Dinner in Minutes

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As I mentioned last week I’m now working full-time. Gone are the days of slow cooking beans on my stove or making dinners in the early afternoon and reheating them in the evening. Our schedule is much busier now so I’m much more strategic with our dinner plans.

I still have my favorite go to recipes that are really quick like my Veggie Pad Thai. If you haven’t made it yet you really should. I can have it ready in less than 30 minutes.

Dinner in Minutes: Strategies for Quick Dinners

Dinner in Minutes

If your schedule is tight and you need dinners with minimal prep time I think you’ll appreciate these ideas.

Use your Slow Cooker

Many of my recipes can’t handle the slow cooker all day. Six hours would probably be the longest for the casseroles but the Potato Soup, Taco Soup, Enchilada soup, and chili will work fine in a slow cooker. Baked potatoes (and Baked Sweet Potatoes) can also be cooked in the Crock-Pot all day. (The one linked is programmable.)

Batch Cook on the Weekends

You don’t have to prepare every meal but I’m a big fan of cooking items like beans, grains, potatoes, etc. to be reheated during the week. I usually try to have 2 or 3 things cooking at one time. Then throughout the week I can mix and match those items with other items that cook quickly like pasta.

Have Back Ups Ready

I keep canned beans for those days I’m not prepared and don’t have time. Just this week I pulled out a can of beans to make Unfried Black Beans for my family. It was much healthier than anything else we would have eaten on such short notice. I also keep frozen veggies on hand for those days when I have no time and I’m out of produce. I can add them to soup, stir fry or steam them.

Oatmeal is also a great, quick and healthy meal. Sure, it’s breakfast but it is filling and hearty.

Eat Simple Meals

Like the oatmeal mentioned above, choose meals that are easy to prepare. Pasta with marinara, Baked Potatoes, Veggie Wraps, Bean and Grain Bowls, Bean Burritos are all simple meals. Save the complicated meals for the weekend. If you’ve done some batch cooking most of these things can be ready in less than 15 minutes.

Instant Pot

Use a Pressure Cooker

As you probably know I recently bought an Instant Pot. I love it. I can quickly cook dry beans in about 30 minutes. My favorite thing lately is pinto beans cooked in my Instant Pot, brown rice and diced potatoes. I’ve been using it’s timer so I can set it up before I leave in the morning and dinner will begin cooking just before I get home.

I’ve also used it to cook brown rice, lentils, chili, veggie soup, potatoes and sweet potatoes and several of my casseroles. It’s been a lifesaver for us and well worth the investment.

Do you have fool proof ways to get dinner ready in minutes? What are they?

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  1. Great ideas! Thanks!

  2. You are amazing…still including us and working full time. Wow! Just wanted to mention a tip I learned from JoAnn Rachor’s vegan slow cooking book….to make your unprogrammable crock pot programmable..buy a lamp/appliance timer. Plug your crockpot into the timer, set timer to come on and turn off at your desired time and viola…timed crockpot cooking when you cant be there. Don’t forget to turn crockpot on to the temp you want food to cook at (high, low, medium..whatever) It wont come on until the timer kicks in. Just a thought for the day. Again…thanks for all you do. We appreciate it!

    • Awe thanks Kathleen! You are too sweet!
      That is the best tip ever! Thanks for passing it along! My crock pot isn’t programmable but my instant pot is so I’m covered but I’m defiantly going to share that one!

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