A word about 30 minute meals and how long it takes to cook my recipes

Occasionally we get notes from people telling us that they love a recipe, but that it took them over 30 minutes to prepare.  I wanted to post a note about this in case there’s anyone else out there thinking the same thing.

First of all, if you are a newbie in the kitchen, any recipe will take you longer than it should because you are just getting familiar with your bearings.  If you are holding a knife for the first time or still figuring out where you hid the paprika, cut yourself some slack.  Once you get more comfortable with your cooking routine and preparation skills, things will move a whole lot smoother and faster.  A few shortcuts that will help you from day one-

  • keep the garbage bowl handy.  If you have a bowl in front of you for garlic peels and onion skins and anything else you want to throw away, you will save time rather than having to run back and forth to the garbage can.
  • wash your fruits, veggies and herbs when you get home from the grocery store.  It sounds like a pain, but you will be happy you took the time to do this when you go to grab a bunch of mint or parsley, for instance, and it is ready for you to use and you don’t have to spend the extra time washing and drying.
  • Keep your fridge and pantry stocked with the basics.  If you find yourself in the middle of a recipe and you realize you are out of something, that’ll set you back while someone runs to the store. Here’s a good list of things to keep on hand.
  • I had the kids in my kitchen at the show put together a list of their favorite short-cut ingredients to keep handy.  These things will make your life alot easier when you try to whip up a dish.

Also, if you use the Advanced Search recipe tool, you can find 15 minute meals and 60 minute meals-not all are 30 minute meals.  So if you are really in a hurry, go for the 15 minute meals, but if you want to take your time and hang out in the kitchen, try one of the other meals.

Most of all , have fun in the kitchen and keep at it.  You’ll get better and faster with a little practice.

88 Responses to “A word about 30 minute meals and how long it takes to cook my recipes”

  1. Patricia Watts says:

    Hi Rachael,
    I was surfing the web looking for a good weight loss program and I found this website about this girl in Pleasanton, CA who took this Acai Pure and your pictures were on her website. Are you marketing this product? As I read even further where it said that pictures were taken from a public website, so my question is do you know anything about this product? http://www.rachelraygiveaway.com, I just realized the website they are using didn’t even spell your first name correctly.

  2. Jennifer Moran says:

    I use to watch your show all the time and now Time Warner has done a way with Channel 7 out of West Virginia. It was on at 10:00 am. Now I have no idea what channel or what time to watch you???? Help??

  3. Marie says:

    Hi, this is probably going to sound stupid but I have been wondering about the garbage bowl for quite awhile. Wouldn’t it just be simpler to bring the garbage can over to where you are cooking? This is what I do. I like the garbage bowl idea except that it gives you one more item to wash when you are done. If you just move the garbage can over you save the extra steps and no extra washing involved.
    I love your show for the great recipes and your awesome personality.

  4. Kyra Leonard says:

    I’d love to be able to cook dinner along with your show! You could add a whole new audience if you posted the next show’s recepie with list of ingrediats and utensils needed, so people can watch in the kitchen and cook along with you. This idea connects your show and you to the viewer and fellow cook? Whatcha think?

  5. Denise W says:

    I caught an episode of Rachel’s program and she was demonstrating a recipe with split chicken breasts, filled with asparagus and I thought I remembered carrotts, cooked (cannot remember if baked or stove top) and served with “wild” rice. I checked the web site and cannot find this particular recipe.
    Can anyone help direct me to the correct recipe?

    Thanks so much!

  6. Christie McPeak says:

    I agree with Kyra! It would be great if I could be prepared with the next day’s ingredient to be able to cook with you! Definitely something to look into. I feel a lot of people would agree.

  7. Samantha says:

    dear rachael,

    my aunt and i are really big fans of your show and we try to get as many of your recipes as we can so we can give our husbands something new to try instead of the same ole same ole. on may 8 2009 there was a recipe that we were unable to get it that had chichken pasta and something else that neither one of us was able to get. if theres anyway we might be able to get the name of it so we can try it out on our husbands we’d really appriciate it cause your reciepes are awesome and taste great. thanks so much! :)

  8. tiger says:

    hey Rach–I must say you were rockin’ that outfit on the 5/20 show. you owned it, that is a great look for you. I am my wife’s fashion consultant and she has no complaints…peace

  9. dianna says:

    I am very concerned about your voice. You still sound like you are struggling to speak! You always sound hoarse!
    It is May, 2009, it makes me uncomfortable listening to you!!

  10. marla says:

    hey do you have a 1,000 calorie weekly menu plans? if so can you please send it to me , if not can you please make sum , just getting tired of the same old menu meals we need to spice it up !!!

