When there are only so many hours in the day, spending a lot of prep time in the kitchen isn’t always possible. But if you’re a foodie like me, you still want to be able to try new dishes and explore great flavors. Finding ways to make meals I love in 30 minutes or less is key — under 20 minutes is even better.
If you can relate, then these shortcuts are for you. Most of these tips are adapted from other self-professed foodies, and they really are perfect for saving time without sacrificing flavor.
Turn your favorite dish into a wrap or bowl.
Wraps and bowls are wonderful creations. There are so many great flavors packed into a small space. Plus, they are a good way to support just about any clean eating, whole foods, or keto plan that you might be doing. Bowls are pretty self explanatory because you really just layer your favorite ingredients. My favorite is to use quinoa as a base, fill it with veggies, and top it with an egg.
For wraps, I love using Blue Dragon Spring Roll Wrappers which are naturally gluten-free, vegan, and non-GMO. They’re a perfect way to make a meal out of simple ingredients, like your favorite regular salad or chicken/tuna salad, without adding a lot of calories. Be sure to check out the below chicken and avocado spring roll recipe from Blue Dragon for some more meal inspo!
And, if you’re in the mood for something sweet, you can make a healthier version of your favorite dessert by turning it into a wrap as well. How delicious does a spring roll wrapper apple turnover sound?
Use rotisserie chicken.
This one might be my favorite foodie shortcut ever. I first discovered this time saver when I was making chicken noodle soup for my sick daughter. I wanted something homemade but quick, so I picked up a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store. It was so fast and incredibly flavorful. Now I regularly buy a rotisserie chicken to use in some of my favorite recipes. It’s amazing in the Blue Dragon spring rolls.
Master the use of sauces.
A sauce can really add to a dish and bring out new flavors. Don’t be afraid to make your own — I used to be intimidated but it’s really not that involved. Once you have the initial ingredients, you’ll be set to whip something together in just a few minutes. (Be sure to check out the soy peanut dipping sauce that goes with those chicken and avocado spring rolls — so simple and tasty!) While making your own sauces is definitely rewarding, pre-made ones are also great. For the spring rolls, I made the soy peanut dipping sauce and also bought a Thai sweet chili sauce just to have variety. Both were delicious and popular with different members of my family.
Double up the recipe for leftovers.
If you’re already making a great recipe, why not make a bit more? I love to double recipes and then package the leftovers and freeze them for later. I keep freezer-friendly containers and bags available at all times, and it has really cut down on my meal prep. I love opening up the freezer, knowing I’ll always have options for the nights I don’t feel like cooking from scratch. It’s also been a handy way to share a meal with a neighbor or friend.
Plan your meals by ingredients.
This approach takes a little planning, but you’ll save a lot of prep time and money when you can align your ingredients for weekly meals. If this is appealing to you, do some Googling and Pinterest searches for grocery and meal-planning lists. There are genius bloggers out there who have really gotten the system down, like Lauren from Tastes Better from Scratch who has plenty of options to choose from and the Cook at Home Mom has Whole 30 printable shopping lists.
Of course, you can do your own planning just based on what you regularly make. For instance, if you buy that rotisserie chicken at the grocery store, try to get two or even three meals out of it (maybe even four if you use the bones to make chicken stock!)
These foodie shortcuts won’t sacrifice flavor but will give you some time back. Now you just have to get someone else to do clean-up and dishes, and you’ll be all set!
Blue Dragon Chicken and Avocado Spring Rolls
Start to finish, 20 minutes
Makes 12 spring rolls
2 ounces rice vermicelli, soaked, drained 4 ounces carrots, shredded finely
4 ounces green cabbage, shredded finely 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice
8 ounces (about 1-1/2 cups) shredded rotisserie or leftover chicken breast, skin and bones removed
4 ounces bacon, cooked and crumbled
4 ounces diced avocado
12 Blue Dragon Spring Roll Wrappers
Soy Peanut Dipping Sauce
1⁄4 cup honey
1⁄4 cup smooth peanut butter
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chopped peanuts
- Make Soy Peanut Dipping Sauce. Set aside.
- Combine chopped in a vermicelli in a medium bowl with carrots, cabbage, brown sugar, lime juice, chicken, bacon and avocado.
- Dip 1 rice paper round into a bowl of warm water until soft; place on cutting board covered with a kitchen towel.
- Top with a little of the filling. Fold and roll to enclose filling. Repeat with remaining rounds and filling.
To make Soy Peanut Dipping Sauce: Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl.
Chef’s tip: If you haven’t worked with spring roll wrappers before, double them up to make them sturdier and easier to roll.
This story was sponsored by AB World Foods.