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.

 

 




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.

 




Tuna Cannellini Bean Salad Recipe for One

Tuna cannellini bean salad is a great meal for those days when you just don’t feel like “cooking.” Maybe you got home late from work, or you’ve been out running errands all day, or it’s just too hot to fuss.  This meal requires nothing more complicated than opening a few cans, sprinkling some seasonings, and a little bit of chopping. Easy.

Everything comes straight from your pantry.  The beans are canned, the tuna is canned, and the only fresh ingredient you need is some scallions, and maybe the lemon juice. Even that isn’t essential; if you don’t have scallions, use onion instead.  If you’re out of fresh lemons, the bottled juice will do just fine.

If you do have the time and energy, this is a bit better with freshly cooked beans. The canned beans tend to be slightly mushy, and sometimes they’re a little salty.   If you go the dried bean route, use my quick soak method to speed things up.  If not, no harm, no foul.

The recipe is enough for two lunches or one dinner (depending  how hungry you are).  I usually find that I eat a whole 5 oz. can of tuna for lunch if I just make ordinary tuna salad, but adding the beans stretches it enough for two meals.

I’ve adapted it slightly from one of  Pierre Franey’s Sixty Minute Gourmet cookbooks. I reduced the quantity and eliminated the parsley (never had any use for parsley). This is not only better than sixty minutes, it only takes about ten.

Serve with some fresh fruit and you have a fast lunch in under fifteen minutes.  Add crusty bread to that and you have dinner.




Tuna Cannellini Bean Salad Substitutions and Variations

  • add some capers
  • mix in some cherry tomatoes
  • try red onion instead of the scallions
  • serve over romaine lettuce
  • mix some greens (watercress, arugula, or one of those baby greens mixtures) right into the salad

 

More Cannellini Bean Recipes

white bean salad sun dried tomatoesWhite Bean Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes

I saw this fancy salad at a store for about $10 a pound. I thought I can make that myself for a lot less. So I did.

 

pasta e fagioli soupPasta e Fagioli Soup (Small Batch)

An Italian classic in a scaled-down version that’s perfect for single person cooking. And it’s nearly entirely pantry ingredients too (just the pancetta, but that will keep in the fridge).

moroccan bean and chicken soupMoroccan Chicken and Bean Soup

A variation on harira, which is usually made with lamb and lentils. There’s lots of flavor from garlic, tomatoes, and a bit of a kick from hot pepper.  Perfect for chilly days and uses largely shelf-stable ingredients.

Brazilian chicken paprika stew

Brazilian Chicken Paprika Stew

A Brazilian twist on Hungarian chicken paprikash. This version has beans and sausage, with no sour cream in sight. It’s comforting, filling, and only uses one pot.

 




Strawberry Balsamic Grilled Cheese Sandwich

A great way to take advantage of fresh, local strawberries, this strawberry balsamic grilled cheese sandwich is an updated childhood classic meant for grownups. Don’t worry, it’s still wonderful comfort food!

I saw a similar recipe on social media and decided I had to try it.  They used blackberries, but I figured strawberries would work just as well, and I had just a few local summer strawberries left (since the season was delayed by wet weather).  The original post I saw didn’t specify what cheese to use.  The internet suggested a strawberry balsamic brie sandwich, but I didn’t have brie either.  So, I used smoked gouda instead. The gooey, melty, smoky gouda, the tart vinegar, and the sweet strawberries combine for a salty-sweet-tangy burst of flavor. Plus, some crunch from the grilled bread.

You can use the gouda, or brie, or any mild cheese that melts well for this. If you don’t have strawberries, use blackberries instead.  I made this with rye bread, but any crusty bread would work well. Ciabatta would likely be great (it makes wonderful grilled cheese sandwiches), because it absorbs the oil’s flavor and turns a beautiful golden brown without getting greasy.

There are lots of different opinions on how to grill cheese sandwiches (or toast them if you are in the UK).  Some butter the bread, others slather on mayonnaise (no  no no).  I prefer to just cook them in a mixture of butter and oil.  The oil has a higher smoking point than butter does (so it’s less likely to burn).  The butter adds extra flavor.