  11. Lotta says:

    Hey Rach
    I`m from Sweden and i just love your show, you always have a smile on your face lovely to see.
    I hope that sweden will send meny meny more shows..
    Good luck and keep rocking…=)))

    Hugs Lotta from Sweden

  12. Jack says:

    Happy Birthday Rachael..It’s great to be 40. My best year’s were 40 to 50. I am 62 now and still lovin life. You are a beautifull lady and I love you’re show. Ya know when I see you and John together I tell my wife of 36 year’s, Pat(wife) they fit like you and I. Love ya girl .Keep us feelin good.
    Happy Birthday

  13. Ruth says:

    I’m 29 yrs old sinlge mom, from the Phillipines & I just love Rachael Ray! I love watching your shows & I really adore you. I learned a lot of things when it comes to kitchen & cooking, of course. More power! Thank you..

  14. barbara wright says:

    Well if you notice Rachel sometimes in recent shows will say “in the time it takes for you to watch this show you will have learned how to make a delicious meal”. Her shows are 30 minutes so she is right. I just don’t see how she handles being restrained to only 30 minutes when there are so many recipes that require marinating and many more steps in order for them to be yummy. Rachel, you have more patients than I do making dinner in only 30 minutes week after week, year after year! Tu Comprenda?

  15. Liz says:

    My 30 minutes take longer because I cook for 6 people. So if I am breading, frying, etc. it’s not just 4 pieces of whatever. I feed 5 men, 3 teenage sons, & one stocky husband. They eat cutlets,steaks, atleast 5 lbs. of potatos any way I cook them & much more. So I figure 30 minutes plus 4 times. About 2 hours pending on the meal. BBQ is the quickest way to go. Average meal 2 hours.
    from Long Island

  16. Lolly says:

    Hi – love the show. Would it be possible to reference the page/recipe number from your cookbook when you make it on the show? i have a number of your cookbooks, including BOB. Thank you!

  17. cara says:

    Dear Rachel, You are my hero. I love your recipes they are so delicious. I am twelve and hope to be like you when I get older. ( But hopefully a little taller. Just kidding.) I just made your Neopolitian Baked Zitti that you made yesterday and everyone loved it. I was just wondering if I could have substituted the whole canned tomatoes for tomato paste. It would be great to here from you!
    Your #1 Fan,

  18. Gail says:

    So fun to read all the nice letters from your many
    fans! I join their ranks in complimenting you on
    your show and the YOU that I enjoy !!
    Adirondack Girl, Gail

  19. Michelle says:

    Hey Rach, I make one of your meals everyday and I time it, I usually come in right at or under 30 minutes! When I don’t it is usually the chickens fault, or the 1 year old pulling at my leg! Without your 30 minute meals, dinner would not be on our table! Thank you!

  20. Beth says:

    Rach, I started watching your show thanks to my dad who gets alot of ideas from you…thanks so much. I dont care if it takes 30 minutes or a hour to make. I have a 2 month old baby so nothing is easy and I miss alot of the ingredients and that sucks because I really think I would like to try my cooking skills but I know I am no Rachel Ray….keep cooking so I can drool in front of my tv!!!!

  21. karen Singleton says:

    Hi Rach I love your show. Did you get hair extensions or does your hair grow really fast. It looks great

  22. Linda P. says:

    Love to watch and cook your recipies. I have noticed that in some of the new 2009 30 min meals shows Rach is not wearing her wedding rings, but she made mention to her husband’s roof garden. Just wondered why she’s not wearing her rings.

    A loyal follower.

  23. Debby says:

    Hello Rachael –

    I just want you to know how much of an inspiration you are to my son, now age 9! Even at age 4 he was watching you on the Food Network! It was amazing that he enjoyed your show more than cartoons! When little I would assist him in making your 30 minute meals but he wouldn’t yet eat them (so the rest of the family did). Now older, he enjoys both making them on his own and enjoys eating them! Obviously takes longer than 30 minutes for him but I treasure the time together shopping for the ingredients and being his assistant in the kitchen. He does everything the way you do even carrying everything to the counter in one trip. I think we have a future chef on our hands thanks to you!! Glad you’re doing better as we both adore you and your great recipes.

  24. Christina says:

    so today i made your acho chicken tacos, but with my own twist, seeing as i didnt have half the ingredients. Instead of chicken i used steak, i added chile beans and sour cream instead of the guac, and instead of the ancho sauce i used some homemade salsa. not to toot my own horn but it was pretty(darn)good, and it took me like 10 minutes the longest part was assembly :} and since i am sixteen and just came home from practice this was a great quick recipe. it was faboulous thank you for the idea ;}

  25. carol says:

    I was watching 30 min meals when you said that Windows keeps changing cannellini to cannelloni. One way to eliminate this problem is to open a document in MS Word and follow these directions, you can create a custom dictionary with any words that give you trouble.

