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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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    Tucker Cummings

    Writer and social media professional sharing productivity tips on Lifehack.

    The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It? The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity? How to Diagnose the “Phantom Cursor” Issue on Your Mac Extreme Minimalism: Andrew Hyde and the 15-Item Lifestyle 6 Easy Tips for Living with 100 Items or Less

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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