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10 minute meals

I haven't cooked in. . . well, let's not talk about that. I keep thinking that I don't have time to make a proper meal, so I might as well not try. I'm now willing to cook improper meals, since that's what I end up with anyway when I eat takeout 7 nights a week.

In the interest of being realistic, I am looking for meals that are really, really, really down and dirty. 10 minutes or less with slight or no prep done ahead, preferably cooked in one vessel, absolutely no more than two.

After reading a little, I think I could manage:

Short, skinny pasta cooked with peas and eggs in the same water
Eggs cooked in tomato sauce
Ground meat with pasta, both cooked in the sauce
Crepes with ricotta or cottage cheese
Spanish tortilla or frittata

I am curious whether anyone else cooks this way and has ideas. I am especially wondering whether anyone has cooked fish from raw & frozen in the microwave with sauce. I had a TV dinner like this yesterday for lunch, and it was shockingly non-disgusting. I'd also love to know whether there are any other meats that can be cooked this way without being disgusting.

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  1. Seafood is your friend, it cooks so quickly. Sear some scallops and throw them onto bagged salad. Get a bag of broccoli slaw and stir-fry it with shrimp, or stir-fry shrimp with pineapple and ginger and cilantro. I also just made this wonderful tilapia last night - it took no time at all and cooked quickly: http://projects.washingtonpost.com/re...

    1 Reply
    1. re: katecm

      Great suggestions, thanks. I made some mayonnaise last weekend, so that marinade looks great.

    2. Along the lines of the skinny pasta...or just vermicelli or angel hair pasta: can of clams makes a nice clam sauce...I think I've added fresh parsely and white wine to it, not sure which recipe I used but there are a million white clam sauce recipes out there, very quick to pull together. It's great for very hot summer days when you do not want to be in the kitchen very long or at all!

      1. Remember that the salad bar at the market can be your very best friend when it comes to scaling way back on prep. For instance, you could buy precut broccoli, onions and mushrooms and a chicken breast with a bottle of stir-fry sauce; cube the breast, saute with a little sauce til just cooked through; saute veg, mix chicken in and add a little more sauce. Rice you can cook in advance and re-steam in the microwave. You can also toss those vermicelli with shredded rotisserie chicken, shredded lettuce, mandarin oranges and almonds; toss with bottled ginger dressing, and chow down. Same with Vietnamese-flavored dressing, as a foil for greens, shredded chicken or deli roast beef, noodles and herbs. High-quality jarred pasta sauce can also be used as saute sauce with some ground beef and vegetables; toss with hot pasta. Use remainder as the base for minestrone soup; just add broth and any precut veg. you have laying around and simmer, and top with shredded parmesan; Serve with toast. And baked potatoes topped with shredded cheddar and steamed broccoli is a fine meal, or the same topped with good jarred chili and shredded cheese and purchased salsa.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mamachef

          The salad bar is a good suggestion, and the one between the gym and home has a decent one. Thanks!

        2. A favorite quick and dirty is a package a sliced andouille or kilbases or two, browned and then cooked with a bag (Vigo brand) of red rice and beans. When it's cooked I through in a can of tomatoes and sliced bell pepper if it's lying around. 20 minutes to cook, but you don't have to even stir during that time. Bag of salad rounds it out.

          6 Replies
          1. re: corneygirl

            Sounds good, but time is more of an issue than effort. My rice cooks pretty quickly, so if I used canned beans or threw in some cooked frozen ones, I might just be able to make that work!

            1. re: corneygirl

              Another quick and dirty using a sliced andouille or kilbasa (cooked) is to slice them and throw them in a pot with a can of lentil soup, heat and eat.

              1. re: DPGood

                Will add to the kielbaba, slice and heat in either sauerkraut, or sweet and sour red cabbage. Hint, a crockpot full of this just disappears at picnics. People say things like 'oh my grandmother used to make this, and I haven't had it for years.' And it's so flippin easy!!

                1. re: Nanzi

                  I meant to say thanks! Great suggestion. I love sauerkraut and kieilbasa (my gradmother used to make it!)

              2. re: corneygirl

                Tonight we had chicken sausage (precooked and seared on grill pan), corn on the cob (microwaved), salad (prewashed bag lettuce + cut-up tomato and cucumber), and sauteed pea tendrils with garlic. Nothing required more than a few minutes to prepare, and it was about 10 minutes from start to finish including setting the table.

