10 super fast meals to stop you ordering a takeaway

Cooking with kids

Starving but short on time? These delicious meals are quick to prepare and ready in a flash – meaning you can leave the takeaway menu in the kitchen drawer.

1. Go for an Italian classic

1. Go for an Italian classic

“Spaghetti carbonara is the easiest dish in the world. You put the pasta on to boil and fry bacon lardons whilst you’re waiting. Whilst the bacon's cooking, beat together two eggs – or one per person. Reduce the heat on bacon, so the eggs don't scramble. add cooked pasta to pan with bacon, then add the beaten eggs. Cook for a couple of minutes to cook the eggs. Done.”

2. Try something different

2. Try something different

“You could roast some butternut squash or sweet potatoes the day before, then mash them up and add some chilli, spices, finely chopped red pepper, and onion – then use in it quesadillas.”

3. Make soup the main event

3. Make soup the main event

“I make a big pan of carrot and lentil soup, and I chop carrot, avocado, cucumber, tomatoes to serve with it for the kids to help themselves. With some toasted some rye bread/sour dough, it's a quick, nutritious dinner.”

4. Bring the outdoors indoors

4. Bring the outdoors indoors

“We love indoor picnics. Use whatever you fancy – sandwiches, potato salad, sausage roll, boiled eggs, veg sticks and dips, pork pie, cheese etc. My daughter loves it – we quite often sit on a blanket on the living room floor to eat it.”

5. Make jacket potatoes ahead of time

5. Make jacket potatoes ahead of time

“If you have a slow cooker, wrap potatoes in tin foil and put them in before you go to work, then have them with beans and cheese, or tuna mayo with sweetcorn when you get in.”

6. Batch cook a versatile sauce

6. Batch cook a versatile sauce

“A big vat of Bolognese sauce frozen in batches is very versatile. Apart from spag bol, add cinnamon and chilli plus kidney beans for chilli with rice, or you can put the chilli in tacos. Add cinnamon and chilli, melt cream cheese into it, and mix with pasta shapes for a different pasta dish.”

7. Make eating an event

7. Make eating an event

“In our house there's Egg Night. I give the kids the choice of having fried, scrambled, or an omelette (with ham, spinach, etc inside), with toast, and veg – even if it's just baked beans or peas.”

8. Don't be intimidated by recipe titles

8. Don't be intimidated by recipe titles

“My son's favourite meal is sausage casserole. It's just carrots, onions, sausage and stock, then add frozen peas at the end of. Sometimes I put small potatoes in too.”

9. Try a speedy stir fry

9. Try a speedy stir fry

“I do a chicken stir fry in 15 minutes. You chop up the chicken into small chunks and cook in the oven, which takes 10 minutes to cook. That gives me time to stir fry some noodles and veg in a wok. Add chicken and sauce to the veg and noodles in the wok for a minute – done!”

10. When all else fails, get creative

10. When all else fails, get creative

“My emergency dinner is: put some of those Tilda packets of rice in the microwave; chop some sun-dried tomatoes, chop some feta or saute some halloumi in olive oil; mix those with the rice and tomatoes when done. Stir in a packet of baby spinach and the heat from the cooked rice will wilt it, or you can add some steamed broccoli. Serve it with a yummy roll, a piece of focaccia, or a few slices of baguette.”