Super-simple dinners in 3 steps or less

Published on July 15 2010 - 2:46 PM
Super-simple dinners in 3 steps or less

My husband, Russ, likes to make recipes that have at least 4,000 ingredients and take a minimum of 8 hours to cook. OK, so that’s a slight exaggeration. But only slight. He does prefer recipes that are more of a production.

But me, I like to streamline. I’m always looking for shortcuts and ways to speed things up (maybe because I cook all day at work in the EatingWell Test Kitchen). So when Russ doesn’t have all day to cook, I step in and look for dinners I can make in 3 steps or less. That way, I’m guaranteed to not spend all night in the kitchen.

Here are some of my picks for super-simple dinner recipes done in 3 steps or less:

Steak Bun: “Bun” is a Vietnamese noodle dish typically made with cold rice noodles, lots of crunchy vegetables and thinly sliced beef or pork all tossed in a sweet and tangy sauce. It’s perfect for a hot summer night. Serve with sliced mango and iced mint green tea.

Chipotle Orange Grilled Chicken: Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce contribute a rich smokiness to this quick orange-infused barbecue sauce.

Gnocchi with Zucchini Ribbons & Parsley Brown Butter: For this recipe, convenient store-bought potato gnocchi are tossed with delicate ribbons of zucchini, shallots and cherry tomatoes that have all been sautéed in nutty browned butter.

Creamy Garlic Pasta with Shrimp & Vegetables: Toss a garlicky, Middle Eastern-inspired yogurt sauce with pasta, shrimp, asparagus, peas and red bell pepper for a fresh, satisfying summer meal. Serve with: Slices of cucumber and tomato tossed with lemon juice and olive oil.

Black Bean Quesadillas: In a hurry? These satisfying quesadillas take just 15 minutes to make. We like them with black beans, but pinto beans work well too. If you like a little heat, be sure to use pepper Jack cheese in the filling. Serve with: A little sour cream and a mixed green salad.

EatingWell Associate Food Editor Hilary Meyer spends much of her time in the EatingWell Test Kitchen, testing and developing healthy recipes. She is a graduate of New England Culinary Institute.