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Easy Meals in Less Than 30 Minutes

Rallying yourself or getting a family together for a meal can be a chore in itself during a hectic week of school and work. Several simple, nutritious meals can be prepared in 30 minutes or less, which means spending more time around the table and less time in the kitchen. A little planning before heading to the market makes these meals even faster to prepare.

Stir-fries

Stir-fries provide good sources of vegetables and protein with minimal preparation and cooking time. While shopping, pick up a package of pre-cut frozen vegetables and meat that has already been sliced and marinated for even faster preparation time. For non-meat eaters, adding nuts, eggs or tofu provides the protein element. Serve minute rice or noodles as the base for the stir-fry ingredients for a complete meal and pick-up your favorite brand of stir-fry sauce in the condiment aisle.

Pasta and Sauce

Spaghetti and red sauce is a staple meal because it is quick to prepare, tasty and easy on the pocketbook. If this combination becomes tiresome, try changing up the type of noodle you serve or purchase fresh or frozen tortellini, ravioli or stuffed shells for a variation. Homemade tomato sauce doesn't take much time to prepare if you have onions, garlic and Italian seasoning already in the cupboard. Serve with salad and garlic bread for a complete, traditional meal.

Meat and Vegetables

People often think that serving a meat dish means spending lots of time in the kitchen, but this has more to do with the cut of meat you are cooking rather than the meat itself. Boneless chicken breasts cook up in about 20 minutes when placed in a covered pan in a hot oven. Small steaks when pan-fried or broiled cook thoroughly in 15 or 20 minutes depending on their thickness. Servings of fish when poached or fried will cook in 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with steamed vegetables or salad.

Soup

This meal can be prepared in 15 minutes with prepared soups, whether they are store bought or previously made from scratch and reheated. Some cooks like to cook up a batch of soup or stew and place meal-sized portions in the freezer for a later date. Before leaving for work, take the container out of the freezer and place it in the refrigerator to thaw. When you get home, pour it into a pot for a fast meal.

Source: ehow.com

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