ARTICLE / RECIPE ROUNDUP

10-Minute Meals for a Busy Night (and they're kid-friendly!)

We all have those nights: You've only got a half an hour to cook, eat, and clean up, so you fall back on takeout or PB&Js. There's an alternative! Try one of these easy, healthy, 10-minute meals to rescue even your busiest weeknight.

It’s 6:10 p.m. on a school night. One child has practice at 7 p.m., the other still needs homework help, and somehow dinner is supposed to happen? Yes, of course it is. And since this is likely a weekly occurrence — if not more frequent — you need an arsenal of 10-minute meals in your back pocket to make it all happen.

Luckily, as long as you have some basic pantry and fridge staples on hand — leftover rice or pre-cooked grains, olive oil, kid-friendly standbys like parmesan cheese, black beans, broccoli, pasta, eggs, and your protein of choice — the following 10-minute meals come together in, well, 10 minutes or less.

The Best 10 Minute Veggie Fried Rice

Disregard the part where it says the cook time is 25 minutes — it isn’t. This fried rice comes together with about 5 minutes of prep, and 5 active minutes in the wok or frying pan. You need four cups of brown rice, pre-cooked, and the rest are pantry or freezer staples. What makes this recipe really sing, though, is the fresh herbs.

The Best 10 Minute Veggie Fried Rice

Cheesy Tagliatelle

Very few people can say no to butter, cream, cheese, and pasta. While the tagliatelle boils, combine butter, milk, flour, cheese of your choice (I like parmesan cheese for this), and heavy cream, plus a dash of nutmeg to make it feel more authentically Italian (as opposed to kids menu-y.) Voila! Pasta that feels sophisticated enough for a parent and familiar enough for the preschool set. Add frozen peas if you’re feeling veggie-deficient. Sauté some pancetta first and this easy meal is practically gourmet.

Cheesy Tagliatelle

Healthy Chicken Breast and Broccoli Stir Fry

It’s a stir fry to the rescue — with two ingredients (chicken and broccoli) that most kids embrace. If you have leftover rice, this meal takes very little to come together — and if you’re low-carb, keto, or paleo, just dig in as-is. Omit the hot sauce if you have small people who don’t yet have a taste for spice.

Healthy Chicken Breast and Broccoli Stir Fry

Quick Orange Beef Stir-fry

An expedient riff on the classic Orange Beef, this quick meal leans on frozen veggies and (surprise!) marmalade, which you mix with soy sauce to create the sweet, citrusy glaze.

Quick Orange Beef Stir-fry

Black Bean and Corn Tacos

Shredded carrots play an unexpected role in this pretty straightforward vegetarian taco recipe, perfect for that hectic Meatless Monday. Bonus: It’s budget-friendly. It can feed a whole family for about $10. Add in red peppers or bell peppers for a more fajita-like flavor.

Black Bean and Corn Tacos

Easy 10-Minute Asian Zucchini Noodles (low-carb, Paleo)

Zoodles are a low-carb mainstay, and here they get a pretty delicious Asian spin that can work as a side or a main. If your zoodles have been zoodled already, this weeknight dinner comes together in seconds. Add a protein — shrimp! chicken! beef! — or additional vegetables — mushrooms! — for a heartier meal.

Easy 10 Minute Asian Zucchini Noodles

10-Minute Risotto Cups

I love the therapeutic process of stirring a pot of risotto, constantly, as the saffron-spiked broth gets incorporated cup by cup. But when you don’t have time for that: risotto cups! In this genius microwave hack, the core ingredients stay the same — arborio rice, onions, wine, broth — but the cooking method is on warp speed. Plus, the single-serve variations are basically endless, so one child can have bacon and mushroom and the other can have squash ... and the cook can enjoy a sip of the leftover wine knowing that everyone is happy.

10-Minute Risotto Cups

10-Minute Maple-Crusted Salmon by Foodie Crush

This dish has a certain "ta-da" factor even though it’s lightning fast. Broiled salmon with a mild, spicy-sweet rub is a crowd-pleaser that pairs easily with any pre-cooked grain or a simple salad for a weeknight meal that feels anything but.

10-Minute Maple-Crusted Salmon

10-Minute Easy Vegetarian Black Bean Soup

Black bean soup is warming, filling, and dead-simple to put together: This version has just six ingredients. You can amp up the toppings for a wintry riff on make-your-own taco night.

10-Minute Easy Vegetarian Black Bean Soup

The Perfect 10-Minute Meal (Kale Quinoa Salad with Persian Feta)

That’s quite a promise, for a recipe title. To be fair, this one only counts as a 10-minute meal if you have pre-cooked quinoa on hand — or one of those bags of microwavable quinoa. Once the quinoa is cooked, all you need are healthy greens, herbs, a leek, and some feta for a satisfying, healthy meal that tastes like a riff on that Greek classic, spanakopita, just without the phyllo dough.

The Perfect 10-Minute Meal

Looking for more ideas? Search Yummly for more dinners ready in 10 minutes or less.