speed scratch
n. Meal preparation in which the basic ingredients come pre-measured in a package and only need to be combined with one or more fresh ingredients and then cooked.

Example Citation:
Time-pressed cooks are driving the trend toward "speed scratch," using convenience products like mixes and frozen dinners that call for a handful of fresh ingredients to turn out fast meals.
—Elizabeth Lee, "Peeking in on 'doctor's' practice," Cox News Service, October 26, 2001

Earliest Citation:
In other words, the family might be eating together, but Dad opts for leftovers, Mom dips into the freezer, and the kids tuck into something microwaved, something from the deli, or a combination of fresh ingredients combined with prepared products — also known as ''speed scratch.''
—Tom Sietsema, "Home cooking on the front burner," The San Francisco Chronicle, October 9, 1991

A less-popular synonym for this phrase is component cooking. Jargon-spewing food industry types often call the packages of pre-measured ingredients meal kits and the cooked result an assembly meal, which is enough to ruin anyone's appetite. This phrase also comes in an adjective flavor, which is usually hyphenated: speed-scratch.

Related Words: