License and registration, please: Eating The Week takes on Cooking Light’s Superfast

Usually, I have a ludicrous amount of time for food bloggery. I work from home, with my “office” all of 10 steps from the kitchen. And being a freelancer is a fairly autonomous gig, which means I can make room in my schedule pretty easily for menu planning, grocery shopping and cooking.

Nevertheless, there are still times where the workload required for Paying The Mortgage trumps Eating The Week, and I can barely find room in my day to brush my teeth, much less spend 2 hours making chili. So when I saw Cooking Light’s challenge to try out recipes from their Superfast collection – all of which are designed to require less than 20 minutes to prepare – I was gung-ho to add some to my repertoire.

I picked seven different recipes and gave each one a whirl. I recorded the time from when I’d gathered the ingredients on my kitchen counter to the final dish hitting the kitchen table. In the spirit of Superfast, I’ll keep each write-up short and sweet (or savory… or umami-y).

Spicy shrimp tortilla soup (recipe here):

  • Time spent: 29 minutes
  • Changes: omitted the cilantro; chopped whole vegetables rather than buying/using pre-cut; used pre-cooked polenta instead of hominy
  • Tastiness score: 8/10

Pasta with kale, bacon and sun-dried tomatoes (recipe here):

  • Time spent: 24 minutes
  • Changes: couldn’t find orecchiette so I substituted shells; forgot the lemon juice.

Italian eggs over spinach and polenta (recipe here):

  • Time spent: 17 minutes
  • Changes: forgot to add the cheese until after the food was in the bowl
  • Tastiness score: 9/10 (First time, with a not-spicy sauce, it was more like a 7. Second, with spicy sauce, a 9)

Fish tacos with cabbage slaw (recipe here):

  • Time spent: 21 minutes
  • Changes: used whole cabbage instead of pre-cut; used larger, whole wheat tortilla; omitted cilantro
  • Tastiness score: 5/10 (fish needed much more flavoring)

Vegetarian chipotle nachos (recipe here):

  • Time spent: 25 minutes
  • Changes: used black beans instead of pinto, grape tomatoes instead of diced canned, tempeh instead of faux meat crumbles; omitted cilantro; added lime juice
  • Tastiness score: 8/10 (a little more chipotle and it would be 10/10)

Seashell pasta salad with buttermilk-chive dressing (recipe here):

  • Time spent: 21 minutes
  • Changes: used greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise, spinach instead of arugula, pepperoni instead of prosciutto; microwaved pepperoni rather than sauteeing
  • Tastiness score: 5/10 (nearly all points due to the pepperoni; the rest was meh with some blegh for the dressing that coagulated into unappealing lumps as soon as the warm pasta touched it)

Asian beef and noodle filled lettuce cups (recipe here):

  • Time spent: 24 minutes
  • Changes: used udon noodles and doubled the amount; doubled all the vegetables and used whole, not pre-cut; used almonds instead of peanuts (“Where the ^$@#! are the peanuts?! They were just in this cabinet yesterday!”)
  • Tastiness score: 10/10 (really tasty; also, messy)

So there you have it: a Superfast Week where seven meals boil down to 161 minutes. I needed more than 20 minutes for most of them, but not much more. They were all fairly quick, homemade meals in less time than I’d need to drive to and from  McD’s or Chipotle.

Several of these very tasty recipes will be included in our home-cooking rotation, for sure. And there were a couple of duds I probably won’t make again – although, if we’re being fair to the pasta salad with buttermilk-chive dressing, I made a number of changes that probably affected the outcome for the worse.

I’d be interested in hearing from you if you try any of these: did you find them similarly quick to make, and do you agree or disagree with my ratings of their tastiness? If you’d like to try your hand at even more Superfast recipes, head over here.


  1. Love this blog! I will be trying the pasta, kale, bacon and sundried tomoatoes. Sounds and looks amazing! I will let you know what I think.

  2. chefshellina says:

    WOW. I adore this blog! And, what an awesome idea- so glad you showed us each recipe and let us know the details of them. Can’t wait to read more from you- seriously. :)

  3. Thanks, both – very kind of you!

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