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30 Minute Meals

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Salmon Tacos with Roasted Tomato and Black Bean Salsa

When we're crunched for time, chowing down on that cheap Chinese we have on speed dial can seem like an easy out. But there's a better choice than takeaway—one that doesn't involve disposable, chemical-laden containers and over-processed food. With a little organization and simple tips for quick cooking, you can get a delicious dinner on the table in less time than it takes for a delivery person to show up at your door.

Now that winter is upon us, our days seem shorter and we are all on the run—literally. Between the daily grind of work and chauffeuring the kids to after-school sports and other activities (not to mention fitting in your own workout), it can be very difficult to find the time to sit down as a family for dinner—let alone make it! Too often we turn to takeaway as the easy answer. But no longer—the key to getting a good dinner on the table in fewer than 30 minutes is to think and cook like a chef. Embrace the “tidy mind” mentality, which really just means organising the ingredients before you cook and arming yourself with five family-favourite meals to get you through the week. Count on foods that cook quickly and are good for us, such as omega-3 rich fish and lean chicken. Choose fresh vegetables that don’t require a lot of handling or even peeling—broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are easy choppers and are at their peak, seasonally. Plus, they’re part of that group of cruciferous wonder foods that have it all: they’re rich in vitamins and fibre, plus disease-fighting phytochemicals. And make friends with a can of beans. Canned lentils, chickpeas and black beans are time savers and are also a great source of iron, folate, fibre, potassium and protein. Just be sure to buy canned beans that are free of BPA. Many organic varieties are BPA-free, and BPA-free varieties say so on the label. Set the timer, grab your chef’s knife and get ready to enjoy the new fast food.

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