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The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

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5 quick and easy recipes under 30 minutes

Photo by Alyson McPhee on Unsplash

Whether you’ve never turned on a stove before or are looking for something new to dish up, here are five quick and easy recipes for you to love and enjoy. We are all pressed for time, so rest assured, these recipes won’t exceed 30 minutes. In return, you’ll enjoy a hearty and nutritious meal. Most of the ingredients can be found in the on-campus markets, with some from nearby grocery stores as well. Everyone has different serving sizes, so measurements have been added for essential ingredients. Cooking takes time to learn, but luckily you will have the opportunity to try again because you will always need to eat! (Note: all meals here serve one, so adjust as necessary. You know your bodily needs the best.)

Japanese Golden Curry (vegetarian/meat lover friendly)

This sweet and delicious one-pot curry is very simple to make, with little room for error on flavor when using the ready-made paste. Japanese curry gets its sweetness from apples, leaving room for additional spice, if you so wish. This recipe can be made with ingredients from the market, but if you have similar ingredients, feel free to substitute for those as well. I love this recipe as there are no limits on what you can add, so this is great for you picky eaters out there!

Time: 20 minutes


1 serving of rice

1 serving of any vegetables of your choice (recommend broccoli, carrots, spinach, asparagus, etc.)

1 serving of any protein of your choice (chicken, turkey, tofu, etc.)

2-3 cloves of garlic

1/4 of an onion


1 tbsp of oil

1/2 to 1 cup of water

1 cube of S&B Golden Curry Sauce Mix

Garnish of choice (spring onion, sesame seeds, etc.)



  1. Wash and cook your rice according to the instructions on the rice package or your rice cooker. This is the first thing you want to do, as rice takes the longest to cook.
  2. While the rice is cooking, mince your garlic and slice the onion. Set it to the side. Wash and chop your vegetables and protein. Set it to the side.
  3. Heat up a pot and add oil. Add the garlic and onion and stir it until fragrant.
  4. If your selected protein is meat, add it first. If not, add your root vegetables first. Season with salt and saute for about two minutes.
  5. If you have a plant-based protein, now’s the time to add it. Saute for another minute or until the ingredients are about 80% cooked through (no need to be exact; you can eyeball this).
  6. Add 1/2 cup of water to the pot. Add one cube of the S&B Golden Curry Sauce mix. Stir until the cube is dissolved. Add more water if needed.
  7. Add your leafy vegetables. Stir until cooked before taking the pot off the heat.
  8. Plate your cooked rice and pour your curry mixture on top. Garnish with your favorite toppings. Serve and enjoy.

Chicken Baked Feta

Don’t have time to stand in the kitchen to cook a full meal? We got you covered. Enjoy the beauty of using an oven for a hearty and delicious chicken-baked feta. This recipe does require you to walk around your kitchen a little bit, but the results are worth it! Preparation time is a great time for taking a shower, catching up on lectures, or going for a walk.

Time: 30 mins


1 serving of chicken breast

1 serving of any vegetables of your choice (recommend cherry tomatoes and broccoli)

1 block of feta cheese

1 head of garlic

2 tbsp of heavy cream

Seasoning of your choice (recommend Italian seasoning, but basil works too)

2 tbsp of oil

Salt and pepper

Optional: Rice, pasta, bread, spinach



  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a hot pan with oil. (If you choose to have rice or pasta, this would be the time to prepare that).
  2. Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper and half your seasoning. Then, place the chicken in the hot pan, searing each side for 1-2 mins.
  3. Line your baking tray with baking paper before placing the feta cheese in the middle. Add the veggies, chicken, and garlic, then season with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. Bake for 20 minutes. (Don’t forget to check on your rice or pasta!)
  4. Remove from the oven and take the chicken out of the pan and set it on a separate plate to the side. Check to see if the chicken is fully cooked. Add the heavy cream and mix all the ingredients together. Add the chicken back into the sauce.
  5. Garnish with the rest of your seasoning. Serve with your choice of rice, pasta, bread, or spinach.

Tuna Sandwich

No time to turn on the stove? No problem! This meal is quick and easy and requires zero cooking skills. It is perfect for those who are learning the beginnings of the culinary world, because all you need is your knife and chopping board. This recipe is the foundation of a great meal, so as you get creative, feel free to add more varieties to your sandwich.

Time: 10-15 mins


1 can of your favorite tuna

2 slices of your choice of bread

1/4 cup of mayo

2 stalks of diced celery

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

Dill (dried or fresh, the amount is up to you)

4 pieces of lettuce


Salt and pepper

Optional: sliced dill pickles


  1. Drain the canned tuna and add it to a mixing bowl. Add the mayo, celery, mustard, and dill into the bowl before mixing the ingredients together.
  2. Spread butter on both slices of bread. (Optional: toast them on a hot pan for a great crunch!). Place the lettuce (and pickles) on the bread and top it off with the tuna mix. Enjoy! 

