20-Minute Meal Recipes For Those Who Don't Want To Spend A Moment Longer In The Kitchen
By: Aaliya Bilal Safiulla on Mar 24th, 2016

It's time for an honest heart-to-heart. Not all of us really enjoy slouching over a hot stove after a long day at work. And with hungry kids or parents or significant others, there's no real excuse to say NO FOOD TONIGHT and storm off to hungrily sulk in your bedroom! And my gosh the nightmare that is unexpected guests haunts a lot of us enough to wake us up at night! But, worry not. Like always, we've got your back. Here's a list of really easy, 20-minute recipes that have saved a LOT of us from disasters!

Greek Salad
Image credit: A Hint Of Honey

You're trying to go healthy but the cook totally forgot your weakness for ghee. You don't have at scowl at the ghee-filled paratha he's made. Whip up a filling salad!



Lettuce, chopped (30 seconds)

Red onion, thinly sliced (30 seconds)

Olives, pitted and sliced (1 minute)

Pepper kernels

Sliced tomatoes, seeded chopped (3 minutes)

Cucumber, sliced (30 seconds)

Feta cheese, crumbled (30 seconds)

(For the Greek Vinaigrette)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup vinegar

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. garlic paste

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. dried basil

3/4 tsp. onion paste

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste (about 1/4 tsp. each)



Pour vinegar and mustard into a food processor. Turn on low and slowly add the olive oil to emulsify. Add the garlic powder, oregano, basil, onion powder and salt and pepper. Pulse a few more times to incorporate. (Can be done by hand in a large bowl, adding the olive oil slowly while whisking vigorously to emulsify.) Drizzle over salad and serve. Keeps well at room temperature.In a large salad bowl, combine the Romaine, onion, olives, peppers, tomatoes, cucumber and cheese. Drizzle dressing over top, toss, and serve. 


Prep time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 10 minutes Total time: 15 minutes

Steamed basa fish in green chutney

You know you're going to be running late tomorrow. Why don't you marinate some delicious fish and have a healthy meal as a reward for surviving a meeting that had you dozing off in the first three minutes!



500gms Basa fish

2 cups chopped mint leaves (phudina) (30 seconds)

1 cup chopped coriander (dhania) (30 seconds) 

1 large onion, sliced (50 seconds)

1 to 2 tbsp lemon juice (roughly 40 seconds to slice and squeeze)

1 tbsp sugar

4 to 6 green chillies

salt to taste



Combine all the ingredients and grind to a smooth paste in a blender using very little water. Apply on basa fish and refrigerate. Wrap in an aluminium foil and steam for 10 minutes. Enjoy!


Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 10-15 minutes Total time: 25 minutes

Quick and easy Spaghetti Carbonara
Image credit: Dam Delicious

As fancy as it may sound, this recipe is so flawlessly simple. You could whip it up for your kids while you get ready for date night even though you ran a few minutes late from the office.



A handful of spaghetti

2 large eggs

3/4 cup grated Parmesan

4 slices bacon, diced (5 minutes)

4 cloves garlic, minced (30 seconds)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves (1 Minute)



In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; reserve 1/2 cup water and drain well. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and Parmesan; set aside. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes; reserve excess fat. Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low. Working quickly, stir in pasta and egg mixture, and gently toss to combine; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add reserved pasta water, one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.


Prep time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 10-15 minutes Total time: 20 minutes

Corn and onion sliders

Your little one comes to you and demands to be fed but it's only 5:30 and you know kids and their appetites when it comes to snacking before dinner. What do you do? Whip up a quick corn slider!



Sweet corn kernels

Small onion, finely chopped (50 seconds)

1/2 tsp butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Toasted bread



Heat up the butter, and when it's hot fry the onions till they're pale. Add corn kernels, salt and pepper to taste and stir till cooked or crispy. Serve on toast and viola! Happy kids equal happy parents!


Note: You can make the same by steaming the kernels instead of frying it.


Prep time: 30-50 seconds Cooking time: 15 minutes

Tofu Stirfry

Your friend drops by after work because it felt like ages since the two of you caught up. But oh no, no food! AND your friend's a vegetarian. Why don't you try this recipe?



