Whether you’re burnt out on cooking or short on time, a healthy, delicious meal is less than 10 minutes away!
A couple weeks ago, I got burnt out on cooking. Yes, me. The same person who thinks a vegan burrito that dirties 3 pots and a food processor and requires making a vegan cheese sauce from scratch is an acceptable weeknight dinner. The Rachael who once baked her own cornbread simply to use it for breadcrumbs in veggie patties. Yup, the crazy fool who makes her own ice cream and energy bars. For a good week, I wanted nothing to do with a kitchen.
Since my husband was going to be out of town on business for the week, it was perfect timing for a break. Now, before you internet crazies get all riled up, my husband does not expect me to cook dinner for him every night. I simply enjoy having nice, home cooked meals with him. With the hubs out of town, I decided to work like crazy, cross off those items lingering on my to do list (ha!) and spend no more than 10 minutes in the kitchen cooking each meal.
I’m happy to report back that I ate pretty darn well!
Not having time to prepare home cooked meals is one of the biggest concerns I hear from my clients. Certainly, there are weirdos like me who enjoy chopping and mixing and sauteeing, but in general, most people want to minimize time spent in the kitchen.
A quick meal doesn’t require heavily processed ingredients. Nor does it have to be boring and flavorless. There are plenty of nutritious, convenient options at the grocery store that can help you quickly whip up a gourmet meal.
For all my busy bees, here’s a list of ten meals that require less than 10 minutes of work!
1. ALMOND BUTTER, GINGER, AND HONEY SANDWICH // Make a sandwich with sprouted grain bread, almond butter, freshly grated ginger, and a drizzle of honey. Serve with fresh fruit.
2. CHOPPED CAPRESE // My chopped caprese salad is pretty much the easiest thing ever and easy to adapt based on what you have on hand. Simply toss chopped tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and black olives with a little pesto and serve over arugula. To round out the meal, serve with whole grain crostini or toss in some white beans.
3. SMOKED SALMON SCRAMBLE // Chop tomatoes and green onion then saute in olive oil until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add chopped smoked salmon, capers and beaten eggs. Scramble and cook then sprinkle with goat cheese. Serve with whole grain toast or fruit salad.
4. ONE POT PASTA // Have you heard of this one pot pasta wonder? I haven’t tried it yet, but I really need to. Thanks to Buzzfeed for doing what you do best and listing 21 different recipes so I didn’t have to. Most of these recipes are pretty balanced if you use whole grain pasta, and if you’re a moderately fast chopper, your work can be done in less than 10 minutes.
5. SMOOTHIES // Smoothies are a fantastic quick meal at any time of the day. Add a handful of oats, a scoop of plant based protein powder and/or a spoonful of nut butter to make it more satisfying. Or better yet, make it a smoothie bowl?
6. AVOCADO CUP // Make a quick tuna or salmon salad (I use plain Greek yogurt, a dash of dijon, sun-dried tomatoes, diced onion and parsley in mine) and serve in the hole of an avocado half. Serve over a bed of lettuce with fresh fruit.
7. VEGETABLE FRIED QUINOA // Trader Joe’s makes these amazing frozen quinoa and vegetable mixes. I’m partial to the superfood pilaf and quinoa with vegetable melange. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet on medium-high heat and add the frozen bag of quinoa/vegetables. Cook until hot and lightly crisped, about 8 minutes. Move the mix to the sides of the pan, then add 2-3 beaten eggs in the middle. Scramble, then when the eggs are cooked, toss together. Serve with plenty of sriracha or other hot sauce. If you don’t have a Trader Joes nearby, use any bag of frozen vegetables, precooked brown rice, garlic and a little soy sauce.
8. EGGS IN A GRILLED CHEESE NEST // Make a sandwich with sprouted grain bread, dijon mustard, an ounce of sharp cheddar cheese and sliced tomato. Heat a teaspoon of olive oil or organic butter in a small skillet. Using a circular cookie or biscuit cutter (or a sharp knife), cut a hole in the center of the sandwich. Place the sandwich (and the hole – the best part) in the skillet. Crack an egg in the center of the hole. After a couple minutes, when the whites look partially set, flip and toast the other side. Serve with a salad of arugula tossed with lemon juice and olive oil.
9. BEET AND LENTIL SALAD // Two of my favorite convenience foods are Trader Joe’s steamed lentils and Love Beets, which are precooked and seasoned beets (try the honey ginger with avocado!). Top a bed of greens with beets, lentils, walnuts, and a crumble of blue cheese. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice or balsamic. If you can’t find these products near you, no worries, just use canned lentils and plain cooked beets. Your salad will be slightly less awesome, but still amazing, I promise.
10. INDIAN CURRY // There are so many premade Indian sauces that make a great kitchen shortcut. My favorites are by Kitchens of India, all of which are made from simple ingredients. Try the vegan cashew and cumin sauce or the creamy tomato. Saute a chopped onion in olive or coconut oil, then add chopped eggplant, frozen kale/spinach and the sauce and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes, then stir in cooked chickpeas and cook to warm through. Serve with a jarred chutney.
What are your favorite quick meals?