Strawberry Balsamic Grilled Cheese Sandwich Substitutions and Variations

  • use blackberries or raspberries instead of strawberries (blueberries might work too, but they’re harder to cut up)
  • try brie, goat cheese, or Monterey Jack instead of gouda
  • experiment with crusty breads such as ciabatta or a hearth loaf
  • toss in a few fresh basil leaves
  • add some black pepper to the strawberry/balsamic mixture

More Sandwich Recipes

three cheese grilled cheese sandwichThree Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Rich, melty gooey and wonderful comfort food. This sandwich has not one or two, but three cheeses.

 

chicken caprese salad paniniChicken Caprese Salad Panini Sandwich

Grilled cheese for adults. It’s got chicken, tomatoes, basil, and toasted, melty cheese…yum!

 

bacon spinach tomato aioli sandwichBacon Spinach Tomato Aioli Sandwich Recipe

Bacon! We’re obsessed with it. We eat it on everything (pasta, sandwiches, even ice cream). This sandwich has an extra kick from the aioli (garlicky mayonnaise). Don’t worry, there’s an easy trick to make your own.

vegetarian eggplant sandwichVegetarian Eggplant Sandwich for One Person

So maybe you don’t want bacon. Try this vegetarian sandwich with tender eggplant, crisp and crunchy Israeli salad, and hummus.

 




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.

 




Bacon Spinach Tomato Aioli Sandwich Recipe

Mmmm bacon….We’re obsessed with it.  We have bacon appetizers, bacon cocktails, and even bacon ice cream.  And now, meet the bacon spinach tomato aioli sandwich, a slightly different twist on the tried-and-true BLT.

I made this with Trader Joe’s uncured bacon (which is delicious; get the bacon ends if you can and save some money).   I tend to use spinach far more than lettuce, because it’s more versatile. You can cook with it, as well as use it in salads.  So, I reached for that rather than lettuce.

Then, I added some mini bell peppers. The sweetness and crunch of the peppers makes a nice foil for the salty bacon.

Finally, I decided to ditch the standard mayo in favor of aioli (which is mayo with garlic, some lemon juice, olive oil, and a bit of cayenne pepper).

If you are ambitious, and want to make your own aioli from scratch you can do that.  It’s delicious, and freshly made mayonnaise is far tastier than the stuff in the jar.

On the other hand, it doesn’t keep nearly as well, and making (and eating) a whole batch is a bit much for one person. Of course, you can always use the leftover aioli for french fries (like they do in Belgium) or as a dip for crudités.

I like to take the jarred mayonnaise and then add fresh ingredients to brighten the flavor so it tastes a bit more like homemade. That way, there’s no leftovers to worry about.




Substitutions and Variations for Bacon Spinach Tomato Aioli Sandwich

  • Add more heat with sriracha instead of just cayenne
  • Chop some basil or cilantro and incorporate it into the aioli sauce
  • Make it a bit lighter by using half mayo and half Greek yogurt
  • Prepare the aioli in advance so the flavors have more time to blend

 

Thick Cut Bacon

Make your sandwich even better with thick-cut bacon. Choose either natural (humanely raised with no antibiotics, and a vegetarian diet), or heritage.  Heritage pork is more flavorful and less fatty than standard pork.  You can even choose your farm (and check exactly what goes into your bacon).

More Sandwich Recipes

vegetarian eggplant sandwichVegetarian Eggplant Sandwich for One Person

Israeli salad, plus eggplant, and hummus and you have a delicious easy meal.

 

three cheese grilled cheese sandwichThree Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Why settle for only one kind of cheese when you can have three?  Ooey, gooey melty and delicious. Just the comfort food you need right now.

 

chicken caprese salad panini

Chicken Caprese Salad Panini Sandwich

Crispy, golden brown, and delicious! Transform a caprese side salad into a complete meal with chicken and sandwich fixings.

