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May 26, 2011 09:02 AM

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:

    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 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!