Ready-to-eat meals for busy work-from-home days

PHOTO: Wonderwall.sg

Maggi may have launched a thousand (and more) bowls of instant noodles with its classic Fast To Cook, Good To Eat slogan.

But these days, there’re a lot more nice edibles that we can simply dunk into a pot of boiling water or toss into a microwave without requiring Le Cordon Bleu credentials — or your parents on FaceTime.

And it’s not just instant noodles. Some items look like they could come out of a proper restaurant. We guess, not only are they ready-to-eat, they are also very ready-to-cheat (your dinner guests).

7-Select Ozoni

PHOTO: 7-Eleven Singapore

How fast to cook? Two minutes.

While our convenience-store food assortment here isn’t of the Advanced Level like it is in Japan’s konbini (yet), 7-Eleven’s recent ready-to-heat-and-eat variety is mouthwatering enough for us.

One of its latest dishes is Ozoni, a yuzu-seasoned broth with Japanese fish cake, shiitake mushrooms and chicken in a dashi stock. Muji instant miso soups, take a back seat for now, please.

The newest 7-Select additions also include halal-certified picks like Sze Chuan Style Minced Chicken Noodles, Double Boiled Chicken La Mian, Pesto Chicken Ciabatta, and Black Pepper Chicken Burger.

Arlene Truffle and Cabbage Gyoza

PHOTO: Wonderwall.sg

How fast to cook? Three minutes.

As if no-brainer, fast-to-cook meals didn’t spoil us enough, there comes along plant-based options so you don’t have to just chew on a stalk of celery or gulp down cold tofu if you are a vegan or a flexitarian, or just having bad constipation.

UAE-based Arlene is halal and offers light bites like Spicy Kebab, Siew Mai and a very posh-sounding Truffle and Cabbage Gyoza. Most of the 'meat' fillings are made of OmniMeat. And if you are bored like we are, no, an Arlene did not found the brand. Helene Raudaschl, a food industry veteran who used to be based in Singapore, did.

Available at selected retailers like Cold Storage.

Army Stew Set, Chicken Soup Set, or Chicken Pot Set

PHOTO: Wonderwall.sg/Pearlyn Tham

How fast to cook? Five minutes.

When your idea of comfort food at 11pm is one or all of the above (and you are too broke or ngiao to pay the minimum order fee on GrabFood), five minutes is all you need to cook these soups or stews in a pot.

Each pack comes with 10 ingredients including mushrooms, potatoes and even yuba (but sorry, no luncheon meat or shabu shabu-style beef slices). Hunger trigger alert: You will, however, need another 10 minutes to soak and soften all these ingredients.

Available at selected supermarkets like Marketplace.

Sambal Prawn Capellini

PHOTO: Gozen

How fast to cook? Seven minutes.

If you won’t go to the celebrity chef, the celebrity chef will come to your home. Well, almost. At Gozen, some items on its menu are done in collaboration with celebrity chef Justin Quek. Cue this capellini that comes with a special sambal sauce concocted by him and with real prawns at that.

The site even has wanton kolo mee, vegetarian bee hoon and fish curry with coconut rice — all frozen, of course! We wonder what our kopitiam hawkers think about these though.

M&S Food Four Cheese Ravioli

PHOTO: Wonderwall.sg

How fast to cook? 14 minutes.

The Brit department store chain has a lot of interesting atas frozen meals in its chillers, from Mixed Vegetable Masala to good ol’ Fish & Chips. Some boxes even have a helpful “Meal For One” warning — we mean, tagline — so you know it’s made just for you when you are eating alone again for the 823rd time in a month.

According to the Four Cheese Ravioli box shown here, this has “parcels of egg pasta filled with a creamy blend of ricotta, cheddar, mozzarella and regato cheese in a tomato sauce with basil”. It will take you as long to memorise that entire sentence as it will to microwave this frozen meal from M&S Food. If you prefer to heat it up in an oven, it will take… 40 minutes.

What did your mother tell you? Good things must wait long long lor.

READ ALSO: This start-up is gearing up to change the world with robot-operated pizzerias

This article was first published in Wonderwall.sg.