                1. re: Pia

                  That sounds delicious. And you did amazingly well on the veggies!

              3. +1 for egg dishes, shrimp & scallops.

                other great quick & easies:
                - crab & avocado salad (or crab salad served in avocado halves)
                - canned white beans & tuna tossed with a vinaigrette (i like to mix in chopped artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes & olives)
                - grilled cheese
                - salmon cakes/patties made with good canned salmon
                - chipotle chicken salad made with store-bought rotisserie chicken
                - sardines tossed with a quick saute of vegetables in balsamic-tomato or mustard sauce

                and Mark Bittman's got 101 ideas for you!

                13 Replies
                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  Thank you kindly. I pulled the initial ideas from Bittman, and should have cited it. Is there a trick to salmon patties? They come out dry for me unless I start with raw.

                  1. re: jvanderh

                    - don't add filler/bread crumbs - i use a combination of egg, mustard, and yogurt or mayo to bind. if it's too wet i'll toss in a tiny bit of ground flax or chia, which won't dry them out the way flour or bread crumbs will.

                    - don't drain the salmon completely - keep some of the liquid in there so you start off with fish that's nice & moist.

                    - don't keep them on the heat too long. since the salmon is already cooked, you really just want to get a bit of texture & color on the outside & heat them through. i sear in a hot pan on either side just for a couple of minutes. if you're worried about the egg you can use pasteurized or the stuff that comes in a carton, but i really don't think it's an issue - the egg gets sufficiently cooked.

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      Thanks very much. I eat raw egg all the time.

                      1. re: jvanderh

                        always happy to help...and i hope that one day very soon you'll find your way back to cooking meals the way you used to :)

                      2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        And if you can take the time to make a batch and freeze them you are always only 8 or 10 minutes away from eating, they heat from frozen beautifully.

                        1. re: GretchenS

                          I am really, really bad at eating leftovers. I have horrible food ADD. If I've been looking at the food or even the ingredients for more than a couple hours, I don't want it anymore. I think that's part of the cause of my takeout habit. But, if I can pick up the ingredients and cook it superfast, I just might be ok.

                          1. re: jvanderh

                            Food ADD...that is a perfect description.

                        2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          ghg always has a great way... i do mine a little bit differently, so i thought i'd share (again... done this on another post recently)... canned salmon, diced cooked white onion (can take pre-chopped and nuke it in microwave for 3 minutes til soft), then mix with diced fresh parsley, salt and pepper, egg (about 1 to 1 large can of salmon), and just enough almond meal to hold some together... the meal makes it slightly fluffy and wonderfully light. don't add too much though, as the salmon flavor will get diminished. can either bake or pan-fry. smaller patties cook faster...love them with creamy roasted cauliflower and garlic soup.

                          1. re: Emme

                            aw, thanks darlin', so do you :) and a big +1 on the almond meal, which i also love to use for this. i don't know why i tend not to mention it unless i'm replying to a dedicated GF thread...i always assume it's an ingredient most "regular" people don't keep on hand, and i'm probably wrong about that!

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              Almond meal is different than just pulsed-up nuts, right?

                              1. re: jvanderh

                                almonds pulsed to powder.. just short of butter-ifying it...

                        3. re: jvanderh

                          I got frozen salmon burgers at Costco and they cook very quick and are tasty. Good bun, some greens, tomato, red onion and tartar sauce. Quick burger!

                      3. Another quick pasta resource is good quality canned tuna in oil - use something like Pastene, not a mass-market brand. You can do a white sauce with olive oil and slivered garlic (be sure to save a bit of the pasta cooking water to make it creamy), or a red one with jarred tomato sauce and crushed red pepper.

                        1. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/18/din...

                          Mark Bittman's Summer 101 is an awesome list of meals that fit the bill.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: melpy

                            Oops! Didn't read far enough. I guess this is a repeat.

                          2. There is a terrific book 'Cooking in Ten minutes'

                            by Edouard de Pomiane.

                            It will charm and inform you,

                            except for the 'Sit back and light your cigarette while the coffee brews'

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Naguere

                              The book arrived yesterday, and I just finished reading it. The Alsatian dumplings are just up my alley. Beat an egg with 1/3 cup milk, add flour until you get batter, drop hunks in salted boiling water and cook 5 minutes.

