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5 Weeknight Recipes under 45 Mins

By Sho Segran

Having dinner together as a family has always been something I look forward to. This is true to me even as a child. My Dad would be home in time for dinner, and mum would have a spread of dishes all laid out on the dining table. Aromatic family favorites, still warm from the kitchen. I intend to imprint those same memories with my own children. However, now that everyone is just constantly around due to never-ending lockdown, not to mention household workload that just never seems to lessen, there just won’t be much energy left at the end of the day. Of course, these days one can always order take-out, but it is always healthier to have homecooked meals.

So good thing for yummy, delicious less than 45-minute recipes!

I have these recipes on rotate. They are simple to follow, with staple ingredients most of us already have in the pantry. I also love that these recipes can be easily modified to accommodate a family’s preference or dietary habits.

[Titles are linked to the recipes]

Whenever the family is up for Italian food, this one hits the spot. It is not overly creamy, but with the right amount of lip-smacking carbonara cheesiness. For a carbonara dish, this recipe is fairly simple and quick to make. As Jamie Oliver says “This easy pasta sauce will cook in about the same time it takes to cook some dried pasta in boiling salted water”. Now that’s quick!

The recipe makes for 2. However, you can easily double it up accordingly. For vegetarian options, substitute bacon with pan-fried tofu, shitake mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, or even tempeh!

Everyone loves Sweet Sour Chicken. Now you can have a guilt-free and healthier version as this recipe doesn’t require any batter or deep fry. I was also amazed to find how quickly I can make this at home. Cut up chicken breast pieces in advance, and this dish will be ready to serve within 15 minutes. That leaves you with ample time to stir fry a simple vegetable dish, to go with the Sweet Sour Chicken and rice. Elevate this recipe for that authentic Sweet Sour Chicken look by adding in cubes of red bell pepper and chunks of fresh pineapple.

My kids love pasta and don’t mind having this every other day. This one big pot of deliciousness takes 20 minutes, including opening that can of tomatoes. Slightly more, only if you decide to modify the recipe and add some hidden vegetables for little picky eaters in the family. You can try adding chopped broccoli, chopped carrots or even cooked chickpeas!

Salmon has been said to be the best source of omega-3 fats, which have been shown to improve cognitive function in infants and children. This yummy salmon dish takes only 15 minutes. It is simple, healthy, and as speedy as can be. It goes well with a side of mashed potatoes, which you can whip up while the salmon dish cooks in the oven. Alternatively, I would serve this dish with a bowl of hot, steamy rice. If you or your family are not fans of asparagus, it is easy to replace that with broccoli, spinach, or stir-fried Bak Choy. I realized that kids might prefer lesser lemon juice on the salmon. Give this dish an Asian twist by adding a dash of soya sauce. Yum!

Rice cooker dishes have been a lifesaver in my family. This recipe curbs all cravings for Hainanese Chicken Rice and is easily a family favorite. The chicken always turns out deliciously moist and fall-off-the-bone tender. The rice, soft and fluffy and more importantly, very aromatic. What I love most of all is the easy clean-up since everything was made in the rice cooker! A little pre-warning before making this dish is chicken drumsticks should be thawed in advance. Other than that, this is another very easy, simple, and delicious recipe.

The biggest takeaway (pun not intended) to a quick and speedy meal is to always plan, preferably Sunday night, before the week begins. That way, there won’t be too much time spent daily pondering what to cook or scrambling through the refrigerator for ingredients at the eleventh hour. Hopefully, these 5 recipes act as a wonderful start to quick, healthy, and simple meals at home or if you already have your own go-to recipes, these are great additions.



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