Ten Simple Meals in Ten Minutes or Less
It’s all well and good to save money on meal prep, but for those working outside the home or juggling various other projects, saving time can be just as critical. Here are ten simple meal ideas you can prepare in ten minutes or less.
For healthy, fun eating that brings together multiple food groups, tacos are tough to beat. They’re also incredibly flexible, with versions available in chicken, beef, fish and TVP. Definitely a dinner for tortilla lovers. Bonus? Kids dig ‘em!
This one requires packages of pre-cooked rice from a prior assembly cooking session, but is otherwise super quick and one of the most inexpensive meals you can make. An extra perk? This is another one of those meals which allows tremendous flexibility when choosing ingredients. Whether you’re using left-over pork ribs, sale ham, or even Spam as Paul suggested recently, fried rice is a great way to use up leftovers of all types.
Soup on the fly.
While many soups require longer prep times and slow simmering, there are a few ways to get a decent soup on the table in minutes. A restaurant knock-off version of pasta fagioli soup comes to mind. Onions and celery cook quickly, carrots can be grated to greatly speed up the process, canned beans are already cooked, and most dried pastas cook in six to eight minutes. Fresh pastas finish in even less time. Slice some leftover artisan bread for bruschetta, add some fun soup garnishes and you’ve got an elegant dinner on the table in no time.
Horseradish-infused tuna melt, oven toasted ham and Swiss with fun condiments and bargain banana peppers purchased in bulk, a fresh basil caprese . . . loads sandwich ideas exist for fun dinner food on the run. Add some homemade potato chips or mozzarella sticks and you’ve got a decently replicated café experience right at home.
Chicken Ceasar, sliced steak, spinach and strawberry with feta and sunflower kernels, lots of creative opportunities are out there for the salad option as well.
Thinly sliced beef, shrimp, small chunks of chicken and tofu cubes all cook quickly. Add to that the rapid cooking time of diagonally sliced vegetables, and stir fry bumps nearly to the top of the list as far as time saving dinners go. Punch the button on your rice cooker, and you’ll be cooking with gas. Figuratively, that is.
Don’t forget the power of your crock pot.
Obviously, the cooking time for meals in the slow cooker drastically exceeds the ten minute time line. The benefit here is in the extremely reduced preparation time and flexibility. Not to mention having fewer dishes to clean afterward. It takes no time at all to toss in a pot roast along with some carrots, potatoes and seasonings. Having a hearty dinner ready as soon as you walk through the door is decadent indeed. Many other simple, time efficient recipes are out there for slow cooker meal prep. If you have a yummy fast one, please share below.
Go with a rip and dunk menu.
These are simple, flexible and depending on your choice of ingredients, extremely affordable. Hummus and motobal with a selection of flat bread and vegetables is one way to go. Bread bowl dinners and fondue are a couple of others. As you can see, this type of dinner option can be as rustic or as elegant as you like.
Breakfast for dinner.
This is yet another area where you have a great deal of flexibility. Using homemade baking mix for on the go pancakes and waffles, or serving a hearty egg scramble with sausage and peppers are both quick options with a reasonable amount of yum. We like to do this occasionally because while these types of breakfasts are quick to make by evening meal standards, they take a little more time than we have some mornings, even working from home. However, we LOVE breakfast foods. This is an affordable, fast and flexible way to have the best of both worlds.
Still cheaper than take out or restaurant dining, having a few convenience items on hand for those evenings when your schedule is completely out of whack is a viable alternative, in my humble opinion. Frozen grocery store entrees, rotisserie chicken, even fish sticks and Tater Tots can get the kiddies fed and in bed on time, putting you back in control of a previously out of control day. The time saved can be used to regroup and get things back on track for the next day.
The most exhaustive list of menu-specific dinner options? No. But really, that wasn’t my intent. What I really want is for you all to have some idea categories that provide you with the greatest amount of options based on what you’ve been able to find on sale in your area. So mix and match to your heart’s content, and use the extra time for whatever you like. With these ideas, you’ll have plenty of it to spare.