                            2. Couscous with tuna and chopped black olives. I've made this in less than 10 minutes.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Reston

                                Yes. Instant couscous or fine bulgur. You could add small salad shrimp (already cooked and frozen), crumbled feta, a quick dice of red onion, a sweet pepper, any other veggies you have around (celery, carrot, cucumber, radishes, etc.) and fresh parsley. Squeeze lemon juice over finished salad and drizzle with olive oil. Season to taste with S and P. Done in 10 minutes or so, if you're organized.

                                I also think you can whip up a really fast noodle soup with bean thread noodles that only need to soak a few minutes in hot water before you throw them in the pot. Buy stock, season with mushroom soy sauce, chuck in sliced mushrooms, grated carrot, sliced onions, spinach, bok choy, seaweed or any green leafy veg. Boil briefly and you have a noodle soup to which you could stir in a lightly beaten egg, tofu cubes, seafood or fish in small bits that cook quickly or even leftover meats. Keep many condiments on hand, such as miso paste, sriracha, hoisin, that togarashi Japanese pepper and aromatics, sichuan pepper, chile oil, roasted sesame oil, and you can whip up soups in minutes.

                                Another idea is congee in a slow cooker. Set it before you leave in the morning or even the night before and it's ready when you get home and need to eat in a hurry. You can toss in scallions, ready to cook seafood, eggs, anything cooked and left over or even a bit of ground meat, which will take no more than a few minutes to cook.

                                Oh, and if you don't mind raw stuff, you can make power soups and smoothies in the blender. I've done one with just ripe tomatoes, ripe sweet red peppers, salt, pepper, a smashed garlic clove, a bit of balsamic and some chopped basil added when serving. 5 minutes or less start to finish. You can do the same with a more traditional gazpacho ingredient list, or make a green soup with green veggies you have in your fridge, including avocado to make it thick and filling. I made one with a green apple, avocado, spinach, green onions, garlic, herbs, lime juice, salt and pepper that was seriously tasty.

                              2. All right, I've got white and brown cooked rice in the fridge along with ww and white dough, some sliced chicken, a hunk of cowboy steak, and some generic Asian sauce (mixed together soy/garlic/sesame oil/vinegar/brown sugar/ oyster sauce). I'm thinking fried rice tonight, rice/beans/sausage another night, and maybe fry bread tacos another night. I can have bf cook up some meat while I roll the dough into circles. Everything else is going to have to come from the store. My garden gave me some kohlrabi, and I've got a couple little zucchini from the farmer's market, so maybe I'll find somewhere to stick those in.

                                I ordered a copy of French cooking in 10. I'm excited to read it! I'm not much of a cigarette smoker, but I can see about having bf light up a cigar, in the interest of authenticity :-P

                                I forgot about couscous! That's a great suggestion.

                                Sweetpea, that sounds really delicious and different. I'd probably have to pack some extra calories in there somewhere, so as not to wake up hungry and cranky in the middle of the night. I think that togarashi Japanese pepper is the stuff that comes with my noodles at the sushi place. If so, I like it.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: jvanderh

                                  i like the sound of this...very encouraging :)

                                  shichimi togarashi is a dry Japanese spice blend that always contains 7 ingredients. red chile or cayenne, Szechuan pepper, orange or tangerine peel & sesame seeds are standard components...beyond those, the other three can include things like nori, ginger, poppy seeds & mustard seed. i always keep a tin in the cupboard, it's handy, tasty stuff!

                                2. Black beans and rice + good fixins. Simple meal that never lets me down. You said you've got the rice...open a can of black beans and heat. (try "ranch style" or cuban style black beans, or pinto for a change) Top with green onions, shredded cheddar or crumbled feta, and eat with half a good ripe avocado (quick prep: split it, whack into the seed with a knife, then twist to remove, and scoop out the avocado).

                                  if you want, eat with chips and salsa. Shoot, then you don't even need to wash a fork. Be luxurious and add fresh cilantro.

                                  No real cooking involved, but pretty healthy (esp with brown rice) and very satisfying.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: chowaholic

                                    sounds like a good use for the cooked rice languishing in the fridge :-)

                                  2. When I'm sick or unmotivated, I boil ramen noodles (sans flavoring packet) in chicken broth with garlic ginger stir fry oil, soy sauce, crushed red pepper, veggies (usually bagged or frozen spinach) and a scrambled egg. Quick, easy and filling.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: lawgirl3278

                                      That sounds yummy. If you have an Asian store near you, there are some cool varieties of ramen that you might like.

