7 Fast & Fantastic Recipes to Serve in a Pinch

Photos: Bite Me More

Need inspiration in a hurry? We’ve got you covered with these recipes you can whip up  in 30 minutes or less!

1. Bottomless Bowl Chicken Lasagna 


Lisa sometimes calls me Garfield for my lazy, lasagna-loving ways. When cravings strike, and I don’t have the time or patience for layering, this cheese-topped pasta delivers quick-fix happiness in a bowl of tender noodles, succulent chicken and sweet vegetables.


1 tbsp olive oil
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 large carrots, peeled and shredded
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 cups chicken broth
1 (28oz/796ml) can diced tomatoes
1 cup tomato sauce
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

6 oven-ready lasagna noodles, broken

1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 cup ricotta cheese, for topping
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, for topping
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for topping


1) Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Sauté chicken for 4 minutes until lightly browned. Stir in carrots, mushrooms and onions, cooking an additional 4-5 minutes.

2) Add broth, diced tomatoes with juice, tomato sauce, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook covered for 5 minutes. Turn heat to high and return to a boil. Add lasagna noodles and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes or until tender.

3) In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and a ladle of liquid from the soup pot. Mix to combine and stir into pot, thickening the broth.

4) Spoon the stew into bowls and top each serving with ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan.

Serves 6

2. Spicy Quinoa Puttanesca

Puttanesca is rumoured to have originated among Napoli’s nightwalkers. No surprise there. This sultry, spicy, aromatic red sauce of olives, capers and garlic is scandalously good. While the Oldest Professionals paired this kick-in-the-pants sauce with pasta, we’ve got a few tricks of our own. We’ve swapped noodles out for quinoa, the numero uno protein provider. There’s nothing scandalous here… just two ladies of the night enjoying a seductively delectable bowl of quin-HO-a.


Puttanesca Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
1/2 cup store-bought roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
1 (28 oz) tin diced tomatoes
2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley


2 cups water
1 cup quinoa


1) For the sauce, in a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook 5 minutes. Add garlic, cooking 30 seconds. Stir in tomato paste, thyme, red pepper flakes, sea salt, black pepper and white wine, cooking 1 minute. Add olives, roasted red peppers, capers and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.

2) Meanwhile, to cook the quinoa, in a medium saucepan, combine water and quinoa. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and cook uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and combine with puttanesca sauce.

Serves 4-6

3. Saucy Tofu Pad Thai

If this cookbook thing doesn’t work out, we’ve always got Bangkok. We’ll open a street stall of our own and take the others by storm with our unsurpassed version of their national dish. Sure, our competition will use similar ingredients, but our vibrant Pad thai will be adored for its spot-on sauce-to-noodle ratio, golden-cooked tofu and still-crispy bean sprouts. So delicious, we’ll have longer lines than the women offering “soaps.”


1 (1 lb/454g) package wide rice stick noodles
4 tsp vegetable oil, divided in half
1 (12oz/350g) package extra firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large eggs
3 large egg whites
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Sweet Chili Sauce

1 1/4 cups Heinz chili sauce
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
4 tbsp water
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 /3 cup coarsely chopped dry roast peanuts, for topping

Lime wedges, for serving


1) Cook noodles in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water.

2) In a large skillet, heat 2 tsp oil over medium- high heat. Cook tofu for 5-7 minutes, until browned. Remove from pan.

3) Whisk 2 eggs and 3 egg whites. In the skillet, heat remaining 2 tsp oil over medium-high heat. Add eggs and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Set aside.

4) For the sauce, in a medium bowl, combine chili sauce, brown sugar, water, fish sauce, lime juice and ginger. Add sauce and drained noodles to skillet with egg mixture in it. Cook for 2 minutes over medium- high heat. Stir in tofu, bean sprouts and parsley, cooking an additional 3-5 minutes. Serve sprinkled with peanuts and garnished with lime wedges.

Serves 6-8

4. Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Chew with your mouth closed. Don’t put your feet on the table. That’s pretty much the extent of my rules governing dining etiquette. When it comes to eating I like to take my cue from the Indian culture, hands-on. Fiddling with my food since childhood, these moo-shu-like lettuce wraps are another great excuse to hold dinner in the palm of my hand. Now I just have to remember: napkin, not sleeve.


