Could you make dinner in 5 minutes?

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[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] W[/dropcap]hen was the last time you got caught up at work and ended up getting home later than you’d like? If you’re like most people I was probably yesterday or at least within the last week or so.

One of the most common answers I hear when I ask people about their cooking problems is… you guessed it… ‘I don’t have enough time’.

But the thing I’ve discovered is that dinner can easily be made in 10 minutes or even in as little as 5 minutes. You just need to start with a super quick recipe.

To prove the point, I decided to video myself cooking the recipe for this week’s blog post in one take. To see if I could make a healthy warm meal in 5 minutes.

So how did I go?

Well, I had the camera rolling for 6 minutes 21 seconds. A little outside my goal of 5 minutes.

But still a great result. I’m sure if I had talked less and cooked more I could have easily cracked the 5 minute mark, but it would have made for a much less interesting video :)

Not sure you could make dinner in 5 minutes? Here are 3 steps to get you started…

3 steps for making dinner in 5 minutes or there-abouts…

1. Choose a simple recipe.
The easiest way to do this is have a look at the ingredients list. Long list? Keep looking… Of course the even easier way is to do a search on Stonesoup or just browse the Stonesoup Recipe Index because you’ll be guaranteed each recipe will be simple with 5 ingredients or less.

2. Make sure your recipe is quick.
For a speed evaluation, scan the method. If there aren’t many steps and you can’t see any instructions like ‘simmer for 30 minutes’ then you have a potential. A closer inspection will tell you whether it’s going to be quick or not.

Of course there’s an even easier way (shameless plug alert!)… You could make the most of the launch special discount and pick up a copy of The Tired & Hungry Cook’s Companion 2nd Edition and turn straight to the 5-Minute Suppers chapter which has 19 different dinners you can make in just 5 minutes (or there-abouts).

3. Plan one night in the next week to give it a try.
Insight without action is useless. So try the 5 minute dinner challenge yourself one night in the next week. Either use the recipe below or another one.

Report back in the comments and let me know how you get on!

steak & rocket salad-2

Video version of the recipe

quick steak & rocket salad

Inspired by a lunch I had at Matricinella on a recent trip to Rome.

I love a warm salad for a quick dinner. There’s something about having part of the meal served warm that makes it feel more substantial and ‘dinner-like’.

There are 2 benefits to chopping the steak into slivers. First it cooks in a flash and second it tenderises the meat. Win win!

You can easily increase this recipe. If cooking for more than 2 people I’d cook the beef in batches to make sure it browns properly and doesn’t get crowded in the pan.

enough for 1:
1 steak about 200g (7oz)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 handfuls rocket (arugula), washed & dried
parmsean shavings, to serve

1. Heat your frying pan on a very high heat. Trim any fat from the steak and slice into super fine strips. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season.

2. Cook beef in the hot pan for about 1 minute. Then stir and keep cooking till browned on all sides.

3. Meanwhile, combine lemon juice and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a bowl.

4. When the steak is cooked transfer to the lemon dressing.

5. Toss in rocket leaves. Serve with parmesan shaved over.

vegetarian – skip the parmesan and replace the steak with halloumi sliced into batons.

– replace the steak with sliced field or portabello mushrooms. You’ll need 1-2 per person and they’ll take more like 7-8 minutes to cook. Replace the parmesan with either chunks of avocado or some slivered almonds.

chicken – replace steak with a chicken breast or thigh fillets. Make sure the chicken is cooked through before tossing in the dressing.

different leaves – I love the bitterness of rocket but you could use any salad leaves. A little radicchio is lovely here in the Autumn or Winter.

dairy-free – replace the parmesan with a handful or toasted breadcrumbs, some halved cherry tomatoes or just skip it.

Would you like to be able to make healthy dinners in 5 minutes?

But not sure if the Tired & Hungry Cook’s Companion can help you?

