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Friday, April 15, 2011

12-minute dinner

Another post about food? Yeah, yeah, we sure do love food around here. There’s a quick dinner that I keep in my back pocket for those nights when nothing is going right, the kids are starving, there’s nothing in the fridge, and take-out isn’t an option. It’s buttered parmesan noodles, cooked shrimp, and a veggie. Twelve minutes from start to table. Ahhhhh.

We always have some variation of these on hand, no matter how badly we need to go grocery shopping – most of this stuff has a very long shelf life, so it can just hang around until called to emergency duty:


Just start three pots boiling with water (the instant hot water dispensers in the kitchen are AWESOME and I miss mine from the old house every day). Toss pasta in one, frozen shrimp in another, and a veggie or veggie steamer in the other. In this case I made Faith’s Maple Carrots so I tossed the baby carrots directly in the water, but steamed broccoli with ranch dip, green beans, or even just a cup of frozen peas work just as well with Ro and Ree. We just ran out of black olives and cherry tomatoes, or I would have included a few of those on each plate with some food pics.

Boil everything according to the package directions (usually about 8 minutes for the pasta, 5 minutes for the shrimp, and 6-8 minutes for the veggies depending on how you’re cooking them). Drain the pots, stir a few pats of butter and a whole bunch of parmesan cheese into the pasta. Do whatever you have to do to the veggie so your kids will eat it. Then toss everything on a plate and watch it disappear.DSC_4346LR

Ro and Ree complained mightily that I only made them five shrimp each this time. They just love that stuff. Next time I’ll make more.


Think they liked this dinner?DSC_4365LR

Does anyone else have a 12-minute dinner to share? What’s the absolute fastest meal you can get on the table that the kids will still eat?


SpringFling_thumb2_thumb1Post #15 of my Spring Fling 30 posts in 30 days. Halfway there!!! And I have to admit this is harder than I thought it would be. Thank you so much for all of your comments. These fun bloggers are also participating in the Spring Fling: And babies make four…, Another Journey, Birdie and the Queen Bee, Catherine’s Chatter, Diary of a Nouveau Soccer Mom, Dragonflies, Journey to Motherhood, Koprowski Kids, Life with L and M (julialaine.net), Love and a Little Craziness, Mindful of Mine, Moments with Maisie, No Ordinary Family, One Plus One Equals Four, Our Boy and His Cricket, Searching for Sophie, Spectacular S, Three Kids = Chaos, To Vietnam and China, We’re Here. If you want to give it a whirl, I’ll link to you too. Start today and post something (anything) for the next 30 days. Feel free to use this button if you want.


  1. Our quick fix is eggs, bacon and toast (or goldfish crackers if it's really been one of those days).

  2. Egg and Bacon Pasta
    Boil some water to cook the pasta. In a pan fry some bacon or ham ( cut it into bite size peices first), once it's cooked put off to the side. When the noodles are nearly ready, fry an egg per person. I actually throw some peas or broccoli in the noodles to speed things up.

    Drain the pasta reserving a table spoon of water and pour that and the noodles in a serving bowl, add some butter, black pepper, toss the ham on top then the eggs. Cut the eggs up whilst on top of everything so the yolks run everywhere. Toss it all about and tada, dinner!

    The girls like to add freshly grated asiago. Sometimes we add black olives or other things. It's quick and that's what counts when everyone is groaning

  3. mine is similar to Dawn's and My Mom made it all the time for me as a kid... I think when money was tight... a good way to get protein and carbs. It is a comfort food for me and I always have the ingredients on hand.

    so you boil elbow macaroni, drain, add some butter to the pan and then scramble a egg per person in the pasta until it is softly scrambled. Salt & pepper

    it is so simple.. but so good

    My daughter likes to douse her's in ketchup.

  4. I'm always at a loss for quick and easy so I love the food posts. Also I'm all about the photos, I can't make it if I haven't seen a photo no matter how easy.

  5. Single mom's survival meal:

    cereal in a bowl. add milk.


  6. Brenda4/16/2011

    Walmart has these packages of pre-cooked rice - different flavorings. All you do is open it and heat it. I put mine in an electric skillet with a little olive oil and swish it around to make fried rice. They cost $1.00/pack and have an excellent taste. Takes about 1 minute to cook. I would get those wonderful fully cooked meatballs that Costco has - in the low refrigerated sections where they keep the cooked pot roast, etc. Put those meatballs in the same pan when you're cooking the rice and you'll have a delicious dinner for the twinados in a heartbeat. I'd put some fresh cherry tomatoes on the side as well.

    You can retrofit your sink for the instant hot water valve. You'll have to get a new sink with an extra hole on top, but it's worth it. My plumber finally replaced my old instant hot water thingee with a new Insinkerator. Magic.

  7. The big quickies in our house, especially when Eammon's away or not eating with us include: eggs, dumplings or udon soup. I love that they're all just one pot or pan so very little clean-up too.

  8. i find it really hard to make a quick meal nowadays since i am trying not to prepare meals with processed foods, sugar and grains. i fail at that since those meals are so yummy and quick but i try. eggs and bacon are quick, though, as are steamed veggies with shaved grain-fed beef that i can fry up in minutes. fruit with sunflower nut butter also is quick.

  9. Everyone: Yay, thank you!!!!

    Dawn and Lauri: Really? Egg right on top of the pasta? Alrighty, I'll try it but I just don't know about this one (hee!).

    Debberoo: I'm with you, if I see a recipe and there's no picture, forget it!!!

    Brenda: These are going on the grocery list today. Pretty much the girls would eat rice with every meal if I served it.

    Lisa: As always, I wish like heck I lived at your house, because I would eat ANYTHING you made. Mmmmmm.

