Easy dinner recipes: Mussels, pasta and more in 35 minutes or less

Dinner in 35 minutes or less? With these options, you'll have your meal on the table in almost no time.

Giuseppe's mussels in sambuca: Mussels are steamed in a flavorful blend of fresh fennel, garlic, leeks, cream and white sambuca, the anise-flavored Italian liqueur. Chef Giuseppe DiFronzo recommends serving the mussels alongside plenty of crusty Italian bread and a cold glass of Vermentino or Albarino.


Angelini Osteria's tagliolini al limone: You'll enjoy the wonderful simplicity of this dish: Fresh basil and a touch of lemon are infused with a little heavy cream, which is cooked down just until it thickens, and is poured over pasta. Topped with fresh-grated Parmesan and fresh-cracked pepper, it makes for a remarkably easy but elegant meal.

Lunch's green apple chicken salad: Lunch's chicken salad is a deliciously simple dish. It combines diced chicken with a little red onion, celery, currants and apple for a nice crunch, great color and a wonderfully fresh combination of flavors not unlike a classic Waldorf. And it's just as easy to prepare.

You can find the recipes below.

And for more ideas, click through our easy dinner recipes gallery and check out our Dinner Tonight page, devoted to recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Looking for a particular type of recipe? Comment below or email me at


Total time: 35 minutes | Serves 4 to 6

Note: Adapted from a recipe by Giuseppe DiFronzo, of Giuseppe's Cucina Italiana in Pismo Beach and Palazzo Giuseppe of San Luis Obispo.

1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 leek, white portion only, julienned
2 pounds mussels, preferably Mediterranean, scrubbed clean
1 ounce white sambuca
2 tablespoons chopped fennel, preferably wild
1 cup clam juice
1/2 cup heavy cream
Pinch chile flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a wide pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the garlic and leek and sauté until aromatic. Stir in the mussels, tossing quickly with the hot oil.

2. Add the sambuca, scraping any flavoring from the base of the pot, then stir in the fennel, clam juice and cream.

3. Cover and steam the mussels until they open, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the chile flakes, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Each of 6 servings: Calories 311; Protein 19 grams; Carbohydrates 11 grams; Fiber 0; Fat 20 grams; Saturated fat 7 grams; Cholesterol 71 mg; Sugar 3 grams; Sodium 531 mg


Total time: About 30 minutes | Serves 4

Note: Adapted from Angelini Osteria in Los Angeles.

1/2 pound tagliolini pasta
2 tablespoons butter
8 large basil leaves, julienned
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Fresh ground black pepper
Lemon wedges, garnish

1. Cook the pasta: In a large pot of salted boiling water, add the pasta. Cook until al dente according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta.

2. While the pasta is cooking, start to make the sauce: In a medium saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the basil and cook, stirring frequently, until aromatic, about 3 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and continue to cook until the lemon juice is reduced by half. Reduce the heat to low and add the cream. Slowly cook the cream until it thickens to a sauce consistency, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Divide the pasta among 4 to 6 serving bowls and ladle the sauce evenly over the servings. Divide the cheese among the portions, sprinkling it evenly over the sauce, and top each serving with a few grinds of black pepper. Serve each portion with a lemon wedge on the side.

Each serving: 490 calories; 9 grams protein; 45 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 30 grams fat; 19 grams saturated fat; 101 mg cholesterol; 2 grams sugar; 59 mg sodium.


Total time: 25 minutes | Serves 4 to 6

Note: Adapted from Lunch.

1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cooked boneless and skinless chicken breasts, diced (a generous 2 cups)
2 small celery stalks, cut into small dice
1/2 red onion, cut into very small dice
1/2 green apple, cored and cut into medium dice
1/3 cup currants (raisins may be substituted)
Salt and pepper, if desired

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, cider vinegar and Dijon mustard to form a dressing.

2. To the bowl, add the chicken, celery, onion, apple and currants. Toss everything together, taste and adjust the seasoning if desired. Chill before serving. This makes about 1 quart chicken salad.

Each of 6 servings: 188 calories; 12 grams protein; 10 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 11 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 39 mg cholesterol; 7 grams sugar; 163 mg sodium.