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Quick Easy Meals

Updated on March 22, 2013

For Those Who Don't Like to Make a Meal Out of Cooking

I'll be honest from the start - I don't like cooking. I don't hate it, it's just not something I enjoy so I've become an expert in quick easy meals. I see cooking as a bit of an interruption of my day, so it's something I get done as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Now, don't get me wrong - I love eating. I love good food, and I love tasty, interesting food, so when I say quick and easy, I don't mean fast food or re-heated food. I mean quick, easy freshly prepared, very tasty and reasonably healthy food. ;)

So, the recipes I'm sharing here are quick, easy meals which are also fresh and very tasty - some of them may not sound all that special, but do try them, they are delicious! Enjoy! :)

Image Source: Chef Cuisinier Qui Court - Peel and Stick Wall Decal

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Ridiculously Tasty Quick, Easy Pasta

This is one of my favourite quick easy meals. And it's one of those dishes that sounds nowhere near as delicious as it tastes! You really do have to taste it to believe it.

Preparation Time: 12 minutes

Cooking Time: 5 - 9 minutes

Effort: More than brushing your teeth, less than dusting

Ingredients:

* Pasta (I like to use spaghetti, but you can use any pasta)

* Olive oil (or butter if you prefer)

* Salt

* Smoked salmon

* Coriander

* Garlic

* Fresh chilli pepper or cayenne pepper

* Fresh baby spinach leaves (optional)

Procedure:

1. Boil the kettle then add the water to a large pot and bring back to the boil.

2. Add a little salt to the water, and once the water is boiling enthusiastically, add the pasta.

3. While you're waiting for the pasta to cook (check the packet - should be about 7 to 9 minutes, unless - like me - you're using "quick cook" spaghetti, which takes 5 minutes), chop the garlic.

4. Drain the pasta, and return to pot.

5. Add olive oil, salt and garlic.

6. Using scissors, cut the salmon into pieces over the pot, then do the same with the coriander and chilli pepper (or sprinkle the cayenne instead)

7. Add baby spinach leaves if you'd like - but the dish doesn't need them, it's only if you want something green in it.

Serve and enjoy.

Variations:

You could add: chopped black olives; chopped green or red peppers; spring onions/chives, and/or mushrooms to vary the dish.

Image by: Maciej IWinski

Quick Easy Salmon Pasta Tip:

Substitute for fresh coriander - do not use dried coriander, it's a completely different flavor, instead use flat-leaf parsley.

More Tips for the Quick and Easy Salmon Pasta

Although the spicy addition of fresh chilli peppers or cayenne pepper really makes this dish fabulous, if you don't like anything hot or spicy, you could substitute with paprika or fresh, chopped red peppers.

A squeeze of fresh lemon juice adds a yummy tang to the dish. For speed, ease, and looks, you could add a quarter slice of lemon to each plate so people can add their own.

Tools to Make Meal Prep Even Quicker and Easier...

Royal VKB Garlic Crusher
Royal VKB Garlic Crusher

I haven't been a fan of garlic crushers in the past (despite my sister insisting it's the only way to get all the flavor) because they're such a mission to clean! However, this one is a fabulous invention - you can crush the garlic effectively, and then, not only is it easy to clean, but you can use it (being stainless steal) to get the smell of the garlic off your hands! Perfect.

 
Islandoffer Crusher, Mincer, Peeler Tool, Clear
Islandoffer Crusher, Mincer, Peeler Tool, Clear

This is another great invention. Although I prefer the Royal VKB above, this is a great option for those who prefer "twisting" to "rolling" - it's also pretty easy to clean - much easier than the usual garlic presses and crushers.

 
Wallmonkeys Peel and Stick Wall Decals - Carving Roast Chicken - Removable Graphic
Wallmonkeys Peel and Stick Wall Decals - Carving Roast Chicken - Removable Graphic

How to do a Roasted Chicken Meal Quickly and Easily

Now, when I say "quick and easy" I'm referring to time and effort spent in the kitchen, not necessarily how long the food takes to cook. The salmon pasta dish above of course involved very little actual cooking time as well as not much preparation, but it takes a little longer for chicken to cook if you don't want it to kill you ;)

Preparation Time: 14 minutes (you'll notice I seldom spend more than 14 minutes on preparation ;) )

Cooking Time: 1.5 to 2.5 hours

Effort: More than putting on a sweater, less than washing the dishes

Ingredients:

