52 HEALTHY MEALS IN 12 MINUTES OR LESS
Being hungry sucks (it’s a scientific fact). So why spend hours cooking a gourmet feast when a nutritious and delicious meal could be only 12 minutes away? Skip the grumbling tummy and cranky guests and serve up any one of these 52 satisfying meals.
(See Also: 60 Healthier Drinks for Boozing)
1. Chocolate-Blueberry Shake Blend together 1 packet chocolate breakfast powder (like Carnation Breakfast Essentials), 1 1/2 cups milk of choice, and 1 cup frozen blueberries. Optional: Add a scoop of protein powder for improved muscle recovery.
2. Cold Pizza Nope, not the takeout kind! Toast 1 slice whole-grain bread and top with 2 tbsp. ricotta, 1 large basil leaf, 2 tomato slices, a drizzle of olive oil, and salt and pepper.
3. Eggs in a Muffin Heat a pan with a spritz of cooking spray over medium heat. Season 1 egg with salt and pepper, scramble, and cook to desired consistency (no more than five minutes). Top egg with 1 slice cheddar cheese and allow cheese to melt. Pile egg and cheese on 1 toasted whole-wheat English muffin and add 1 slice cooked Canadian bacon. (Use half the muffin and eat it open-faced to save a few calories!)
4. Canadian Waffles Toast 1 whole-wheat waffle and top with 1 slice cooked Canadian bacon, 1 over-easy egg (prepared with cooking spray), and a 1 to 2 tsp. drizzle of maple syrup.
5. Cereal A-Go-Go Swap out the milk in a bowl of cereal for 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt flavored with 1/8 tsp. lemon zest and 1 tsp. honey. Add ½ cup bran flakes and some extra flavor with ¼ cup fresh berries or 1 tbsp. sliced almonds.
6. Breakfast Taco In a pan spritzed with cooking spray over medium-high heat, scramble 3 egg whites, a small handful of spinach leaves, and 1 tbsp. drained and rinsed black beans. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap mixture in an 8-inch whole-wheat tortilla and top with 1 tbsp. salsa.
7. Oatmeal in an Instant Skip pre-made packets in favor of this homemade version. Combine ½ cup rolled oats, 1 cup milk or water, and a pinch of salt, and microwave for 3 minutes. Stir in toppings of choice, like 1 tsp. maple syrup, 2 tbsp. sliced almonds, or ¼ cup dried fruit.
8. PB & H Waffle Toast 1 whole-grain waffle and smear with 1 tbsp. natural peanut butter. Drizzle with 1 tsp. honey and sprinkle with 1 tsp. sesame seeds.
9. Mini Wrap Top an 8-inch whole-wheat tortilla with 2 slices Canadian bacon, ½ sliced apple, and 2 to 3 slices cheddar cheese. Roll up and microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until cheese is melted.
10. Vegan Breakfast Scramble In a frying pan over medium-high heat combine ½ cup tofu (crumbled), a handful of spinach, ¼ cup chopped red peppers, 1/8 cup chopped onion, 1/8 cup chopped vegetarian bacon, and a few dashes of paprika. Sauté until veggies are cooked and tofu is heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
11. Broiled Grapefruit Preheat broiler and halve 1 chilled grapefruit. Sprinkle each half with ½ tsp. sugar and ¼ tsp. cinnamon. Broil both halves on a baking sheet for 3-5 minutes. Serve with 1 slice of whole-wheat toast spread with 1 tbsp. nut butter for a complete breakfast.
12. Nutty ‘Nana Toast 1 slice whole-grain bread and top with 1 tbsp. crunchy almond butter and ½ a sliced banana.
13. Berry Yogurty Smoothie Blend together ½ cup frozen strawberries, ½ cup frozen blueberries, 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt, 2 tsp. honey, and ¼ cup milk of choice.