200gms tofu

1 tsp olive oil

1 tsp sesame seeds

1/2 tsp chilli flakes

Salt to taste



Fry chopped tofu in olive oil, and season with toasted sesame seeds, chilli flakes and salt. Munch away!


Prep time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 10 minutes Total time: 15 minutes

Chicken Stir Fry
Image credit: Lilluna

Who doesn't love stir fry? Yummy, saucey and absolutely divine, this is the perfect dish to whip up when those nosey neighbours "pop in for a visit" and refuse to leave even when it's so close to dinner time!



500gms chicken breasts, diced (3 minutes)

3 tablespoons olive oil

(For the Sauce)

1/2 cup corn starch

1/2 cup cold water 

1/2 teaspoon ginger paste

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup vinegar

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional

Mixed veggies cut into large chunks (5 minutes)

1 clove garlic, minced

Hot cooked rice, about 6 cups cooked



Heat a large nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat for 30 seconds. Add the chicken and cook until the chicken is cooked through. Add all of the sauce ingredients to a quart mason jar, add a lid, and shake well to combine. When the chicken is cooked through, reduce the heat to medium and pour the sauce over the chicken. Cook until the sauce thickens and the color changes from a muddy brown to a more clean reddish color.  Stir constantly. This should take about 3 minutes. Add the vegetables and cook until the veggies are heated through. Serve the chicken, sauce, veggie mixture over hot cooked rice and garnish with chopped green onion and sesame seeds if desired. Enjoy!


Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 10 minutes Total time: 20 minutes


Note: To ensure there are no corn starch lumps in the sauce I recommend combining the corn starch and the cold water and shaking those together well before adding the additional ingredient. If you’d like the sauce a bit spicier make it a few hours ahead of time with the red pepper flakes. Let the sauce rest in the fridge and reshake before you are ready to use. Letting the pepper flakes sit in the sauce will gives them time to release more of their heat.

15-minute Mexican Wrap

It's a moody Monday and you're really in the mood to book that one-way ticket to Mexico. But then you remember you're just too tired for that kind of spontaneity and you settle for this roll instead.



Ready made tortillas

Boiled red bean (rajma) (10 minutes)

Sliced onion (30 seconds)

Crushed garlic (20 seconds)

Salt and pepper

Grated cheese (50 seconds)



Heat up the tortillas on a pan. Heat some oil, toss the boiled red beans and onions in it and garnish with salt and pepper. Put the filling on a slice of tortilla. Sprinkle cheese on it. Roll it up and serve!


Prep time: 11 minutes Cooking time: 15 minutes Total time: 26 minutes


Banana-Nutella ice cream
Image credit: Cooking for Keeps

You're done with a heavy meal and you look down the table only to see that you TOTALLY forgot dessert. Or maybe you're just craving something sweet. Do you really need a reason to crack open a bottle of Nutella?



5 bananas, sliced (50 seconds)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup Nutella



Cut bananas into 1-inch slices. Place on a cookie sheet and freeze for 15-20 minutes until completely frozen. Transfer to food processor. Turn on, scrape down sides every 30 seconds. Process until mixture becomes completely smooth and looks like ice cream. Add nutella and vanilla. Pulse until combined. Eat right away or store in airtight container.


Prep time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 20-30 minutes Total time: 25 minutes

Deconstructed banoffee pie

It may sound really fancy but this is easy as pie. No, we're serious. 



1 ripe banana, sliced (40 seconds)

Digestive biscuits, crumbled (20 seconds)

1 can of condensed milk



Pour the condensed milk onto a pan and stir till it turns brown. Slice up the banana and crumble the digestive biscuits. Put them in a bowl and serve!


Prep time: 60 seconds Cooking time: 15 minutes Total time: 20 minutes



Do you have any quick recipes you'd like to share with us? Leave them in the comments section below!

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Aaliya Bilal Safiulla
Proclaiming to be a writer, dreamer and cookie eater, Aaliya makes weird noises when poked and hates being woken up. Riding on the belief that her life is a musical, she can be found either humming or singing. Favorite words include "Meh", "BITE ME" and "Such excite". You can find her having very deep and intellectual conversations about love,...   Read more
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