* Chicken (naturally ;) ) - You can use a whole chicken, or chicken pieces - works the same

* Potatoes

* Carrots

* Olive oil

* Salt

* Black Pepper

* Paprika

* Peas or Green Beans or whatever green vegetable you like

Tools:

* Baking tray

* Tin foil

* Cooking pot (not deeper than the distance between your thumb and small finger - explanation coming up later)

* Colander

Procedure:

1. Line baking tray with foil (shiny side up).

2. Place chicken on foil and rub with a little salt and olive oil, and add a sprinkle of paprika.

3. Cover baking tray with foil (shiny side in), leaving space between the chicken and the foil.

4. Place chicken in oven at 200 degrees Celsius (400 deg Fahrenheit or gas mark 6).

5. Check packaging for cooking time guide - I usually do a whole chicken for 2 hours in my fan oven (I like it very soft, and this is how long it takes for it to be very soft).

6. Boil the kettle, add the water to a medium pot and bring back to the boil on the stove.

7. Chop potatoes and carrots into quarters (you can peel them first if you like, but I leave the skins on - it's healthier, adds extra flavor, and of course saves preparation time) and place them into the boiling water.

8. Once you can stick a fork into them, drain them, return them to the pot, and add a little olive oil, salt and black pepper.

9. Using a dish towel, hold the pot closed (thumbs on lid and fingers underneath) and shake gently to "fluff" potatoes.

10. Add potatoes and carrots to baking tray, around chicken (under the foil of course).

12. Go and have a cup of tea, chat with a friend, play online, watch TV, do the ironing... whatever you fancy at the time.

13. Once the chicken's cooking time is up, remove the top foil and leave in for about 30 more minutes - you do need to keep an eye on it at this stage, check it every now and then to make sure it's not going to burn... in other words, now's not the time to go and have a bath - should have done that earlier! ;)

14. While waiting for the browning to happen, add boiled water to a pot and place the greens into it with a little salt. Let them boil until cooked but still firm.

15. Remove chicken from oven, let it stand for a few minutes while you get the plates and silverware out and call everyone to the table... then serve and enjoy.

Wallmonkeys Peel and Stick Wall Decals - Portobello Mushroom - Removable Graphic
Wallmonkeys Peel and Stick Wall Decals - Portobello Mushroom - Removable Graphic

Quick, Easy Mushroom Tetrazzini

I once worked as a waitress in a vegetarian restaurant, and part of the deal was that the waitresses got to have a meal there after their shift - anything from the menu. I have to say, I became addicted to this dish! This is exactly the way they made it....

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Effort: More than peeling a banana, less than vacuuming

Ingredients:

* Mushrooms - the Portobello mushroom (also know as Giant Cremini) are best for this dish

* Pasta Shells

* Olive Oil

* Onion

* Garlic

* Single Cream

* Lemon

* Salt

* Black Pepper

* Cheddar Cheese

* Parsley

Procedure:

1. Boil the kettle, add the water to a large pot, and bring to the boil again.

2. Add the pasta shells and a little salt to the water.

3. While you're waiting for the pasta to cook, slice the onion, heat a little oil in a frying pan, and fry the onions until juuuust see-through.

4. Chop the mushrooms and add them to the pan, along with a little salt and cook until tender.

5. While you're waiting, chop the garlic and grate the cheese.

6. Drain the pasta once it's cooked, return to pan, add a little olive oil, the mushroom and onion mixture, garlic, cream and black pepper.

7. Just before serving, add a generous squeeze of lemon juice and the grated cheese, and mixed gently. Top with parsley.

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Quick, Easy Risotto

This is another of those dishes that tastes soooo much better than it sounds! It's also one that is very versatile - you can make this as frequently as you like, and just keep playing around with the combination of ingredients.

Preparation Time: 14 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes (unless you're using brown rice - I believe that would make it around 25 minutes)

Effort: More than making a cup of tea, less than walking the dog.

Ingredients

* Rice

* Salt

* Garlic

* Olive oil

* Coriander

* Baby spinach leaves

* Fresh chilli peppers or cayenne pepper

* Bacon or sausage (vegetarians could substitute with mushrooms)

* Onion

Procedure:

1. Boil the kettle and add the boiling water to a large pot.

2. Add rice and a little salt to the water, and leave to boil uncovered.

3. While you're waiting for the rice to cook (I use Basmati rice, which I think is the most delicious of rices and which takes 10 minutes to cook) chop onion and add it to a frying pan with heated oil. Then cut sausages or bacon (could use both if you like) with kitchen scissors over the pan, so the pieces join the onion. For the vegetarian version, of course don't do this! ;) Instead, chop the mushrooms and add them to the pan. Add a little salt.