14. Sweet n’ Savory Breakfast Pizza Preheat the broiler (or toaster oven). Microwave 2 slices turkey bacon for 30-60 seconds (or until crisp) and crumble once cooked. Spread 1 tbsp. low-fat ricotta on 1 whole-wheat tortilla. Top with ¼ cup sliced strawberries and/or blueberries and the bacon. Broil 5 minutes or until fruit softens and begins to caramelize.
15. Sun-Dried Tomato Omelet Coat a pan with cooking spray and place over medium-high heat. Pour in 3 egg whites mixed with 1 tsp. water and salt and pepper (to taste). When eggs begin to set, top half with 2 tbsp. goat cheese, ½ cup fresh spinach, and 2 tbsp. chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Fold in half and cook 2 more minutes, or until egg whites are set, veggies are warmed through, and cheese is melted.
16. Frog in a Hole Heat a pan over medium-high heat. Spread 1 slice of whole-grain bread with 1 tsp. butter. Use a cookie or biscuit-cutter to cut a hole in the center of the bread. Place the bread— buttered-side down— in the pan and crack 1 egg into the hole. Cook until egg sets, about 2 to 4 minutes. (Flip half way through for a more well done egg.)
17. Fruit Parfait Layer together: 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt sweetened with 1 tsp. honey, ½ cup granola, and ½ cup frozen blueberries and strawberries.
18. Breakfast Quickie Cookie In a microwave-safe bowl, combine ½ cup oats, ¼ cup liquid egg whites, 1 ½ tbsp. brown sugar, 1 ½ tbsp. all-purpose flour, ½ tsp. vanilla extract, ½ tsp. baking powder, 2 tbsp. raisins, and cinnamon to taste. Flatten half the mixture into the bottom of the bowl and microwave for 45 seconds. Pop cookie out of the bowl and repeat with second half of mixture.
19. Pumpkin Muesli Combine ¼ cup quick-cooking oats and ¼ cup pumpkin puree in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and nuke for 20 seconds. Let sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine ½ cup plain nonfat yogurt, 2 tbsp. honey, 1 tsp. lemon zest, and 2 tbsp. sliced almonds in a separate bowl. Stir yogurt mixture into the oat mixture and enjoy. Extra points for adding fresh fruit, too!
20. Quinoa Salad Microwave ½ cup quinoa (rinsed) and 1 cup water for 5 minutes at full power. Reduce to 70 percent power and microwave another 5 minutes. Fluff and stir in: 2 tbsp. chopped bell pepper, ¼ cup rinsed and drained chick peas, 1 tbsp. chopped parsley, 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Optional: Add ½ can tuna for a meatier meal.
21. Taco Salad For the dressing, combine 2 tbsp. salsa, 1 tbsp. low-fat Greek yogurt, 1 tsp. olive oil, and 1 tsp. chili powder. Serve dressing over a salad with: 2 cups baby spinach, ½ thinly sliced celery stalk, 1 chopped scallion, 1 tbsp. chopped black olives, 2 tbsp. corn, and ¼ cup drained and rinsed black beans. Optional: Add ½ lightly toasted tortilla cut into strips to each salad.
22. Mediterranean Pita Split open a whole-wheat pita and spread one side with 2 tbsp. hummus. Add 1 large roasted red pepper (sliced), 1 tbsp. crumbled feta, 1 tbsp. black olives, 5 slices cucumber, and a small handful of mixed greens.
23. Niçoise Sandwich In a bowl, combine 1 6-oz. can tuna, ½ cup halved cherry tomatoes, ¼ cup pitted black olives (chopped), and 1 tbsp. olive oil. Split open ¼ whole-wheat baguette (about 4 inches in length) and fill with the tuna mixture and a handful of baby spinach leaves.
24. Roast Beef Roll Spread 1 oz. light cream cheese and ½ tbsp. horseradish on 1 whole-wheat wrap. Layer on 2 oz. roast beef, 1 oz. sliced cheddar, and a handful of romaine lettuce. Roll up and enjoy.
25. Open-Faced White Bean Sandwich Mash ¼ can rinsed and drained white beans with 1 tsp. olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toast 1 slice of whole-grain bread and spread with the bean mixture. Top with 1 slice red onion, 5 cucumber slices, and ¼ avocado (sliced).
