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Great Ideas for Dinner in Under 10 Minutes

Great Ideas for Dinner in Under 10 Minutes

    As I mentioned in a recent post here at Lifehack, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has shown that the average American spends as many as 49 hours a year just shopping for food. On top of that, we also spend an additional 288 hours per year preparing all the food that we’ve purchased.

    And all of this cooking has to take place in a pretty limited window of time. Maybe you have a commute that’s over an hour, which will limit your available cooking time drastically by the time you actually walk through the door. Or maybe you have a family that rarely eats together due to work, sports, or other after-school activities that scatter your mealtimes all over the board.

    So if you’re looking to cut meal prep down to a more reasonable amount of time, there are a bunch of great resources you can tap into. Without further ado, here are some great online resources for planning dinners that can be ready in 10 minutes or less, along with some of their best meal ideas to date.

    1. Dinner in Ten Minutes

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    I recently discovered the blog Dinner in Ten Minutes, which lists tons of great ideas for meals that are fast, easy, fresh, and still take less time than waiting in a line to order fast food from a burger joint.

    The pet project of Jan Littlehales, Dinner in Ten Minutes is a great repository of fast, easy, and healthy recipes. Littlehales explains her cooking philosophy as follows: “Having spent thousands of hours in the kitchen cooking meals for my family, I’m convinced there are plenty of options out there for dinner in ten minutes.  And that’s what this website is about.  Being able to get a tasty meal on the table, night after night, and still be sane by the end of the week.”

    Top Recipe Picks

    1. Lamb Burgers: Combine ground lamb, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic, mint, and dijon mustard. Form into small mini-patties and serve on small buns with cheese, veggies, or caramelized onions.

    2. Beef Stroganoff: This one takes 6 hours in the slow cooker to actually cook through, but only about ten minutes to prep the ingredients and plate.

    3. Baked Fish: Bake thin fish filets in the oven, smothered with San Marzano tomatoes, fresh herbs, and lemon juice.

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    2. Woman’s Day

    Giving practical advice to women and their families since the late 1920s, Women’s Day is a treasure trove of quick meal ideas. With a circulation of almost 4 million, there are plenty of great home economics and food tips for readers to enjoy. Here are some of their most recent recipes.

    Top Recipe Picks

    1. Season pork cutlets with ground ginger, salt and pepper. Panfry until just cooked through; remove. Add drained canned sliced peaches and mango chutney; stir until hot. Spoon over cutlets.

    2. Sauté scallops in hot oil in skillet until cooked through; remove. Sauté sliced shiitake mushrooms and minced garlic in same skillet until tender; stir in Szechuan stir-fry sauce. Spoon over scallops; sprinkle with sliced scallions.

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    3. Heat broiler. Open hero rolls and place on foil-lined baking sheet. Meanwhile, heat ready-to-heat turkey meatballs in equal parts marinara sauce and taco sauce with some ground cumin. Spoon meatball mixture into rolls, top with shredded chipotle Cheddar and broil to melt cheese.

    3. The New York Times

    Mark Bittman of the New York Times put together a list of 101 easy recipes that take 10 minutes or less (give or take) a while back. Bittman says he devoted time to this project because “The pleasures of cooking are sometimes obscured by summer haze and heat, which can cause many of us to turn instead to bad restaurants and worse takeout…With a little imagination and some swift moves — and maybe a salad and a loaf of bread — you can turn any dish on this list into a meal that not only will be better than takeout, but won’t heat you out of the house.”

    Top Recipe Picks

    1. Make pesto: put a couple of cups of basil leaves, a garlic clove, salt, pepper and olive oil as necessary in a blender (walnuts and Parmesan are optional). Serve over pasta (dilute with oil or water as necessary) or grilled fish or meat.

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    2. Gazpacho: Combine one pound tomatoes cut into chunks, a cucumber peeled and cut into chunks, two or three slices stale bread torn into pieces, a quarter-cup olive oil, two tablespoons sherry vinegar and a clove of garlic in a blender with one cup water and a couple of ice cubes. Process until smooth, adding water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper, then serve or refrigerate, garnished with anchovies if you like, and a little more olive oil.

    3. Call it a panini: Grilled cheese with prosciutto, tomatoes, thyme or basil leaves.

    What are your favorite quick meal ideas? Tell us in the comments below!

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    Last Updated on December 2, 2018

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

    The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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    The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

    Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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    Review Your Past Flow

    Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

    Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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    Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

    Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

    Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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    Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

    Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

    We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

    Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

      Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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