In a hurry and need a quick bite to eat? It's hard to beat beans on toast or fish finger sandwiches, but if you're fed up with those and your mind's a blank about what to cook, it might be time for some fresh ideas. Store-cupboard staples such as pasta take little time to cook, while eggs, prawns, salmon and sausages can all be made into quick lunches or hearty suppers in about half an hour.
If you need to fill up, try a tasty pasta dish (and here's a super-quick way to cook it). For example, spaghetti carbonara takes 15 minutes from scratch and you may have most of the ingredients anyway. It's also really nice with farfalle or penne.
More quick pasta dishes:
Tasty 10-minute pasta
Smoked salmon pasta
Farfalle with pancetta and peas
Pasta with tomatoes, anchovy and chilli
Stuck for ideas? Just think of a takeaway classic and make something similar. Try this teriyaki salmon with noodles or kung po chicken.
Chicken and coconut Thai curry rice
It's easy to overlook one of nature's best convenience foods – eggs. They cook quickly and give you a quick burst of protein. Omelettes and frittatas can be as simple or as sophisticated as you choose, and can be a good way of combining some of the odds and ends that need using up in the fridge. And with this minted courgette frittata recipe for example, you could make a big one and then you've got some left over for a lunchbox the next day.
More marvellous eggs:
Brie and sunblush tomato omelette
Amazing North African eggs
Rocket and goats' cheese omelette
Prawns are also the time-poor cook's friend as they're either cooked already or can be cooked in minutes. If you need to defrost them, spread them out on a plate and position it over a bowl of lukewarm (not hot) water.
Fantastic prawn options:
Prawns and feta omelette
Spaghetti with prawns and chilli
Easy prawn cocktail
A lot of brunch-style dishes can make a good quick meal. Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on toast (sourdough or granary work well) can be on the table in minutes.
More brunch-inspired dishes:
Eggy bread with mixed berries
Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise
More quick meal ideas
Hungry and need something really quick on a cold night? Try a quick pea and ham soup or a smoky sausage casserole. What if you fancy a baked potato but don't want to wait as long? Try a sweet baked one instead. And if you need an impressive pudding but only have a few minutes, try an Eton mess. There are more quick options below.
Quick salad Nicoise
Two five-minute mouthwatering deserts
How to finely chop an onion