Shortcuts abound in these supereasy dishes that you can make in just minutes.
By Lynn Andriani
Chicken Tenders That Are Crispier Than Any Frozen Variety
Photo: Alison Gootee
Making your own breaded chicken fingers is so easy and delivers such excellent results that you'll follow the recipe once, and be making them regularly (by heart) forever. You can use boneless, skinless breast or thigh meat -- or just precut chicken tenders, which are already in inch-long strips. The rest of the ingredients do the work for you, with flour helping the egg adhere to the meat, and egg helping the bread crumbs (use panko for maximum crunch) stick to the flour. Fry the pieces lightly in olive oil until they're just browned -- and be amazed at how quickly you've made a crisp, delicious meal.
Lettuce wraps are a great way to eat Asian stir-fries without having to prepare a starchy accompaniment, such as noodles or rice. Just brown the meat with the seasonings, wash and dry some Bibb or butter lettuce leaves while it sizzles, then let everyone pile spoonfuls of the filling into their edible 'cups'. This particular dish uses a few powerhouses -- ginger, garlic and soy and hoisin sauces -- to infuse the ground beef with lots of flavor.
Dinner sandwiches often sound great, until you're knee-deep in assembling what can feel like a zillion components. This rendition, though, relies on just a few key ingredients that are worth much more than the sum of their parts. The recipe starts with scallion butter (that's a fancy term for softened butter that has sliced green onions stirred into it). Spread it on ciabatta, bake until toasted, lay sliced ham on top, add a dollop of ricotta-pea mixture over it then garnish the sandwich with sliced radishes. The pink-and-green masterpiece offers a fresh combination of flavors and textures.
A 500-degree oven can wreak havoc on some foods; yet, with the right ingredients, the blistering temperature works speedy wonders. Grape (or cherry) tomatoes are such items. As they roast, they burst, leaving you with a sweet sauce that's perfect with nutty, hearty whole wheat pasta. Plenty of garlic and olive oil are the other starring players here, as well as a hefty sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan.
We're all about quesadillas, those crispy, oozy tortilla sandwiches that can be made with practically any filling on the planet (here, tender and juicy shrimp). But if you're superpressed for time (or feeling very low-effort), you could call it quits after step one of this recipe, and turn the dish into tacos. After you've sautéed the vegetables and shrimp, just spoon the mixture into tortillas, top with cheese and you'll be eating in no time.