26. Lighter Chef’s Salad Tear ¼ head of romaine lettuce into bite-sized pieces. Top the lettuce with ½ tomato (sliced), ½ avocado (cut into bite-sized pieces), 2 slices deli turkey, ¼ sliced red onion, 1/8 cup shaved Parmesan, 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.
27. Grilled Cheddar n’ Apple Between 2 slices of whole-grain bread, layer 1 to 2 slices sharp cheddar cheese (from the deli section) and ½ green apple (thinly sliced). Spread one slice of the bread with 1 tsp. deli mustard. Grill in a nonstick pan for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or cook in a panini press until cheese is melted.
28. Hawaiian Wrap Combine ¼ cup nonfat Greek yogurt, 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar, and ½ tsp. caraway seeds in a small bowl. Toss together ¼ cup pineapple (diced), ½ carrot (shredded), 2 slices of deli ham (chopped), and ¼ head Napa cabbage (thinly sliced). Dress vegetables with the yogurt mixture and roll up in a whole-wheat wrap.
29. Souper Spicy Soup In a medium saucepan, combine ¾ cup vegetable broth, a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, and ½ tbsp. olive oil. When it reaches a boil, stir in 1/8 cup uncooked couscous, ¼ cup broccoli, and ¼ cup cauliflower (both chopped into small florets). Cook until tender. Optional: Serve topped with 1 oil-packed sun-dried tomato (chopped) and 1 scallion (thinly sliced).
30.Green Tortilla Pizza Preheat the broiler. Spread 2 tbsp. pesto (homemade or store bought) on 1 whole-grain 8-inch tortilla. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp. chopped broccoli florets, a large handful of spinach, 4 sliced baby bella mushrooms, 2 tbsp. chopped onions, and 2 tbsp. part-skim mozzarella. Broil until cheese is lightly browned, about 4 minutes.
31. Loaded Sweet Potato Prick 1 sweet potato with a fork 4 to 5 times. Microwave on a paper towel or a microwave-safe plate for 4 to 5 minutes. Split open lengthwise and top with 2 tbsp. nonfat Greek yogurt, 1 tsp. honey, 2 tbsp. drained and rinsed black beans, and a pinch of paprika.
32. Black Bean Wrap On 1 8-inch whole-wheat tortilla, mash ¼ cup drained and rinsed black beans with a fork. Sprinkle with a pinch of cumin, a pinch of paprika, and 1 tbsp. cheddar cheese. Roll up and microwave for 30 seconds. Serve with 2 tbsp. salsa.
33. Low-Carb Roll-Up On a plate, layer 1 slice low-sodium deli turkey and 1 slice provolone cheese. Spread the cheese with 1 tsp. pesto (homemade or store bought!) and top with 2 slices avocado. Roll up the turkey and repeat 2 more times.
34. Fancy Fig Sandwich Mix together 2 slices goat cheese, ½ tsp. honey and a pinch lemon zest. Spread the mixture between 2 slices whole-grain bread. Add 2 tsp. fig preserves and 1 tsp. thinly sliced basil. Grill the sandwich in a pan for 2 to 3 minutes per side or prepare in a panini press until warmed through.
35. Mango Quesadillas Spread 1 8-inch, whole-wheat tortilla with 1/8 cup mango chutney. Add 2 slices deli ham, 1/8 cup crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese, and 1 tbsp. scallion (chopped). Fold in half and grill 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Cut into quarters and serve.
36. Curried Chicken Salad Combine 2 tbsp. nonfat plain Greek yogurt and ¼ tbsp. curry powder. Add ½ cup roasted chicken (diced), 1/8 cup red onion (diced), ¼ cup grapes (halved), and 1 tbsp. cilantro (chopped). Serve atop a large handful mixed greens.
37. Spicy Veggies In a large skillet, combine ¼ can drained and rinsed black beans, ¼ can drained diced tomatoes, ½ zucchini (diced), and ¼ cup okra (diced). Cook 5 to 10 minutes, or until cooked through, and stir in hot sauce of choice and salt to taste.
