With the right pantry items, a little planning and a few clever ideas, you can make these meals fast and fresh.
15-minute meals under $15
These meals can be made in less than 15 minutes with ingredients that cost less than $15. Try them out this week!
- Chili – Brown ground beef and combine with canned beans and tomatoes and your favorite chili spice mix.
- Quesadillas – Buy rotisserie chickens at the grocery, pull the meat off the bones and use the chicken on tortillas with sautéed onions, peppers and shredded cheese. Cook in a skillet until both sides are warm and cheese is melted.
- Caprese salad – For a lighter meal, toss fresh mozzarella with tomatoes and sliced fresh basil leaves. Dress with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Yum – summer flavors all year long.
- Cheesy pasta – One of my favorite comfort meals is pasta tossed with butter and Parmesan cheese. With bread and a salad, you can’t beat it!
- Spaghetti carbonara – Make this classic Italian dish by tossing hot pasta with Parmesan cheese, egg yolks and sautéed prosciutto (or bacon) bits. The hot pasta cooks the egg and melts the cheese into a decadent, creamy sauce.
To make a meal on the fly, have an arsenal of go-to staples. These five items will save you, time after time.
- Canned beans – They add protein and fiber to soups, burritos and casseroles.
- Frozen stir-fry vegetables – add chopped frozen veggies to weeknight stir-fries. You can use them to create a pasta salad, or steam and serve as a side dish with grilled chicken.
- Quinoa – This whole grain is hearty and healthy, has a high protein content and can be quickly prepared in a rice cooker the night before you need it.
- Pasta – always have a variety of pastas on hand. Toss them with bottled sauce, or a little butter or oil and Parmesan cheese.
- Salad greens – When you’re in a rush, nothing beats a quick, crunchy salad. Try a “garbage” salad, tossing whatever’s in the fridge with salad greens.
Spice up your next meal for free
Plant an herb garden in your yard or on a kitchen windowsill. The cost is minimal, and you’ll have fresh, free herbs to toss into recipes all summer. Fresh herbs freeze well, too.
Are you up for the challenge? What meals can you pull together with three ingredients?