5-ingredient meals for busy parents

Kinderling News & Features

This feature is brought to you by Coles online. Save time, shop Coles online.

You're finishing up ‘one of those’ days. You’re at the end of your tether. You open the fridge and shock, horror! there’s nothing ready for dinner. 

Emma Braz is the Coles food editor and she has a few great ideas for five-ingredient recipes for when you need to whip up a meal quickly.

At her house, she has the following on hand at all times for those moments when you're stuck:

  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Pasta
  • Some type of meat
  • Some sort of liquid base, like canned tomatoes or canned soup

Listen to Emma on Kinderling Conversation: 

That makes a really quick pasta, with no recipe needed. She also suggests having frozen mixed vegetables on hand to stir in for more nutrients.

Another favourite? “Carrots are great and can go in anything,” Emma says. From stews, to a roast, they marry well with other ingredients.

Here's Emma's fabulous five-ingredients recipes to consider next time you go for a shop.

Braised chicken & lentils 

Serves 4. Prep 5 mins.  Cooking 45 mins. 

  • 8 Coles Australian RSPCA Approved Chicken Thigh Cutlets
  • 400g can lentils, rinsed, drained
  • 300ml light cooking cream
  • 350g Coles Kaleslaw Kit, salad mix and seed mix only
  • 1/3 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves 
  1. Heat a large heavy-based non-stick saucepan over high heat. Cook chicken, in 2 batches, for 2 mins each side or until golden. Return chicken to the pan with lentils, cream and ¼ cup (60ml) water. Simmer, covered, for 25 mins or until the chicken is cooked through.
  2. Stir in the kaleslaw mix, reserving the seed mix. Cook, covered, for 5 mins. Cook, uncovered, for a further 5 mins or until the sauce thickens slightly.
  3. Sprinkle with reserved seed mix and parsley. 

Pumpkin carbonara bake

Serves 4.  Prep 10 mins. Cooking 35 mins. 

  • 800g butternut pumpkin, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 600g pkt fresh ricotta & spinach agnolotti
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 490g jar carbonara pasta sauce 
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Spread pumpkin over tray and bake for 20 mins or until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, cook agnolotti in a saucepan of boiling water for 3 mins. Add broccoli and cook for a further 2 mins. Drain.
  3. Combine the pumpkin, agnolotti, broccoli and pasta sauce in an 8-cup (2L) ovenproof dish. Bake for 15 mins or until golden. 

Mexican rice with eggs

Serves 4. Prep 10 mins.  Cooking 15 mins.

  • 450g pkt Coles Microwave Brown Rice
  • 500g pkt frozen peas, corn & capsicum
  • 375g btl mild salsa
  • 4 Coles Australian Free Range Eggs 
  1. Heat a large frying pan over high heat. Add rice, vegetable mix and salsa. Cook, stirring, for 5 mins or until heated through.
  2. Use a cup measure to make 4 indentations in the top of the rice mixture. Crack in the eggs. Cook, covered, for 8 mins for a soft-centred egg, or until cooked to your liking.

Chicken skewers on fried rice

Serves 4. Prep 5 mins. Cooking 25 mins. 

  • 2 x 450g pkts Coles Australian RSPCA Approved Chicken Skewers Honey & Soy
  • 2 x 250g pkts Coles Microwave Jasmine Rice
  • 300g pkt Coles Australian Superfood Stir-Fry
  • Coriander leaves, to serve 
  1. Cook the chicken skewers following packet directions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large oiled wok or large frying pan over high heat. Add rice and cook, stirring, for 5 mins or until heated through. Add the stir-fry mix. Stir-fry for 2 mins or until heated through.
  3. Divide fried rice among serving plates. Top with the skewers and sprinkle with coriander leaves. 

Sweet potato & lentil soup 

Serves 4. Prep 10 mins.  Cooking 25 mins. 

  • ¼ cup (75g) korma curry paste
  • 1 large (500g) sweet potato, peeled, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup (150g) dried red lentils
  • 4 cups (1L) salt-reduced vegetable stock
  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add curry paste and cook, stirring, for 2 mins or until fragrant.
  2. Add sweet potato, lentils, stock and 3 cups (750ml) water. Bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 mins or until lentils and sweet potato are tender. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Transfer the soup to a blender and blend until smooth.

Shop all of your grocery essentials with Coles online. Their friendly team will hand-pick, hand-pack and hand-deliver your groceries straight to your kitchen bench, at a time that suits you.

Coles online, the easy way to shop.