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.

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Rachael Ray