Here’s what people are saying about it…

Jen, Tired & Hungry Cook’s Companion Reader.
“I’m really enjoying the Tired and Hungry Cooks Companion – it’s helping me to become somebody who actually cooks for herself! Because there are few ingredients, I can read or watch the recipe once and remember it. I am starting to have repertoire of recipes in my head. I’m saving money because I am not buying lunches or eating out. I’m enjoying my food more.”

Emma, Tired & Hungry Cook’s Companion Reader.
“I love your latest eCookbook. It has been my saviour with a new born along with international postings for my husband. We are currently in South America and even though not all the ingredients are available, the fact its transportable and 5 ingredients to whip up in minutes has saved our night life!”

Aldrea, Tired & Hungry Cook’s Companion Reader.
“I love how your five-minute meals are actually meals, not just haphazardly thrown-together salads or supplemented pre-packaged ‘foods’. Most of those recipes are exactly the amount of effort I’d want to exert if I was tired and hungry, but didn’t want to settle for noodles or fast food.”

THCC2 3D Cover

For more details, go to:

With Love,
Jules x


  • 6 minutes and 21 seconds isn’t bad. Not sure if I could make a dinner in 5 but I think I will try. Might be good entertainment for my wife to watch if nothing else. Thanks for the post.

  • I couldn’t slice beef that thin that quickly!

    But if we’re allowed to not count oil and seasonings last night’s dinner was only five ingredients, and only took a little longer to prepare – perhaps around 15-20 minutes but only because I didn’t do everything in parallel.

    Chop an onion, yellow pepper, generous handful of cherry tomatoes, and fry (in oil of choice, or none). Make up couscous with boiling water and season to taste. Put trout fillets on the grill (and season). When trout is cooked stir veg into couscous, divide between two plates, serve with trout on top.

  • I could totally make dinner in 5 minutes! I mean, it might be a sandwich and a salad–or maybe a piece of seared fish and a salad–but it would be delicious dinner nonetheless. This steak salad looks like a great fast plan. :)

  • Whipped this up last night for dinner for the wife and two grandkids. Substituted red lettuce for rocket because I couldn’t find anyone here in south Texas who knew what “rocket” is. :-) Added fresh tomato and hard-boiled egg slices to garnish. Together with a whole wheat kaiser roll, the meal was complete and delicious. You took 5 minutes for 1 serving, I took 20 for 4 so I guess it worked out. Thanks for the idea!!

  • Looks good – I am impressed at how fast you made it even while talking! Even something that simple takes at least 15 minutes in our house.

    I think we will have this for breakfast tomorrow with bacon in stead of steak!

  • after reading this post a few days ago, i bought the tired and hungry cook’s companion.
    what a great book!
    we live remotely and rurally…there aren’t a lot of options for dining out.
    we prefer real food, whole food, made-from-scratch food (in fact, we are a bit fanatical).
    i spend a lot of time making nut butters, yoghurt, mayonnaise; growing sprouts; culturing vegetables and condiments, and so on.
    this book is a terrific little resource to have right in my iphone for the inevitable times in the supermarket, 25km from home, running around in tiny circles going WAAHHH! WHAT AM I DOING FOR DINNER? and trying to remember what is in the fridge.

    i was a chef in a former life, but over the last decade my cooking style has become very stripped-down.
    with enough parsley, lemon juice, butter/olive oil, sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, i know that one can actually rule the world.

    jules, thanks a million for such a beautifully-put-together book. i like everything about it.
    lovely photographs and layout, nifty features (click the links, hello…not to mention the complete portability….i have saved it to kindle and evernote so i have a copy wherever i am), and of course delicious ideas in abundance.

  • that looks delicious, BUT I would still be hungry after that and would eat something sweet to compensate, so I’m happy to cook 20-30 minutes but have a warm and filling dinner. It could work as a lunch for me though…

    • Hi Mara
      Interesting you think this wouldn’t fill you up… any reason you couldn’t choose a larger piece of steak?
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      • well, cost for one thing :) But I thought about it, as it sounds yummy and I will try to put an egg on it, maybe a fried one. that added protein would likely fill me up.

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