It's not always easy to cook an appetizing and healthy meal for supper, especially if you're exhausted after working a 10-hour day. Generally, the smart thing to do is to leave something in a slow cooker and come home to a sweet-smelling house with food ready to be served. Ordering take out can also be efficient and easy, but it's a sure-fire way to put added stress on your budget if you make it a habit. Ordering take out to feed a family of five might cost as much as $80, whereas you can make a similar budget-friendly and delicious meal at home for as little as $20 when factoring in all ingredients. Saving money is one thing, but ordering take out also saves a lot of time that you might otherwise want to put toward rest and relaxation - few people have the time to spend an hour or two cooking a meal at the end of a long work day.
Fortunately, there is no shortage of recipes that can be completed in fewer than 20 minutes and we're not talking about heating up a can of pasta or microwaving some mini pizzas. With the right ingredients, cookware, and a hint of creativity and inspiration, you can create a perfect 20-minute meal that will have everyone in the family asking for seconds. In the following list, you'll notice a variety of appetizing meal selections, including sandwiches, pastas, and stuffed pork chops. You'll probably want to go ahead and bookmark this list for future reference.
20 Grilled Basil and Garlic Pork Chops
Barbecuing any meat that isn't chicken can easily be done in less than 10 or 15 minutes. Pork chops, especially, can be cooked quickly over high heat. This recipe, if done right, clocks in at 19 minutes according to Southern Living and only involves a handful of simple ingredients. Combine salt and pepper with dried basil and garlic powder and sprinkle over your pork chops before throwing on the grill. You can cook the chops for as little as five minutes per side over medium-high heat or, if you like them a little dryer, seven minutes per side. Serve with rice.
19 Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta
For whatever reason, the simple combination of lemon, chicken, and pasta creates a great taste that tops all other pastas. That's not an opinion - it's a fact. This quick and easy dinner option involves slicing a chicken breast and cooking its seasoned strips and, at the same time, baking trimmed asparagus for seven minutes. Cook the chicken for three minutes per side in a skillet and then add chicken broth, garlic, onion, and mushrooms. Finally, add the asparagus, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and coconut milk. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes while the pasta cooks. This recipe might take half an hour, but can be completed easily in 20 minutes if you're an efficient multi-tasker.
18 Honey Garlic Glazed Salmon
Salmon, like most seafood, can be cooked on its own relatively quickly in a nonstick skillet, but why not add on a few minutes to your cooking time to create this can't-miss honey garlic glazed salmon? Begin by cooking the salmon six minutes skin-side up and, after flipping, add minced garlic and a pre-made sauce mixture that includes honey, lemon juice, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes. Continue to baste the salmon with the sauce until it is reduced by about one-third and add in lemon slices for presentation. Once finished cooking, garnish with more sliced lemon and parsley. Serve with rice and vegetables.
17 Chicken Quesadillas
This recipe requires you already have some leftover roast chicken, but you can also used store-bought shredded chicken instead. And it only takes about 15 minutes to prepare. Begin by spreading two tablespoons of salsa or Pico de Gallo onto a tortilla and topping with mashed kidney beans, spring onion, the shredded chicken, and cheddar cheese. Place another tortilla on top and then brush it with oil before cooking it oil-side down in a nonstick skillet for about four minutes and then two minutes on its other side. Cut the tortilla into wedges and serve with rice and/or vegetables.
16 Lemon Garlic Shrimp
Not only is shrimp among the most delicious seafood, it's also the easiest and least time-consuming to cook. You can buy pre-cooked bags of shrimp and simply cook them in a nonstick skillet for four minutes and have an easy meal, but if you want to add sufficient flavor you're best off utilizing this lemon garlic recipe. After melting olive oil and butter in the skillet, add the shrimp with minced garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for about three minutes or until the shrimp is pink and then stir in more butter, lemon juice, dry white wine, and fresh parsley. Serve with rice.