                                      1. re: lawgirl3278

                                        bravo... used to do that myself... you a law student?... btw ramen stuff is highly processed and
                                        devoid of virtually all nutrients.... bon appetit.

                                      2. Buy packaged or frozen stir-fry veggies to save on prep. You can soak rice noodles and make peanut sauce while they cook.

                                        Nuke a potato or sweet potato and top with canned beans, salsa and a little cheese/sour cream/avocado.

                                        Fried rice takes almost no time if you've got pre-cooked rice (and it sounds like you do). I make it vegetarian with veggies and egg but you can add bacon, too.

                                        You can make Korean-style veggie pancakes, again using packaged vegetables (like coleslaw mix). http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/28/din...

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: piccola

                                          Fried rice was absolutely a winner. One pan, a serving of veggies, super fast, and the sauce disguised the taste of brown rice :-)

                                          Those veggie pancakes sound really good. I love egg foo young, and they sound sorta similar.

                                          1. re: jvanderh

                                            My boyfriend fries it in bacon grease to cover up the brown rice taste. :)

                                            And those pancakes are great for using up whatever's in your crisper. You can throw in some protein, too -- I like using edamame, but obviously you can use meat or seafood.

                                            1. re: piccola

                                              Bacon grease is a great idea! I just so happen to have peeled edamame that narrowly escaped my major freezer cleanout :-)

                                        2. would you be open to doing your ten minutes of cooking in the AM or the night before, and then tossing everything in a slow-cooker to be ready when you get home? many ideas abound from this... lentil soup (broth, water, chopped onions, carrots, lentils, cumin, coriander, garlic, S & P), ratatouille, chili, etc.

                                          quesadillas - made interesting by the ingredients

                                          gourmet grilled cheeses

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: Emme

                                            Sure, I'm open to it. The issue is that we usually eat very late, maybe 8 or 9. So that would be a good 13 or 14 hours in the crock. Grilled cheese sounds great, and I've often got homemade bread around after the weekend.

                                            1. re: jvanderh

                                              I have an issue with crock pot timing too. to fix the overly long time i'm away from home, i bought an appliance timer, and plugges the crock pot into that. So instead of cooked mush, now my meals are perfectly done because they can start at the correct time!

                                              1. re: Heidi cooks and bakes

                                                I've got timers, but I wouldn't feel comfortable leaving meat at room temperature for hours. Good tip for veggie dishes, though.

                                                1. re: jvanderh

                                                  plenty of possible soups... tho summer's coming...

                                                  if you've got extra bread, make panzanella salad.

                                                  gazpacho with some crusty bread and quick grilled veggies.

                                                  vegetable pancakes - buy preshredded veggies like zucchini or carrots and some diced onion. mix with some egg, almond meal or bread crumbs, seasonings of choice and pan fry.

                                                  quick stuffed potatoes - nuke taters in micro for 5 minutes, then stick in toaster for 5-10 minutes (i know pushing your time frame), then stuff or top as desired.

                                                  1. re: Emme

                                                    Love the stuffed potato idea. I bet I could stick meat and a veggie in there too. I have a very low wattage microwave, so it probably isn't a 10-minute deal for me, but it seems like I could make them on the weekend and reheat them.

                                          2. Ohhh great post, and thanks everyone for the fantastic ideas!!

                                            My favourite meal quickie is a Mediterranean Chicken Cous Cous:
                                            1. cook cous cous according to instructions and set aside
                                            2. heat a fry pan and cook up 1 chicken breast, diced.
                                            3. once chicken is cooked, add 2 cups of diced pumpkin, zucchini and eggplant. sprinkle with rosemary and sea salt, and cook until starting to brown.
                                            4. add in cous cous and mix
                                            5. serve topped with fresh tomato, black olives and fetta cheese.

                                            quick and yummy and easy :)

                                            1. I can understand being time poor. But why ten minutes? I'm just curious? Wouldn't you be better off setting aside 30 or 40 minutes and do just a touch of prep? That way you can use some better ingredients and produce some really terrific results and if you're out of practise, opening a few tins and using precut veges isn't likely to return your kitchen confidence.

