What’s Cooking – Great 20-Minute Meals

Jeanne Briggs
Jeanne Briggs


In the time it takes to spin a globe, your family can enjoy flavors from around the world with these quick entrees. Take advantage of timesaving food products to stay within the 20-minute time limit. No matter which culinary journey you choose to make, it won’t take very long to get there.

Linguine with Clam Sauce

1 package fresh linguine
4 bacon slices
2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch crushed red pepper
Ground pepper
2 (6-1/2-oz.) cans minced clams, drained
1 (8-oz.) bottle clam juice
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt. Drain. While pasta cooks, place bacon in large skillet and cook until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, and crumble. Reserve 1 tablespoon drippings in pan. Add garlic and basil; sauté for 30 seconds. Add bacon, lemon juice, and the next 4 ingredients (lemon juice through clam juice); cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Combine pasta and clam mixture, and toss well. Sprinkle with cheese. Serves 4.

Cashew-Crusted Chicken on Basil-Pineapple Rice

1/2 cup cashews
2 tablespoons garlic-seasoned breadcrumbs
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained
Cooking spray
1 (3-1/2-oz.) bag precooked long grain rice (such as Success)
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 450F. Place nuts and breadcrumbs in a food processor, and pulse 10 times or until the crumbs are evenly ground. Pour nut mixture into a shallow dish. Brush chicken with egg white; dredge chicken in nut mixture. Spread the pineapple in an 11×7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange chicken over pineapple, and bake at 450F for 15 minutes or until chicken is done, turning after 7 minutes. While chicken is cooking, prepare the rice according to package directions. Remove chicken from dish. Stir rice, basil and salt into pineapple. Serve with chicken. Serves 4.

Sesame-Crusted Salmon

1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sesame oil
4 salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)
Cooking spray
1-1/4 cups water
3/4 cup uncooked couscous
1/4 cup sliced green onions
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat broiler. Combine sesame seeds, rind and salt in a shallow dish. Drizzle sesame oil over the fish. Dredge fish in sesame mixture. Place the fish on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. While fish is cooking, bring water to a boil; gradually stir in couscous. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Stir in onions, juice and salt. Serve with the fish. Serves 4.

Pork Chops with Lemon Spinach

3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch ground red pepper
4 boneless cut center-cut loin pork chops, about 1/2 inch thick
3 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic
1 package fresh spinach

Combine first 5 ingredients in a shallow dish. Dredge pork in flour mixture. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add pork, and cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan. Stir in wine and lemon juice, scraping pan to loosen browned bits, cook 2 minutes. Add garlic, and cook 1 minute. Add spinach, tossing 2 minutes or until spinach wilts. Serve with pork. Serves 4.

Moroccan Chicken Thighs

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup dried figs
1/4 cup chopped green olives
1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic
3 tablespoons sweet Marsala or Madeira
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, cook until browned. Stir in the chopped cilantro and remaining ingredients; reduce heat to medium and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Garnish with cilantro sprigs. Serves 4.

Spicy Chicken Soup

1 (7-oz.) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast strips
2 (14-1/2-oz.) cans low sodium chicken broth
1 (14-1/2-oz.) can diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
1 (11-oz.) can whole-kernel corn with sweet peppers, drained

Remove one chile from can; reserve the remaining chilies and sauce for another use. Mince chile. Heat the oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper, onions, garlic and cumin; sauté 4 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Stir in minced chile, chicken, broth, tomatoes and corn. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Serves 4.

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