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For those of you who juggle 300 things, have depression or are getting over an illness, get home late from something or are just fed up of doing the cooking, what are your go to meals?

I’m looking to create a list of recipes that take 5 minutes to prepare, but are reasonably healthy so you don’t add guilt to your crap day!

I find jacket potatoes are good if you have time in advance to think about them - they take less than 5 minutes to clean and prepare and you can offer DIY toppings with a bag of salad.

Tonight I served bacon (bunged in the oven), new potatoes (you don’t need to peel) and frozen peas - all drowned in mint butter. The mint took me 30 seconds to chop and everything cooked in about 15 minutes.

Pasta is quite easy if you chop a pepper and carrot, open a tin of sweetcorn, add some tuna and stir in mayo or cream ... Again, just five minutes of ‘work’ in the kitchen

Over to you; what are those no-brainer meals you rely on when stress levels are high? Or are you a superwoman who has a freezer full of homemade ready meals?

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LETS member 35

I work full time so I know what you mean confused Sounds like you need a break…

I nearly always cook from scratch but have to admit that I usually take more than 5 minutes so I have had to think about this!

Something that DH and I often have at weekends is garlic mushrooms on toast with a big bunch of watercress - that doesn’t take long to do. Nor does cauliflower and broccoli cheese (we use vegan cheese), and you can always boost the veg factor with sweetcorn.

The pea soup I make doesn’t take too long either, and when DH is doing tea he often makes mashed potato, steamed broccoli and good old Linda McCartney sausages!! Any good? cheese

Trying to do everything - failing madly!

Being constantly & lovingly educated by daughter Freya, 19 cheese

Oh - and ratatouille, in huge amount. You can actually get two night’s worth out of a big panful - one lot with jacket potato or pasta, and the next night you can stir curry powder in it and eat it as ‘Indian’ with rice or cous cous. That way you have hardly anything to do the next evening either!

And the same with a big potful of veggie stew (with pearl barley in it) and dumplings - it might take 20 mins to prepare the first night, but you only have to do some extra dumpling the following night. Or you could freeze it and have it later in the week/month.

Trying to do everything - failing madly!

Being constantly & lovingly educated by daughter Freya, 19 cheese

Pasta carbonnara - cook pasta, whisk an egg (we use 2eggs for 3people) mix pasta, egg, black pepper and stir so the heat from the pasta cooks the egg. Serve with green leaves and a bit of grated cheese. I sometimes add pieces of ham or some frozen peas or sweet corn as well.

Loving all these ideas - thanks ladies! x

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LETS member 35

This is a great thread!! I have to admit I found it quite a challenge to answer as it made me realize how long I spend cooking every night!!Im a bit anal and always have a meal plan that I make at the begining of the week and often do bits in advance if I have time.So dont often have spontaneous meals.But then Im at home with the children most of the time so I suppose I have that luxury.
Anyway the things I make if we need dinner in a hurry with not too much work are:
Pasta with tomato sauce with some spinach or rocket mixed in,
Jacket potatoes with humus and lots of green salad
Brown rice with tamari and toasted seeds and steamed veg
Soup is a good one but my children always complain that it is not a PROPER meal rolleyes
A big tray of roasted veg and veggie sausages
Noodles with stir fried ginger greens
failing that its the Indean takeaway LOL

Mummy to 4

Ooh yeah - stir fry! And also (especially when we have a glut), courgettes fried in olive oil with garlic, basil and lemon juice, which can be served on toast or with pasta. And spicy butternut squash - cut up in small chunks, doused in olive oil, sprinkled with ground cumin, ground coriander and chilli powder, salt and pepper, baked until tender, and served with salad or green veg, with rice, cous cous or pittas.

And a recent discovery is carrot and chick pea stew which I found on the Deliciously Ella blog - yummy and quick (I always take shortcuts!!) ?

Trying to do everything - failing madly!

Being constantly & lovingly educated by daughter Freya, 19 cheese

*fried rice: on the hottest heat your cooker can manage, fry up some onion & garlic and whatever random veg bits you want to get rid of, bung in your cold leftover rice (break up any lumps with your fingers). When rice has some crispy golden bits, season with a bit of soy sauce or any other sauce you fancy. Make a well in the centre and break in 2 eggs. Bury them under the hot rice, cover the pan, and lower the flame. After about a minute, uncover the pan, stir the half-cooked egg all the way through, and serve.

*sardines in tomato sauce, mashed into a paste with some finely minced shallot. Serve on buttered toast. (Sometimes I like to put in a pinch of chili powder and a drop of lime juice.)

*pastina: cook tiny pasta shapes in salted water or bouillon. You can add some chopped carrot or tomato, or frozen peas, right into the water. When pasta is done, turn off heat but do not drain. Stir in an egg. Top with grated cheese. The children have theirs plain and we have ours with a dash of hot sauce. Especially wonderful on cold, rainy days!