Asian Sauce

1/2 cup sushi vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp cornstarch

Chicken Filling

3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 large egg whites
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 cup water chestnuts, rinsed and chopped
2 medium red bell peppers, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and julienned
2 (1.1oz/30g) packages dried portobello mushrooms, rehydrated in boiling water for 20 minutes, rinsed well,
patted dry and chopped

Crunchy Topping

1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 (3oz/85g) packages ramen noodles, crushed

Iceberg lettuce leaves
6 tbsp hoisin sauce


1) For the sauce, in a medium bowl, whisk sushi vinegar, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil and cornstarch. Set aside.

2) For the chicken, in a food processor, pulse chicken breasts until finely chopped. Place in a medium bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, stir together white wine, cornstarch, egg whites and salt. Pour over chopped chicken and marinate for 10 minutes.

3) Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Pour chicken and marinade into boiling water and stir constantly to break up lumps. Cook 4-5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Drain chicken mixture into a strainer. Set aside.

4) In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic, water chestnuts, red peppers, carrots and mushrooms, stirring until softened. Add chicken mixture and continue cooking for another 3 minutes. Add reserved sauce to skillet, turn heat to high and stir until sauce has thickened, about 3 minutes.

5) For the topping, in a small skillet, brown almonds and noodles over medium heat until golden.

6) To serve, divide chicken mixture among lettuce leaves topping each with 1 tbsp of hoisin sauce and sprinkle with almonds.

Serves 4-6

5. Roasted Halibut with Corn & Avocado Salsa

This Halibut with Avocado & Corn Salsa is a super healthy and delicious dinner that can be served up in only 15 minutes. Roasted until tender, spice-rubbed halibut is placed atop a fresh corn and creamy avocado salsa, making this recipe a weeknight go-to for people on the go!


Avocado & Corn Salsa

2 large ears fresh corn, shucked, kernels removed
1 ripe (yet firm) avocado, chopped
1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
¼ cup chopped red onion
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp sugar
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

4 (6oz each) halibut fillets
1 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper


1) To prepare the salsa, in a medium bowl, combine corn, avocado, poblano pepper, red onion, apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Gently toss to combine, cover and refrigerate while roasting fish.

2) Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place fillets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Rub each piece of halibut with olive oil. In a small bowl, combine cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Sprinkle over each piece of fish. Bake until fish is just firm to the touch, about 12-14 minutes. To serve, place a large spoonful of salsa on a plate and top with fish.

Serves 4

6. Southwestern Chopped Chicken Salad

Looking for a fiesta in a bowl? You’ve found it with this Southwestern Chopped Chicken Salad, a tasty combination of chunky avocado, roasted chicken, shredded cheese and crunchy tortilla chips all tossed in a spicy salsa dressing.


1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
4 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 avocado, peeled and diced
1 roasted deli chicken, breast meat shredded
3/4 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese

Creamy Salsa Dressing

1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup salsa
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup canned chopped green chilies
1 lime, juiced
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder

2 cups crumbled tortilla chips, for topping


1) Place lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, chicken and grated cheese in a large bowl.

2) For the dressing, in a medium bowl, whisk sour cream, salsa, mayonnaise, chopped green chilies, lime juice, sugar, cumin and chili powder.

3) Add dressing to salad bowl, tossing well to coat. Sprinkle salad with crumbled tortilla chips.

Serves 4

7. Chicken Cobb Salad with Thousand Island Dressing

Looking for a meal-in-a-bowl? Search no further than this satisfying, crowd-pleasing Cobb Salad, a classic combo of chicken, bacon, avocado, eggs and blue cheese, all tossed in a creamy homemade Thousand Island dressing.


Thousand Island Dressing

1 cup mayonnaise
4 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp sweet green relish
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Chicken Cobb Salad

8 cups romaine lettuce torn into bite-size pieces
6 bacon slices, cooked crisp and crumbled
5 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cooked and diced
3 large eggs, hard boiled and finely chopped
3 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 avocados, pitted, peeled and diced
3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese


1) For the dressing, in a medium bowl, whisk mayonnaise, ketchup, vinegar, sugar, relish, salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to use (this recipe makes extra dressing for you to keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week).

2) In a large bowl, combine lettuce, bacon, diced chicken, egg, tomatoes, avocado and blue cheese. Gently toss with desired amount of dressing.

Serves 6



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Authors of bestselling cookbooks Bite Me, Bite Me Too and Lick Your Plate, saucy sisters Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat love eating, feeding, entertaining and dishing up easy recipes at BiteMeMore.com.