$3.50-per-serve egg and bacon quiche, and 2 other time-saving family dinner recipes.

While cooking from scratch is great in theory, many of us just don’t have the time or patience to do it every day. 

So why not get a bit scrappy with your cooking on those nights when you’re juggling a million and one other tasks? Make the most of these time-saving ingredients from the supermarket to help you get dinner on the table in a flash. 

The superstar shortcut ingredients list:

1. Ready rolled puff pastry - yes it’s quite easy to make pastry (so people tell me) but if you want to save time, leave it to the professionals.

2. Prepared meatballs - many are gluten-free, use good quality ingredients, and can save you a tonne of rolling time.

3. Coleslaw mix - look, we can all grate some carrot and shred some cabbage, but it’s a lot faster when you can just toss it all in a bowl from a bag of pre-made slaw.

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3 ingredient Spaghetti and Meatballs.

Serves: 4

3 ingredient Spaghetti and Meatballs. Image: Supplied. 


You can get some really nice quality ready-made meatballs from the supermarket or the butcher these days, including some that have a good proportion of veggies in them (winning!). 

With the veggies well and truly hidden away for you, all that’s left to do is brown the meatballs and prepare a luscious silky sauce that will be ready at the same time as your spaghetti. 

Feel free to add any other flavourings to the sauce that you wish, such as some soy sauce, chopped basil, Worcestershire sauce, chilli or some garlic powder. It still tastes great without any extra embellishments though.


  • Pack of 20 meatballs, 400g
  • 700g jar passata
  • 250g dry spaghetti
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil spray


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook your spaghetti as per the pack directions. 


2. Heat a frying pan over medium/high heat and spray generously with olive oil.

3. Cook the meatballs for around five minutes or until golden. They don’t need to be cooked through.

4. Add the passata and half a cup of hot water, and season to taste. Add any extra sauces now, or some chopped herbs such as basil or parsley. Bring the sauce to the boil, then reduce to medium heat and simmer away for around 10 minutes so that the meatballs cook through and your sauce starts to thicken up.

5. Drain your spaghetti and add the pasta to your meatball pan, covering it with sauce. The starch from the pasta will help to thicken your sauce even further. 

6. Place your spaghetti and meatballs into bowls. Serve with a big bowl of garden salad, and dinner is done.

$3.50-per-serve Egg and Bacon Quiche.

Serves: 4

Egg and Bacon Quiche. Image: Supplied.  


A perfectly cheap and cheerful dinner that is totally customisable. Why not try leftover roast veggies instead of the bacon (or, let’s be honest, with the bacon). Or go for a feta and cherry tomato combo with some chopped baby spinach. Anything goes! 

Add some steamed veggies, salad or slaw on the side and you’ve got a family meal in no time. The recipe below comes in at around $3.50* per serve, which is perfect for the budget-conscious cook.


  • 1 onion, peeled & diced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 3 rashers streaky bacon
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated


1. Preheat the oven to 180C and find a round or square cake tin that you will cook the quiche in.

2. Heat a frying pan over low heat and add the olive oil. Cook the onions over a low heat until golden and caramelised (if you haven’t got time for this, just cook them until transparent - it will still taste great). Remove from the pan and set aside.

3. Cook the bacon in the same pan until cooked to your liking. Remove from the pan, chop into small pieces. 

4. When the pastry is defrosted, place it onto a large sheet of baking paper and lower it into the cake tin. Push the edges into the sides of the cake tin and fold down the tops to make it all roughly the same height.


5. Place the bacon and onion onto the pastry, ensuring it is evenly spread out.

6. Crack your eggs into a jug, then add the milk, salt and pepper. Use a fork to whisk it all together and then pour this egg mix on top of the bacon and onion. Sprinkle the top with the grated cheese.

7. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Allow the quiche to cool in the tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes before slicing up.

No-chop Okonomiyaki.

Serves: 3

No-chop Okonomiyaki. Image: Supplied. 


This Japanese style veggie-packed pancake can be on the table so much faster with a bag of chopped coleslaw mix. It’s traditionally served with a brown sauce (recipe below) and lashings of Kewpie mayonnaise.



  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp flour or almond meal
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 300g bag of finely cut coleslaw mix
  • 3 tsp coconut oil, for frying
  • Kewpie mayonnaise, to serve
  • Spring onions, to serve

Okonomiyaki Sauce

  • 3 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey


1. Prepare the sauce and set aside.

2. Make your batter by whisking together the eggs, flour, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. 

3. Add your slaw and mix well to combine. If it looks too dry, add a tablespoon of cold water.

4. Heat a teaspoon of coconut oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.

5. Spoon one third of the mixture into the pan, pushing down to flatten with a spatula or egg flip.

6. Fry for 1.5 to 2 minutes until golden, then flip and cook for a further minute on the other side until brown. Repeat for the next two pancakes.

7. Drizzle over the brown sauce, add stripes of Kewpie mayonnaise, and use scissors to snip the spring onions on top to serve.

So next time 5pm rolls around and you’ve had a long day, followed by afternoon activities, play dates, vet visits or whatever life admin you’ve got going on - give these a go and enjoy smiles all round. 

*Costs based on ingredients purchased at a NSW Woolworths supermarket June 2024.

Feature Image: Supplied/Mamamia.

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This article was originally published in 2022 and has since been updated.