August 25th 2009

Five fast meals when you’re on the run

A meal isn’t always a quick sandwich, or worse, an apple and a handful of crackers. When we’re in the mood for dinner, we want, well, dinner. But sometimes its just not possible with everything on our day’s to-do list.

Here are five fast meals that take only about 20 minutes to throw together when you’re on the run. Serve with some brown rice and steamed vegetables (both which can be done in advance) and you’re set.

Pesto Grilled Chicken

Puree 2 cups of fresh basil, 1 clove of garlic, a pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons pine nuts, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese and 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil in the blender or food processor. Sprinkle 1 pound of chicken breasts with salt and pepper, grill them, about 8 minutes per side, then top with pesto. You can also baste with a little pesto while grilling, for the extra oomph.

Kung Pao Tempeh or Shrimp

Whisk together 1 tablespoon dry sherry, 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch, and 1 1/2 pounds tempeh (cut into 3/4” cubes) or raw shrimp. Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a  pan and fry two dried chili peppers until slightly blackened. Add 2 cloves garlic and 1 tablespoon minced ginger, along with tempeh or shrimp. Cook for 3 minutes, reduce heat, then add 1 teaspoon sugar, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, and cook for about 5 more minutes. Remove from heat, stir in 1 teaspoon sesame oil, a chopped green onion, and 1 tablespoon chopped, roasted peanuts.

Grilled Tuna Steak with Skillet Corn Salsa

Heat 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil in a skillet. Add kernels from 4 ears of corn, and saute for about 2 minutes until browned. Add 2 chopped tomatoes, 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onions, salt, pepper, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, and a few dashes of cayenne. Cook for 45 seconds, then remove from heat. Season tuna with salt and pepper, and grill to desired doneness. Serve with salsa.

Grilled Salmon with Basil Dipping Sauce

Mix together 2 tablespoons water, 1 clove minced garlic, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 seeded and sliced Thai chili (seeded and thinly sliced), and 1/2 cup sliced fresh Thai basil. Season 1 pound salmon with salt and pepper and cook, turning once, to desired doneness. Serve with sauce.

Marinated Tofu Steaks with Cilantro and Lime

Mix together 1 tablespoons sesame oil, 1 tablespoon canola oil,2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves, 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, 1 tablespoon chopped shallot, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, and some salt and pepper. Slice tofu to about 1/2”-thick, then marinate tofu for as long as you have time. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. When finished marinating, remove from marinade and broil until browned, a few minutes per side, basting with additional marinade. Garnish with addtional cilantro and lime wedges.

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Andrew loves art and design, and pursues his studies in his final year at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He loves seeking out new artists and giving them their dues, and in his spare time, focuses on his own abstract sculpture.