*Massive omelette or frittata with whatever veg bits you have lying around the house

*The miraculous one-egg omelette (count one egg per person): beat an egg and pour into hot buttered pan. When completely set (it’s very quick), spread the thin omelette with mayonnaise (or pesto, or guacamole, or olive tapenade, or whatever spread you and your kids will eat), roll up, and cut into sections. (You can secure the sections with toothpicks if you have the energy and your children would appreciate such a thing grin .) Serve with carrot sticks, or tomato wedges sprinkled with salt, or apple slices, or…. You get the idea. Anything that would turn this into a vaguely balanced meal grin .

My greatest general time-saver is cut, frozen vegetables. Unprocessed and unseasoned, just washed and cut—they take all the work out of veg prep when I’m exhausted.

Wonderful ideas; thanks ladies. I feel a book of ideas coming on!!

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LETS member 35

Yellow Split pea soup:

100g frozen chopped onion
1 tbsp olive oil.
Leave to cook gently until soft.

Add 8oz yellow split peas which have been rinsed.
Add one stock cube (I like the organic variety from Waitrose, I forget the name, it’s a dark green box)
Add 1 and 3/4 pint of water. Bring to boil and simmer. I usually leave it simmer very gently on a very low heat for about an hour.
Wizz with stick blender. Serve with bread and cheese.
This tastes so savoury and delicious, it’s really lovely!
It’s not quick but it will physically take about three minutes of work in the kitchen!

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Huge veggie omelette, tin of carrots, carton of passatta warmed and pureed for tomato sauce with pasta/spaghetti, macaroni with cheese sauce made with milk and cornflour then grate cheese into it. Fry mince and onions (I always keep a bag of frozen onions and mushrooms in the freezer for emergencies to make it even quicker), pour in passatta. Serve with either pasta as a bolognese or with jacket potatoes and grated cheese. Bacon and mushroom sarnies, fajitas made with stir fry chicken and veg. Pizza wraps which are basically passatta spread on a flour tortilla, grated cheese and whatever topping you want, rolled up and put in an oven tray. Grate cheese over the top. Most of our meals are quick ones as I never feel I have enough time in the day to think about meals more than half an hour before we need to eat it!

Fab ideas! Feel all inspired. Am planning an article in the mag featuring super-quick, easy, affordable meals in minutes. Can I share all your great ideas?

Most of my quick meals are pasta based:

Feta and Olive sauce: cook pasta, meanwhile chop feta and black olives into small pieces, drain pasta, mix in cream to coat pasta and feta, stir to melt on a low heat, stir in chopped olives and serve.

Blue Cheese and Peas: cook pasta, throw in some peas towards the end of the cooking time, meanwhile chop blue cheese, drain, stir in cream to coat, stir in blue cheese and melt over low heat.

Egg, Onion and Capers: slice an onion as fine as you can cook over a very low heat in lots of butter until really soft, cook pasta, drain,
crack egg into pasta and stir over a low heat once cooked add in onion and some capers (you can chop if big), you can add grated parmesan or similar if you wish.

Spinach and Ricotta: peel and crush two to three garlic cloves fry in butter in a small frying pan add six of seven chunks frozen spinach and cook until melted, meanwhile cook pasta and put a tub of ricotta and chunk of butter and some grated Parmesan in an ovenproof bowl and cook in an oven on 100°C until all melty remove from oven and mix, drain pasta, mix the two sauces in with the pasta.

Other ideas

Pot luck salad make a big bowl of salad with ingredients to hand….salad leaves, cabbage, carrots grated, cheese grated, seeds, nuts, cucumber, peppers whatever takes your fancy….

If you have some roasted beetroot to hand…....cos you always do right?..........then chop into small (bite size) squares with feta and rocket and a vinaigrette makes a lovely salad.

Garlic Beans Fry two crushed cloves of garlic in a cm of oil in a frying pan, add a tin of pinto beans and cook until starting to soften, add some balsamic vinegar and oregano stir to mix and serve.

I always serve this with a cauliflower dish, cut cauliflower into florets and steam until just soft.  Melt some butter in a frying pan add crushed garlic clove and cook for a minute then add a few handfuls of breadcrumbs and coat with garlicky butter mix in some grated Parmesan.  Put the cauliflower in a shallow oven dish to cover the bottom.  Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the cauliflower and cook under a medium grill until lightly toasted.

Wonderful - thanks so much for adding to the thread everyone. I’m feeling very inspired.  smile xx

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LETS member 35

Thanks people - fab thread smile
All mine were in there already, but I’ve grabbed a few new ones !
... and yes I do feel that I can’t stand up ... too often .... hugs coming through the ether x

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