Speedy midweek meals

Get dinner on the table in no time at all with these flavour-packed dishes.
Published 21 January 2018 | Updated 20 June 2024
Easy lamb meatballs with tomatoes, olives and chilli

Mid-week meals in a flash

Sometimes the last thing you feel like doing when you get home late is cooking dinner. The truth is, whether you have 10 minutes or 30 you can whip up something super healthy and tasty. With quick recipes like stir-fries, pasta and meatballs, you'll be surprised at how fast you can prepare a gourmet home-cooked meal (quicker than you can order takeaway!)

10 hacks for making speedy meals

Need food fast? Try these quick and easy short-cuts for meals in minutes so no matter how much time you have in the kitchen you can make healthy and delicious meals.

1. Use the microwave

A microwave is a busy cook’s best friend so use it for more than just defrosting. It’s particularly good for par-cooking hard veggies such as potato and parsnip so you can roast them in half the time or can make rice in minutes with quick microwave rice packets.

2. Use a sharp knife

A sharp knife will cut through veggies and meat much faster than a blunt one. It is a good idea to invest in a knife sharpener and use it often to ensure your knives are nice and sharp. Also, store your knives in a knife block or on a magnetic strip to protect the blades.

3. Plan your meals out

Planning your meals will always make cooking faster as you’ll know exactly what you’re going to cook and what ingredients to buy at the supermarket.

4. Use the kettle to boil water quickly

A kettle will boil water faster than a saucepan on the stovetop. Once boiled, pour the water into your pan and quickly get it bubbling again to cook pasta and rice in no time.

5. Prepare ahead if you can

If you have a busy day ahead, consider prepping some of your ingredients the night before. A great example is cutting up veggies for a stir-fry or pre-cook your rice and store in the fridge.

6. Use scissors to quickly chop

Why waste time cutting herbs on a chopping board when you can use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut them directly into the pot? It’s fast and reduces cleaning up. You can also use scissors to chop bacon, remove the fat from meat and chicken, and cut up dried fruit.

7. Use canned products

As they are already cooked, canned ingredients are perfect for time-poor cooks. So stock up on cans of salmon, tuna, legumes (like lentils, beans and corn) and crushed tomatoes for easy toss-together meals.

8. Use more eggs

Don’t overlook the humble egg as a fast filler-upper. Packed with protein and essential nutrients, they can be fried, poached, boiled or scrambled in a few minutes.

9. Learn some recipes off by heart

Try to learn one or two quick recipes off by heart. Make these your stand-by meals when you’re short on time (or lacking inspiration) but need something quick to fill you up.

10. Use products designed to make meals quickly

Products like this that are great for midweek speedy meals include pre-cut spiralized zucchini, bags of pre-cut slaw mixes, bags of salad leaves, microwave rice and frozen stir-fry vegetables. These things were all invented to make our lives easier so use them. Our recipe for lamb and black bean stir-fry uses frozen stir-fry vegetables and quick microwave brown rice meaning all you need is 10 minutes and 5 ingredients and you can whip up this super yummy stir-fry.