When you come home from work sometimes the last thing you want to do is spend the evening cooking. This article includes a few healthy recipes that can be cooked in under 10 minutes, as well as ideas to skip those time consuming preparations.
Many of us tend to opt for ready made meals when we’re pressed for time but this needn’t be the case. Take a few everyday dishes, make a few alterations and you have a much wider range of options.
I have chosen not to give recipes for salads, as the majority of people already know how quick and easy these dishes can be.
Tabbouleh, the Arabic bulgar wheat dish is very flavoursome, if a little time consuming. Switch the bulgar wheat for cous cous and it will be ready in just a few minutes. The recipe below was a variation on tabbouleh, when I had bulgar wheat but no parsley or lemon juice. I would no longer call the dish tabbouleh but it was loosely based on the original recipe.
125g cous cous
2 tablespoons chilli oil
2 spring onions
2 medium tomatoes, or 5 cherry tomatoes
Handful of sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Black pepper/Salt to season
Turn the grill on.
Soak the cous cous in a bowl with the recommended amount of water. They usually recommend you soak for approximately 4 minutes.
While this is hydrating, lightly toast your seeds for about 2 minutes, until golden.
Meanwhile, chop up the onion and tomatoes.
Drain off the cous cous and add the chilli oil, cayenne and salt and pepper. Mix together.
Add the vegetables and seeds.
This can be served as an accompaniment to flash cooked fish or eaten as a light meal in a pitta pocket with hummus.
Prawn stir fry
Stir fries are one of the fastest and most nutritious meals you can make. Due to the speed food is cooked, most of the goodness is not stripped.
½ dozen fresh prawns (preferably king)
1 tblsp sweet chilli sauce
1 bag fresh noodles
½ bag bean sprouts
2 tblsp groundnut oil
1 tblsp soy sauce
1 red pepper
5 baby corns
2 garlic cloves
1 spring onion
Heat the oil in a wok until it is hot.
Use a garlic crusher to crush garlic.
Slice peppers, chop the corn and add all three to the pan, stir.
Quickly add the prawns and stir.
Add bean sprouts and soy sauce.
Chop the spring onion and add this, along with the chilli sauce, to the wok. Stir.
As soon as the prawns are all opaque, serve.
This should take no more than 8 minutes in total to cook.
Pea Soup is another quick, light meal. Frozen peas are a healthier option as the vitamins and minerals are preserved due to rapid picking and freezing.
Approx 16 oz frozen peas (thawed)
½ tblsp canola oil
1 pint boiled water
1 vegetable stock cube
1 tsp garlic
White pepper for seasoning
Boil water in a kettle, before transferring to a heated pot, with the stock cube.
Meanwhile, chop and sauté the shallots in a pan.
Add the peas to the water, then the shallots and garlic, along with the pepper.
Bring to boil and simmer for 3 minutes, until peas are cooked through.
Blend in a liquidiser or use a hand blender.
Rather than continue to go through many different recipes, here are a list of options and ideas for fast, healthy meals.
Opt for fresh pasta rather than dried if time is of the essence. Fresh pasta takes approximately 4 minutes to cook. Add pesto and serve with fish for a meal in minutes.
Rice and potatoes usually take too long to fully cook, instead opt for pasta, noodles and cous cous. Bread, such as pitta or tortillas, are also time savers.
Fish is a fast, extremely healthy option. Fish can be fried, grilled or steamed in minutes.
If you must have chicken in quick-time, butterfly it beforehand.
Stock your fridge with guacamole and hummus as quick additions to pitta bread and tortillas.
Lean, thin cut steaks can be prepared very quickly.
If time really is an issue with regards to cooking, try to have as many prepared packs of vegetables in your larder/fridge as possible, as preparation is half the battle. You can buy pre-chopped vegetables in the majority of supermarkets. Equally, you can buy pre chopped meat. Many supermarkets have prepared packs of stir fry vegetables as well.
Before reaching for the ready made meals in your supermarket, why not try making some super-fast dishes that won’t cost the earth. With a little thought meals prepared in under 10 minutes can be healthy and delicious.