Chef John's Best Quick and Easy Recipes Ready in 45 Minutes or Less
These top-rated recipes do it all. They combine a handful of ingredients and simple, no-frills preparations that result in dishes that taste their absolute best -- and are on the table in 45 minutes or less. And because these are Chef John recipes, there's a ton of variety and exciting flavor combos, too! No bored tastebuds allowed! And as always, be sure to check out Chef John's recipe videos for always smart, always entertaining cooking advice.
Chef John's Tuscan Bean Soup
Ready in 45 minutes. This hearty, from-scratch bean soup features sauteed garlic, fresh herbs, and spices simmered with cannellini beans and chicken broth, and finished with creme fraiche and a squeeze of lemon juice. If you like, crown your soup with homemade crisp croutons and a sprinkling of parsley. "There's just something about that combo of smooth, silky soup, and crunchy, crispy croutons that makes everything seem okay," says Chef John.
Chef John's Sausage and Egg Pizza
Is this a dinner pizza? A breakfast pizza? A lunch pizza? Yes, it is. "This is a sausage and egg pizza, and man, is it delicious. You may never eat eggs any other way, and you may never eat pizza any other way again," says Chef John. This spicy pizza features hot Italian sausage, fontina cheese, and eggs. The key is to use a light hand with the pizza sauce. Just a wee smear. It's ready in about 40 minutes.
Chef John's Caramel Chicken
Ready in about 40 minutes. This delicious mahogany-colored chicken is based on the famous chicken dish served at a popular San Francisco Vietnamese restaurant. "This stunning dish is an amazing combination of sweet, spicy, and salty flavors all sticking to succulent pieces of chicken," says Chef John.
Seared Scallops with Corn Cream
Ready in about 35 minutes, this creamy corn soup with the seared scallops is simple, easy, and delicious. It’s not creamed corn, its corn puree. "This recipe for seared scallops on fresh corn cream shows that you can take a few seasonal ingredients, put them together simply and quickly, and produce something pretty special," says Chef John. "There are three keys to producing sufficiently seared scallops. First, they must be perfectly dry. Second, the oil goes on the cold scallops, not in the hot pan. Third, your pan must be extremely hot, which means you have to use a very heavy, cast iron or stainless steel pan."
Chicken Breasts with Chipotle Green Onion Gravy
Ready in 20 minutes. This delicious chicken recipe includes a simple exercise in pan gravy perfection," says Chef John. "If I only had one day to teach someone how to cook, you better believe this archetypal sauce recipe would be one of the first things I'd demonstrate."
Chef John's Baked Mushroom Risotto
Ready in about 45 minutes. Make delicious mushroom risotto the easy way, without standing at the stove constantly stirring. "The beginning and the end of this risotto recipe are pretty standard, but we've moved the middle 15 minutes into the oven in an attempt to eliminate those dreaded 'variables,'" says Chef John. "Besides being easier and more repeatable, this method produced a risotto that was identical in looks, taste, and texture to anything I can do on the stove."
Ready in about 35 minutes. "There are lots of recipes people claim taste better if made by hand, but there's no easier case to prove that than pesto," says Chef John. "The intensity of the flavors is beyond compare, and as if by some kind of magic, this gorgeous spread develops an addictive spiciness. You can taste each ingredient, and yet when smashed together, new and wonderful flavors are released." Enjoy with fresh bread, or tossed in a bowl with pasta, or as a sauce for pizza.
Grilled Salmon with Bacon and Corn Relish
Ready in about 45 minutes, this simple grilled salmon stars a bacon and corn relish finished with rice vinegar and a olive oil. "You are really going to love this exciting and vibrant new way to use salmon," says Chef John. "It's dressed up with an easy and summery relish. Did I mention there will be bacon? Oh, yeah."
Chef John's Cashew Chicken
Ready in 30 minutes. "This is a fantastic way to use up some leftover grilled chicken breasts. This will work with any kind of cooked chicken, but leftover grilled chicken has that little bit of smokiness that adds something special to this quick recipe. Serve over hot cooked rice," says Chef John.
