Spend More Quality Time with Your Family. Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes to Make Your Cooking a Breeze (2020)

Spend More Quality Time with Your Family. Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes to Make Your Cooking a Breeze (2020)

Are you spending too much time in preparing your dinner? If yes, then you will be surprised to know that there are many simple dinner recipes that enable you to prepare a healthy and satisfying meal in a quick time. This BP Guide will take you through some of the quick and easy dinner recipes which will remove the stress from your cooking and allow you to spend more quality time with your family. Moreover, you will also get important tips and tricks to quickly clean up your kitchen once the cooking is done.

Tips for Quick and Easy Cooking

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Using Proper Kitchen Tools

For your cooking experience to be easy and exciting, it is important to have the proper kitchen tools as well. For instance, a garlic peeler can easily take off the garlic smell off your hands by just rolling the garlic inside it a few times and the skin comes off easily.

A plastic cutting board that’s flexible is an absolute favourite. Not only can you cut the veggies and fruits on the board, you can then lift them and drop them into a pan/bowl which you’d be using next. It is best to have a couple of cutting boards for different kinds of food items as well.

A sharp chef’s knife is a necessity to quickly cut, chop, slice, dice or mince fresh produce, and is much faster than a food processor! You should also keep it sharp for efficient use. Next, a food processor can simplify your cutting, slicing, dicing, grating, shredding work for larger food quantities, while a blender makes it easier to puree stuff.

For washing and draining food items, it is wise to invest in a couple of colanders to save time and prevent cross-contamination.

A whisk can be your quick kitchen tool for making soups, creams, sauces, custards, salad dressings, batters, etc., while a kitchen shears can be helpful for a variety of tasks that include cutting herbs, cold cuts, trimming dough, deboning meats or cutting poultry joints.

Then, you should also get yourself some microwave-safe glass bowls or mixing cups, a vegetable peeler, a digital timer to keep a check on your cooking time or marinades, measuring cups and spoons, kitchen funnels, a salad spinner, multi-functional baking dishes and heat-resistant spoon shaped spatulas.

Getting Familiar with Recipes Before Cooking

Before you commence cooking, take a few minutes to plan ahead. For instance, if you intend to make multiple dishes, you can think forward and decide which dish to begin with, on the basis of the cooking times, ingredients required and be more organised in terms of prepping up for your recipes. Get a hold of the utensils and appliances required to make your meals and perhaps get the cutting, blending, purees out of the way so that you don’t get scattered trying to do everything at once. In addition, a well-written recipe with all its ingredients in order will help you prepare better. For instance, onions take time to caramelise so its best to begin with chopping the onions first and cooking them, before moving on to the other ingredients.

Read your recipes from start to finish and make your notes if need be. If there’s a word you don’t understand, Google it and perhaps even check out the video tutorials on the procedure involved. Start small and try a new ingredient or technique, one at a time. Use your sensory skills to ensure the perfect temperature, ways to prevent any damage to the dish and build on your instincts with each step.

Basic Cooking Tricks

When cooking ensure that you don’t overcrowd your cooking pans, as it may prevent even distribution of heat to the food and adversely affect your flavors or the outcome of your dish. It is best to have some inches between each item for a quality cooking experience. When cooking meats, prevent the items from losing their juiciness, by letting them sit for some time before you cut into them. Store your spices properly in a dark and cool place as heat and humidity can alter their flavor. Avoid overcooking your eggs by shutting the stove before they are done. The remaining heat will cook them well.

To avoid your herbs from scattering here and there when chopping, sprinkle some salt on your cutting board as it will help keep the herbs in place! And when you cook your pasta, add some salt to the water as boiling water will enhance its flavor from inside out. You can also use the pasta water to create your pasta sauce and for enhanced flavors. From a basic cooking perspective, it is wise to store some pantry essentials along with your meats and frozen vegetables in your freezer, for any impromptu meals.

Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes

Jeera Veggies

Source food.ndtv.com

A blend of carrots, potatoes and spinach with a heightened flavor of bright and peppery cumin, Jeera Veggies is one of the quickest dishes you can come up with.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp jeera
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic chilli paste
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 onions
  • 1 cup spinach puree
  • 8-9 baby potatoes
  • 5-6 baby carrots
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Coriander leaves for garnishing
  • Cardamom powder

Method:

  • Begin by heating some oil and butter in a pan and then add jeera, onions, ginger garlic chilli paste, potatoes and carrots.
  • Pour the spinach puree and let it all cook for some time.
  • Blend well with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Continue with the addition of some butter or cream and mix well, top it up with some lemon juice and then garnish with cream, coriander and some red chilli powder.

