3 Meals in 20 Minutes

Not enough time to cook? Want delicious, healthy and filling meals without fancy ingredients or complicated recipes? Then it’s time you started taking advantage of that amazing thing every single one of us has in their kitchen. The oven!

Roast lamb and onion, pumpkin and cauliflower vegetable medley with steamed green beans

I didn’t cook this meal. My oven did!

I am addicted to oven roasting for several reasons:
– The oven does all the cooking for me while I play with Kaiya or ‘get things done’
– I can fit lots of food in the oven to cook all at once and have plenty for leftovers
– Roast meats and vegetables taste amazing without fancy ingredients or recipes
– Roasts impress people and make me look like a gourmet cook
– I don’t have to stand over a hot stove, stir or saute, or even get messy!

How to Make 3 Meals in 20 Minutes

So on to the task at hand. I’ve promised you 3 meals in 20 minutes, and this is how you do it.

1/ 20 minutes is the maximum time it should take to preheat the oven and prepare the meat and veg for the oven. The key here is to prepare more than you will eat in one meal!

Prepping a roast meal takes very little time and no fancy recipes

Prepping a roast meal takes very little time and no fancy recipes

No need to peel vegetables before roasting

No need to peel vegetables before roasting

For this example meal, I have quickly chopped up some vegetables and rubbed some dried herbs on the meat. That’s it!

This is the amount I prepared for our family of 3, so we would have enough for dinner, breakfast and lunch.



NOTES:
– There is no need to peel pumpkin before roasting. The skin comes off much easier after it’s cooked and on your plate.  The same goes for sweet potato, potatoes, and beetroot.
– For a roast vegetable medley, just chop and throw in whatever vegetables you have in the fridge. Here I used cauliflower, eggplant, red capsicum (bell pepper), and leek. Soft vegetables like zucchini, will roast much faster than hard vegetables like cauliflower. So you can either cut hard vegetables smaller than the soft ones and cook on the same tray, or put soft vegetables on a separate tray and put in the oven later.
– The green beans can also be roasted with the vegetable medley or the pumpkin, but we also like them steamed. I trimmed the ends and put them in a steamer in a pot of cold water on the stove during my 20 minutes prep time. Then right before the roast was ready to serve, I turned on the heat to quickly cook them.
– Here’s a list of which vegetables are great for roasting and tips on how to cook them in my Vegetable Cheat Sheet.
– Ask your butcher for a cut of meat that is good for roasting. We love lamb shoulder or leg (I think shoulder is much yummier!), beef topside or brisket, any ribs, and pork shoulder or belly. A whole chicken or any cut of chicken besides breast is great in the oven, and fish is delicious baked in the oven.
– For this lamb roast, I simply rubbed some olive oil and dried herbs all over the meat. It took less than a minute!
– Onion is delicious roasted. You can chop it up and mix it with your vegetable medley or put it around your meat. I find it’s best around the meat (or under the meat if you use a roasting rack), as the juices from the meat help flavour and caramelise the onion.

2/ While the oven is cooking the food… you don’t lose the time you needed to go do your workout, finish the chores, balance your finances, skype your mum, run errands or do a craft with your kid.

– The cooking time will depend on what cut of meat and which vegetables you are cooking. To keep it simple, I do almost everything on 180C (350F). For whole roast meats and whole chickens, I allow about 25 minutes per 500g (1lb). Vegetables chopped quite small average 20-25 minutes total, and whole, unchopped root vegetables such as beetroot (beets), sweet potato and potato take about 1-1.5 hours.
– Many people are afraid to leave home for a short time with a hot oven on, but with an electric oven at this temperature, the chance of fire is little to none so I don’t sweat it. Use your own judgement.

3/ Enjoy your gourmet roast meal that the oven cooked for you!

Roast lamb and onion, pumpkin and cauliflower vegetable medley with steamed green beans

Roast lamb and onion, pumpkin and cauliflower vegetable medley with steamed green beans

Let your meat sit for about 10-15 minutes before carving it up and digging in. Sea salt, pepper, butter and/or olive oil are the perfect condiments to add to your finished roast meat and veg. The roasting action gives such great flavour to your whole foods as it is!

4/ You now have two more meals worth of food with all the leftovers.

Put the rest of the cooked meat and vegetables into containers for the fridge.

Cook large quantities at once, then enjoy the leftovers

Cook large quantities at once, then enjoy the leftovers!

Chop up the leftover roast meat and vegetables to make scrap salad for packed lunches or on-the-go breakfasts. You can also add tomato, capsicum (peppers), avocado, fresh herbs, olive oil and vinegar to your scrap salad if you desire.

Chop up leftover roast meat and vegetables for scrap salad lunches

Chop up leftover roast meat and vegetables for scrap salad lunches

Learn the Basics of Lovin’ Leftovers to get the most out of your leftovers. Unless you use the same meats and vegetables every day and every week, there’s no reason that eating the same meal three times in a row should be boring. Especially if it’s so delicious!

However, if you want more variety with your leftovers, try Same Food, New Dish: Recipes Using Leftovers. Some examples for this meal:
– Chop the leftovers small and eat them inside lettuce wraps or hollowed capsicum (bell pepper).
– Mash the leftover pumpkin and pile the reheated meat and veggies on top of the warm mash.
– Chop the leftovers and warm in a pan with a homemade tomato sauce, or curry paste and coconut cream.

Cook when you have time. Not just in the evening.

Lastly, remember there are no rules stating that you must cook in the evening or only when you ready to eat. If you are home all morning but have a busy afternoon and evening, do your roast in the morning and have it for lunch, with leftovers for dinner and breakfast or lunch the next day. If you are off at work all week, cook up your roast on the weekend and pack up the leftovers into containers ready to eat during the week.

Let us know what you made in your oven how you enjoyed your leftovers!

3 Meals in 20 Minutes – October 2013

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