Dinners That Sound Time-Consuming But Aren't
Only you need to know just how speedy these meals really are.
The Rich and Creamy Pasta Without Hours of Simmering
Who knew that a slightly less-sour sour cream would be the key to whipping up the most decadent but ridiculously easy pasta? Crème fraîche, which you can buy at specialty food stores, cheese shops and many supermarkets, looks and tastes a bit like sour cream's fancy cousin but with a higher butterfat content, so it's less likely to curdle when heated. It's a vital element in this pasta with corn and mushrooms, thickening the dish in a flash. It's also great swirled into pureed soups.
Get the recipe: Pasta with Corn, Mushrooms, Crispy Shallots and Crème Fraîche
The Quickest Quiche
Whipping up your own pie crust may sound like an elaborate undertaking, but this recipe has a brilliant shortcut: Make the crust out of crushed Ritz crackers, saltines or tortilla-chip crumbs. You don't even have to roll it out; just combine the crumbs with butter and press the mixture into a pie pan. The rest of the ingredients—grated cheddar, chopped ham, cottage cheese, green onions—are supermarket staples. You can even buy the cheese and ham pre-cut.
Get the recipe: Double Cheese and Ham Quiche
Sunday Supper-Worthy Meatballs on a Tuesday Night
Frying and simmering meatballs for the better part of a Sunday afternoon might have fit into Grandma's schedule, but for us, these 14-minute chicken meatballs are the best way to have a delicious and meaty meal anytime. They're lighter than beef or pork, and deliver deep, savory flavor, thanks to fennel seeds, black pepper, parsley and white wine. The best part: The recipe calls for baking the golf-ball-size rounds in a 450° oven for 14 minutes instead of frying them, which means you can cook them all in one batch (frying usually requires splitting the cooking into at least two parts, since the meatballs need a lot of space). It also makes cleanup about a zillion times easier.
Get the recipe: Chicken Meatballs
The Insanely Easy, Restaurant-Quality Fish Dinner
Cooking delicate flounder fillets in grape leaves is not just for Greek chefs. The technique involves simply wrapping up the fish, along with some chopped tomatoes, garlic and capers, in the leaves (which you can find in Middle Eastern or Greek specialty stores) and cooking them until the outside of the packets start to char—about 5 minutes. Inside, the flounder will be cooked through yet still moist, and infused with sweet, salty flavor.
Get the recipe: Flounder in Grape Leaves
The Island Meal Minus a Backyard Pit
With a little advance planning, you can have juicy, jerk pork tenderloin that tastes as if it's been cooking all day (but really took all of 20 minutes). The secret is to let the meat sit overnight in an herb-packed dressing (a trifecta of cilantro, parsley and thyme) that also has an unexpected sweet hint from orange juice and brown sugar. Just before you want to eat, cook the pork on a ridged grill pan or outdoor grill, and it will be slightly crisp on the outside and perfectly tender inside.
Get the recipe: Jerk Pork Tenderloin