Quick & easy meals

Published On: April 14, 2017 11:25 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Don’t have an hour to spend simmering dinner over the stove or waiting for it to bake in the oven? Seriously, who has that time and patience to prepare dinner after a busy day at work? All you want to do is have something filling and nice, watch some TV, maybe read a little, and go to bed.

But then, if eating out isn’t an option on a daily basis (and it shouldn’t be for obvious reasons) then you might have no alternatives but to enter the dreaded kitchen and whip up a decent meal. Fear not, preparing a nice meal needn’t be time consuming anymore. Here are some tried and tested recipes for quick and easy suppers that can be prepared in less than half an hour.

Shrimp and spinach pasta

Feel like a meal that’s both light and hearty? And one that has vegetables and protein too? This shrimp, and spinach pasta is the answer. All you have to do is sauté shrimp in butter while you cook the pasta on a separate pot. The spinach will wilt naturally when combined with the warm pasta. The result will be a macaroni and cheese like supper.  

•    One packet penne pasta
•    Two tablespoons butter
•    Finely grated zest of one lemon
•    200 grams shrimp 
•    200 grams spinach 
•    ½ cup cream 
•    Salt 
•    Pepper

Cook the pasta, drain and return it to the pot.
Heat the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the shrimp, lemon zest, half a teaspoon salt, a dash of pepper and cook, tossing frequently until the shrimp is opaque throughout. This should take four to five minutes.
Add cream and half a teaspoon salt to the pasta in the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring, until slightly thickened. Add the shrimp mixture and the spinach and toss to combine.

Serves: 2

Corn and cucumber salad 

This is an easy to make salad that is tasty and wholesome at the same time. For a non-vegetarian option, you can add some tuna flakes but the vegetarian rendition of the dish tastes really good as well. It’s healthy, it’s filling, and just the kind of dinner you want on hot summer months. 

•    300 grams corn
•    One small cucumber, thinly sliced
•    One medium carrot, thinly sliced or grated 
•    One medium tomato, chopped 
•    One small onion finely, chopped
•    Two tablespoons coriander, finely chopped 
•    Juice of one lemon
•    Few fresh leaves of Basil (optional)
•    Salt
•    Pepper
•    Chili powder 
•    One tablespoon olive oil

Steam the corn kernels and keep it aside. 
In a large bowl, mix the cucumber, carrot, tomatoes, and onion. Add salt, pepper, and chili powder according to taste. 
Add one tablespoon of olive oil and the juice of a lemon. Mix well. 
Toss in the corn kernels and toss the salad. Serve with basil leaves and finely chopped coriander sprinkled on top. 

Serves: 2

Chicken minestrone soup

Fresh, brightly colored vegetables add some welcome vibrancy to this comforting soup. This quirky twist on the classic recipe is a perfect combination of the hearty vegetable minestrone soup and the comforting chicken noodle soup. Pair this soup recipe with some garlic bread for a wholesome meal.

•    One tablespoon olive oil
•    One large onion, diced
•    One large carrot, sliced 
•    Two large tomatoes, chopped
•    One small zucchini, diced 
•    One tablespoon garlic paste
•    Two tablespoons tomato paste
•    Four cups unsalted chicken stock (available at all major department stores)
•    200 grams chicken breast, shredded 
•    400 grams pasta
•    Salt

Heat a large pot over medium flame. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. 
Add onion, carrot, and zucchini and sauté for four minutes. 
Add garlic and tomato paste and cook for another two minutes, stirring occasionally. Add stock, one cup of water, and salt, and bring to a boil. 
Add pasta to the pan and cook for five minutes. 
Add tomato, and chicken and cook for another four to five minutes or until pasta is done.
Serve with a side of bread. 

Serves: 2 to 3

Omelet with potatoes 

Who wouldn’t want breakfast for dinner?  This baked egg delicacy is just the right meal for those who want a filling but super quick dinner. While it might take a little more preparation than just a quick omelet, the result is definitely worth it. You will soon find this dish becoming your go-to dinner option. You can choose to serve it with a side of salad and some toasted brown bread with garlic. For a non-vegetarian option, you can choose to add sausages to the egg mix.

•    Three tablespoons olive oil
•    One large onion, chopped
•    Three large potatoes, diced
•    ½ cup coriander, roughly chopped
•    Six large eggs, beaten
•    ½ cup cheese, shredded 
•    Three medium sized sausages, diced (optional)
•    One small head green-leaf lettuce
•    Salt 
•    Pepper

Heat oven to 400° F. Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook for five minutes.
Add the potatoes, and salt and pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender. This should take about 10 minutes. (If you are making the non-vegetarian option, add the sausages along with the potatoes.)
Pour in the eggs and stir to distribute the ingredients. Sprinkle the cheese and transfer to oven.

Bake the omelet until puffed and brown around the edges and a knife comes out clean. This will take about 15 minutes.
Put the lettuce on the plates and drizzle with the remaining oil. Cut the omelet into wedges and serve with the salad and bread. 

Serves: 2 to 3

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