Medium-Quick Prep Recipes

While these will take longer than 20 minutes, they’re still quick (I mean, I STILL have a toddler…), delicious, and healthy. For most of these, the length of time is due to marinating time or oven cooking (not hands-on time, which is still under 20-30 minutes for all of these).  

[ig_special_heading heading_type=”2″ heading_style=”italic” heading_align=”textaligncenter” padding_bottom_heading=”30″ animation_loading=”no” animation_loading_effects=”fade_in”]Salmon, Spinach, Cucumber and Grains Bowl[/ig_special_heading]

(My modified, and slightly simplified [and 1 less pan to clean! bonus!] version of the dish on

The flavors combine so deliciously – seriously – anyone who eats this will think you’re a kitchen maverick.  And you’ll never have to tell them how easy it was….

Total Prep/Cook Time: 30-35 minutes (It’s not my simplest recipe, I wont lie.  But it’s soooooo good).

Ingredients: (4 servings)

  • For the bowl
  • 2 cups quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 1/3 cups water
  • salt
  • 4 cups packed spinach, roughly chopped
  • 4 x 4-ounce pieces of wild salmon
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 4 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

For the pickled cucumbers – my favorite part – yes, you’re going to make your own pickles.  And yes, it’s going to take 5 minutes.

  • 4 small pickling cucumbers (or about 1/2 of those long English cucumbers)- whatever you use, you want it to be thin, with minimal seeds
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger (optional – I just asked the man at my grocery store’s sushi counter for a little bit of ginger, and then chopped it myself, instead of finely grating)
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • water to cover

For the sauce

  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • sesame oil
  • 4 teaspoons kimchi juice (I know, it sounds funny, but you’ll love it)

IMG_0968 copyTo Cook:

  1. Start by making the pickles.  Thinly slice the cucumber, and add all ingredients,  then just enough water to over.  Let that marinate at room temperature while you prepare everything else.
  2. Combine quinoa, water, and a pinch of salt in a large pot (you’ll need to have room for the quinoa and the spinach- my medium saucepan didn’t work when I tried to add in the spinach later).  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a very low simmer, cover, and cook for 12 minutes.
  3. Remove quinoa from heat, and stir in spinach and another pinch of salt.  Cover the pot with a paper towel and then the lid, and let the mixture steam for 10 minutes.
  4. Cover a roasting pan with foil (to make cleaning a snap, naturally) and preheat your oven to broil.
  5.  Pour 1 teaspoon of olive oil on each filet of salmon, and rub it over the salmon piece.  Season each filet with salt and pepper, and place on the foil.
  6. Broil salmon for 8-12 minutes, checking at 8 minutes and frequently after, until the salmon pieces flake easily.
  7. To make the sauce, just whisk together all ingredients into a small bowl.
  8. When it’s all ready (I know, a lot of steps this time!), place quinoa and spinach in the base of the bowl, then top with salmon, avocado, and pickled cucumbers. Garnish each bowl with sauce and sesame seeds.

And…writing this just made me hungry.  Too bad I’ve eaten all of the leftovers of this dish.  Le Sigh. Enjoy!


[ig_special_heading heading_type=”2″ heading_style=”default” heading_align=”textaligncenter” padding_bottom_heading=”30″ animation_loading=”no” animation_loading_effects=”fade_in”]Delicious, Slow-Cooker Beef Stew[/ig_special_heading]







Prep Time: 30 minutes  /  Cook Time: 4-6 hours


  • 2 pounds beef chuck (have the butcher/grocery cut into 1-inch cubes, to save you prep time)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • 2 small onions (cut into 1 inch cubes)
  • 2 cloves garlic (to save time, I buy refrigerated pre-minced garlic) – and I add more than 2! For my latest batch of stew, I threw in 4 cloves.  Use as much/little as you like.
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 large bag of carrots (about 8-10 carrots) – peeled and chopped into 1-2 inch long rounds
  • 2 bunches of celery (trimmed the ends, chopped into 2 inch- long segments)
  • 5 large sweet potatoes (cut into 1-2 inch chunks)
  • 1 can whole tomatoes (I recently used Whole Foods Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted tomatoes, which were delicious in this stew)
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 dried bay leaf


To Cook:

  1. Sprinkle 1 tsp kosher salt on the meat, and 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  2. If your slow cooker has an insert that can be placed on the stove, brown the meat in a little bit of olive oil, until lightly brown on all sides (if it doesn’t, you can brown it in a separate pan).
  3. Pour away the juices from around the meat once browned, then to the slow-cooker, add the meat, onion, garlic, carrots, and celery.  Add about once potato (reserve the others until later)
  4. Pour in the wine, tomatoes, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, and beef broth.
  5. Cover, and cook on high for 4 hours.
  6. Add in the remaining sweet potatoes and cook on high, until soft (another 1-2 hours).
  7. Add in a good crusty roll, and enjoy!