                                              To be honest, the limit on the dishes you can do in under ten minutes is pretty massive. Make a sanwich, make a salad with package mix or shuck a dozen oysters and slice a lemon would be getting close to the limit.... The only cooked dish I would think to make to satisfy such a rigorous rule would be eggs, scrambled, fried or an omlette.

                                              Is this for a book or a blog or a challenge or something? Not having a dig at all, just curious why this particularly stringent rule?

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: Samuelinthekitchen

                                                No book or blog, just life :-) In a nutshell, I work, study for the MCAT, and try to go to the gym. I do sometimes have more than 10 minutes, but I seem to have no trouble in finding a way to spend them. It's the rushed nights that I need help with! If it helps, I can do some prep on Sundays, and I can often also have the Big Man do some prep, as long as it's pretty straightforward. But I am enjoying the challenge of it, and I also figure that if the whole med school thing works out, 10 minute dinners will be an eminently useful skill for the next decade or so.

                                                I haven't been feeling too deprived. The suggestions have been awesome. Summer produce lends itself to quick cooking pretty well, so I haven't felt limited to only precut and tins (though I appreciate those kinds of recipes too, for some nights, they're perfect).

                                                1. re: jvanderh

                                                  ah, med student, totally get it. My best friend is doing her Oncology spealisation. She's lucky if she has a spare 10 minutes a month. Good luck. Also, if you practise and practise until you've got it nailed and can move quickly, you can get a pasta a la carbonara out in about 10.

                                                  1. re: Samuelinthekitchen

                                                    Good idea on the pasta a la carbonara, fettucine alfredo is also pretty quick.

                                              2. One of my favorite weeknight meals is pasta with beans. Spring for the jarred cannelini if you can find them--they're creamier than most canned, but canned will do if that's all you can find. While the pasta water is coming to a boil, put a large bowl over the pot, and empty the beans into the bowl to warm. Add a Tbsp. of good salted butter, some gorgonzola or parmesan or pecorino cheese to the bowl. Chop some fresh parsley and slice a lemon in half to squeeze over the finished dish. Cook and drain your pasta, and almost any shape will work, though I wouldn't go with the long noodles. Drain and add them to the bowl, and toss everything, sprinkle in a generous amount of parsley, squeeze over the lemon and grind in some black pepper if you like. Eat it out of the bowl if you're really tired, and leftovers keep and reheat well, too.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: amyzan

                                                  That sounds really delicious! I can't wait to try it. Sounds like a perfect formula for tuna and pasta too.

                                                  1. re: jvanderh

                                                    Yes, it's also good with tuna canned in olive oil, or leftover chopped chicken, crumbled bacon, handfuls of baby spinach leaves, etc. In fact, it can be a bit of a "kitchen sink" dish as long as you keep an eye to flavors being harmonious.

                                                2. jvanerh

                                                  How do you cook the pasta in the sauce. Are you adding a lot of extra water?

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: lilmomma

                                                    It's a little bit of an art. If it's fat pasta, I have to add water to the sauce, or start the pasta in a small volume of water, which evaporates, and add the sauce in the middle of cooking. Fast cooking pasta is easier and you can just add a little water to the sauce, or not add water and cover the pot if it's a thin sauce. The timing isn't exactly the same if you're simmering instead of boiling or adding cold sauce in the middle and waiting for it to heat up, so I just keep tasting noodles and see when it's done. I am desperate to minimize dishes and I don't mind if it gets a little overcooked, so it works for me. If neither of these applies, it may not be worth the effort.

                                                    I haven't tried it with fresh pasta, but I bet it would work beautifully.

                                                    Here are a couple of links



                                                  2. i've been eating a lot of ten-minute meals lately. This week I have eaten:
                                                    Malaysian aubergine and prawn curry (though this requires ten mins of prep at the weekend to blitz the curry paste, which is then frozen). Two types of omelette: a spicy sausage and tomato one, a summery courgette, pea, mint and cheese one. Also a totally cheating couscous, where i soaked the couscous, stirred in some harissa from a jar, and then added some olives, chorizo, and chargrilled vegetables from the deli counter, and some feta. It's real cooking because I made the couscous! Also pasta rarely takes more than ten mins to cook, and in that time you can saute some cherry tomato halves, add basil and goats cheese, and boil some peas in the with pasta 2 mins before the end.

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: gembellina

                                                      Wow! Would you mind sharing your recipes for the curry and the curry paste? Does soaking couscous mean you don't have to cook it? I'm really impressed that you made your own. I wouldn't even know where to begin.

