The ability to put a meal on the table quickly is a superpower when you are feeding a family. Life can get hectic, making preparing a healthy and delicious meal a challenge.
Rather than reaching for the takeout menu, add some of these quick, simple, and delicious meals to your repertoire. You will feel great putting meals on the table that save you money, are healthier than takeout, and that your family will love.
Our Meal Maker Bundle features Ground Beef, Hamburger Patties, Ground Pork, Breakfast and Italian Sausage, and Bacon; it’s the perfect bundle to have stocked in your freezer for creating quick and delicious meals for your family. Order now and we will ship it to your door!
Preparing for Quick Meals
Having the Meal Maker Bundle in your freezer gives you a great start for a number of delicious meals. The next step is then having meat thawed when you need it.
The simplest way is to get in the habit of moving a few frozen items from the freezer to a plate or pan in the refrigerator several times a week. This gives you ready-to-use meat in your refrigerator.
If you don’t have something thawed in the refrigerator, you can place the frozen meat into a large bowl of cool water an hour or more prior to when you need to cook.
If you’re in a pinch and don’t have anything thawed, you can cook hamburger patties from frozen or chop up and cook frozen bacon.
Constructing a Quick Meal
From a fancy restaurant to a simple sandwich, meals can be broken down into the general components of a protein, starch, vegetable, and sauce (optional).
When putting together a meal where time is of the essence, convenient options for each of these categories are necessary. For protein, the Meal Maker Bundle has you covered with a selection of delicious ground beef and ground pork (and also bacon!).
For starches, having bread, buns, and chips on hand can cover a number of meals without the need for any cooking. Pasta, rice, and potatoes can also be ready to eat in less than 20 minutes with a little technological help described below.
Vegetables add flavor and nutrition to a meal. Salad greens, baby carrots, or fruits like grapes can fill this role with no cooking needed. Frozen vegetables can be thrown in with the meat or starches to quickly add flavor and complexity to your dishes.
While a fancy restaurant will put hours and great importance into crafting the perfect sauce, for a quick meal with hungry kids to feed, ketchup and spaghetti sauce serve as great options. And, if you are in the mood to do so, you can count them as a vegetable! Other sauces using milk and broth can also be used to add richness and flavor to your meals.
Saving Time with Gadgets
We use a couple of kitchen gadgets to save time and produce tasty meals.
Air Fryers have their pluses and minuses, but they are worth the investment for getting things like frozen french fries or tater tots cooked in a hurry. They can also be handy for making french fries from scratch and cooking chicken when you a little more time to get meals ready. The key for air fryers is getting one with a big enough basket. We have had good luck with the Cosori brand air fryers for feeding our family of 4.
An Instant Pot makes the work of cooking potatoes, rice, and pasta easy, getting them cooked through in about 15 minutes. And when you have a the time, an Instant Pot is also great for braising roasts. (We are preparing a tutorial on mastering the use an Instant Pot, so make sure to subscribe below so you don’t miss out.)
When cooking rice, pasta, and potatoes in an instant pot, the key is to add the right amount of liquid. Too much, and it will take too long to heat up; too little and things will be crunchy.
For rice, we have had the best luck with a 2:1 ratio of liquid to rice to get nice soft fluffy rice. 4 cups of liquid will cook 1 pound of most pastas. For potatoes, liquid up to half the height of the potatoes in the Instant Pot will get them cooked well.
You can swap out water for broth or other flavorful liquid to add more taste and nutrition to your starches. Other seasonings can also be added with the salt to pack more flavor in as well.
Harder, longer-cooking vegetables, such as carrots, can also be thrown in to cook at the same time. Add a little bit of extra water to compensate when adding a lot of vegetables. Softer vegetables such as broccoli or peas are best cooked outside of the pressure cooker, as they tend to explode when cooked in the Instant Pot.
The one challenge with cooking pasta in the Instant Pot is the formation of a starchy foam that can make a mess when releasing pressure. We’ve had the best luck adding a couple tablespoons of butter or olive oil to limit the foam formation. If you still have foamy liquid shooting out, close the pressure release valve for a minute to let the foam subside, and then continue pressure release. The liquid left in with the pasta will be a concentrated starchy liquid that can be added directly to your dish without draining to thicken sauces and add creaminess to your dish.
