15-Minute Meals Your Family Will Love

 

This 15-Minute Meal planner is brilliant. You can learn to build your own quick meals when you know the building blocks to making fast food. Free download
This 15-Minute Meal planner is brilliant. You can learn to build your own quick meals when you know the building blocks to making fast food. Free download

A 15-Minute Meal is like a 911 call for busy moms.  They rescue you in those moments when you are crunched for time.  I know that you’re crunched for time pretty much every single day, so having a bank of these 15-Minute meals is a necessity if you want to stay out of the drive-thru and quit eating take-out.

This 15-Minute Meal planner is brilliant. You can learn to build your own quick meals when you know the building blocks to making fast food. Free download

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Imagine something like this …

You’ve been so busy today and you just got home from the doctor, the dentist, work, art class, gymnastics, soccer, or wherever and it’s time to eat — like, right NOW!  Everyone is hungry and they want McDonald’s, Taco Bell or Subway.  But you say, “No Way!  We’re eating in tonight.”

Maybe you’d like your story to look like this

Close your eyes … And Imagine … The Sun is Shining … Clouds in the blue sky … Birds are singing … You stroll in at the end of what is a pretty typical day.  Traffic was crazy, your boss was a pain, the kids have been fighting in the backseat, or they were calling you as soon as school was out because they were hungry, oh well … not a problem, you’re not even fazed.   Today, you walk in the door with a smile.  You’re not frazzled, you’re not rushed, and you don’t have a pizza in your arms.  

What you do have is a plan.  

You already know that you’re going to get something on the table in 15 minutes flat!

This can be your reality.  Every single day you have the opportunity to put together 15-minute meals.  And they can even be healthy, affordable meals, with just a little forethought.

Do you want to know how to build those meals?  You can learn to build those meals with just 3 simple building blocks.  And you can repeat them and mix it up week after week after week. Make sure you print out the 15-Minute Meal Planning Tool to get you up and going.

The first thing you need to know is that you are not going to need to follow a single recipe to make these meals.  No more scouring Pinterest for ideas, or scanning a dozen cookbooks.  In order to make this work, it is a matter of cooking each of the base ingredients, adding some seasonings, and that is it.  There are minimal steps, ingredients, and instructions.  You will not have to get a bunch of things out of your cupboards or refrigerator to get started.  Usually, you’ll just be grabbing about 5 items, not counting salt and pepper.

The 15-Minute Meal Formula

The formula for a 15-Minute Meal consists of 3 building blocks.  It includes some sort of quick-cooking protein, a vegetable, and a carbohydrate.  In our family, we frequently skip the carbohydrate and have two vegetables … one hot and one cold.  There is enough flexibility here that you get to decide.  

 You’ll see that I have included a category for flavor boosts.  I have done this because it’s really important for our families to feel indulgent and to not get bored by eating the same thing all the time.  Changing up the sauce or seasonings in your meals can make a world of difference.

There is plenty of opportunity for variety when using these building blocks, so make sure and mix things up frequently.  Try new things and get in the habit of looking for ingredients you haven’t tried before.

15 Minute Meal Builder

Use this tool to build your own 15-Minute Meals that your family will love. Printable forms with suggestions and fill-in worksheet. Includes 10 15-Minute Dinner ideas.

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Building Block #1 – Protein

There are certain protein types that work well for 15-minute meals.  You need to be thinking ahead about things that come either pre-cooked or cook really fast.  There are a few things to consider when making your evaluation.  Pre-cooked meat is clearly going to be your quickest and easiest option, but raw will be your most versatile and easiest to flavor yourself.  Be adventurous and try a lot of different options.  You may come up with some really great options that become new favorites in your home.

Pre-Cooked Protein

These proteins can be warmed up in a frying pan, or the microwave.  They can be sliced or diced and stirred into a sauce and heated in no time at all.  Or, many of them can be a great addition to a bagged salad for an amazing meal.  You tend to find these at the grocery store near the lunchmeat or on the meat aisle.  Don’t forget, you can also choose to use canned proteins.