    Create or add a custom dictionary
    Create a new custom dictionary

    On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Spelling & Grammar tab.
    Click Custom Dictionaries.
    Click New.
    In the File name box, type a name for the custom dictionary.
    Click Save.
    In the Dictionary list box, select the new custom dictionary.
    Activate the custom dictionary.

    In the Custom Dictionaries dialog box, make sure the check box beside the dictionary’s name is selected.
    On the Spelling & Grammar tab, clear the Suggest from main dictionary only check box.
    Add an existing custom dictionary

    The Custom Dictionaries dialog box lists the available custom dictionaries Word can use to check spelling. If the dictionary you want to use — for example, one you purchased from a third-party company — is installed on your computer but not listed in the Dictionary list box, you can add it.

    If you need help installing a third-party dictionary, see the installation instructions for that dictionary.

    On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Spelling & Grammar tab.
    Click Custom Dictionaries.
    If the custom dictionary you want isn’t in the Custom Dictionaries box, click Add.
    Locate the folder containing the custom dictionary you want, and double-click the dictionary file.
    If you want to make this dictionary the default dictionary, click the dictionary name, and then click Change Default.

    Activate the custom dictionary.

    In the Custom Dictionaries dialog box, make sure the check box beside the dictionary’s name is selected.
    On the Spelling & Grammar tab, clear the Suggest from main dictionary only check box.
    Edit a custom dictionary
    Add, delete, or edit words in a custom dictionary

    On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Spelling & Grammar tab.
    Click Custom Dictionaries.
    Select the dictionary you want to edit. Make sure you do not clear its check box.
    Click Modify.
    Do one of the following:
    To add a word, type it in the Word box, and then click Add.
    To delete a word, select it in the Dictionary box, and then click Delete.
    To edit a word, delete it, and then add it with the spelling you want.
    Add words to a custom dictionary during a spelling check

    On the Standard toolbar (toolbar: A bar with buttons and options that you use to carry out commands. To display a toolbar, press ALT and then SHIFT+F10.), click Spelling and Grammar .
    In the Not in Dictionary box, make sure you see the word you want to add to a custom dictionary.
    To select the custom dictionary you want to add words to, click Options, and then click Custom Dictionaries. Select the check box next to a dictionary in the Dictionary list box, and then click OK twice.
    Note If you don’t see your custom dictionary in the list, you need to select the check box next to the dictionary to activate it.

    Click Add to Dictionary.

    MS Word will share these words with other programs as well.


  26. Sheena says:

    Hi Rachael,
    I am a senior in high school, and I have literally been watching your show since 8th grade. I come back from school and look forward to watching my pre-recorded 30 minute meals! I have tried so many of your recipes, and I have to tell you that even my finicky dad and brother who are so incredibly difficult to cook for, love your food!! Thank you for your show!!

  27. angie says:

    love the 30 min. meals and yes you can have it done with in time i have made over 500 of the dishes i’m a home cook and out of 500 only 1 took 10 min longer might have been the vino practice its worth it

  28. Babs says:

    I have been cookin for twenyty years and i love it every second of it it gives me time to unwind and thank. now im a mom of two and most resently a wife. if it were not for your awesome thirty min meals sometimes on busy days my family would be hungry for a while. so thankyou for everything.

  29. Sydnie says:


    I am 16 years old about to be a Junior in high school, and I wanted to tell you that I have been watching 30 Minute Meals now for a few years. I have always loved to cook, but watching your show has inspired me to become a chef. I am going to go to culinary school after high school. I don’t come from the most wealthy family, and I have been trying to save up to buy your cook wear. You have really opened my eyes to another side of cooking. Thank you so much for being you. You are amazing, and I will always watch your show for even more inspiration that you have already givin me.

    -Sydnie. S

  30. Marie says:

    Hi Rachael,

    I have enjoyed cooking since I was 13 years of age when my mother worked and I had supper fixed for her when they got home.

    I live in a log house that my husband Tom and built from the land. He is 72 and I will be 64 in October. I love cooking for people and entertaining. I like to create my on dishes both food and desserts. Even the kids at our church will ask when they can come back to eat at my house.

    I like the way you make things simple, cooking is not a hard thing that is if you enjoy it. One of the most fulfilling things that I know, is to see the smile of hear a kind word on something that I have prepaired.