 

strawberry balsamic grilled cheeseStrawberry Balsamic Grilled Cheese Sandwich

You probably didn’t expect strawberries and balsamic vinegar in a sandwich, did you?  The tangy vinegar complements the sweet strawberries and enhances their flavor too.  And, of course, cheese nearly always makes everything better.




No Cook Meals for One Person

It’s summer (at least in the Northern Hemisphere), the sun is calling, and even I don’t always feel like cooking. So, here’s a list of no cook meals for one person that require no boiling, sautéing, roasting or toasting! And, since there’s no cooking, you can make them all in less than 15 minutes.

Fruit and Vegetable Salads

mango cottage cheese and honeyCottage Cheese Yogurt and Fruit Salad

Healthy and easy to make. If you have frozen mango, you don’t even have to chop anything. Just defrost, pour everything into a bowl. Done!

 

 

strawberry spinach salad balsamic dressing feta cheeseStrawberry Spinach Salad with Balsamic Dressing and Feta Cheese

This salad is both colorful and tasty. The sweet fruit contrasts with the tangy cheese and the vinegar.

spinach and blueberry salad with feta cheeseBlueberry Spinach Salad with Feta Cheese and Walnuts

I liked the strawberry salad so much I decided to make a variation with blueberries and add some mushrooms and walnuts too.

 

Chicken and Fish Salads

These two no cook meals require a bit of help from some leftover chicken or your local market to get a rotisserie chicken.

asian chicken salad with cabbageSingle Serving Asian Chicken Salad with Cabbage Recipe

Colorful, slightly spicy, and appealing even when the heat spoils your appetite.

chicken salad with currantsChicken Salad Recipe with Greek Yogurt and Dried Currants

No mayo needed to make this chicken recipe. Instead it has Greek yogurt and currants (or raisins or even dried cranberries if you prefer).

 

 




No Cook Sandwiches

peanut butter and cucumber sandwich on ryePeanut Butter and Cucumber on Rye

I know this sounds weird, but it’s really good. My mom invented it. The cucumber gives it crunch and the peanut butter makes it salty and slightly sweet (if you use the sweetened kind). Make sure to use rye bread.

Italian Tuna Salad
One can of tuna (packed in olive oil), 2 tsp chopped red onion (or scallion), 1/2 tsp capers, olive oil to taste, 2 T lemon juice, 1 T basil leaves (chopped), plus salt and pepper to taste. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Eat as a sandwich, or serve with a green salad.

Turkey and Avocado Sandwich
Sliced deli turkey, sliced avocado, roasted red peppers, honey mustard on whole grain (or even better 7-grain) bread.  You can toast the bread if you like (even though that’s cooking, sort of.)

Platters

 
antipasto platter

Ham Platter
Rosemary ham, goat cheese spread, crackers, olives, fruit, and a lovely glass of red wine.

Goat cheese spread:
Take the goat cheese out of the fridge ahead of time to soften it. Add a bit of milk to make it more spreadable. Then roll it in ground almonds.

israeli breakfast

Israeli salad, pita bread, hummus, olives, and feta cheese. Or add some pickled herring.





Egg Chili Cheese Burrito Recipe

This egg chili cheese burrito recipe is adapted from a Southwestern cookbook I bought long ago. Their recipe called for refried beans, and while I had beans, they were dry beans and hadn’t been soaked or refried, and I didn’t want to bother.  I did have tortillas (the ones I use as sneaky crepes), plenty of eggs, chilis, scallions, and cheese.

I decided to improvise with what I had ready to eat, rather than waiting for the beans to soak.  I was hungry, and didn’t want to fuss.

If you want to make the refried beans, you can use canned beans. If you have dried beans, and you have more time than I did that day, use the quick soak method to speed up the process.

To refry beans, just heat some bacon drippings in a pan, add cooked (or canned) pinto beans, plus some of the soaking liquid, cook them on high heat, and mash them up.  Turn the heat to low once the beans get thick and simmer until they’re soft.




