Things are getting crazy around here! It’s that time of year when the calendar just keeps filling up and the time I have to cook dinner just keeps going down. Last night we had Cafe Rio for dinner because I had a late meeting and the hubster is out of town on a business trip. The night before I bought a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store, whipped up some instant mashed potatoes and that’s it!
As I was doing the dishes after that meal I decided I have got to come up with some more fast meals to cook in a time pinch! I’m talking SUPER fast! I did a little online research and some food websites idea of a “fast” meal is 40 minutes or less! Umm….no…I need some seriously fast meals!
So here are MY TOP 5 FASTEST DINNERS, followed by several more I found at the website Chow.com:
- Rotisserie Chicken – combined with instant mashed potatoes and a canned or frozen veggie thrown in.
- Tuna Melts – No. 3 son LOVES these. They are perfect for a quick lunch or dinner. You can use canned chicken or canned salmon in place of the tuna if you’d like.
- Spaghetti with Garlic and Olive Oil – self-explanatory.
- Grilled Flank Steak – cut a piece of flank steak into strips, pour your favorite marinade over the strips (I used Yoshida’s Oriental Marinade) and let marinate for whatever amount of time you have available. Cook on the outdoor grill or on the George Foreman grill.
- Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Tomato Soup – My Mom used to make this for me…now I make it for my kids!
More SUPER FAST dinner inspiration:
Omelette – 2 eggs, some chopped tomatoes and scallions. Dinner in under 5 minutes. Serve with a bagel or toast.
Pasta and Sauce – Boil some water, microwave some sauce. It doesn’t get much faster than that!
Steak Under The Broiler – serve with a side of steamed veggies.
Chicken and Rice-A-Roni – prepare chicken flavored rice-a-roni according to package directions. While rice is simmering add to it chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces and your favorite veggies chopped. A complete meal in 20 minutes with only one pot to wash.
Progresso Lentil Soup (three ways)
– add a couple of cut-up turkey hotdogs and some frozen chopped spinach.
– splash in a tablespoon or so of balsamic vinegar and serve with a tomato and feta salad and some bread or Triscuits.
– crumble some italian sausage in a pan and brown it and then add the can of lentil soup with a little olive oil. While that is heating up cook some small shell pasta. When pasta is done, drain and put in a bowl and ladle the lentil soup over for a quick hearty meal!
Annie’s Whole Wheat Mac & Cheese – add frozen peas to the boiling pasta 2 minutes before it’s done.
Top Ramen Stir Fry – cook the top ramen as directed without the seasoning packets. Drain noodles and set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil and stir fry a cut-up chicken breast or 2 eggs and then the veggies. Add 1 packet of the seasoning to the stir-fry and taste. Add back the noodles and stir-fry for another minute or so.
“Baked” Potato – microwave a russet potato. While it’s being cooked, heat up a can of cheddar cheese soup and add a can of mixed vegetables or some chopped broccoli. Pour it over the potato.
Orzo – boils up quickly, toss with olive oil, cracked black pepper and parmesan cheese. You could also throw in a handful of frozen shrimp, or leftover chicken.
“Fake” Tuna Casserole – Chop up and cook 1/2 an onion, then make a box of Trader Joe’s mac and cheese. Add the onions, a can of tuna, and frozen peas. Easy comfort food!
“Fake” Lasagna – boil your choice of ravioli until just before al dente. Meanwhile, prep your favorite tomato sauce, basil, mozzarella, parmesan, and veggies. Preheat the broiler. When the ravioli are done and drained, layer ravioli, sauce, cheese, and veggies in a casserole dish and finish off with parmesan cheese on top. Stick it under the broiler for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Whole dish can be made in 15 minutes.
Fried Rice – works great with leftover rice! Throw an egg in a pan with some oil and scramble. When the egg is cooked through, add chopped ham and frozen peas. Then add the rice with a little water to break up the rice. Stir fry with soy sauce and oyster sauce to taste.
Salsa Chicken – boneless chicken breast cooked in a pan or in the microwave then topped with salsa! You can also add corn and/or black beans — or whatever you want. Serve with refried beans (from a can), tortillas, and sour cream and you are set.
Cheese Tortilla (or “Cheese Crisp”) – take one large flour tortilla for each person and place them on baking sheets. Lightly cover with grated cheese, dot with some salsa and, if available, some diced green chiles from a can. Place in a 350 degree oven (no need to preheat) and heat until the cheese is melted. To be a proper cheese crisp it needs, of course, to be baked until the tortilla is crisp. Each person gets one on a big plate.
Nigella Lawson’s Lemon Linguine – Cook pasta. In separate bowl mix egg yolk, parmesan cheese, lemon juice and a bit of cream. Drain pasta and reserve some pasta water. Toss pasta with sauce.
So hopefully SOMETHING listed above will inspire you during this crazy, busy time of year! Because no matter HOW busy we get, we still need to feed ourselves and our families without having to resort to unhealthy and over-priced “fast food”.
Now it’s YOUR turn! I can’t wait to hear what you feed your families during “crunch time”!