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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!