Hearty 20 Minute Meals

During cold spells like this, there is nothing I would like better than to kick off my heavy boots and hang out in my warm kitchen for hours, cooking up a hot and delicious meal.

Unfortunately, my final semester at UofT has already caught up with me, and between 6 courses, volunteer work, and writing applications I find that I barely have time to even think about food.  If you’re in the same position, and need some quick-fix meals to keep yourself warm and well fed, look no further. These recipes take less than 20 minutes from start to finish. Enjoy!

For the carnivores:

Chicken and Bean Chile
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Serves 4
  • 2 cups tortilla chips, crushed
  • 1 cup tortilla chips, whole
  • 1 pound skinless boneless chicken breast or thighs, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 2 large cans of cannelini beans, rinsed
  • 1.5 cups shredded cheese, like Pepper Jack or Cheddar
  • 1 small can diced green chiles
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Fresh cilantro to garnish (optional but pretty!)

In a large saucepan or dutch oven, brown chicken in your vegetable oil on medium-high heat. Add beans, 1 cup of cheese, diced chiles, chicken broth, water, cumin, and 2 cups of crushed tortilla chips. Bring mixture to a boil, then simmer on reduced heat for 5 minutes. Leave uncovered and stir occasionally.

Meanwhile, lay out 1 cup of whole tortilla chips on a baking sheet lined with aluminium foil. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of cheese on top, and broil your chips on high for 1-2 minutes, or until cheese has melted and begun to brown.

Garnish chile with cilantro and cheesy tortilla chips to taste.

For the vegetarians:

Broccoli-Potato Soup with Winter Greens
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes
Serves 4
  • 2 medium red potatoes, chopped
  • 14 ounces vegetable stock
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups smoked Gouda cheese, shredded (8 ounces)
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2 cups winter greens (try kale, chard, or spinach)

In large saucepan combine potatoes and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 8 minutes. Mash potatoes lightly, then add broccoli and milk and bring just to simmering.

In a medium bowl toss flour with the 2 cups cheese; gradually add to soup, stirring cheese until melted. Season to taste with pepper, and top individual bowls with fresh winter greens and additional cheese if desired.

For dessert:
Stovetop Chai Tea
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4
  • 4 cups milk (any kind is fine, including soy or almond)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks OR 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 3-4 bags of chai tea OR 2 tablespoons loose leaf Indian black tea
  • sugar to taste (4-5 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger OR a few slices of fresh ginger (optional, but great if you have a cold and need a pick me up!)

Add all ingredients in a large saucepan, and heat uncovered until just boiling. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain out cinnamon sticks and tea if necessary. Serve with extra sugar on hand to taste.


Nicole Elliott

Nicole Elliott is a 4th year student at UofT, double majoring in Health Studies and Biological Anthropology. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in public health or medical anthropology, and she is especially interested in maternal and child health. She is pleased to join the Family Care Office as Workshop Coordinator and part-time "Intersections" contributor. When not at work or school, Nicole enjoys yoga, theater, getting lost in Toronto, and experimental vegan baking.

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