Buy washed-and-sliced veggies at the salad bar to keep prep time to a minimum. At most markets, you can find quick-cooking rice noodles on the Asian or international foods aisle.
Tip: Grated fresh ginger and fresh lime juice take seconds to prepare but impart bold depth to the broth.
- Recipe: Ginger Chicken Noodle Bowls
Naturally thin cuts such as flank steak and skirt steak cook quickly when seared over medium to high heat for a nice brown crust. You can use your favorite cut, such as strip, but to keep the prep and cook time under 15 minutes, the steak should be no more than ¾ inch thick.
Tip: Very thinly sliced fresh fennel mellows to an almost sweet, oniony flavor when briefly sautéed. Lemon zest adds a touch of citrus without being too sour. If you can't find fennel, or don't like it, substitute onion, and add cracked black pepper in place of the fennel seeds.
- Recipe: Flank Steak with Lemon Fennel
Fresh pasta cooks in less than half the time as dried pasta. Look for unflavored varieties or the spinach version in the deli section of your market. Ricotta salata is a variation of ricotta cheese that is salted, pressed, and dried. It can be sliced or grated. If it's unavailable, try feta cheese but be sure to decrease the added salt.
Tip: Salty cheese, fresh herbs, and lots of lemon add punch but don't overpower the pasta.
Be sure the liquid in the pan covers the minced garlic. If the pan is too dry, the garlic could scorch under the intense broiling heat.
Tip: Wine, butter, and garlic always taste delicious with seafood. The touch of Worcestershire and red pepper add a subtle bite to the tomatoes and spinach.
- Recipe: Broiled Shrimp and Scallops
The sweet-and-smoky citrus sauce is great with chicken or shrimp, too. Roast asparagus spears at 400° for 10 to 12 minutes and serve with sliced blood oranges to make a complete meal.
Tip: Smoked paprika is the secret ingredient that gives the fish and the sweet sauce its unique flavor.