Local Blogger Serves Up Half-hour Home-cooked Meals in New Cookbook

by | Jan 2020

One skillet turkey enchilada quinoa, a 30-minute recipe from Taylor Ellingson's "The Easy 30-Minute Cookbook"

Photos: Chris Emeott

Local blogger and author Taylor Ellingson recently released her second cookbook, “The Easy 30-Minute Cookbook.”

Taylor Ellingson of Edina released her second cookbook in the fall. Called The Easy 30-Minute Cookbook, it’s a natural follow-up to her first, 30-Minute Cooking for Two. Ellingson, who is also a regular contributor to Edina Magazine, says when she starts a project, she thinks about what she would want in a cookbook.

“With my first book I was cooking just for husband and me,” she says. “The new book is more about cooking for a family—that’s definitely where I am in my life right now.”

Food blogger Taylor Ellingson in her kitchen.

The second book also has recipes that would work for a dinner or an extended family weekend get together. Both books emphasize eating healthy, home-cooked meals without a lot of fuss.

Ellingson says the recipes avoid ingredients that are hard to find or too expensive, because it isn’t just what happens in the kitchen that can make cooking feel like a chore. And the book includes tips for making grocery shopping faster and more efficient so you can organize your pantry and refrigerator with the basics you need to be ready to walk into the kitchen and get dinner started.

“My main goal,” she says, “is to reach out to that person who is intimidated by cooking and inspire them to cook more in their own home.”

She recruits friends and family to try out the recipes after she’s cooked them herself, so she can be sure that anyone can easily prepare them—in 30 minutes.

“I got a lot of positive feedback from the first book,” she says. “People told me they found it really helpful and that was my inspiration for the second book.”

The Easy 30-Minute Cookbook

We all know that eating at home is healthier and Ellingson says she wants to help make it easier for everyone to be able to prepare healthy meals, even on a busy weeknight. She shared one of her recipes with us and also recommended a list of helpful kitchen gadgets she thinks everyone should have on hand.

One Skillet Turkey Enchilada Quinoa

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ground turkey, quinoa, black beans, corn and enchilada sauce are combined in this one skillet, family pleasing dinner. This is one great example of a dinner that can be flavorful, yet easy to make. The healthy dose of cheese on top doesn’t hurt, either!


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 (10 oz.) can enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 (16 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Cilantro, for topping


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a medium pot, combine the quinoa and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 15–18 minutes, until the quinoa is cooked, and the water is absorbed.
  3. Meanwhile, while the quinoa is cooking, prepare the rest of the ingredients. In an ovenproof skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the turkey and cook until it is no longer pink, breaking it into smaller pieces as it cooks.
  5. Add the cooked quinoa, enchilada sauce, corn, black beans, green onions, cumin and salt to the skillet, mixing well to combine. Top with the shredded cheese.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
  7. Serve topped with the cilantro and enjoy!
Go-To Kitchen Gadgets:

Make many healthy meals with a few simple tools.

Garlic press.
I really dislike mincing fresh garlic with a knife because then my fingers smell like garlic for hours. The garlic press takes a fraction of the time and, bonus: no stinky garlic fingers!

While a zester is traditionally used for zesting citrus, I use mine all of the time for grating fresh ginger. You’ll notice that I use fresh ginger in my recipes a lot, so having a zester to speed up the process of mincing ginger is very handy!

Mini food processor.
If I’m just not in the mood to do a lot of vegetable chopping, I break out my mini food processor. It does a great (and fast!) job at dicing vegetables such as onions, bell peppers, carrots, celery and even herbs. If you’re on a budget, an onion chopper will also do the trick, it just involves a little more hands-on work.

Rice cooker.
We cook a lot of rice and grains in our house, and they are suggested in many of the recipes in this cookbook. Using a rice cooker takes away the necessity to be watching it while you prepare the rest of the meal, freeing up time for cooking. Many times, a pressure cooker has a rice cooking option, so if you have one of those be sure to check and see!

Sharp knife.
There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to chop veggies or meat with a dull knife. It takes longer and is actually quite dangerous. A well-sharpened knife will ensure clean cuts and no slippage because of dullness!

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