38. Kale and Cauliflower Pasta Bring a small pot of water (with a lid on it) to a boil (about 4 to 5 minutes). Add 1 serving angel hair pasta (a small handful) and ¾ cup cauliflower florets. After 3 minutes, fish out the cauliflower and add to a trying pan over medium-high heat with ½ tbsp. olive oil, ½ shallot (chopped), 1 clove garlic (minced), and a handful of kale (stems removed and roughly torn). Cover and cook 4 minutes. Add cooked pasta, 1 tbsp. grated Parmesan, and ¼ cup reserved cooking water and toss to combine.
39. Honey Soy Salmon Preheat the broiler and combine ½ tbsp. honey with ½ tsp. soy sauce. Season 1 5-oz. salmon filet with salt and pepper and broil for five minutes. Drizzle with honey-soy sauce and broil an additional 2-5 minutes. Serve with microwaveable rice.
40. Superfood Shrimp Scampi Pasta Prepare 1 serving angel hair pasta (whole-wheat, if you can find it!) according to package instructions, about 10 minutes (including the time it takes to boil the water). Heat ½ tbsp. olive oil in a frying pan and cook ½ lb. peeled and de-veined shrimp seasoned with a pinch of salt for 3 to 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Remove shrimp and add 1 tbsp. olives (chopped), 1 tbsp. parsley (chopped), and 1 clove garlic (minced). Cook 1 minute and add 1 cup fresh baby spinach, ½ cup halved cherry tomatoes, ¼ cup chicken broth, and 1/8 cup white wine. Cover and cook 3 minutes. Stir in shrimp and serve with pasta.
41. From-Scratch Fish Sticks Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice 1 6-oz. cod filet into 6 strips. Season with 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar, 1/8 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. paprika. Bread each by dipping into 1 egg (scrambled) and then ½ cup seasoned whole-wheat breadcrumbs. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet, spritz fish strips with cooking spray, and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until opaque throughout. Serve with a green salad (2 handfuls of spinach or mixed greens with a spritz of oil and vinegar) for a healthy dose of veggies!
42. Asparagus and Orzo Pasta Preheat the broiler and bring a small pot of water (with a lid) to a boil (about 5 minutes). Add ¼ lb. asparagus (cut into 3-inch pieces) and ½ cup orzo to the pot. After 3 minutes, remove only the asparagus and continue cooking orzo according to package instructions (usually about 6 minutes). While orzo cooks, season 5 oz. salmon filet with salt and pepper and broil for 5 minutes, or until opaque throughout. Meanwhile, whisk together ½ oz. crumbled feta, ¼ tbsp. chopped dill, ½ tbsp. lemon juice, ½ tsp. olive oil, and pepper to taste. Flake the fish and toss together all ingredients.
43. Springtime Stir-Fry Combine 5 asparagus spears (quartered lengthwise), ½ cup snow peas, ½ cup broccoli florets, and ¼ cup fava beans (shelled) in a pan coated with cooking spray, and heat over medium-high heat. Cook for 4 minutes. Instead of using pre-made sauce, heat 2 tbsp. canola oil with ½ tsp. grated ginger and 1 scallion (chopped), and toss with cooking veggies. Cook for an additional 3 minutes or until veggies are softened but still crisp inside. Optional: Serve with rice (like Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice, which cooks in approximately 90 seconds).
44. Veggie Fried Rice Prep 1 serving of instant rice (about ¾ cup) according to package instructions, approximately 90 seconds. Sauté cooked rice with ¼ zucchini (diced), ¼ cup cherry tomatoes (halved), and ¼ can drained and rinsed black beans. Add 1/8 cup vegetable broth and cook 5 to 7 minutes. Push the veggies and rice to outer edges of pan and scramble 1 egg in the center of the pan until cooked, about 3 minutes. Serve the fried rice topped with egg and ½ tbsp. shredded cheddar cheese.
