Preparing your meals at home can save you money and improve your health, but it can be difficult to cook on a regular basis, especially if you have a busy schedule. However, cooking a delicious and nourishing meal doesn’t have to be complex and time-consuming. There are literally hundreds of meal options out there that you can prepare from start to finish in well under half an hour, all with delicious results.
How To Enjoy Fast and Easy Meals
There are many ways you can set yourself up for success in the kitchen. Quick cooking usually comes down to the right planning and preparation, and these tips can help you make the most of every minute.
Create a Recipe Repertoire
Many people have a relatively short list of meals that they feel comfortable preparing. Some of the most popular dinners aren’t exactly quick options and can take an hour or more to prep, cook, and serve. However, with a little research, you can create a list of easy go-to recipes that are a cinch to prepare. Check out websites like The Kitchen Community for meal and recipe ideas, then create an organized list of what appeals to you the most. Then, you’ll have access to a quick reference guide when you need a quick and easy meal in a pinch.
Choose Quick-Cooking Ingredients
Not all ingredients are a good choice if you want to get dinner on the table fast. However, there are a few superstars when it comes to quick meals, so it can be a good idea to have them on hand. When it comes to protein, shrimp is hard to beat, and smaller versions can cook in under five minutes. Eggs are another fast and filling option, along with ground meats like beef and turkey.
Pasta is another great addition to a meal, adding plenty of filling protein to a dish. Couscous is one of the quickest-cooking types of pasta you’ll find and can be used to complement a variety of flavor profiles. If rice is your starch of choice, look for options that are already parboiled so they’ll be ready in minutes.
Meal Prep for the Week
When you go grocery shopping, do it on a day when you have an hour or two to spare to prep for the week. Chopping up fruits and vegetables, marinating meats, and cooking a big batch of brown rice or quinoa can save you a lot of time and effort when it’s time to put a meal together.
What To Avoid When Planning a Quick Meal
Certain meats take a long time to cook through, especially bone-in cuts or large roasts. Stick to boneless skinless chicken or beef steaks instead. Root vegetables are delicious and nutritious but they can take a very long time to cook. Choose options that you can enjoy steamed or raw instead. Finally, don’t choose recipes that need to simmer for a long time to develop their flavors, like homemade spaghetti sauces, stews, or braised meats. Save these recipes for when you have extra time on the weekend.
Cooking a tasty meal in a flash is easy with the right planning and preparation. Choose the right ingredients and have a plan in place so you can feed yourself and your family in no time.