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Fifteen Minute Recipes: Homemade, Fast Food, or Both?

Today’s recipes are for those days when you don’t have the time, the energy (or neither of the above) to make a full meal. All of these recipes take 15 minutes or less, so they are perfect to make in-between classes and activities or after a long day at work.


Tarragon Chicken

This chicken recipe is a perfect hearty choice for dinner. If you don’t have any tarragon lying around feel free to use any spices and herbs you have in your cabinet (or your dorm room).

Tasty Tufts Tip: If you know you aren’t going to have time to make an intense dinner the next day, prepare the chicken the night before with all of the ingredients, and store it in a Ziploc bag in the fridge until you are ready to cook it the next evening. Not only will it save you some time the next day, but it will also have absorbed that much more delicious flavor!


  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4-teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon
  • 1/8-teaspoon salt


  1. Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Sprinkle chicken evenly with ¼-teaspoon salt.
  2. Combine olive oil and remaining 5 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil mixture to pan, spreading evenly over bottom of pan with a wide spatula. Add chicken; cook 2 minutes. Drizzle chicken with 2 teaspoons oil mixture. Turn chicken over; cook 2 minutes. Drizzle remaining oil mixture over chicken; reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 2 minutes or until done. Transfer chicken to a serving platter. Pour pan drippings over chicken; serve immediately.



Chicken and Shiitake Marsala

Not only is this chicken recipe fast, easy, and mouth-watering, it is also an extremely healthy option without screaming: “I’m healthy, but I also taste like cardboard!”

Tasty Tufts Tip: If you are not a big fan of mushrooms, sauté up some onions and potatoes to make a heartier meal out of this scrumptious chicken dish.


  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4-teaspoon salt
  • 1/4-teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 (3 1/2-ounce) packages shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup Marsala wine
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup) and divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter


  1. Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan. Cook 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken and drippings from pan; set aside, and keep warm.
  3. Heat pan over medium-high heat; coat pan with cooking spray. Add mushrooms. Coat mushrooms with cooking spray; cook 2 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add wine and 3 tablespoons onions. Cook 30 seconds over high heat. Reduce heat; add butter, stirring until butter melts.
  4. Add chicken and drippings to pan, stirring gently. Place chicken on platter. Spoon mushroom sauce over chicken; sprinkle with remaining onions.



Praline Glazed Salmon

This flawless fish recipe really demonstrates the power of the broiler. The ‘broil’ setting on the oven is awesome to master, as it will really decrease the time it takes to make many of your favorite dishes!

Tasty Tufts Tip: If you aren’t feeling a sweet topping, mix the pecans with other nuts, such as pistachios and some Dijon mustard for a perfectly tangy and savory salmon. If you are not a nut fan, you can replace the nuts completely, and use certain neutral cereals – think Rice Krispies – for that impeccable crunchy exterior.


  • 12 ounces boned, skinned salmon fillet, cut into 2 pieces
  • About 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice


  1. Rinse salmon and pat dry. Sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix pecans, brown sugar, butter, lemon juice, and 1/4-teaspoon salt.
  2. Place salmon on a 12- by 15-inch baking sheet. Broil 6 inches from heat for 6 minutes. With a wide spatula, turn fish over. Spoon pecan mixture evenly over fish and broil again, checking frequently to be sure nuts do not scorch, until fish is opaque but still moist- looking in the center of the thickest part (cut to test), 1 to 2 minutes longer.
  3. With a wide spatula, transfer fish to serving plate.



Lemon-Shallot Scallops

This is a classic scallop dish and you won’t believe it took only fifteen minutes after you make it. That’s what’s so great about scallops – they cook up extremely fast, and they really couldn’t be more tender.

Tasty Tufts Tip: You can prepare the scallops any way you want, maybe with Cajun seasoning, some herbs and garlic, or anything else, as long as you follow this recipe’s basic steps for sautéing!


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds sea scallops
  • 1/2-teaspoon salt
  • 1/4-teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1-tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • Lemon wedges (optional)


  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle sea scallops with salt and pepper. Add scallops to pan, and sauté 2 minutes on each side. Remove scallops from pan, and keep warm.
  2. Melt butter in pan. Add shallots and garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add wine and juice; cook 1 minute. Return scallops to pan; toss to coat. Remove from heat; sprinkle with parsley. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.



These are just a few of many fifteen (or less) minute recipes from Check out the website for even more delicious ideas on how to cook up some fast and easy meals! Who knew fast food could really ever taste this good!

-Jay Sheintop

Cover photo source.

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