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5-Minute Meals for Busy Nights (Plus a Recipe for Egg Fried Rice)

kristen burgess March 9, 2013

We all have *those* days, right?

Please tell me I’m not the only one tempted to order in at least once a week! The thing about that though is that the availability of real, nourishing food is pretty well non-existent on a take-out menu.

I need options for insta-dinner without sacrificing too much of my family’s health. I mean, having a slightly less-than stellar ratio of carbs to veggies is one thing, but cardboard refined-flour pizza crust swimming in rancid vegetable oil, topped with sugary sauce and food dye and additives/preservatives, with CAFO meat and pesticide-laden veggies that were probably picked eons ago? That’s a whole other ball game.

I’ll be honest, I’ve ordered pizza before. Sometimes life happens, right? But the reality is that there really are some simple and hearty options available to me that are nourishing, easy, and fast. Sometimes I resort to throwing together a random smattering of things from my 100 Healthy Snacks post, but when that doesn’t work, I generally use one of the following ideas.

Here are five ideas for *those* kinds of nights. These things all take around 5-10 minutes to make, and have nourished my family on more nights than I can remember in this busy season of birthing and raising 3 kids in less than 4 years! 

Oatmeal

Tons of flavoring options. Try an oatmeal buffet with a variety of toppings to please everyone’s own tastes, or try a nourishing baked oatmeal recipe like this Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal recipe from A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa. Pair it with a side smoothie, maybe one with nuts or chia seeds for protein? I really love this Almond Bliss Smoothie that I featured in Your Green Resource a while ago, and here’s my go-to green smoothie recipe.

Bacon & Eggs

Throw some fruit on the side, maybe some sauteed spinach, peppers, and onions if you want. Or for another breakfast-ish idea try this quick and easy recipe for Breakfast Soup. If you have broth on hand, the prep time for this is practically nil.

Pancakes

Make up a pancake mix ahead of time with the dry ingredients of your favorite recipe, then add the wet stuff when you want to make them. It’s just as quick as the boxed store mix, and way healthier! Serve with peanut butter and honey drizzled on top for extra protein. If you’re serving maple syrup, try this idea for stretching your real maple syrup without resorting to the fake stuff.

Hamburger Patty and Frozen Veggies

My hubs makes awesome homemade hamburger patties from scratch, and we keep them stocked in the freezer. We can quickly fry a few of those up if necessary, add some steamed vegetables with butter, and we’re good to go. If your family members are not hamburger fans, try this awesome grain-free salmon patties recipe.

5-minute meals for busy nights

Fried Rice (recipe below)

Beth’s Easy Egg-Fried Rice

Ingredients:

  •  2.5 cups cooked rice
  • 1-2 onion, 4-5 garlic, sauteed in butter
  • 1 t. ginger powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2-3T soy sauce, t. worst sauce
  • Peas and green beans ’til it looked right
  • Cooked carrots
  • 4-5 eggs (scrambled separately)
  • More soy sauce if necessary

Directions:

Saute onion and garlic in a buttered pan. Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl or cup. Cook them in a buttered pan, and before they are all the way done, add the rice. Add the frozen green beans and peas at this point as well. Stir to combine. Add ginger powder, soy sauce. Stir well. Add some chopped up cooked carrots too if you have them. I add them if I had leftovers in the fridge, and leave them out if not.

This is easily customizable to your family’s tastes. Add more eggs, different veggies, etc. You could even stir in some meat or legumes for added protein. One day I had some chicken in the fridge so I threw it in, and it was really good.

Serve with whatever your family likes!

Suggested sides: other cooked veggies, raw veggies, and hummus, boiled eggs with butter, fresh fruit, baked chicken drumsticks, or any of the many suggestions in the above-mentioned 100 Healthy Snacks list.

Make-do meals don’t have to be take-out. Next time you have “one of those days”, give one of these ideas a try!

What do you make for dinner when you’re tempted to order take-out?

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7 Comments

  1. Thanks for the helpful ideas! You are definitely not the only one who is tempted to order out once a week! We often turn to this easy mac and cheese recipe on busy nights. http://plusothergoodstuff.blogspot.com/2011/04/easy-change-1-ditch-kraft-mac-cheese.html

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  2. […] over to Modern Alternative Mama to read the rest. This is my second contributor post over there, and I’d love for you to […]

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  3. Oh, DOH!! Salt and Pepper!! /smacks head.

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  4. Good ideas. I need some since I’m first trimester tired/nauseous with a 3 year old and 18 month old, but we’re on GAPS so quick, easy, not horribly expensive meals are hard to come by.

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  5. I love that fried rice recipe! I’m going to try it after my 5 minute soup challenge this week, definitely, and try adding spinach leaves. 🙂

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  6. […] over to Modern Alternative Mama to read the rest. This is my second contributor post over there, and I’d love for you to […]

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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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