30 Minutes or Less

Always short on time? Dinner comes together in a flash with these quick, delicious meals prepared in half an hour or less. From chickpea pulao to garlic shrimp zoodles, these four recipes are perfect for busy weeknights and lazy weekends alike!

Always short on time? Dinner comes together in a flash with these quick, delicious meals prepared in half an hour or less. From chickpea pulao to garlic shrimp zoodles, these four recipes are perfect for busy weeknights and lazy weekends alike!


By  Mary Beth Wallace

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Photos by Karen Culp


Vegan Chickpea Pulao

Total Time: 30 Minutes


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Sush Shantha
North Chattanooga


  • 2 cups long grain basmati rice
  • 2 Tbsp. avocado oil (can sub coconut oil)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tsp. garlic, finely grated
  • 2 tsp. ginger, finely grated
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tsp. garam masala powder
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. dried fenugreek powder (optional)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
    (can sub plain water)
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 3-4 tsp. lime juice
  • Salt, to taste
  • Cilantro and mint, for garnish


Rinse basmati rice well and soak in tap water until ready to use. Heat a large pot over medium heat and add oil. Once oil is hot, add bay leaf and cumin seeds and let it splutter. Add diced onions and stir until translucent, then add garlic and ginger; be careful and keep stirring, as garlic burns easily. Add diced tomatoes, cover pot with a lid, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Throw in all powders and stir. Let cook with the lid on while draining the water that the rice is soaking in. Pour vegetable stock into the pot and bring to a rolling boil. Add rice and chickpeas, cover with lid, and cook on medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Check the rice, turn to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes until all water is absorbed and rice is tender. If rice is still too firm, add 2 Tbsp. of water and continue cooking for a few minutes more.

Remove pot from heat and allow it to sit covered for 5 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and garnish with cilantro and/or mint. Serve with raita (a yogurt-based condiment). Serves 6.

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Photos by Rich Smith


Pasta Shells with Sausage

and Butternut Squash

Total Time: 30 Minutes


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Dr. Joel Ledbetter
Signal Mountain


  • 3 Tbsp. 100% pure olive oil, divided
  • 1 Ib. Italian hot sausage
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 cup white wine (can sub chicken stock)
  • 1 1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced into 1/2-inch pieces (to save time, purchase pre-chopped butternut squash)
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 Ib. pasta: shells, penne, or orecchiette
  • 6 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. softened butter


Pour 1 Tbsp. of olive oil into a large, 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Take sausage out of the casing and add it to the hot oil. Using the back of a wooden spoon, break sausage up into small, bite-size pieces and cook until it browns. Turn off heat. Using a slotted spoon, place sausage in a bowl; cover and set aside. Keep about 1 Tbsp. of the oil and fat left in the pan and discard the rest.

Add remaining 2 Tbsp. of olive oil to the pan and cook onion, garlic, basil, and sage over low-medium heat, stirring well, until onion and garlic soften. (If you like it really spicy, add the optional red pepper flakes.) Add reserved sausage and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring well. Add wine (or chicken stock) and deglaze the pan. Add diced butternut squash and cook for 2 minutes, stirring well. Add 2 1/2 cups chicken stock a ladle at a time, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes. You may not need all the chicken stock.

While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add
2 Tbsp. of salt. When the water reaches
a rolling boil, add pasta and cook according to package directions, being careful not to overcook the pasta. When pasta is cooked, drain and add to the sausage and butternut squash. Cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove pan from heat, add Parmesan cheese and softened butter, and serve. Top with finely cut basil if desired.
Serves 6-8.

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Baked Salmon

with Orzo

Total Time: 30 Minutes


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Lesley Moore
North Chattanooga


  • 1 Ib. fresh salmon
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon (zest and juice)
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 Ib. thin, fresh asparagus
  • 3/4 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 oz. feta cheese


Preheat oven to 350°. Place salmon on a foil-lined dish and bake for approximately 8-12 minutes, until desired level of doneness. While salmon is cooking, prepare orzo according to package directions. Meanwhile, prepare dressing: In a large measuring cup, combine olive oil with 1/4 tsp. of lemon zest, juice of 1 lemon, red onion, dill, and salt and pepper. Next, trim asparagus and cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces. Fill a saucepan with 3 inches of water, add asparagus, and bring to a boil; cook asparagus 2-3 minutes. Drain orzo and scoop into a serving dish. Add cooked asparagus on top. Flake salmon and add on top of asparagus. Pour dressing over the salmon, add tomatoes, and garnish with feta. Serve hot or cold. Serves 4-6.

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Photos by Rich Smith


Garlic Shrimp

Zucchini Noodles

Total Time: 20 Minutes (less if using prepackaged spiralized zucchini)


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Nancy Carstens
Lookout Mountain


  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb. shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh spinach (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes


Cut zucchini into spirals using a vegetable spiralizer, or you can purchase prepackaged spiralized zucchini. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, garlic, and shrimp. Cook shrimp until pink and cooked through. Do not let garlic burn. Once shrimp is cooked, add spiralized zucchini and cook until tender, 3-5 minutes. Do not overcook as zucchini will become mushy. Remove the pan from the heat and add Parmesan, squeeze some lemon, and season generously with salt and pepper. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a bed of fresh spinach. Add red pepper flakes, then serve with lemon wedges. Serves 2.

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