45. Spicy Shrimp Stir-Fry Heat 1 tbsp. canola oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper and ¼ onion (sliced) and cook for 4 minutes. Add ½ a red bell pepper (sliced), ½ cup zucchini and squash (thinly sliced), and ¼ cup corn kernels and cook for 5 minutes. Add ¼ lb. shelled and de-veined shrimp and cook an additional 3 minutes, or until shrimp are pink in color and opaque.
46. Tuna Pasta Salad Cook 1 serving corkscrew pasta according to package instructions, about 12 minutes. In a bowl, combine ½ tbsp. balsamic vinegar, ½ tbsp. olive oil, and 1/8 tsp. celery salt. Stir in ½ can flaked white tuna, 1 chopped scallion, and ¼ cup halved grape tomatoes. Drain the pasta, rinse with cold water, and toss with the tuna mixture.
47. Couscous with Chicken Sausage Ragu Cook 1 serving couscous according to microwave instructions, about 7 to 10 minutes. While couscous is cooking, heat ½ tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Slice open 1 uncooked chicken sausage to remove the casing, and add meat to the pan. Add ¼ cup onion (chopped) and sauté, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon. When the meat is no longer pink (about 4 to 5 minutes), add 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes, 1 garlic clove (minced), 1/8 cup basil leaves (chopped), and salt and pepper to taste. Cook about 2 minutes to warm through and toss with couscous.
48. Portobello Burgers Preheat a grill or grill pan. Whisk together 1 clove garlic (minced), ½ tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp. olive oil, and ½ tsp. fresh basil (finely chopped). Drizzle half the sauce over 1 Portobello mushroom cap. Grill the mushroom for 3 to 4 minutes per side, covered. Meanwhile, combine the remaining sauce with ½ tbsp. light mayo and spread on 1 whole-wheat bun (lightly toasted). Place the mushroom cap, 1 tomato slice, and 1 lettuce leaf on the bun.
49. Tropical Scallops Prepare 1 serving instant brown rice according to package instructions, approximately 90 seconds. Stir together ½ cup mango (chopped), ½ small cucumber (peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces), ¼ tbsp. grated ginger, 1 tsp. lime juice, ½ tbsp. olive oil, and 1 tbsp. cilantro (chopped). Meanwhile, heat 1/2 tbsp. olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Season ½ lb. sea scallops with salt and pepper, and sear for 2 minutes per side or until lightly browned and cooked through. Serve scallops with rice and mango salsa.
50. Creamy Avocado Pasta Cook 1 serving angel hair pasta according to package instructions, about 12 minutes (including boiling time!). Meanwhile, combine the juice from ½ a lemon, 1 garlic clove, 1 tbsp. olive oil, ½ of an avocado and 1/8 cup basil in a food processor and puree. Toss together pasta and sauce and season with salt to taste.
51. Turkey Frittata Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a small ovenproof pan, heat ½ tbsp. olive oil over high heat. Add ¼ lb. ground turkey, ½ tsp. curry powder, and 1/8 cup grated onion and cook until the turkey is no longer pink, about 3 to 4 minutes. Meanwhile, beat together 2 eggs, 1/8 cup milk, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the egg mixture to the pan, lower the heat to medium-high, and cook 2 minutes or until eggs begin to set. Transfer to the oven and cook until the eggs set, about 5 minutes.
52. Southern Breakfast (for Dinner) Recreate this southern favorite in half the time. Combine ½ tbsp. lemon juice, a dash of Tobasco sauce, and ¼ lb. peeled and deveined shrimp. Heat ½ tbsp. olive oil in a pan over medium heat and add 1/8 cup chopped onion, 1 tbsp. green bell pepper (diced), and 1 clove garlic (minced). Cook 5 minutes and then add shrimp mixture, 1 scallion (chopped), and 1/8 cup low-sodium chicken broth and cook an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare ½ cup quick-cooking grits according to package instructions and stir in 1 tsp. butter and a pinch of salt (less than 5 minutes in the microwave). Serve with shrimp.