15 Pad Thai
Most people think of Pad Thai as something they can only get at restaurants, but it's actually a lot easier to make than you might think. After cooking the noodles according to the directions on the package, whisk together lime juice, fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl and set aside. Then, in a large nonstick pan, heat oil over medium-high heat and cook one red bell pepper for four minutes after which you should add in garlic for one minute. Then add shrimp and, once cooked, push everything to one side of the pan to scramble an egg in the other half. Mix with the shrimp mixture and then add in the noodles and the lime juice mixture. Top with roasted peanuts and green onions.
14 Bacon Bow Tie Pasta
It generally takes a bit of time to perfect a delicious homemade white sauce, but this one that accompanies a tasty bacon pasta dish can be ready in as little as 10 minutes and doesn't even require that many ingredients. After cooking both the pasta and bacon concurrently to the directions on its package, beat cream cheese, seasoning, and butter in a medium-sized bowl that can be safely used in the microwave. Add in two-thirds cups of milk until the mixture is smooth and then microwave on high for at least three minutes, while whisking every 30 seconds. Pour the mixture over your cooked pasta and top with crumbled bacon and grated Parmesan cheese.
13 Mexico Chicken Burger
Cooking chicken can be time consuming depending on how you go about it, but this delicious restaurant-quality burger takes only 10 minutes of prep work and roughly eight minutes to cook. Begin by flattening a chicken breast between two pieces of parchment paper to expedite its cooking time and then mix store-bought chipotle paste and lime juice over the chicken. Cook for three minutes per side in a griddle pan over high heat and add a slice of cheese during the final minute or two of cooking time. You can even lightly toast the brioche bun in the same pan after the breast is cooked. For toppings, mash avocado with more lime juice and mix with cherry tomatoes, garlic, salt, and jalapenos.
12 Fettuccine Alfredo
Fettuccine Alfredo is a recipe that everyone should at least have some variation of in their cooking arsenal. Like spaghetti, it's an easy go-to pasta dish that can be cooked up in a hurry to feed yourself and members of your family. Start by cooking the noodles and reserving roughly one cup of the pasta water before draining. Then, in a large skillet over medium heat, melt half-cup of heavy cream and half-cup of butter and then whisk in Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste. Add the reserved pasta water to make the sauce less thick and then add in cooked pasta until it is fully coated in the sauce. Garnish with parsley and serve with garlic bread.
11 Taco Soup
Making a perfect chili requires a bit of patience and a lot of time. Generally speaking, it's best to let a chili cook for at least a couple of hours on low to let all the flavors mix and mingle, but this taco soup recipe can be put together and on your table in less than 20 minutes. Take a large cooking pot and, over medium heat, add oil and chopped onion. Let it soften for about five minutes before adding ground beef and, once it's no longer pink, add in corn, one can of pinto beans, fire-roasted tomatoes, taco seasoning, and one-and-a-half cups of water. Just like with chili, you can garnish with sour cream, avocados, and/or green onion.
10 Easy Skillet Cordon Bleu
Chicken Cordon Bleu might not be a dish that comes to mind when thinking about convenience, but this 20-minute skillet recipe is one worth making that doesn't sacrifice taste in favor of time. Using chicken tenders or sliced chicken breast, coat them in a combination of breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper before melting butter and oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Chicken should be cooked for four minutes per side and then topped with Canadian bacon and one cheese slice. To finish, broil about five inches from the top of your oven for about two minutes or until the cheese is melted.
9 Ahi Tuna Lettuce Wraps
No, we're not talking about the canned tuna used to make an easy sandwich for lunch. Instead, this delicious and light recipe, best used for a summer dinner party or gathering, uses cube-shaped sashimi-grade tuna. If you're intending on serving this at a party, begin preparations about one hour before dinner time by mixing ginger, jalapeno, cilantro, tamari, sesame oil, and green onions in a bowl with the tuna. Refrigerate for an hour and then, right before serving, chop an avocado into cubes and put into the mixture. Simply scoop portions of the tuna mixture into the lettuce leaves and place on a serving platter.
8 Pan-Seared Trout And Salsa
Trout and salsa doesn't sound like a great combination at first, but hear us out because this recipe is both delicious and time-friendly; in fact, it can be completed in as little as nine minutes if you prepare the salsa ahead of time or use a store-bought replacement. Simply cook trout fillets over oil in a large nonstick skillet for two minutes per side and top with the salsa, which can be made by mixing chopped plum tomatoes, finely-chopped red onion, chopped Kalamata olives, minced garlic cloves, drained capers, fresh parsley, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt to taste.
