Feeling too rushed or tired to prepare a healthy dinner? Cooking at home doesn’t need to be hard. We’ve pulled together practical tips and recipes for quick and easy 15-minute meals.
5 Time-Saving Tips for Home Cooks
Since 1975, the amount of time we spend on preparing food has dropped nearly in half. We now spend more time and money eating meals away from home even though it’s not the healthiest choice. Research shows that people who cook dinner most nights eat 140 fewer calories daily than those who rarely cook. Homemade meals are still worth it, especially if you can use these time-saving tips:
- Read recipes carefully. Read all the way through before you start. You don’t want to realize halfway through the recipe that you’re missing a key ingredient or step.
- Preheat the oven. This goes for recipes that require baking or roasting. As the oven heats up, use that time to prepare your ingredients.
- Measure and portion all ingredients before you start. It’s so important that the French culinary term, mis en place (aka: everything in its place), is widely adopted by professional chefs. The cooking process will proceed more smoothly, and you won’t risk burning your food.
- Take advantage of leftovers. Use leftover proteins such as chicken or tofu as additions to pasta, pizza, wraps or salads.
- Clean the kitchen as you go. Waiting for your onions to brown? Use this time to quickly wash some dirty dishes or soak your soiled pots. Your future self will thank you.
Quick & Easy 15-Minute Meals
Save some precious time without sacrificing nutrition or flavor. You can check out Zipongo’s 15 Minutes or Less category for more quick meal ideas. To start you off, here are eight of our favorites:
With the right timing, this mouthwatering meal goes from oven to fork in 15 minutes. While the oven is preheating, trim the asparagus. While the asparagus is roasting, work on the steak. By the time the steak is done resting, your asparagus will be ready. Dinner is served! See the recipe.
Here’s a quick and colorful stir-fry with salty Kalamata olives, thin sliced beef and veggies. This dish pairs well with plain brown rice or quinoa. As your rice or quinoa cooks, work on your Mediterranean stir-fry. See the recipe.
Tender tomatoes and zucchini are grilled to give them depth, flavor and a savory kick. Roll them up in a warm tortilla along with creamy mozzarella, and you’ve got a delicious vegetarian meal. See the recipe.
We’ve got a souper way for you to enjoy avocado. This simple, no-cook soup is a creamy blend of avocado, tomato, jalapeno, cucumber, celery and Greek yogurt. Once blended, allow the soup to chill for 10 minutes while you toast up bread slices to serve with the soup. See the recipe.
This twist on classic pesto features mint, avocado and walnuts. While the whole-wheat rigatoni pasta is cooking, prepare your pesto. Blend all ingredients with a powerful food processor or hand blender. Then, mix with your drained pasta and enjoy! See the recipe.
Don’t be intimidated by trout. It’s a quick-cooking fish, and with this one-pan recipe, your clean up will be a breeze! Enjoy this light and crispy trout along with a salad of fennel and frisee. While the trout is cooking, you can multitask by preparing the salad. See the recipe.
Get the right balance of sweet and tart from this mango, feta and arugula salad. It bursts with flavor from sweet mango, tangy pomegranate and salty feta. Take the salad up a notch by adding a hard boiled egg or leftover cooked chicken. See the recipe.
Here’s a salad with more crunch-factor than your average slaw. Shredded red cabbage and sweet sliced apples are tossed in a refreshing cider vinaigrette. Chickpeas give this salad a dose of protein and add even more fiber. See the recipe.