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A lot of my "quick" meals require some planning ahead. I have to have stuff thawed or pre-cooked (like meats) in order to speed things up.
Taco soup is one (cooked hamburger, chicken or turkey), corn, sometimes beans, canned diced tomatoes (or puree for us), taco seasoning, ranch seasoning. That takes 20 minutes or so depending on whether the meat is already cooked or not, or cooked (and frozen).
Spaghetti - I make my own sauce but even then supper is on the table in about 30 minutes, with salad and garlic bread. I do have to plan ahead with that though, too; I keep meat and rolls in the freezer to use and I have to get them out to thaw.
Shepherd's pie can be quick if you use a lot of convenience items - my version basically involves cooked meat, canned veggies, gravy packets, shredded cheese and instant mashed potatoes (real if you feel so inclined - more time, though). It takes about 30 minutes for me to get it on the table if the meat is at least thawed and everything is ready in convenience form.
During the summer - the grill is my BEST friend. I can cook up meats in a fraction of the time I can in the house. Grilled filleted chicken breasts (which I usually freeze in various marinades), salad and baked potatoes (microwave) are one of our favorite summer meals, and *usually* ready in 20-25 minutes. Steaks grill up pretty quick too, or a vegetarian meal of mushrooms and veggie skewers.
Taco salad - bagged salad, good seasons Italian dressing or sweet french dressing, taco meat (your choice - I make with hamburger or heat leftover cooked poultry with some taco seasoning and a little water), cheese, maybe salsa or chopped tomato, sour cream, tortilla chips. Super quick, tasty, and easily molded to different tastes. Easy to fancy up or down. That's 10-15 minutes, especially with convenience foods (and honestly - with some planning - you can make your own).
Individual meatloaves - can be ready in about half an hour, just mix up your favorite, make little loaves (I use an amount for a large meatball and shape it into a "loaf"), top with a sauce (taco sauce, salsa, bbq sauce, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, whatever), and bake at 400 for about 20-25 minutes. You can cook some rice and a veggie in that same time.
Mock swedish meatballs - you'd be surprised how quick this comes together. Make up your favorite meatball mix, pop into the oven in small (inch) meatballs, those should cook up in about 15 minutes at 400 or 20 at 350-375. Cook some noodles and make a sauce with either brown gravy mix, hunter sauce mix, or mushroom gravy mix (use 25% less water than called for) and then add 1/4 cup sour cream for ever packet of gravy mix you use. Very tasty and on the table in about 30 minutes.
There are more but that's what I've got right now. 30 minutes is what I tend to think of as a fast food meal, because it's about the same amount of time it would take to go to McDonald's and back, and it's less time than it takes to order a pizza or other delivery. Anything faster is just a bonus.
One of the reasons for that is that my Dh is allergic to chicken, so now we have started to eat a lot of ground beef or ground turkey.
cook ground beef, drain, add a can of spaghetti sauce (I used prego), a can of drained mushrooms, some italien seasonings, bring to a boil and serve over noodles....takes less than 30 minutes.
Ground beef stroganoff:
cook ground beef and one chopped onion, drain, add one can of drained mushrooms, 1/2 cup milk, one can cream of mushroom soup, season with salt and pepper, bring to a boil...remove from heat and add 2 heaping tablespoons of sourcream. Serve over noodles....less than 30 minutes as well.
My own invention #1:
Cook ground beef with one chopped onion, some chopped mushrooms, and some chopped green pepper. Drain. Add one can of tomato sauce, and season with salt and pepper....heat thouroughly. Serve over rice or noodles.
My own invention #2:
Cook ground beef with chopped onion and/or green pepper. Drain. Add 1/3 cup water, one package of taco seasoning and some salsa - however much you want. Mix, heat thouroughly and serve over rice or noodles.
Let me know if you try any of these recipes!!!
All of these take less than 30 minutes and are great as last minute meals since you can just cook the ground beef or turkey straight out of the freezer.
I actually make all 4 of these recipes quite a bit.
If I have some chicken breasts defrosted (or have time to thaw in the microwave), I do a very quick Italian chicken patty dinner.
I take about three chicken breast halves and cut each in half, then pound the pieces with a tenderizing mallet until they're about 1/4 inch or 1/2 inch thick. I put them in a ziploc baggie along with a quarter cup parmesan cheese, 1 tsp Italian seasoning and 1/2 tsp seasoned salt, and shake it all until the chicken pieces are coated. I heat some olive oil in a pan over med-high heat and cook the pieces of chicken for about 3-4 minutes per side, or until done in the middle.
I like to serve the chicken with a side of green beans and some pasta with butter over the top (if I have time, I'll make some alfredo sauce on the side).
Total time from start of prep to serving is about 15 minutes, tops!
We do a "taco dip" night sometimes. I take hamburger, brown it, add taco seasoning and cook according to directions. Then I take some refried beans, spread it on the bottom of a 8x9 casserole dish. Top with the taco meat, then sprinkle with cheese. We bake until hot all the way through and the cheese is melted and lightly browned.
We have dishes with toppings out too. Usually cutup lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, and salsa. (If you add the lettuce when cooking, it tends to get soggy. Especially when reheating. We store it separately)
Spoon some onto a plate, top with toppings and serve with tortilla chips. Cooking time is usually 20-30 minutes tops. I do all the chopping and stuff when it is in the oven.