Egg Chili Cheese Burrito Variations and Substitutions

  • add refried beans (about 1/4 cup)
  • cut up a sausage, fry it, and add that to the burrito
  • swap the salsa for some spicy stovetop chili
  • vary the cheese; I used sharp cheddar, but Colby, Monterey Jack or Colby-Jack would work too

More Egg Recipes

eggs with spinach and chili pepperEggs with Spinach and Chili Peppers

An easy light meal, flavored with ginger, garlic, and chili peppers. First you cook the seasonings, then the eggs, all in the same skillet.

 

frittata recipe for one personFrittata Recipe for One Person

A flexible recipe that uses whatever veggies you have around (fresh or frozen). Keep it vegetarian, or add some ham.

 

egg and tomato gratinEgg and Tomato Gratin

Fast food that’s so much better than anything from a takeout place. This is fragrant with thyme, garlic, and, onions. The whole thing is then topped with Swiss cheese.

 

shakshouka for oneShakshouka for One

Poached eggs bathed in a spicy tomato sauce, enlivened with fresh spinach. A bit more effort, but definitely worth it!

 

 




Cranberry Chipotle Turkey Enchilada

Thanksgiving is great, but finding new and different ways to use up the leftovers can be a bit of a challenge. However, it’s also an opportunity to be creative. I had an idea for a turkey cranberry chipotle turkey enchilada and went looking for cranberry chipotle salsa or even some cranberry relish in the supermarket.  The store had both, but I eventually decided I didn’t want to buy a whole jar (and end up with more leftovers to use up).  So I created my own instead.

I took some of the leftover turkey, a few craisins (dried sweetened cranberries), and added chipotle salsa which I already had (and could use for other recipes like chili or meatloaf). I combined them together to make cranberry chipotle turkey enchiladas.

If you already have cranberry relish or cranberry salsa from your own dinner that would work beautifully too.

It’s pretty simple. Just warm up the turkey, heat the tortilla in some oil, add the rest of the ingredients, and roll it up into an enchilada.

A few weeks ago, those tortillas were “crepes“, but this time I decided to use them as intended on the package!




 

Tools and Ingredients for Turkey Cranberry Chipotle Enchiladas

 


OXO Good Grips Box Grater

Much as I love my zester/microplane, there are some jobs that require a different tool. A box grater can slice or shred food better than a zester can. Use this to shred or slice cheese, carrots, onions, and potatoes or to coarsely grate citrus peels (use the microplane for finer results).

This particular grater comes with its own marked storage container, so you can measure while you’re grating and just make exactly the amount you need.


SilverStone Ceramic 8-Inch Deep Skillet, Chili Red

I don’t like the old-style non-stick pans, but I confess I am enjoying using my ceramic pan. I can make eggs, enchiladas, frittatas, and many other things without worrying about it sticking and it cleans up easily. So far, the coating has held up beautifully. I don’t have this exact pan, but if I had seen the red I would have gotten that one in a New York minute. Do keep the heat a bit lower than you would with a stainless steel pan, and be careful if you have a glass top stove.

More Turkey Recipes

easy spicy turkey soupQuick and Easy Spicy Turkey Soup

Turkey soup with south of the US border flavor from lime, cumin, and cayenne, topped with cooling sour cream.  Zippy, and easy.

 

easy leftover turkey soupLeftover Turkey Soup Recipe

If you’d prefer something more classic, this soup is more traditional.  It’s flexible too. Use whatever fresh or frozen veggies you have (potatoes, broccoli, carrots, peas), toss it all together with some wine and broth and let it simmer.

 

sweet and sour jelly turkey meatballsSweet and Sour Turkey Meatballs with Jelly and Chili Sauce

Remember those childhood jelly meatballs? These have a bit more oomph. They’ve grown up, gotten a bit spicier, and less sweet.  You may lick the plate!

 

turkey pot pie for one personTurkey Pot Pie for One Person

Perfectly sized for one, without making more leftovers. You don’t even have to make turkey (get it cooked from the deli instead). The crust is rich, flaky, and all butter.