  • Dinner Sausages Like Aidells or Hillshire Farms
  • Ham Slices
  • Rotisserie Chicken
  • Frozen Grilled Chicken
  • Grilled Steak Strips
  • Hormel Taco Meat
  • Bar-B-Que Pork
  • Frozen Shrimp
  • Deli Meat
  • Canned Beans

Uncooked Protein

When choosing raw meat, choose thin cuts so they will cook fast.  Just don’t overcook them.  Use the McCormick Seasonings or brush on something like Teriyaki sauce for a nice flavor.  Each of these options can be cooked in just a few minutes.  For a fast meal, these need to be thawed before cooking.

  • Chicken Tenderloins
  • Cube Steak
  • Thin cut pork
  • Ground Pork, Beef or Turkey
  • Eggs
  • Salmon
  • Shrimp

Building Block #2 – Vegetables/Fruits

There is such a myriad of vegetables and fruits to choose from.  Almost any of them can be prepared in just a few minutes.  Most frozen veggies cook in around 6 minutes.  Consider serving raw fruit and veggies with your meal to cut down on cooking time.  Most kids prefer their veggies raw, anyway.

  • Prepared Salads
  • Coleslaw
  • Deli Salad
  • Spinach salad
  • Frozen Veggies
  • Zucchini
  • Broccoli
  • Green Beans
  • Cauliflower Rice
  • Asparagus
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Veggie Sticks
  • Pineapple Rings
  • Applesauce

Building Block #3 – Starches/Carbs

Growing up we had buttered bread at nearly every meal.  Now, today I don’t do that because I just don’t think it’s all that healthy, but there have been days that it has saved my keister.  If you’re thinking ahead, plan to always have leftover rice in your fridge.  This makes a great addition to your 15 Minute Meals.  Here are some quick options.

  • Bread
  • Toast
  • Buns
  • Biscuits
  • Instant Grits
  • Couscous
  • Instant rice
  • Refrigerated Pasta
  • Instant Mashed Potatoes
  • Boxed scalloped potatoes
  • Simply Potatoes
  • Pizza Dough

Flavor Boosts

Now that you have your main building blocks down, you can think about jazzing it up a bit.  Your family will think you’ve made a full gourmet meal when you add these amazing flavor boosters.  Don’t try to make these from scratch when you’re making a 15 Minute Meal.  These are already prepared seasonings and sauces that you can buy at the store.  There are so many available, and this is just a small list of ideas.

Now that you know all of the building blocks, you can pull together a 15-Minute Meal in no time at all.  Just start by picking one item from each of the categories.  Be sure to download the 15-Minute Meal Planning Tool, it also comes with 10 15-Minute Meal dinner ideas.

15-Minute Meal Suggestions

  • Bean and Cheese Quesadillas
  • Pan Seared Salmon, Steamed Green Beans, Couscous Tossed W/Italian Dressing
  • Shrimp Caesar Salad
  • French Dip Sandwiches with Veggie Sticks and Applesauce
  • Sausage & Broccoli Alfredo W/Tortellini
  • Chicken Teriyaki W/ Pineapple Rings on Instant Rice
  • Asian Salad w/ Grilled Chicken
  • Ham, Scrambled Eggs, Biscuits
  • Spinach Salad, Seasoned Ground Pork Patties, Scalloped Potatoes

After you download and complete the planner, make sure to put all the ingredients on your shopping list and take it with you to the store.  That way, you’ll be set up for an amazing week.

15 Minute Meal Builder

Use this tool to build your own 15-Minute Meals that your family will love. Printable forms with suggestions and fill-in worksheet. Includes 10 15-Minute Dinner ideas.

Powered by ConvertKit

Related Reading

Did you ever think it could be so easy to make delicious meals in such a short amount of time?  They don’t even come from the freezer.  

After following these steps you will have enough time to create a delicious family meal, clean up, and head out to enjoy that sunshine.  Use your extra time to take a family stroll through the neighborhood, play a game, or just relax together.

Are you excited to get started?  Please share in the comments below what 15-Minute Meals you came up with?  I’d love to hear all your ideas.

Weekly Meal Planner

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Get the Weekly Meal Planner and Worksheets here!

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