Saturday, November 7, 2009

Dinner in Less than 20 Minutes

After running errands late yesterday I wasn’t back to start dinner until after 9pm. Needless to say both the hubby and I were starving. I knew I had to make dinner fast. When this happens I like to use things I have in the freezer in combination with fresh veggies and that is what I did last night. The key to getting things ready quickly is knowing which dishes to start first so that they are cooking while you are prepping the other ideas.

I started by getting the seitan cutlets out of the freezer into the microwave to defrost. I preheated the broiler and started slicing an onion thinly. By slicing the onion thin it will cook quickly. I started the onion water sautéing while I sliced the fresh broccoli into thin spears (thinner spears cook more quickly). I toss the broccoli on a baking sheet and threw the pan under the broiler. Next I put the couscous, water and lemon zest into a covered pan and brought it to a boil and turned off the heat. As soon as the onion is soft I added the tomato and cooked that to make the lycopene more bioavailable. While the tomato is cooking sear the defrosted cutlets in a heavy bottomed skilled coated with a little oil. Slice two thin rings of lemon and sear those at the same time to top the cutlets. When the tomato is hot add the lightly cooked broccoli from the broiler. Finish the vegetables with fresh lemon juice and capers and dinner is ready.

As those of you that have been reading my antics for a while know I like to combine tomato with broccoli because when they are combined they have a synergistic effect that makes them both more bioavailable. I added lemon and briny capers in place of salt to keep our sodium down. I used the whole-wheat couscous because it is ready in 5 minutes and that was perfect for tonight. Here are the specifics.

Seitan Cutlets with Whole Wheat Couscous topped to Lemony Broccoli and Tomatoes
Serves 2


2 seitan cutlets, from the freezer
2 thin slices of lemon
½ cup whole-wheat couscous
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons water
1 lemon zested
1 red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup water to sauté the onion
1 pound of broccoli, cut into thin spears
1 large tomato, cut into bite size pieces
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon capers, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste


Defrost the cutlets and sear in a heavy pan with a little oil and top with seared lemon slices.

Combine the whole-wheat couscous, water and lemon zest bring to a boil and then let stand 5 minutes so the pasta can absorb the water. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Water sauté the onion until soft. Meanwhile put the broccoli under the broiler. Cook the tomato until hot. Add the broccoli, lemon juice and capers.

To serve, place the couscous down first and top with the seitan cutlets. Serve the broccoli and tomatoes on the side. Season the top of the food with salt and pepper and serve hot.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 477.8
Calories From Fat (7%) - 34.78

Total Fat - 4.13g
Saturated Fat - 0.49g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 513.46mg
Potassium - 1651.25mg
Total Carbohydrates - 75.11g
Fiber - 8.93g
Sugar - 5.51g
Protein - 45.02g


This is a variation of many of the fast dinners I make when I am short of time or inspiration. I like that it is heavy on the veggies and my hubby likes that he gets seitan cutlets. When I asked him what he wanted to eat last night he immediately replied "seitan cutlets". For a man that used to love his meat he has really embraced seitan and it makes me very happy.

Nutritionally this dinner, while fast, was no slouch. Each serving of this meal contained over 8,300IU of vitamin A, 280mg of vitamin C, 250mg of calcium, 300mcg of folate, 380mg of phosphorus, 130mg of magnesium, and 23mcg of selenium. Not bad for such a quick no stress meal.

Now I need to get a few things started in the kitchen, make a mug of green tea with ginger and then I need to write a post about the flaxseed crackers. I will be back soon.


  1. That looks great, I love lemon on veggies!
    Can't wait for the post on flaxseed crackers.

  2. Janet,

    Thanks! :) I am a big lemon fiend. I love it on anything!

    I just posted the flaxseed crackers. Both the hubby and I liked them. Now I need to explore more cracker variations.

    talk to you soon,

  3. Having stuff in the freezer is so convenient on nights like that. And couscous is always a great thing to fall back on!! Great meal!

  4. Janelle,

    Thanks! :) One of the reasons I keep seitan in the freezer is for nights like that. It defrosts and reheats so well.


  5. Wow! What an impressive quick dinner!!! You can cook faster than Rachel Ray, Yay!!! And your dinner looks absolutely delicious (and healthy too), Mmmmm!!! It makes me hungry in the middle of the night:)

    p.s. I've never cooked couscous before, I really love the idea of quick meal. I'll definitely give it a try. I hope my family will love it.


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