Egg Fried Rice

This recipe is my go-to when I have leftover rice from the night before. It’s super simple and quick, and the great thing is that you can add anything you want to it! The time taken for this recipe is dependent on your chopping speed, as it is a fast-paced cooking style. The key to good fried rice is keeping ingredients in small, diced pieces (I try my best with this; it’s very time-consuming to cut things up into small bits). Frozen veggies work great here as they are already pre-cut for you.

Time: 15-30 mins


1 serving of leftover rice

2 eggs

1 serving vegetables (or not, but I do recommend carrots and cucumbers)

2 tbsp cooking oil

2 cloves garlic

1 shallot or ½ an onion (white or red, your choice!)

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp hoisin sauce


Optional: chili flakes



  1. Mince your garlic and shallots/onions. Dice your vegetables.
  2. Heat up a wok (or a deep frying pan, there’s a lot of stirring going on here) and add 1 tbsp of cooking oil.
  3. Crack your eggs into the wok and stir until scrambled. Put it on a plate and set it to the side.
  4. Add the other tbsp of cooking oil and saute your garlic and shallots/onions until fragrant. Add your vegetables and season with salt. (Be gentle on the salt, we still have more seasoning to add).
  5. Add your rice and stir all the veggies together. Add your soy sauce, sesame oil, and hoisin sauce before stirring again. You want to be able to break the rice up into individual grains.
  6. Before serving, add the eggs back into the wok and stir for another minute or two. Plate it up and enjoy! Your arm deserves a break. (Optional: top with chili flakes.)

Burger Burritos (vegan/meat lover friendly)

This quick low-carb meal is easy for those on the go! Imagine all of your burger favorites, but wrapped up in a tortilla. The great thing about this recipe is that there is minimal cooking, which is perfect for those who are getting familiar with the kitchen. Your choice of burger patty is what makes this meal vegan, vegetarian, or meat lover friendly! Just like every recipe here, this is just a simple recipe but feel free to make it your own.

Time: 10-15 minutes


1 burger patty

1 tomato, chopped

4 leaves of lettuce

1 tortilla

2 tbsp garlic aioli

1 serving cheese of choice

Oil and seasoning for the patty

Optional: dill pickles and relish



  1. In a hot skillet, heat up your tortilla. Set it aside on a plate.
  2. Add oil and cook the patty according to package directions. Don’t forget to season your patty to taste.
  3. Spread the aioli on the tortilla and add your tomato and lettuce. (Optional: add pickles and relish). Chop your patty into thirds and spread it on top of the veggies. Wrap up the tortilla and enjoy!



Korean Rice Cake Stir Fry (vegan/gluten-free/meat lover friendly)

A perfect light and hearty meal provides lots of texture. It takes the tanginess of Korean rice cakes and any ingredients of your choice to satisfy your umami cravings. This recipe can be served as a snack or as a full meal. The only thing to watch out for is the saltiness of the dish as soy sauce is saltier than you may think (I’ve made this mistake plenty of times).

Time: 20 minutes


1 serving of Korean Rice Cakes (you can get them fresh at H-Mart or frozen at Trader Joe’s)

1 serving of any vegetables of your choice (suggestion: kimchi)

1 serving of any protein of your choice (minced meats work better for meat lovers, tofu works better for vegans)

3 cloves of garlic

¼ of an onion

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp Hoisin/Oyster sauce (not a must-have but will help with flavor!)

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp of oil


Garnish of choice (spring onion, sesame seeds, etc)



  1. Heat up a pot of water and cook the rice cakes according to the packet instructions. Meanwhile, mince your garlic and chop your onion. Chop your vegetables and protein. Set it all to the side.
  2. In a pan, set to medium heat and heat up the oil, and add garlic and onions. Saute until fragrant. Add your protein and season with salt. Stir for about one to three minutes before adding your vegetables and stirring. Don’t forget to keep an eye on your rice cakes.
  3. When the rice cakes are done, drain and add to the protein and vegetable mixture in the pan. Add the sauces and mix all the ingredients together. Add more soy sauce as needed. If the food is cooking too quickly, add a few tablespoons of water to give it more cooking time. Serve and enjoy.

Burrito Bowl (gluten-free)

This quick meal is versatile and caters to any and all dietary restrictions. Think of this as a Chipotle bowl, but your version. So get all your favorite proteins and vegetables and get to cooking. The great thing about this recipe is that there is minimal cooking required, as the components of this dish are kitchen staples. Everything here is “1 serving”, meaning add as much or as little as you desire! It is your meal after all.



1 serving of any protein of your choice (black bean, minced meat, etc)

1 serving of rice

1 serving of guacamole/avocado

1 serving of salsa

1 serving of sliced lettuce

1 serving of shredded cheese

1 serving of canned corn



  1. Wash and cook your rice. Then, prepare and cook your protein according to the instructions on the packaging.
  2. When the rice is fully cooked, serve it in a bowl. Top with your protein, lettuce, guacamole, salsa, corn, and cheese. Enjoy!
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