Bacon and Potato Frittata with Greens
Ready in about 35 minutes. Here's a classic frittata, featuring bacon, thin slices of potato, and Swiss chard or kale. Actually, any greens will work great, so pick your favorite. You can really put anything into this. "This is a wonderful meal anytime of day or night," says Chef John.
Quick Chicken Piccata
Ready in 25 minutes. Chicken with a quick wine, lemon-juice, and butter sauce. "These quick and easy pan-fried chicken breasts are topped with a simple pan sauce made with capers, butter, white wine, and lemon juice," says Chef John.
Pasta Fazool (Pasta e Fagioli)
Ready in 35 minutes. This Italian-American version of Pasta e Fagioli is easy and extra-meaty comfort food.
"Works with any kind of sausage, but I like the fennel and anise flavors of sweet Italian sausage with the beans," says Chef John. "It's a hearty soup that's fast and easy to put together."
Chef John's Steak Pizzaiola
Ready in about 40 minutes. For his classic steak pizzaiola, Chef John uses beef tenderloin medallions and fresh tomatoes. "There are hundreds of ways to make pizzaiola, from versions featuring slowly braised tough cuts of beef to quickly seared tenderloin medallions, like I used here," says Chef John. "The one thing most people agree on is that you should, if at all possible, use really fresh, very sweet, vine-ripened tomatoes. Serve on top of toasted bread with mozzarella cheese."
Creamy Bay Scallop Spaghetti
Ready in less than 30 minutes. "This scallop and spaghetti dinner with a creamy sauce is fast and easy," says Chef John. "I cook the scallops a bit longer than many chefs, but that's gives the dish more flavor and they're still tender and moist. I think you'll agree, the sherry sauce benefits significantly from the longer cook time."
Spicy Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai)
Ready in about 25 minutes. "My version of this classic Thai dish has spectacular taste even with regular basil instead of Thai or holy basil," says Chef John. "The sauce actually acts like a glaze as the chicken mixture cooks over high heat. The recipe works best if you chop or grind your own chicken and have all ingredients prepped before you start cooking."
Chef John's Crab-Stuffed Sole
Ready in 35 minutes. Simple enough for weeknight meals, impressive enough for fancy-pants dinner parties. "Mild, sweet sole is the perfect candidate for jazzing up by stuffing with crab," says Chef John. "Serve with asparagus and lemon."
Chef John's Bay Scallop Chowder
Ready in about 45 minutes. A very easy, incredibly delicious creamy chowder starring tender bay scallops, bacon, cubed potatoes, and just the right amount of spice. And a little lemon zest gives it some zing. "If you want a thicker, more traditional chowder base, simply mash some of your potatoes into the mixture," says Chef John.
Chef John's Chicken Satay Burger
Ready in about 35 minutes. Turn a traditional appetizer on a stick into tasty burgers! Ground chicken is flavored with coconut milk, spices, garlic, soy sauce, chopped basil, and chili paste. A spicy peanut spread for the burger buns replaces the traditional peanut dipping sauce. And instead of tomato and lettuce, Chef John goes with a flavorful carrot, cucumber, and jalapeno slaw, dressed up with a simple vinaigrette. "I love chicken satay, that spicy meat on a stick, marinated and grilled and served with a peanut sauce," says Chef John. "I tried to get that same effect with a chicken burger."
Pizza with Ham, Asparagus, and Ricotta
Ready in under 40 minutes. Here's a white pizza, sauced with olive oil, fresh ricotta cheese, and a splash of cream, and topped with blanched asparagus, some smoked ham, and a sprinkling of sharp white Cheddar and Parmesan. "Every once in a while I get a craving for a non-tomato sauce, or 'white' pizza," says Chef John.
Chef John's Brazilian Fish Stew
Here's a hearty, comforting fish stew in a delicious spiced broth of coconut milk and tomato that's ready in about 35 minutes. "My interpretation of Brazilian seafood stew (or moqueca) uses just fish, so I'm calling it the weeknight version," says Chef John.