Cheaty cooking: 10 impressive shortcut recipes

Most of us would love to cook like a chef with fresh produce and homemade sauces everyday, but honestly, who has the time? Thankfully, there are lots of supermarket pre-made products that cut culinary corners for us busy mums.

Here’s 10 of the best cheaty recipes that use sneaky shortcuts (but will look as though you’ve spent hours slaving in the kitchen!):

1. Quick chicken casserole

Cheat: Save on prep time with frozen veggies and tinned soup.

This super-easy recipe is perfect for those nights when you’re exhausted from running around all afternoon on errands. Just combine chicken, frozen veggies and a tin of soup and let it cook. Then sit back and enjoy some quality family time over a hearty meal.

Quick chicken casserole recipe

2. Weet-Bix slice

Cheat: Use Weet-Bix instead of making a slice base.

Here is a simple idea to fill those hungry little tummies without breaking a sweat. Just crumble up a few good old Weet-Bix biscuits to form a crunchy and nutritious base and pour on icing while it’s still hot. This is perfect after-school treat for those ravenous kids who are “staaaaarving!”

Weet-bix slice recipe

3. Cheaty chicken pies

Cheat: Slash time by using all pre-made ingredients.

There’s nothing that screams homemade like a crunchy, steaming hot chicken pie. But you can cheat on this one and still keep that homey feel with a can of condensed soup, pre-made pastry and frozen veggies. These pies are also great to keep in the freezer for those super-busy days when cooking just isn’t on the cards.

Cheaty chicken pies recipe

4. Strawberry jam

Cheat: Make it in the microwave!

Get your Martha Stewart on and make your own jam from the fruit bowl in minutes in the microwave. You also don’t have to worry about the time-sapping bottling process as this jam will keep in the fridge for two weeks. Bring on the scones with jam and cream!

Get the recipe

5. Pizza muffins

Cheat: Don’t spend hours needing dough, use muffins as a pizza base instead.

Muffins make a quick and easy base for mini pizzas and are perfect for a lazy Sunday night meal. Get the kids involved by letting them make their own pizzas with all their favourite toppings. You can even use them the next day in their lunch boxes as a gourmet alternative to the humble sandwich.

Pizza muffins recipe

6. Satay noodles

Cheat: Save time cooking rice by using two-minute noodles instead.

This simple recipe uses two-minute noodles from your pantry to make a family-friendly Thai-inspired dinner that will please even the fussiest eater. For an extra-cheaty option why not use frozen veggies and a barbecue chook? How easy is that?

Satay noodles recipe

7. Apple and oat muffins

Cheat: Use a packet cake mix to make healthy muffins in minutes.

Add a touch of wholesome homebaked goodness to your child’s lunchbox the easy way by whipping up these nutritious fruit-filled muffins. Simply take a packet cake, add some chopped apple and oats to the mix and you’ll have made a healthy snack your kids will love.

Apple and oat muffins recipe

8. Apricot chicken

Cheat: Save on the time needed to make a simmer sauce by using tins and dried packet soup mix

Apricot chicken is an oldie but a goodie! This recipe is so simple it uses only four ingredients and two of them are super-cheaty: a tin of apricot nectar and a couple of sachets of dried French onion soup. Simply combine all the ingredients in a casserole dish and pop it in the oven.

Apricot chicken recipe

9. Cheat’s pavlova

Cheat: Save time (and cooking disasters!) by using a perfectly formed store-bought meringue shell.

This is the easiest dessert EVER! Simply buy a pre-made meringue shell and create your own sweet masterpiece with whipped cream and your favourite fruit. This is a great way to get the kids to eat some fruit and have a treat at the same time!

Cheat’s pavlova recipe



10. Chicken soup

Cheat: This recipe uses a barbecue chook instead of having to cook one.

This winter warmer is so easy it will become a staple. Just buy a barbecue chicken, add some pasta and your favourite veggies and your homemade creation is done. This hearty meal is so quick you will be able to serve dinner under 20 minutes which is every mum’s dream!

Chicken soup recipe

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