Tomato Paneer

Source food.ndtv.com

A vegetarian’s delight, Tomato Paneer is a low-fat dinner recipe with a milky blend of cottage cheese and tomatoes, cooked in olive oil.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp jeera
  • 1 star anise
  • ½ tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • ½ diced capsicum
  • 1½ cup tomato puree
  • 1 cup medium sized cubes of paneer
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-2 tsp of sugar
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ¼ cup of milk
  • Chopped coriander for garnishing

Method:

  • Add some olive oil, jeera, star anise and the ginger-garlic paste to a heated pan and stir well.
  • Add the diced capsicum and saute for a minute or longer if you’d like it well cooked.
  • Next, add the tomato puree with salt, garam masala and sugar and then cook till the oil starts leaving on the side.
  • Add milk, blend it well and then add the paneer. Allow the dish to cook for a couple of minutes on low flame and avoid overcooking it, as the milk may curdle.
  • Garnish it with coriander and serve hot.
  • For variation, you can fry the paneer cubes slightly on a nonstick pan and/or add a split green chilly to make it spicier.

Masala Bhindi

Enjoy the flavorful Masala Bhindi with a paratha, chapati or as it is, and you’ll end up asking for more! A quick meal in itself, the Masala Okra recipe is most loved by kids and adults as well, especially in North Indian cuisine.

Ingredients:

  • 250 gm Bhindi
  • 1 small bowl water
  • 7-8 tbsp mustard oil
  • 1 tsp jeera seeds
  • 1 tsp saunf/fennel seeds
  • 1 bowl finely chopped onions
  • 1 tsp chopped ginger
  • ½ tsp haldi
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp fennel powder
  • 1½ tsp amchoor
  • ¼ kali mirch powder
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice.

Method:

  • Begin with heating the mustard oil and adding jeera, fennel seeds to it and cooking till they splutter.
  • Proceed next with adding onions and cooking till they turn light brown.
  • Then, add the ginger, some water and stir the mix.
  • Add the haldi and stir again.
  • Mix the bhindi now and pour some more water, continuously stirring the dish.
  • Continue with a dash of fennel powder, amchoor and sugar and then blend well with a sprinkle of pepper powder.
  • Turn off the heat, add lime juice, mix well and serve.

Vegetable Club Sandwich

A popular Indian street food item, the Vegetable Club Sandwich can be made with different variations of a layered sandwich recipe and can be had any time of the day, including dinner! With a prep time of just 5 minutes and a cooking time of 10 minutes, you can come up with this dinner item in a jiffy!

Ingredients:

  • Sandwich:
    • 3 slices white or brown bread
    • Butter to toast
    • 2 tsp of green chutney
    • 1 boiled potato
    • 1 tomato slice
    • 1 onion slice
    • Salt, pepper and mixed herbs powder for sprinkling
    • 1 cheese slice
    • 1 tsp tomato sauce

  • Veg Mix:
    • 2 tsp oil
    • ½ finely chopped onion
    • 1 carrot finely chopped
    • ½ finely chopped capsicum
    • 3 tbsp sweet corn
    • ¾ cup grated cottage cheese
    • ½ tsp pepper powder
    • ½ tsp salt
    • ½ tsp mixed herbs
    • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
    • 1 boiled potato
    • 1 cheese slice

Method:

  • Begin by heating a pan and then adding oil with onions, carrot, capsicum and sweet corn.
  • Saute for a couple of minutes without overcooking the veggies.
  • Now add the cottage cheese, pepper powder, salt and mixed herbs to the mix and blend well.
  • Continue with addition of ketchup and then blend again.
  • Now, toast the breads to golden brown and apply butter on them evenly.
  • The middle slice should be buttered on both sides, with the top and bottom layers filled with some green chutney.
  • Now spread 2 tbsp of the cooked veggie mix on the medium layer, topping it up with the boiled potatoes, onion and tomato slices, sprinkle some salt and pepper, mixed herbs, place a cheese slice and spread some ketchup.
  • Cover the bread, and pressing it gently, prick it with a toothpick to keep all the layers intact. You can also cut the sandwich into smaller pieces if you’d like.