    My husband raises a garden every year and this year I put up 275 jars of can goods. I enjoy doing it and this way I know what is in our food that we eat.
    I tell people that if I had a way to grind my on meal and flour and had a milk cow that I would never leave the mountain except to go to church. I get a big laugh out of that.

    I want to take this time to say I think you are a beautful lady both inside and out. I enjoy your show and your products, don’t have many yet but on a fixed disabilaty income it will take me a while, but I will get them.

    Keep smilling and may our Lord Jesus Christ richly bless you and yours.

  31. Debbie says:


    Knowing you have a special place in your heart for independent bands – and lawyers who are part of a band – I thought you would appreciate this story….Dinners from your 30 Minute Meals recipe books became a twice a week tradition as I fed the members of my sons’ Erick and Evan Bornmann’s band Augustine. After moving the band from Pittsburg to Arizona – we had the privelege of providing their practice space as our oldest son lived at home while studying for his bar exam. I started feeding them (love to experiment with new recipes) from your 30 minute meals and it became tradition to hear the question – “is Rachel cooking tonight”? as they arrived to set up for practice. Your recipes helped create some great memories as Augustine moved from the smallest billing at the seediest of bars to their most recent 2010 CD release billine at Martini Ranch in Scottsdale. Thought you might like to know that your artistry as a chef fueled the artistry of some very talented young men!! Thanks Rachel -

  32. Josita says:

    Dearest Rachael Ray,
    I bet you get this all the time, but I had to say it: I hated to cook, in fact when I did have to cook (we shared the task with my husband) I didn’t even want to eat what I made! Then one day I was pregnant and hungry and I saw your show and you made orange chicken and I tried to replicated and it was really good! Since that day, I watch your show everyday and go to your website to check for recipes and (of course) I bough your new book (which is incredible, by the way) Thanks to your delicious recipes, I am actually really good in the kitchen! and I actually enjoy it now, its no longer a chore… So thank you. Thank you for your amazing recipes who let even the suckiest cooks feel like amazing chefs! and I am sure my husband thanks you too.
    Its true that that some of the recipes take me longer than 30 minutes, but its soooo worth it!!!

  33. Lee says:

    Rach, I’ve learned more watching you cook than any of the snooty types who razz you. And you need to quit saying that ANYONE can do what you do–they CAN’T!

    Anyone CAN cook like you do, once we’re shown HOW. But to 1-simplify things down to their essence takes YEARS of practice and know-how and more importantly, 2-to teach ANY subject and take the intimidation factor out of it–that takes a GIFT, and there are very few people who have it!

    You can have all the culinary chops in the world, but if people feel you overcomplicate things, they’ll be intimidated and never try to cook a thing!

    By making cooking approachable, you have given us the greatest gift you could give. Honey, haters know that, and they are all just green with envy! HAHA! Rach has it and they don’t! Neener neener! ;-)

  34. mommasboy says:

    Racheal, We love watching your show but since you put the orange in your kitchen it is very hard on the eyes. Good Luck in all you do. PS. We’ll miss ya!!!

  35. LEIGH ANN says:


  36. Joya H. says:

    I used to live on Ramen and Mac&Cheese. I had no confidence in my cooking abilities whatsoever. Then I had kids and I felt morally obligated to learn how :)

    Your Thai Chicken Pizza was my first attempt. And yes, it took me longer than 30 minutes the first few times I made it, but after awhile, I was whippin’ it out like a pro.

    Now I’m a stay-at-home mom in NE Texas (If you are familiar with the area, I’m sure I have your sympathies). I went from teaching 10 hour days with KIPP in San Antonio to being home with my 4 year old ALL DAY in the woods. I needed a purpose. Cooking has become my newest passion and I have 30 Minute Meals to thank.

    I now look at several recipes from different chefs and sites and pick and choose my favorite parts. I’ve come up with some yummy creations, that even my kiddos will eat. I’ve most recently set up my own Blog and posted a couple of my latest recipes…Bok Choy Soup, Tortilla Soup, and Healthy-er Rice Krispie Treats.

    Thanks so much for your inspiration and confidence-boost.

  37. Eileen says:

    My husband, Daughter, Granddaughter and myself love cooking your recipes. It always takes us hours instead of min prepare and make them. We have fun and much of the time we have to either improvise or make from scratch at least one or more of the ingredients because they are not available in our area. Lucky for us I grew up learning how to do most of this example the Boursin or creme fraiche cheese I couldn’t find either in our stores so I went on line and found how to make them and we made the cheese ourselves and boy did that turn out sooooo good My husband and I are retired so taking time to make these recipes are a lot of fun for us. Thank you.

  38. HAZEL AMENTA says:


Leave a Reply