggs with spinach and chili pepperEggs with Spinach and Chili Peppers

Great for a light meal, brunch, or breakfast. Only one skillet needed, and you get a healthy dose of greens too.

 

cherry tomato basil frittataCherry Tomato Basil Frittata

Just four basic ingredients and you’ve got breakfast (or a light lunch). Or, add spinach, mushrooms, or more veggies to make a bigger meal.

 

egg chili cheese burritoEgg Chili Cheese Burrito Recipe

Another easy egg dish. This one is a wrap, with refried beans and scallions. It’s a bit heartier, but still super-easy and fast (with canned or pre-cooked beans).

 

shakshouka for oneShakshouka for One

Popular all over the Middle East and Mediterranean, shakshouka is great for lunch or brunch. Or add bread (to scoop up the sauce) and make it dinner.  There are lots of variations, but I added my own spin with some spinach.

 




Shakshouka for One

Shakshouka doesn’t roll off the tongue when you try to say it.  Maybe it’s a Middle Eastern market?  Or a new folk dance?  It is Middle Eastern spicy poached eggs, either Tunisian or Israeli (depending who you ask, or which ingredients you use). If you make it with onions and bell peppers, it’s Israeli.  On the other hand, if you serve it up with feta or potatoes then it’s Tunisian.

This shakshouka for one recipe is actually two recipes that I mind melded together (one from column A and one from column B) to get what I wanted.

Also, for some reason, I thought it had spinach.  So, I washed and chopped 1/4 C of spinach. Only to find out there was no spinach in either recipe.  I added it anyway. Why waste perfectly good spinach? Besides it adds extra color and flavor, which I think worked out well.

The real recipe ingredients are poached eggs, tomato, onions, bell peppers, and some cayenne for kick.

I’m calling it lunch here, but it works well as a light dinner too. You can put the whole thing together in only 20 or 25 minutes.

So, easy, and no fussing. The hardest part is making sure you don’t break the egg yolks.

Serve it with lots of crusty bread to sop up the sauce.




Substitutions and Variations for Shakshouka for One

  • Slice and fry up a potato in some olive oil, then proceed with the rest of the recipe
  • Add some sliced spicy sausage (merguez would work beautifully)
  • Sprinkle it with some feta cheese
  • If you do break the eggs, just scramble them

More Egg Recipes

egg and tomato gratinEgg and Tomato Gratin for One Person

“Fast” food doesn’t have to mean heavy and greasy. This egg dish is different. Great for brunch or a light lunch.

 

cherry tomato basil frittataCherry Tomato Basil Frittata

Delicious food doesn’t have to be complicated. This recipe has only four ingredients. And you probably have most of them already.

 

egg chili cheese burritoEgg Chili Cheese Burrito Recipe

A quick meal with a bit of a kick. Ready in about fifteen minutes with pantry and fridge staples.

 

eggs with spinach and chili pepperEggs with Spinach and Chili Peppers

Brighten your day with this delicious and colorful frittata. It’s another “fast” food meal, ready in minutes. And only requires one skillet too.