Aloo Matar Gobi

A potpourri of potatoes, cauliflower and green peas, the ever popular Aloo Matar Gobi recipe is an onion-tomato blend curry, from the North Indian cuisine and is perfect to gorge on with hot rotis or parathas for dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cauliflower florets
  • 2 large or 3 medium sized potatoes, peeled, washed and cut into 1” cubes
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • 1 large finely chopped onion
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 finely chopped large tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen shelled peas
  • Chopped fresh coriander for garnishing
  • 2 slit green chillies (optional)

Method:

  • Clean the cauliflower well if using fresh and put the florets in a large bowl of hot water, adding some salt and keep it aside for 10 minutes.
  • Next, put the potatoes in a bowl of hot water, add salt and mix well and cook in the microwave for about 3-4 minutes or on the stove in a pan (till they are par boiled).
  • Drain the water and set the potatoes aside.
  • Now heat a deep heavy bottom pan on medium flame and then add cooking oil, when the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and cook till they splutter.
  • Next, add the onions and continue to fry till they turn soft. Add the ginger-garlic paste next and fry it all together for a minute.
  • Add the spices, mix well with the masala for another minute
  • Then continue by adding chopped tomatoes and green chillies (if need be), stirring and frying till the tomatoes turn soft.
  • Next add the florets, potatoes and peas, mix it all up with some salt to taste and then cover the pan and cook for about 3-5 minutes.
  • Once its done, turn the heat off and garnish the dish with fresh coriander.

Dry Moong Dal

A delicious and nutritious meal in itself, the Dry Moong Dal is simple to make, easy on the stomach and flavoured with regular spices, best served with chapati or rice for dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup split yellow moong dal
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp haldi
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Coriander leaves finely chopped for garnishing.

Method:

  • Begin with washing the dal and setting it aside.
  • Heat some oil in a deep pan and add red chilly powder, haldi and salt. Stir for about 10-12 seconds without letting the spices burn.
  • Now, add the washed dal to the spice mix and stir it well, add ample water to the extent that it covers the dal, reduce the heat and cook it by covering the pan with a lid.
  • Continue the cooking till the water evaporates. Check if the dal is cooked properly, you can add some more water if not and then let it cook till its properly done.
  • Avoid overcooking it, once done, open the lid, on high flame, add some garam masala and stir it well.
  • Saute the dry dal, turn off the flame and transfer the contents to a serving bowl, add some chopped green chilli and garnish with coriander leaves and lemon juice.

South Indian Lemon Rice

With a prep time of 5 minutes and cooking time of 20, Lemon Rice is one of the most common dishes in the South Indian cuisine and is best paired with chutney or yogurt, better still fry some papad on the side and relish it with the rice!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds,
  • 3-4 curry leaves
  • Some peanuts
  • 2 green chillies slit lengthwise
  • 1” grated ginger
  • 1 tsp haldi
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 cups of leftover rice or cooked basmati.

Method:

  • Begin by roasting the coriander seeds gently and then coarse grind them into a powder and set aside.
  • Heat some oil in a pan add the mustard seeds, green chillies and curry leaves, fry them till they splutter.
  • Next, add the ginger and peanuts and continue frying for another minute.
  • Add haldi and then turn off the heat.
  • Now add the lemon juice to the spice mix and stir well.
  • Continue by adding the rice, roasted coriander powder, salt to taste and mix everything properly. Your lemon rice is ready!

Egg Curry

Spicy and full of flavor, the delicious Egg Curry made in dhaba style is exceptionally tasty and fairly simple to cook, best served with rice (plain or jeera), biryani rice or coconut rice and/or parathas.

Ingredients:

  • 4 boiled eggs
  • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp haldi
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 1 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp haldi
  • 2 tomatoes finely chopped
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 tbsp coriander leaves finely chopped

For the tadka:
  • 1/8 tsp hing
  • ¼ tsp methi seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 Kashmiri chilli
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder

Method:

  • Take the boiled eggs in a bowl and add the ginger garlic paste, chilli powder, haldi, salt, cumin powder and coriander powder to it, mixing it all well.
  • In a deep pan, heat some oil and fry the cumin seeds, green chilli and chopped onions.
  • Saute them till they turn golden brown and then continue the cooking by adding ginger, garlic, haldi, dhania powder, red chilly powder and salt to the mix.
  • Add some water to the spice mix and let it simmer.
  • Grind the spice mix well to get a blended effect for the gravy and then put the egg mix into it.
  • Continue the process by adding coriander leaves and stirring it well.
  • Bring the gravy to a simmer.
  • Next, saute the hing, methi seeds and mustard seeds, Kashmiri chilli, curry leaves, chilli powder in a pan and then pour it into the egg gravy along with the coriander leaves and mix it all well.
  • Serve with parathas or rice.

