5 ingredient, 15 minute meals · easy meals

5 Ingredient, 15 Minute Meals

This week I’m kicking off a new series of recipes I’m calling, 5 ingredient, 15 minute meals. Check out the first one, for a Gym Night Quinoa Bowl that you’ll be making again and again!

I wanted to come up with some healthy dinner recipes that are simple to make, so that when life gets hectic, you can still eat well.  In my experience, the I’m-too-busy-to-cook routine can be a vicious cycle.  You’re working hard, pushing your limits, and then you feed your poor, tired body junk food because you don’t have the time or energy to do otherwise.  Been there.  It sucks.  I hope I can help you avoid that rut, by providing healthy meal ideas that come together in minutes and taste wonderful too! Because if you’re working hard, you certainly deserve it!

I know a lot of recipes claim to be ‘easy’ and turn out being either flavorless or not nearly as easy as they claimed.  I vow not to do that here, ever.  These recipes are ones I make when I’m tired and crunched for time.  They taste great, are really healthy, and don’t take long to make.  5 ingredients will be the rule, but I may give you some add-ins to try if you can spare an extra minute.  15 minutes will be the maximum active time spent cooking, and often it will also be the total time before the food hits your plate.  If not, it’s because after 15 minutes of work, you can sit back and relax while the food cooks itself for a few extra minutes in the oven.

Besides using fewer ingredients and simple techniques, I have a few other tips to help you get dinner ready quickly:

  1. Take 5 minutes to prep a few spice blends, and you’ll have the base for dozens of flavorful recipes without the hassle of opening a million different spice jars. Check out these three basic spice blend recipes.  It seems like such a small thing, but on a busy weeknight, it’s amazing to add a spoon of one of these blends to a simple bowl of veggies or meat and turn it into something delicious!
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These three spice blends will transform the most simple meal into something fantastic!

2. At the beginning of the week, rinse some brown rice.  Drain it, but let the rice stay pretty wet. Put it in an air tight container in the fridge. Now when you’re ready to cook it later in the week, that tiny bit of water left clinging to the rice will have  softened it up so it cooks in just 15 minutes!

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Having plenty of containers helps a lot with meal planning, prepping ingredients in advance, and making the most of leftovers.

3. Cook organized.  Take out all your ingredients before you start, and place them close to your cutting board.  Get a little bowl to throw garbage in and put this near your cutting board as well. Do your prep work close to the stove, and keep all your cooking utensils, pots, pans, and other cooking gear nearby.

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This is my work space. Pots and pans in the drawer, cooking utensils, oils and seasonings at-hand. The bowl is for garbage, which helps with clean-up.

4. Keep some staples in the fridge that can easily round-out the most basic meal. Since my hubby and I eat primarily vegan, I like to stock the fridge with protein-rich items like chickpeas, tofu, nuts and seeds, that I can throw into a salad for an easy meal booster.  A big bag of pre-washed greens is also a must, along with some enriched multi-grain bread and pitas.

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See what I mean about the food containers? Stock up! 🙂

5. Plan ahead.  Think of a few meals you want to eat that week, write down the ingredients you need for each, and then stick to it.  This is a huge time and money saver!

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I like to start by writing the dishes I want to cook that week at the top of my list. Then I think of each, one-by-one, and write the ingredients I need for that recipe.

Do you have any time-saving tips to share? I’d love to hear them!

 

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