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by Gael Myers, Accredited Practising Dietitian

The last thing many of us feel like doing after a busy day at work is cooking up a gourmet feast. The good news is, cooking healthy and tasty homemade meals doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming.

Here are some of our “real life” tested tips to make mid-week meals that are ready in a flash:

Shortcut reading version if you’re really in a hurry :)

  • Frozen vegies are good
  • Eat eggs
  • Microwave rice is a good fall-back
  • Freeze pasta sauce for later
  • Couscous is quick
  • Cook meals in batches and freeze for busy nights
  • Train your kids to help
  • Click here for 20 minute recipes.

Frozen vegies are your friend

They’re pre-cut, affordable and just as nutritious as fresh. They can be the star of your wok dish, bulk up a curry or casserole or be chucked on the plate as an afterthought. Some of our favourite ways to use them are

  • Peas + carrots + corn in fried rice
  • Frozen spinach will stay incognito in a lot of pasta sauces or can shine in an omelette
  • Frozen edamame is a hit in Asian salads
  • Stir-fry mixes make noodles a breeze
  • Frozen broccoli and cauliflower are a great side to your steak
Frozen vegies

Eggs anyway

Have you got eggs in the fridge? You’ve got a meal! An omelette with cheese and spinach, a curried egg sandwich or a sweet potato frittata are all great options. We love eggs so much we wrote them an ode. Check it out for more eggcellent recipes (and puns to…crack you up).

Ready rice

Use ready-cooked sachets of brown rice from the supermarket. They’re more expensive than cooking your own, and have a lot more packaging, but are very convenient when you need an easy meal.

Big batch bol

Make a big batch of Bolognese sauce and freeze into meal-size portions. I like putting it in ziplock bags because they stack nicely in the freezer that way (and can be re-used). We’ve got recipes for a meat or vego version. When you need a quick meal defrost the sauce in the microwave, cook some pasta (or microwave some potatoes… or make some toast) and slap it all together. You could even go for an old Italy meets Mexico vibe and turn the bol into burritos. Genius!

Vegetarian bolognese
Quick tuna couscous

Kooky couscous

Couscous is a super quick and easy grain to prepare – add boiling water, cover, leave for a few minutes and voila, ready to go! Try this quick tuna couscous for a meal that’s on the table in 10 minutes. Bonus points if you can find the wholemeal variety. It’s just as good and I promise I’m not just saying that because it’s higher in fibre ;)

Home-cooked microwave meals

Curry, soup, pasta sauce, tagines, casseroles and stews all do very well in the freezer. Cook up big batches for maximum efficiency and to save on dishes!  Spoon meal-sized portions into freezer-safe containers or zip-lock bags and freeze for a rainy day.

Food in zip lock bgs

Kids in the kitchen

Don’t be afraid to ask the kids to help with the prep. It will probably take more time initially but they’ll be learning valuable life skills and eventually they’ll be actually helping! See this guide for age appropriate meal prep and cooking tasks.

Check out our 20-minute dinner ideas.

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