Chicken Fried Rice

Another quick and easy meal is Chicken Fried Rice which is best prepared with boneless and bite-sized pieces of chicken, some leftover rice, in case you don’t want to cook fresh rice, a mix of fresh or frozen veggies and eggs to add some flavor and creaminess to the delicious dish! You can also use a mix of spicy Chinese sauces which are available in the market easily. The dish can be prepared in about 10-12 minutes.

Method:

  • Saute the chicken to begin with as it takes longer to cook
  • Then cook the eggs, vegetables and the Chinese sauces together.
  • Add the rice last to avoid over-mixing and then give the dish a final toss to serve hot.
  • It is best to cut all the vegetable in small pieces, to cook them evenly and leave them slightly undone for a crunchier effect.
  • Sprinkle some lime juice to retain their natural bright colours even whilst cooking the veggies.
  • Cook the eggs scrambled and separately before you cook the veggies.

Lauki Sabji

Lauki or Bottle Gourd is not only good for health but also easy to make and very delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sized lauki
  • 1 small ripe tomato finely chopped
  • 1 medium chopped green chilli
  • 1 tsp jeera
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp haldi
  • 1 pinch hing
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp dhaniya finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Fresh lemon juice to taste

Method:

  • Begin with washing and peeling the lauki and then chop the top and bottom tips.
  • Slice the lauki in half and then continue chopping the lauki into 1” pieces.
  • Next heat some oil on medium flame in a pressure cooker and add some jeera and hing and saute for a couple of minutes.
  • Add dhaniya powder, red chilli powder, haldi and blend it all well, frying the mix for a few seconds.
  • Now add the chopped tomatoes to the spice mix and cook for 5-6 minute or till it becomes soft and mash it well.
  • Add the chopped bottle gourd to it with salt and mix it all well.
  • Close the lid and pressure cook on low heat.
  • Once the lauki releases water increase the flame to medium heat, and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • Turn the heat off and wait till the steam goes down.
  • Then open the lid, mash the lauki piece to blend the gravy and then continue with the addition of green chillies, some water (if need be) and cook it till you get the desired consistency.
  • Before serving, pour some lemon juice and garnish with coriander leaves.

Bonus Tips: Quick Cleanup After Cooking

Make the most of your cooking time and after having a delicious meal, clean-up quickly and in a hassle free manner with some easy-to-follow tips:

  • Always begin with a clean kitchen. This not only saves you time but helps you look for and work with things around you without the frustration of running around in circles.
  • Read through your recipes before you begin, gather everything you need and have everything within your arm’s reach.
  • Before your preparations begin, keep a trash can or bowl next to you so you can easily and quickly toss the discards without leaving your kitchen station and save time!
  • Prep your dry ingredients first, measure the spices, the sauces and the flour. This will save you washing and drying your measuring utensils before preparing your wet ingredients.
  • Prep your veggies before the meats to avoid washing the cutting board and cutlery between ingredients or better still, use a plastic cutting board.
  • Organise your kitchen station with individual prep containers and have space for other things. You can put the ingredients that need to be cooked together in one bowl and also save on washing numerous utensils later.
  • Cut back on your cleaning time by preparing and cooking in batches, this helps in cooking once and then cleaning once.
  • Reuse the utensils you can. For instance, a wok can be used to boil pasta, make the pasta sauce and then toss the pasta in the sauce before serving it. With a wide cooking surface, a lid and high sides, it can be used as a pot and saute pan all in the same process.
  • Clean as you cook by shifting out the stuff you’ve used and placing them in your sink or dishwasher to clear your cooking space. As your meal cooks, you can take the time to wash the utensils in small batches.
From our editorial team

Planning and Organising Your Meal Preparation is Critical

As you would have realised planning and organising your meal before the actual preparation starts is a critical factor in getting your meals ready quickly. We hope you would have loved the simple recipes and the tips and tricks to save your time cleaning your kitchen, as given in this BP Guide. Stay connected with us for more such engaging content.