4. Once the onion and meat (or mushrooms) are cooked and browned, set aside, and chop garlic.

5. Drain rice and return to pot.

6. Add onion and meat (or mushrooms) directly from the frying pan, including any juice or oil from the cooking, and the chopped garlic.

7. Using scissors, cut the coriander and chilli peppers over the pot (instead of chili peppers you could sprinkle cayenne pepper - or if you don't like hot and spicy, use paprika instead).

8. Add the baby spinach leaves, toss, and serve.

A Few Ideas for Variations:

You could also add: corn; peas; green beans; prawns; red, green and/or red peppers; mixed herbs; pieces of grilled fish; olives...

Quick, Easy Risotto Tip

* Use some of the left-over chicken from last night's roast chicken meal in place of the sausage or bacon.

* I find the consistancy of the risotto is perfect as it is, and I would definitely recommend trying it like this first, but if you want to, you could add a little more olive oil.

Omaha Steaks 7 oz. Top Sirloins
Omaha Steaks 7 oz. Top Sirloins

Quick, Easy Steak Meal

Okay, this isn't the healthiest of meals, but it is delicious, and quick and easy!

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Effort: More than it takes to get into bed, less than it takes to do a small grocery shop.

Ingredients:

* Steak (whichever cut you like best)

* Salt

* Black Pepper

* Butter (told you it wasn't the healthiest of meals!)

* Potatoes

* Green beans

* A little bit of milk

Procedure:

1. Switch the kettle on (with water in it of course ;) )

2. While you're waiting for it to boil, cut potatoes into quarters - or eighths if they're large. (You can peel them first if you like, I leave the skins on as it's healthier, tastier and of course, quicker ;) ).

3. Pour the boiling water into a pot, add the potatoes with a little salt, and cover to boil.

4. Go and put your feet up for 15 minutes.

5. Add the green beans to the potatoes, for the last couple of minutes of cooking time.

6. Once the vegetables are cooked, drain, return to pot, and add some butter, salt and black pepper.

7. Using a dish towel, hold the pot with the lid closed - thumbs on the lid and fingers underneath the pot - and shake vigorously.

8. Put pot of veg to one side, and in a frying pan, heat enough butter to cover the pan when it's melted.

9. Wait until the butter is sizzling hot, then add steaks.

10. Sprinkle salt on top side of steaks, then turn over and sprinkle a little salt on the other side. (You can add black pepper as well if you like)

11. Once steaks are cooked to your liking, serve onto warmed plates with the vegetables, then switch off the heat and add a little milk (very little - maybe two teaspoons) to the mixture left in the frying pan.

12 Stir with a wooden spoon, and pour over the steaks and veg.

"If God had intended us to be vegetarians, why did he make animals out of meat?"
"If God had intended us to be vegetarians, why did he make animals out of meat?"

Meat-eater's Apron

 

How to Make Spaghetti Bolognaise from Scratch, Quickly and Easily!

I was really surprised to hear that many people use a jar of pre-made bolognaise sauce for ease and speed... and yet bolognaise is one of the quickest and easiest sauces to make from scratch - it takes longer to buy the jar than it does to make the sauce from scratch!

Preparation Time: 12 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Effort: More than it takes to eat a slice of toast when you're really hungry, less than it takes to get your kids to clean up their rooms.

Ingredients:

* Minced beef

* Onion

* Tomatoes (I use a can of tomatoes, but you can use fresh ripe or sun-ripened if you like)

* Tomato paste (or puree - depending on what country you're living in)

* Olive oil

* Spaghetti

* Salt

* Mixed herbs or oregano... or whatever herbs you fancy

* Garlic

Procedure:

1. Chop or slice the onion, and add to a heated pot with a little olive oil. (I understand most people use a frying pan - I find it much easier to make bolognaise in a pot)

2. Once the onion is a little see-through, add the mince and a little salt, and brown.

3. Add half a tube (or a small can) of the tomato paste, and mix it all in.

4. Add the tomatoes and, if you're using dried herbs, add them now.

5. While it's cooking, boil the kettle, add the water to a large pot, and bring to the boil again.

6. Add the spaghetti and a little salt.

7. While you're waiting for the spaghetti to cook, chop the garlic.

8. Once the spaghetti is cooked, drain, return to pot, and add a little olive oil.

9. Add the garlic and any fresh herbs to the sauce, stir, and serve.

Tips for the Bolognaise:

Although the sauce actually only takes about 15 minutes to cook, it tastes better when you leave it simmering for a bit.

