45 Minutes or Less Collection

Summer is most definitely not for me. As you may have have gathered from previous posts, my culinary inclinations favor cooler weather (Spargel obsession notwithstanding). So much so that when it’s oppressively hot, I lose my appetite and passion for food almost entirely. It’s sad when meal prep becomes more an irritant than an outlet for creativity. So here’s a small collection of unfussy recipes you can bung together in under an hour. I know people usually tout 30 minutes or less as the benchmark for quick cooking, but I’m a slow cook. Wear your sunscreen and stay hydrated!


You can crisp the toasts in the oven while you prepare the toppings. You can make the tomato business a few hours beforehand and throw it in the fridge for when hot food is unthinkable. There’s a lot of room for improvisation here. The marinated tomatoes are also great on salads, the mushrooms could be developed into a killer pasta sauce, the toasts could be applied to nearly anything dippy (oooh, now I have to go make Spinach Artichoke dip, brb).


loaf of bread
olive oil
Tomato topping
6 tomatoes, seedy goo removed and diced (San Marzanos are perfect, Romas work)
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
oregano, 1/2 t dried or 1 t minced fresh
olive oil
fresh basil leaves
Mushroom topping
olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb/500 g mushrooms, sliced
thyme, 1/2 t dried or 1 t fresh
2 T dry sherry
Parmesan cheese, grated or shaved
Balsamico crema


Baking sheet
Pastry brush
Medium mixing bowl

Basic Toasts: Preheat oven to 300°F/150°C. Grab a loaf of bread that you can slice into medium slices, maximum 1 cm thick (I like ciabatta or a fat baguette). Slice it up then spread the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Using a pastry brush or similar, paint the slice with a bit of olive oil, just lightly coating the face-up surface. Bake toasts oiled side up for 15-25 minutes or until crisped. Don’t have a pastry brush? Pour a little olive oil into a wide, flat, high-sided plate and dip one side of the bread in. It doesn’t need to be soaked through.

Marinated Tomato Topping: Mix tomatoes, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper and olive oil thoroughly. Heap on toasts, garnishing with fresh basil, balsamico crema and cheese.

Sautéed Mushroom Topping: Heat skillet to medium and add oil. Add shallot and garlic and cook until tender and fragrant. Turn heat to medium high and add mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms have released their liquid and are beginning to brown. Add thyme, salt, pepper and sherry and stir until sherry is cooked off. Heap on toasts and garnish with cheese.

Homemade Pancakes

Breakfast for dinner FTW! Or breakfast for breakfast. Or lunch. If you want to brush up on basics, I highly recommend a deep dive into Mark Bittman’s recipes and videos. He doesn’t make things overly fussy.

Grilled Asparagus

Again with the green Spargel! Well yeah, I need to eat enough that I don’t crave it before next May. This preparation is really simple but the result is deliciously complex. The green and smoky flavors pair deliciously with a creamy foil, like a half batch of the Creamy Parmesan Pasta Sauce.

Creamy Parmesan Pasta Sauce

Alfredo sauce’s creaminess comes from emulsifying pasta water, butter and cheese. My sauce is cream based, so I won’t call it Alfredo sauce. Ideally, I call it dinner. It’s brilliant with the grilled asparagus. In other seasons, I like to add roasted Brussels sprouts or broccoli. The link directs to our blog as Williams Sonoma doesn’t have their GDPR game right.


The batch size fills a large mixing bowl. If you can let it chill overnight, the flavor develops nicely. Some grilled chicken wouldn’t go amiss as an accompaniment.

Kimchi Noodle Stir Fry

Since successfully making fish-sauce-free kimchi, I’ve been having a good time finding ways to consume it. I didn’t bother with the tofu in this recipe, but I really liked the result from squeezing the kimchi juice. I added it with the other sauces in step 2 (click link!) and was wowed.

Chicken Salad with Curry-Lime Dressing

This is almost certainly evolved from Coronation Chicken. It is kind of a staple during the summer for us, served on croissants, a soft whole wheat roll or just crackers. You can poach chicken for it, but breaking down a rotisserie chicken makes this happen as fast as you can chop. Use the meat for this and freeze the carcass for future broth making.

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