Delicious Chicken and Veggie Kabobs with Chardonnay-Herb Marinade

TIME: 20-25 minutes prep, plus 3-8 hours to marinade, 15 minutes to grill. Time-saver tip: If they have it at your grocer, purchase pre-chopped veggies for kabobs in the produce aisle. 

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  • 3 pounds skinned and boned chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 8-10 skewers
  • Marinade:
    • 1 cup Chardonnay
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 2 shallots, minced
    • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated (I buy refrigerated grated garlic – 1/2 tbsp = 1 clove–they save time, which mean I  cook with garlic more often)
    • 4 tbsp each chopped parsley, basil, and thyme (fresh or dried)-feel free to try different combinations!
    • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • 4 teaspoons sugar
    • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • Veggie Kabobs – (to really save time, purchase them pre-chopped in the produce aisle)
      • 2 whole zucchini
      • 2 whole yellow squash
      • 2 red peppers
      • 3 portobello mushrooms


To cook:

  1. Trim excess fat from thighs, and cut each thigh lengthwise into 1 1/2 inch-wide strips
  2. Whisk together all marinade ingredients
  3. Set aside and chill 1/4 cup of marinade.  Place chicken onto skewers, and place skewers in a shallow pan in a single layer.  Pour remaining marinade over chicken skewers, cover, and refrigerate for 3-8 hours.
  4. When ready to cook, preheat grill to 350-400 / medium-high heat.
  5.  Brush with vegetable oil lightly, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  6. Chop veggies into 1 – 1 1/2 inch chunks and thread onto their own skewer.  Brush lightly with olive oil and reserved 1/4 cup marinade (not used for the raw meat).  Grill until tender, turning and basting occasionally, approximately 10-15 minutes.
  7. Dab kabobs with a paper towel (so that marinade doesn’t drip onto the flame), brush with vegetable oil lightly, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill 11-14 minutes or until chicken is done.  During last 5 minutes of grilling, brush kabobs with remaining reserved marinade.

Special thanks to Southern Living for the original version of this recipe!

Add a side of rice or throw some potatoes on the grill for a full meal!

[ig_special_heading heading_type=”1″ heading_style=”default” heading_align=”textaligncenter” padding_bottom_heading=”30″ animation_loading=”no” animation_loading_effects=”fade_in”]My Mom’s New Year’s Day Ham Soup (note, can eat this ANY time–I almost always make it anytime after my family has ham).[/ig_special_heading]


  • 1 1/2 c split peas (fast-cooking)
  • 1 onion (cut into eighths)
  • 1 bunch celery (cleaned, chopped into 1-2 inch pieces)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 1 bay leaf
  • My mom’s recipe calls for “lots of ham”.  I typically use the remaining ham bone from a spiral cut ham, and then about 1 pound ham.

To cook

  1. Toss in all ingredients (yes, this is another one of THOSE recipes.  I have a pattern).
  2. Bring to a boil, then put on lid, and simmer 2-3 hours, until peas are soft.

Burgundy Mustard-Marinated Pork

TIME: 15 minutes prep, 1 hour to marinade, 1 hour to cook


  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 tbsp firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup burgundy/dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp chopped rosemary
  • 1 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 boneless pork loin roast (about 3 lbs)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

To cook 

  1. In a zip-lock plastic bag, combine and whisk together wine, brown sugar, olive oil, mustard, rosemary, and garlic.
  2. Place pork into the bag, and refrigerate to marinade (ideally at least 1 hour, but totally fine to leave this all day in the fridge!).
  3. To cook, preheat oven to 475 F.  Roast for 20 minutes, then reduce temperature to 400 F and continue roasting (usually another 40-40 minutes) until thermometer in meat center reads 145F.
  4. Let rest for 10 minutes, and serve.

Stay tuned for more recipes (I just started this section!).  In the meantime, I’d love to know your favorites! Write them below in the comments, or reach me on twitter or instagram @DrDarria, or Facebook @Dr. Darria Long Gillespie.

[ig_special_heading heading_type=”1″ heading_style=”italic” heading_align=”textaligncenter” padding_bottom_heading=”30″ animation_loading=”no” animation_loading_effects=”fade_in”]Delicious Sides[/ig_special_heading]
[ig_special_heading heading_type=”2″ heading_style=”default” heading_align=”textaligncenter” padding_bottom_heading=”30″ animation_loading=”no” animation_loading_effects=”fade_in”][Super-Easy] Roasted Asparagus[/ig_special_heading]
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I love roasting asparagus – it’s so easy, and I put foil under the asparagus to keep the clean-up minimal.  Just wash, trim (asparagus naturally breaks at the stalk end at the perfect point if you break by hand), and roast!


  • 2 pounds asparagus, washed and ends trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped tarragon leaves
  • 2 teaspoons garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (equivalent to ¼ lemon)
  • Salt and pepper (add to taste, at the end)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F
  2. Pile asparagus onto a baking sheet
  3. Combine olive oil, tarragon, garlic and lemon juice, and pour over the asparagus spears, turning them to make sure they’re covered evenly
  4. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper
  5. Roast for 15-17 minutes