Add a little cayenne pepper, chopped chilli peppers or paprika to the sauce for extra flavor.

Chopped black olives are also a tasty addition.

World's Fastest Cooking Segment - Gordon Ramsay and Conan O'Brien Makin' a Mess! :)

Clean Up as You Go? Or Leave it All to the End?

My sister and I have very different styles of cooking. She (being more artistic than me) will use what she needs, and leave everything to clean up at the end. I try and end up with as little to clean up and put away as possible. Which method do you subscribe to?

Do you use as much of the kitchen as possible, and leave all the cleaning to the end, or do you clean as you go?

I like my kitchen to look like Costco threw up in it by the time I've finished.

I like my kitchen to look like Costco threw up in it by the time I've finished.

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    • TransplantedSoul 4 years ago

      I am a messy cook - but I am trying more and more to stay on top of the mess as I go.

    • YourFirstTime 5 years ago

      I try to clean as I go, but it's always a hot mess in the end.

    • JJNW 5 years ago from USA

      I'm in the middle. I like it to be clean... but is it? lol

    • Tiggered 5 years ago

      Mess mess mess, I love mess... Or, sorry, creative chaos!

    • WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      I leave my cleaning until the end.

    • Gayle 5 years ago from McLaughlin

      I am a very messy cook!

    You'd never know there'd been any cooking of any sort going on in that kitchen by the time I serve!

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      • kevkev227 lm 4 years ago

        I tend to clean as I go :)

      • bofirebear 4 years ago

        Clean as I go or the mess takes over

      • Linda Pogue 5 years ago from Missouri

        I clean up as I go, if my husband isn't doing it for me. We usually cook and clean up together.

      • niceman91 lm 5 years ago

        I like to clean my kitchen as I go since I don't want insects scattered in my kitchen :D

      • mannasugar 5 years ago

        What is there to do during down time? Count the ceiling tiles? May as well clean something.....

      • WaynesWorld LM 5 years ago

        My wife will say, "Did you load the dishwasher?" "With what?" I'll say. (Dishes are already washed, dried and put away.

      • Merstarr 5 years ago

        Clean as you go for sure!! My husband and I are both cooks, but he gets paid to do it. When he cooks at home, my kitchen is a disaster, because he's used to having a dishwasher. Well I say, that after I have eaten a meal, I want to relax not spend and hour cleaning. Needless to say, that old expression "I cook therefore I don't clean." is out the window at our house. seeing as how he likes to leave a huge mess, he cleans if he cooks. I think after years and years he is finally starting to agree that it is better to keep dishes to a minimum while you cook!! Love the lens.

      • Tony Payne 5 years ago from Southampton, UK

        I try and clean up as I go so there is little to have to wash up at the end. Nothing spoils a good meal like having a sink full of dirty pans and utensils to deal wish after a meal.

      I Would Jog, But...
      I Would Jog, But...

      I Would Jog, But...

       

      Chicken Cacciatore
      Chicken Cacciatore

      Quick, Easy Chicken Cacciatore

      This is one of the first dishes I learned to make, and it's amazing how much people love it still. And it's sooo simple and quick and easy!

      Preparation Time: 6 minutes

      Cooking Time: 20 minutes

      Effort: More than it takes to watch TV, less than it takes to fold the laundry

      Ingredients:

      * Chicken (you can use chopped breast, or thighs - whichever you prefer. Chicken on the bone will take a little longer to cook than breast, but is usually tastier.. and ... um.. with a few more calories....)

      * Onion

      * Oil

      * Can of Tomatoes (or fresh ripe tomatoes)

      * Tomato paste or puree

      * Oregano (or whatever herbs you prefer)

      * Fresh Coriander

      * Salt

      * Black Pepper

      * Garlic

      * Red wine (optional)

      * Olives (optional)

      * Mayonaise (optional)

      * Rice

      Procedure:

      1. Slice the onion and saute in a pot with a little heated oil.

      2. Add the chicken with a little salt, and cook until browned.

      3. Add the can of tomatoes, oregano, and a table-spoon of tomato paste (and the olives if you're using them), and let cook until soft.

