food

Three meals that are ready in 15 minutes (cooking skill level: almost none).

McCain Rustica Wood Fired Pizza
Thanks to our brand partner, McCain Rustica Wood Fired Pizza

After a long day at work or busy weekend, the last thing we want to do is spend our hard-earned downtime cooking dinner. Because let’s face it, we’re not all MasterChefs. That’s why many of us are often scouring the internet, cookbooks and our mum’s brains searching for meal inspiration that is quick, easy and foolproof.

Most of us don’t have the time (or will) to spend hours dicing and frying or blanching and baking when we have important Netflix business to attend to. So, we put three Mamamia writers of varying cooking skills (from great to virtually non-existent) up to a challenge: whip up a delicious meal in 15 minutes. Three writers, including myself, went for it.

How did we go? It’s time to see. Ready. Get set. Go!

Keryn Donnelly – Weekend Producer.

"There’s nothing I love more than a quick dinner that involves minimal preparation and barely any clean up." Image: Supplied.

Weeknights are hard and there’s nothing I love more than a quick dinner that involves minimal preparation and barely any clean up. For me, a quick dinner means I have more time to walk my dog, watch my latest Netflix obsession, and scroll through Instagram.

But cooking dinner within such a tight time frame and making sure that it’s healthy and tasty is not an easy task. I don’t want to get into the habit of ordering takeaway or living on Ramen noodles for the rest of my life.

One of my go-to dinners is Chinese Chicken Salad. I just grab a barbecue chicken and a bag of salad from the supermarket, mix it together and add some crunchy noodles and oriental dressing. The whole meal is ready is less than 15 minutes.

The best bit about it? You can eat it out of a bowl in front of the telly. It’s quick, it’s healthy and it’s surprisingly tasty. It does involve a detour to the supermarket on the way home though, but honestly – it’s worth it.

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Valentina Todoroska - Deputy Head of News.

"I will now impart to you my wisdom of the easiest darn meal you will ever make. And to top it off, it's completely delish." Image supplied.

When it comes to cooking, I'm really only well versed in one skill. You might've heard of it, it's called 'burning'. Outside of that, what I can do when it comes to creating a meal is very, well, limited. For this reason I'm always looking for dinner inspiration that is basically impossible to screw up and still edible by the time I'm done with it.

As a result, I've come to discover all of the best meal options that require little to no effort because if I didn't, I probably wouldn't be eating at all. So I will now impart to you my wisdom of the easiest darn meal you will ever make. And to top it off, it's completely delish.

Introducing the McCain Rustica Pizza, which comes in three drool-worthy flavours: Spinach and Mozzarella, Four Cheese and Margherita. All you have to do is preheat the oven, remove the pizza from the packaging, place it on the oven rack (YOU DON'T EVEN NEED A TRAY) and cook it for 12-14 minutes. Then voila, you're done! All under 15 minutes.

I tried the Spinach and Mozzarella pizza. It tastes a million times better - and is far friendlier to your wallet - than a takeaway pizza. It tastes exactly like a wood-fired oven pizza you'd order at a swanky Italian restaurant. It's tomato-ey, it's cheesy, it's topped with a bit of green, it's everything you'd want to get in your gob on a cold winter's night.

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Amy Clark - Editorial Assistant.

"When I get home from work, rustling up dinner is the last thing I feel like doing." Image: Supplied.

The challenge was steep. The idea of cooking something good in just 15 minutes made me want to hide under the covers and stress eat barbecue Shapes, but I gave it my best go.

When I get home from work, rustling up dinner is the last thing I feel like doing. If I’m not organised, the temptation to settle for cheese on toast or takeaway is hard to resist. Although it’s quick and satisfying at the time, these kinds of off-the-cuff meals leave me feeling sluggish, and my bank account slim.

To keep myself in check, I batch cook and freeze one yummy meal per week so there’s no excuse not to choose a healthy option when I can’t be bothered. So for this challenge, I picked a chicken and veggie stir fry.

To get my meal on the plate as close to the 15 minute deadline as possible, I took a few cheeky shortcuts. By preparing a week’s worth of rice the day before, buying pre-sliced chicken, using a packet sauce and blitzing my veggies in the microwave before adding to the stir fry, I shaved a good 20 minutes off my time.

But unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. I’m pretty chuffed with my time of just under 25 minutes, but I’d happily take any tips to get me out of the kitchen and onto the couch faster.

What's your favourite 15-minute meal to make at home? Share with us below.

This content was created with thanks to our brand partner McCain Rustica Wood Fired Pizza.

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