7 Spinach And Artichoke-Stuffed Porkchops
As if meat isn't good enough on its own, we as a society have discovered that it can be improved upon if you stuff it with delicious ingredients. That's what makes these easy 20-minute pork chops taste so good. Begin by combining cream cheese, mayo, sour cream, artichoke hearts, spinach, mozzarella, garlic, and Parmesan in a large bowl and then stuff that mixture into pre-cut pockets of pork chops. Cook the chops for four minutes per side in a large skillet over medium heat. You can also add red pepper flakes or other spices to give the filling a bit of zip.
6 Beef Fajitas And Pico De Gallo
Sure, you can go to Taco Bell or Chipotle and spend money on overpriced fajitas that are going to ensure you spend half your night in the bathroom, but why do that when you can take these fresh-tasting beef fajitas with homemade Pico de Gallo? Begin by marinading flank steak in a sealed bag with dressing and fajita seasoning, following which you should grill the steak to your desired doneness. After letting it sit for five minutes, slice the steak into strips and serve with tortillas, cheese, other toppings you might desire, and a homemade Pico de Gallo (chopped grape tomatoes, bell peppers, avocado, red onion, garlic, cilantro, and salt).
5 Veggie Fried Rice
Fried rice is a mall food court staple, but you don't need to venture outside your house to experience authentic-tasting vegetarian fried rice. This 20-minute recipe includes quick-cooking brown rice mixed with sautéed snap peas, matchstick-cut carrots, and green onions as well as fried egg and soy sauce. Of course, you can also add in your own ingredients to spice it up to your liking. Green peas, edamame, and mushrooms are a perfect add-on to this delicious dish. Or, to make it into a complete meal, add leftover chopped chicken. You can even add pieces of beef if you're feeling adventurous.
4 Meatballs From Morocco
As with the beef fajitas, you can easily find meatballs elsewhere, but it definitely pays off to make your own at home - although you can use your own pre-cooked meatballs or store-bought meatballs for this recipe. Once they are cooked, scoop them out of the frying pan and proceed to cook onion for five minutes until soften. Then add dried apricots, a 400-gram can of tomatoes, and a cinnamon stick. Let boil for 10 minutes before removing the cinnamon stick and then return the meatballs to the pan so that they can coat in the tomato sauce. Sprinkle with coriander and almonds.
3 Deli Stuffed Sandwich
Sandwiches are often thought of as appropriate for lunches - and you can certainly eat this one at that time - but this deli stuffed sandwich recipe, which takes only 10 minutes to make, is hearty enough to keep you full at dinner time. Begin by combining olive oil, chopped ripe olives, chopped fresh oregano, cider vinegar, and pepper and spreading that mixture onto the inside of the bread. While you can use different deli meats, the best combination is that of turkey and ham. Don't forget cheese. You can serve this up with a side of chips for an easy, but flavorful, meal after a long day's work.
2 Nutty Chicken Satay Strips
Chicken strips is an easy dinner option, but you don't have to settle for the frozen kind that costs $15 at the grocery store. Instead, you can use fresh chicken breasts and make your own creative strips. This unique recipe involves mixing chunky peanut butter with minced garlic, Madras curry powder, soy sauce, and lime juice and coating strips of chicken with the mixture. Arrange the strips on a baking sheet and cook at 200 degrees Celsius between eight and 10 minutes so they will be cooked, but moist. Serve with carrot and cucumber sticks as well as sweet chili sauce for dipping.
1 Pan-Seared Flat Iron Steak
All of the aforementioned recipes are delicious and easy to make, but none can match the taste and simplicity of cooking of pan-seared flat iron steak. While many people fret over the proper method to cook steak and how long to let it sit on the grill or in a pan, it's actually quite simple to master. For this pan-seared steak, simply rub it evenly with salt and your choice of seasoning and then cook in heated oil between four and five minutes per side while only turning once. For presentation purposes, cut it diagonally into thin strips after letting it sit for five minutes.