      4. While you're waiting for that to cook, boil the kettle and add the water to a pot with the rice and a little salt, bring back to the boil and then leave to simmer.

      5. Chop the garlic.

      6. Once the chicken is soft, add the garlic and coriander (or flat-leaf parsley if you don't like coriander) - and the wine if you're using it.

      7. Drain the rice, add a teaspoon of mayonaise to the sauce and stir, just before serving.

      Variations:

      You could serve it with pasta instead of rice. You could also add cayenne or chilli peppers to it, to spice it up a little.

      Quick and Easy Cookbook - Over 300 Delicious Low-Fat Recipes You Can Prepare in Fifteen Minutes or Less

      Quick and Easy Cookbook
      Quick and Easy Cookbook

      Now, this is my kind of recipe book! Over 300 healthy recipes that take 15 minutes or less to prepare - love it! It's full of tips from shopping to cooking and everything in between, to save time. And on top of being fast and tasty, these meals are low fat and low cholesterol too.

      The Mcdougall Quick and Easy Cookbook $16.50

      I have a friend who actually enjoys cooking. He doesn't cook often, but when he does, he gets a glass of wine, puts on some music, hauls out allllllll the ingredients and lays them out like they do on a TV cooking program... and we eat at 10pm. But hey, he enjoys himself, and as long as I've had something to eat before I go round there for dinner, I'm happy that he's happy. ;)

      I will generally spend no longer than 15 to 20 minutes in the kitchen when cooking dinner. Even when I have a dinner party.

      How Long (on average) Do You Spend in the Kitchen Preparing Meals?

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        • kevkev227 lm profile image

          kevkev227 lm 4 years ago

          I actually love cooking, but sometimes I need something quick :)

        • TransplantedSoul profile image

          TransplantedSoul 4 years ago

          I do love cooking - but not all the time. It is great to have some good tasty meals to balance the mix.

        • profile image

          YourFirstTime 5 years ago

          <--Loves to eat, hates to cook so thanks for this!

        • JJNW profile image

          JJNW 5 years ago from USA

          I don't spend a lot of time these days. I like your quick style! Yum and *** Blessed by a SquidAngel ***

        • Gypzeerose profile image

          Rose Jones 5 years ago

          Super blessed - we love to eat, but don't like a lot of fuss and if it is too hard we will just eat out. Restaurants can be great, but not all the time. :)

        • Linda Pogue profile image

          Linda Pogue 5 years ago from Missouri

          Not as long as we used to. We are on a new eating plan, and most things we are eating don't take long to prepare. Blessings.

        • niceman91 lm profile image

          niceman91 lm 5 years ago

          Usually I take an hour, but if I'm in rush, 30 minutes is enough

        • mannasugar profile image

          mannasugar 5 years ago

          Your Lens is making me hungry....be back later....

        • Bill Armstrong profile image

          Bill Armstrong 5 years ago from Valencia, California

          Hmmmm gonna try some of these :-)

        • favored profile image

          Fay Favored 5 years ago from USA

          As short as possible is my philosophy. My husband does most of the cooking, while I enjoy the eating.

        • WriterJanis2 profile image

          WriterJanis2 5 years ago

          I like chicken cacciatore, but never tried making it because I thought it would be too complicated. Your lens has given me the inspiration to try it with your recipe. Thank you!

        • gamecheathub profile image

          gamecheathub 5 years ago

          Besides the recipes and content, my favorite part of this lens is the "Effort" designation. What a cool way to illustrate the difficulty level!

        • Leilani-m profile image

          Leilani-m 5 years ago

          I love this :) I love cooking, but hate when I have to spend half day in the kitchen, and I try to give my son every day a home cooked meal. I love making spaghetti bolognese - I need 20-25 minutes in total :)

        • Gayle Mclaughlin profile image

          Gayle 5 years ago from McLaughlin

          These are fun, quick meals! Thanks for the tips!

        • TonyPayne profile image

          Tony Payne 5 years ago from Southampton, UK

          Sounds like you enjoy a lot of Italian foods :) We do too, easy to prepare/cook and relatively cheap too.

        • KimGiancaterino profile image

          KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

          My husband spends hours going through his cookbooks and creating new dishes, but I'm with you. I like quick and easy meals. Usually I make a big batch of something and share with friends or freeze some for later.

        • KiwiSanet profile image

          KiwiSanet 5 years ago

          It depends on what I am preparing. I aim to spend less than 30 minutes in the kitchen for the main meal of the day.