One of the biggest reasons people turn to fast food and eating out is because their lives are too busy to allow much time for cooking. But even eating out at “healthier” restaurants isn’t always good for you, or for your wallet. Luckily there are many meals you can make that don’t require much prep or cooking time.
Meals that don’t require any cooking are often the fastest, not to mention cool and refreshing in the summer when it’s too hot to turn on the oven. For hot, home-cooked meals, the crockpot and the toaster oven both offer an easy, fast way to cook for the whole family.
Easy meal ideas to get you cooking
- Creamy red pepper soup: This creamy “soup” actually consists of raw vegetables, made smooth in a blender or with an immersion blender. The soup gets its creaminess not from any dairy product, but from blended avocado.
- Dr. Pepper Pork: Who knew that Dr. Pepper would make such good pork? This easy, hands-off recipe has only three ingredients — pork, onion soup mix, and Dr. Pepper — and then you just let it cook in the crockpot until it’s done.
- Crockpot mac and cheese: Kids love mac and cheese, but a lot of parents get tired of boxed mac and cheese pretty quickly. This crockpot version is much creamier and cheesier than the boxed variety, and it’s just as easy to make.
- Slow cooker potato soup: If you like soup, but not the effort that it takes to make it, you’ll love this easy potato soup recipe. Cooking the potatoes on low in the crockpot for eight hours takes much of the work out of cooking; then just smash or blend the potatoes as desired, add the rest of the ingredients, and cook for another 30 minutes on high.
- Quick baked eggs: Take the cooking time out of making breakfast by making these quick baked eggs — in the toaster oven! Just put a couple eggs and your ingredients of choice in a small ramekin and pop it in the toaster oven for 15 minutes at 375, rotating once to make sure it cooks evenly.
- Toaster oven quesadillas: Everyone loves quesadillas, but they can take a lot of work when made on the stovetop. Making them in the oven can heat up the house in the summer, but making them in the toaster oven is quick, easy, and requires little clean up afterward.
- Pizza bagels: These can be tweaked to make either a filling snack or a light meal. Simply cover halved bagels in your favorite toppings and pop them in the toaster oven until the cheese melts!
- Toaster tuna melts: Make that toaster work for you and make this favorite meal for both kids and adults. With some good bread, a little canned tuna, and some shredded cheddar cheese, you can make these sandwiches either open-faced or closed.
- Toaster bruschetta: Like the bagel pizzas, bruschetta makes a great snack or a light meal, or make this simple recipe as an easy appetizer at your next dinner party.
- Pesto salmon: Love fish but don’t have a lot of time? Prepare this simple salmon recipe in the toaster oven for a quick meal with simple prep, easy clean up, and a classic home-cooked meal feel. Perfect follow-up to a toaster bruschetta appetizer!
Eating well doesn’t have to require a lot of time! With these fast-prep and easy-to-make meal ideas, you can enjoy a delicious, home-cooked meal, even when you’re on a time crunch.
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