All starches can be cooked on the ‘Pressure Cook’ setting with a quick release of pressure at the end of the timer. Note that it takes 5 to 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to come up to pressure and then cook for the set time as listed below
|2 cups White or Brown Rice||1 16oz. Box||6 to 8 Med. to Large Potatoes|
|4 cups Water/Broth||4 cups Water/Broth||2 cups Water/Broth|
|2 teaspoons Salt||2 teaspoons Salt + 2 Tablespoons Butter||1 teaspoon Salt|
|Cook Time: 4 Minutes||Cook Time: 4-6 Minutes|
(1/2 the listed cook time on the box)
|Cook Time: 4 Minutes|
20 Meals to Make in Under 20 Minutes
Below are 20 ideas for delicious and fast meals using the meat found in our Meal Maker bundle. Sign up at the bottom to receive detailed recipes for all 20, and happy eating!
#1 Pasta with Spaghetti Sauce
The Meal Maker bundle gives you the option of pairing Ground Beef, Ground Pork, or Italian Sausage with your favorite spaghetti sauce and pasta of choice to create this classic meal.
Running late and don’t have any meat thawed? Take hamburger patties from the freezer and put them in a bowl in the sink and run warm (not hot) water over the package for a few minutes. Heat a tablespoon of Butter, Avocado or Olive Oil in a pan on medium heat. Separate the patties and cook for 4 to 6 minutes per side and serve with your favorite burger condiments and sides.
#3 Barbecue Pork Sandwiches
Brown up some Ground Pork and then mix in your favorite barbecue sauce to create filling for some of the most delicious sandwiches you will find.
#4 Bacon Fried Rice
Put rice in the pressure cooker while you chop up and fry some bacon. Add vegetables, scramble some eggs, combine everything and add soy sauce for fried rice that will knock the socks off of takeout.
#5 Sausage, Eggs, and Toast
Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner? Form small patties of delicious Breakfast Sausage and fry in a pan. Cook up your favorite version of eggs, make some toast, and have yourself a scrumptious meal.
#6 Sloppy Joes
Whether you purchase a sauce or make your own (get a recipe at the bottom of the list), everyone loves a good sloppy joe.
#7 Black Pepper Beef
Use ground beef to make this peppery Asian dish. John’s favorite Chinese restaurant dish from college is transformed into a quick weeknight meal. Also great for clearing up your sinuses!
#8 Bacon Potato Soup
A nice hearty soup can be just the thing to warm you up when the nights turn cold. Fry up some bacon while you cook potatoes and carrots in the pressure cooker. Use the bacon fat to make a roux and thickened sauce, add in the vegetables, and you have a quick and delicious soup.
#9 Italian Sausage with Rice
Combine flavorful Italian Sausage with a can of tomatoes and some rice to make a delicious meal in less time than it would take to get your kids out the door and strapped into the car!
Don’t limit yourself to Tuesdays; tacos are great for any meal. Cook ground pork or ground beef with taco seasoning and combine with your favorite fixings. Don’t have taco shells or tortillas? Use corn chips to make loaded nachos instead.
#11 Creamy Sausage Pasta
Have you had a day? Need something decadent to eat without a lot of effort? Pressure cooker pasta, sausage, and cream cheese come together in no time to create a meal that will have you forgetting all about the events of your day.
#12 Ground Beef Stroganoff
A simplified version of this eastern European classic comes together in no time.
The perfect late summer meal when local tomatoes are at their peak.
#14 Spanish Rice
Richly spiced tomatoes and rice are accented by savory ground beef to create a zesty meal packed with flavor.
#15 Loaded Tater Tots
Fry up tater tots or your favorite frozen potato product in an air fryer and cover with tasty ground beef and toppings to create a meal that will have your family clamoring for more!
#16 Open-faced Pizza Sandwiches
Brown up some ground beef with some Italian seasoning. Top with pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese and serve on the toasted bread or bun of your choice.
#17 Breakfast Sausage Pasta
Combine Breakfast Sausage with a rich cream sauce, egg noodles and pimento peppers to create a meal that can be eaten for Brunch, Lunch, or Dinner.
#18 Quick Beef Stew
Ground Beef and Beef Broth come together with vegetables to make a quick and hearty stew to fill hungry stomachs.
#19 Ground Pork Rice Bowl
If your favorite Chinese restaurant wonders where you have gone, tell them about this recipe. Use Asian flavors with ground pork to create a rice bowl to match the best takeout.
#20 Bacon Cheeseburger Loose Meat Sandwich
Brown up some bacon and ground beef together. Top with cheese and your favorite condiments for the loose meat equivalent of a bacon cheeseburger.
John and Sarah Gilbert farm with their family in North Central Iowa. They care for pigs, cows, and the land to bring you beef and pork you can love. They have a passion for cooking and helping others develop the skills they need to put healthy and delicious home-cooked meals on the table. They can be contacted by email and through Facebook and Instagram.