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yummilicious meals in 20 minutes or less 
by Yee-Fan Sun
 | 1 2 3

I've never been a skinny girl, and for the most part, I'm generally okay with that. I love smelling good food, cooking good food, eating good food, and if all that means I'll never squeeze into a size four pair of jeans, so be it. Good eating makes me far too happy. Which is why I've never seen the point of consuming something I don't like just because it's fast and easy and keeps me from turning into an evile, nutrient-deprived crank. Eating isn't merely another necessary but boring ritual, like brushing my teeth or washing my hair. No, when I sit down for a meal, I want to look forward to eating that food on my plate.

On nights when I'm tired and starving, the reward of a good meal is all the more needed. Even as my grumbling stomach lets me know that it's about to riot if I don't feed it soon, my inner gourmand demands something flavor-packed as well as filling. In the twenty minute window before my belly begins to auto-digest, I need to come up with a good meal, and keep my mind off the stabbing hunger pangs at the same time. In short, I need to get cooking. At times like these, I rely on a few quickie recipes that I know won't taste like fast food.

These three dishes are quick and simple enough to throw together as a treat for you alone, and pretty enough to serve up to guests. When you're in the mood for fine food without the long wait, try out one of these recipes…

smoked salmon & sugar snap peas with bowtie pasta
Smoked salmon's not cheap, but this dish will still run you less (and taste much, much better) than a meal ordered from your usual takeout place.

2 oz. smoked salmon
2 tsp. freshly chopped dill
1 heaping tablespoon capers
¼ cup sour cream (light's fine)
big handful of sugar snap peas
½ lb. bowtie pasta
lemon wedge
salt and pepper

serves 2

1 Bring a big ol' pot of water to a boil. When the water's bubbling, add the pasta. Cook, giving it a stir from time to time. When the outer edges of the farfalle have just softened but before the center is fully cooked through, toss in the sugar snap peas. By the time the pasta is al dente (generally a couple additional minutes of cooking), the peas will be cooked to the perfect crisp-tender point. Drain peas and pasta.
2 While the pasta's cooking, slice the salmon into thin slivers. Toss it in a big bowl along with the dill, capers and sour cream; stir it all up to combine.
3 Toss the salmon-cream mixture with the cooked pasta and peas; add a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice plus salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy while it's hot!

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