14 Meals in 20 Minutes or Less (for when you’re in a pinch)
My heart goes out to parents and teachers at this time of year. It seems like everyone goes from 10 mph to 100 mph in the space of a week! I’m not at that season of life yet, but as a teacher’s daughter and an elementary education graduate, I know a little of what goes on at the beginning of the school year. And it’s crazy!
So this post is in honor of Meet-the-Teacher Days and Back-to-School Nights. Life is busy, and there are some days we need all the breaks we can get. 🙂
I had to laugh when I researched 20-minute meals online. I found recipes for orecchiette (which is apparently a pasta 😉 ), broiled snapper, and ratatouille on some of the lists. The recipes that I’m including below aren’t going to be fancy or gourmet. They’re going to be practical, real-life, and hopefully, helpful. Here we go!
Tip #1 – Keep It Simple
There is a myth out there that a good wife makes really nice meals all the time. That the spaghetti is garden fresh and the garlic bread is always homemade.
Here’s the newsflash – that’s not true! Simple meals are just as yummy and filling as gourmet dinners. And shortcuts are definitely allowed. Your husband will not mind if the garlic bread isn’t homemade!
Below are a few simple recipes that you can pull out in a pinch. They’re some of my favorites!
- Bean & Cheese Burritos – This recipe is delicious and easy on the budget! Heat refried beans, chili beans, cheese, and diced tomatoes in a sauce pan, and serve with taco fixings for an easy burrito night! (From LittleYellowHouseAdventures.com – Link)
- Quesadillas – We like Mexican food. Especially when you can have it on the table in 15 minutes. 🙂 Heat your taco meat and fixings in a soft shell on your pancake griddle, and supper’s ready before you know it! (From LittleYellowHouseAdventures.com – Link)
- Pancakes – I love breakfast for supper, and pancakes are an easy go-to served with peanut butter and syrup! (From LittleYellowHouseAdventures.com – Link)
- French Toast – This might be my favorite food of all time. So it had to make the list. 🙂 And would you like to know the easy secret that makes French toast taste sublime? Check out the link and find out! (From CountryRecipeBook.com – Link)
Tip #2 – Make Use of Traditions
I never have to wonder what I’m going to make for supper on Wednesday nights. Pizza is assumed to the point that people in our family are disappointed if we miss a Wednesday. How awesome is that?!? This little trick saves me lots of time, and our family loves it. I also try to have eggs once a week, just because they are cheap, easy, and versatile. Here are a couple family favorites for you to try!
- Scrambled Eggs – Scrambling eggs is easy, but there is an art form to making a perfect batch. This mommy blogger lays all the secrets out there – you’re going to want to pin that post! (From MyMommyStyle.com – Link)
- Cloud Eggs – Not all of my Pinterest finds are successes, but these passed the test. (Whew! 🙂 ) Cloud eggs are as easy as whipping the egg white until it’s stiff and then baking the yolk on top. Serve on toast! (From JustATaste.com – Link)
- Omelets – This one is my husband’s specialty from his bachelor days. 🙂 It’s a great option for when you’re hungry for something quick and easy, and they’re personal size, so fix up yours however you like it! (From TheSpruce.com – Link)
Tip #3 – Get Creative
There are lots of ways to make everyday recipes easy and fun. Check out the ideas that these bloggers have come up with!
- Bean and Cheese Burritos – Try substituting refried beans for ground beef in your Mexican dishes – it’s faster and cheaper! Our family loves the variety that we get from Bean and Cheese burritos. (From LittleYellowHouseAdventures.com – Link)
- Panini Sandwiches – Everyone knows sandwiches are easy, but did you know they can be exciting too? It’s true! Break out some creativity and try something a little out of the box… (From Lilluna.com – Link)
- Nachos – Another Mexican dish because we loved this one so much… Spread your taco meat, fixings, and lots of cheese on top of tortilla chips and bake for an unbelievable easy solution to supper. (From GracefulLittleHoneyBee.com – Link)
Tip #4 – Soups for Supper
Bear Creek soup mixes are a fantastic option if you’re in a pinch! Someone in our church gave us a few mixes last year, introducing me to one of the most delicious time-savers yet. Our family has tried five of the fifteen Bear Creek soups, and we love them. Just boil your water, add the mix, and simmer for 15 minutes or so. Then you’re ready to serve a soup that really does taste homemade.
Interested in more info about this awesome soup mix? Here’s a link – Bear Creek Soup Mix – to see their selection. I haven’t tried all of their varieties, but we’ve loved the ones we have! 🙂
Tip #5 – Use Leftovers!
I’ll be the first to admit it – I love leftovers! I make big meals on purpose, knowing it will knock out two more meals later in the week. My favorite is tacos – it’s not uncommon to get three or four meals out of one batch between Doritos casseroles, nachos, and quesadillas. The recipes below take longer than twenty minutes to make… but the leftovers take less than 10 minutes to warm up! 🙂
- Tacos – The secret to a big batch of tacos is the rice and beans! I make three cups of rice and add one can of chili beans for every pound of ground beef, and the leftovers knock out half of my meals for the rest of the week! (From LittleYellowHouseAdventures.com – Link)
- Spaghetti – Another family favorite! My trick here is to add a half cup or more of cottage cheese to the spaghetti sauce to stretch it a little farther. Then I cook double the noodles that we’ll need, and we’ve got leftovers guaranteed! (From LittleYellowHouseAdventures.com – Link)
- Cheesy Taco Pasta – This is a Mexican spin on spaghetti that our family enjoyed. Once again, lots of noodles with extra cheese and salsa for lots of leftovers! (From LittleYellowHouseAdventures.com – Link)
- Creamed Eggs on Toast – I know, this one sounds a little out there, but trust me, it’s delicious, and it works great for leftovers! (From LittleYellowHouseAdventures.com – Link)
Stay tuned for more!! I’ll keep you posted as I find more easy recipes. Feel free to give suggestions in the comments section below! 🙂 In the meantime, check out my post on Ten Steps for Saving $ with a Menu Plan too. That simple strategy has saved me a lot of hassle on busy nights!
Blessings! ~ Erin
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