                                                      1. re: jvanderh

                                                        Haha by "made" the couscous I really only meant re-hydrated it! That's cooking, right? ;) I just pour boiling water over it, leave it for 5 mins or so, and then fluff.

                                                        For the curry paste, it's a recipe from Pigpig's corner blog :http://www.pigpigscorner.com/2009/07/...

                                                        (I've posted about it before but can't find it


                                                        I use the ingredients from the blog, but subst macadamias for the candlenuts, and use a jar of dried shrimp paste, rather than the block stuff. I freeze it uncooked.

                                                        So: remove frozen prawns from freezer. Cut aubergine into sticks or chunks, gently fry until soft, approx 8 mins. remove from pan. quickly stirfry prawns and french beans. remove. put paste into pan, fry until defrosted and fragrant. Add all the rest back in, make sure it's coated in curry paste. remove to a plate. fry an egg in the remnants of the curry paste, so it gets all spicy and crunchy! (It might take 13 rather than 10 mins...)

                                                        I sometimes have frozen rice or microwave rice too, generally i can steam the frozen stuff to piping hot in the time it makes to do the rest.

                                                        1. re: gembellina

                                                          Re-hydrating totally counts as cooking. That curry paste sounds like a fun project and a good excuse to go to Hmart. I'll cut the eggplant really small and crank the heat up, and I bet I can get it out in 10 :-)

                                                          So, do you just freeze cooked rice and nuke it when you want to eat it? I hadn't thought of that.

                                                          1. re: jvanderh

                                                            You can do that with any grain at all.
                                                            Bulgar also "cooks" with boiling water poured over. It takes about 15 minutes ( depending on whether it is fine, medium, or coarse.)

                                                            1. re: jvanderh

                                                              Yes - if I had a microwave it would be much easier, but I just stick a frozen lump in a bamboo steamer (on some parchment so it doesn't fall through the slits) and let it steam until it's hot through. It's not as good as freshly cooked but if it means I don't have to wait 30 mins for the rice cooker, I don't really care!

                                                              Just make sure to cool it and freeze it quickly.

                                                      2. A bag of the shredded cabbage they sell for coleslaw makes a good stir-fry in 10 minutes. Saute' it, add a teaspoon each of soy sauce, sherry, and sugar, then toss in whatever you have---leftover pork roast, frozen shrimp from the freezer, etc.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Querencia

                                                          Ditto "broccoli slaw." I love that stuff.

                                                        2. When you are out of money, I suspect you will be more interested in learning to cook.

                                                          Meanwhile, you could add a bigger variation of eggs to your repertoire. Scrambled eggs with cut up veggies or breakfast sausage is quick.

                                                          Pasta and rice dishes take a little longer than 10 minutes but not much longer and they don't require a lot of attention. There are endless varieties of rice pilafs out there. The same for pasta.

                                                          You can also pour almost anything over white rice including your favorite canned soup.

                                                          Boxed mac & cheese with whatever left over meat you have (taco meat, cut up weiners, vienna sausages, any kind of sausage) mixed in works very well.

                                                          You could also add things to canned soup to make it more substantial like rice, pasta, meat, veggies.

                                                          Someone already suggested stir fry. Lots of variety there.

                                                          If you can afford it, a pan seared steak s quick. A baked potato takes an hour but it is easy or you can fry tator tots.

                                                          Frying or broiling a fresh piece of fish is very quick. Just go by the grocery store on the way home from work.

                                                          Fish sticks and Marie Callendars pot pies (in the frozen food section) are pretty good. in fact there are a lot of things in the frozen food section that can get you by. They are more expensive than fresh and aren't as good but better than eating out.

                                                          You can poke holes in a potato, wrap it in plastic and put it in the microwave for 5 minutes. It passes for a baked potato. With that, you could put cheese, store bought chili or even vegetable soup over it.

                                                          All these things can fill your needs. As you get more experience, you may want to learn even more. And remember, cooking for a date will take you from a 6 to a 7 or a 7 to an 8 on the attractiveness scale.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                            The 10 minute baked potato: 5 minutes in the microwave, 5 minutes in the toaster oven!

                                                          2. Ten minutes not counting water boiling time: thin pork chops/cutlets done in a fry pan, thin egg noodles and a block of frozen spinach in the microwave.