    Single PAP: What's shaved grain-fed beef? I think we need to get this, it sounds wonderful and quick.

  10. four under four: regarding the goldfish crackers -- oh yeah, SO hear you on that one.

    Carol and Taylor: I can't even tell you how many nights I do cereal for dinner for myself. It's good, it has lots of protein and fiber and it feels indulgent.

  11. My 12-minute dinner that most closely resembles "a meal" (not counting the quickies already mentioned like cereal, or granola in yogurt!) ... a boil meat ravioli (or you can use cheese). Throw some butter on them (same concept as buttered noodles) if your child isn't a ranch-loving freak like mine, put some cheese crumbles on the side and cut up pickles or fruit.

    Always a hit with my 4-year old!

  12. Our quick fix is beans with salsa on either rice, baked potatoes, or couscous. It can be done in less than 15 minutes with potatoes or couscous, or if you have rice already fixed. (I always fix two meals worth of brown rice in our steamer, and freeze the extra for using later.)

    Nuke baking potatoes, or start couscous or fix rice. While the starch is cooking, drain and rinse a can of beans (pinto, red, or black work well) and dump into a saucepan. Add a cup or so of chunky salsa, about 1/2 a small can of tomato paste (freeze the extra), and 3/4 - 1 cup water. Add some chili powder to taste. Stir and heat until it starts to boil. Serve beans over potatoes, rice or couscous and top with sour cream and/or shredded cheese. This makes enough to feed our family of 4 (DD1 is almost 9, and DD2 is almost 4)

  13. Anonymous4/16/2011

    Re egg and pasta, it is called Italian Spaghetti alla carbonara (bacon and eggs pasta): The yoke is served on top of the pasta raw or the hot pasta is poured onto the raw egg. The pasta must be hot. When the yoke is mixed through the hot pasta it cooks and gives the pasta a velvety texture and is delicious. Brown bacon and put together. Incredible!

  14. I'm going to send you a bottle of real maple syrup! You can not use that Log Cabin stuff.

    My favorite fast dinner for the girls is pasta tossed with ricotta (cottage cheese will do in a pinch), butter, Parmesan and a little pink sea salt. I sometimes will add cheddar so I can sneak in a little pureed butternut squash. Edamame on the side and dinner is served!

    We also love the frozen spinakopita at Trader Joe's. Just bake and serve! They'll each eat four or five pieces and that's a lot of spinach!

  15. Looks DELICIOUS!!! I am sure Tate would down the shrimp and ask for more too!

    Just made your mom's apricot bars... YUMMMMMMM!

  16. My favorite is scrambled egg whites and ham. A quick waffle and some cut tomato round it all out.


  17. One of my favorites that can be used with just about any pasta. The only difference is that I used leftover cooked chicken and canned diced tomatoes if I don't have fresh.

  18. One of my favorites is grilled cheese and egg sammies. You scramble eggs and then put them and a slice of cheese in between two pieces of buttered bread and then grill them on both sides. it's like a grilled cheese sandwich with the benefit of the egg!! Can also add bacon or sausage, if I do sausage, I cook it mixed in the egg. Slice some cukes or add baby tomatoes for the side and there you have it!

  19. completely off topic-- but i printed out you lunch menus and LOVE THEM!!!!!!! my kids love them more- they feel like they are at a restaurant!!! so with 5- there is no way a compromise on the main will happen w/o bloodshed, so each kiddo has their day to choose the main. it also helps me to keep their lunches more healthy.. thank you!

  20. Lauri - my mom always did the leftover pasta thing with scrambled egg too...sometimes even a little onion added in. I will confess that I still do this on occasion with leftover pasta I find in the fridge. We call it EGGhetti!

  21. I was with you right up until "that the kids will still eat" bit... There's a staple here that goes from frozen to yummy in (microwave) minutes, and if you cut off a good portion of the seasoning before serving it's even healthy. It's called PC Blue Menu-The World's Best Meatless Chicken Breast and we haven't met a toddler yet who doesn't like it... Not sure if you have it in the States... maybe at Target? (snort)

  22. Grilled cheese, maybe with ham, frozen peas, and grapes. Or, I make scrambled eggs with whatever I have on hand (ham, bacon, tomatoes), and add a frozen waffle to get a little sweet on the plate. I like to stir fry shrimp with veggies and add cashews, pineapple chunks, and sweet and sour sauce. Hardly more than 20 minutes!

  23. One of my go-to meals is Pasta with Broccoli. One box of pasta - usually rotini or bowties - broccoli florets, olive oil, garlic, parmesan, salt and pepper.

    Cook pasta and toss broccoli into pasta water for last 2-3 mins until crisp tender, drain. Saute a couple of cloves of garlic in about 2 tbsp. of olive oil, add cooked pasta and broccoli, lots of fresh grated parmesan and season to taste. My girls and hubby love it. You can also do half butter/half olive oil if you prefer the taste. I have also added cooked julienned baby carrots. A great standby and definitely 12 mins.

  24. I have two rice cookers, one can steam veggies. I toss in whatever veg I have in one, then rice in the other.
    Then in a skillet I throw in about 1.5 pds of boneless chicken thigh, give it two healthy squirts of hoisen sauce, a shake or two of sugar and a shake or two of garlic powder. After I get that flavor combo right I add pepper. It's our redneck Chinese chicken.

    As the chicken is defrosting in the microwave I'm loading the rice cookers...I'm guessing this is about 15-20 total (that darn rice takes forever to cook).

  25. Anonymous7/06/2012

    LOL Kim that sounds like a gourmet meal in our house.
    My kids love pasta with tom sauce (ketchup) and grated cheese on top, pretty gross but they love it
    My kids would eat pasta every night of the week if possible so i may try that egg one yet.