Pasta, Chicken, Seafood or Beef in 15 Minutes

Here are four ways to turn a basic ingredient - pasta, chicken, seafood or beef - into a satisfying meal in 15 minutes. Tack these ideas up on your refrigerator to remind yourself that a home-cooked dinner really can be simple.


Prepare one pound of pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, combine the following in a bowl:

  • 3 chopped tomatoes
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (or 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 6 ounces skim mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Drain the pasta and add the marinade while the pasta is still hot. Toss and serve. Approximate time: 15 minutes. If you have time, serve with a tossed green salad, or sliced cucumbers in rice vinegar dressing. Add orange or apple slices for dessert.

Salsa Chicken

This chicken has a lovely south of the border taste that is easily achieved with your favorite commercial or homemade salsa.

  • 3 tablespoons chicken broth
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli florets and stems
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 pound boneless and skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 6 plum tomatoes, peeled and diced
  • 16 ounces drained canned kidney beans
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Heat a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the broth, garlic, onion, and broccoli and saute for 3 minutes, or until the onion is soft. Add the bell peppers and saute for 2 more minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook the mixture over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 5-8 minutes, or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Taste the mixture and add additional salt and pepper if desired. Approximate time: 15 minutes. Added benefit: very low in fat and cholesterol. Served with rice, pasta, or baked potatoes, this dish makes a full meal.

Mediterranean Scallops

For a special touch add a small amount of crumbled feta cheese and olives to the dish, but watch how much you use of these high fat items. Two teaspoons crumbled dried basil and 1 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano can be used instead of the fresh herbs.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 8 large plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • juice and pulp of 2 lemons
  • hot pepper sauce to taste
  • 1 1/2 pounds sea scallops
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the garlic and onion until soft. Add the tomatoes, lemon juice, lemon pulp, and hot pepper sauce. Saute for 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until the scallops are cooked through, about 4 minutes. Serve hot, with pasta and a green salad. Approximate time: 15 minutes.

Lean Ground Beef

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 6 ounces of salsa (use store-bought in a can or jar for fast preparation)
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • shredded lettuce and cheddar cheese to taste

Cook ground beef, with the onion, chili powder, salt and pepper for approximately 6 minutes. Drain off fat and add the salsa. Divide mixutre among the tortillas, top with lettuce and cheese; Roll and serve. Approximate time: 15 minutes. Add cherry tomatoes or tomato and cucumber slices to the plate; consider a cool melon or pineapple for dessert.


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