The Truth About 30 Minute Meals
We all love those 30-minute meals we see on TV or in those shiny, pretty cookbooks with the smiling face of your celebrity chef of choice on the cover, right? They seem so simple, so delicious! Then you go about making one… and it takes you an hour – double the time than was as promised. Why is that? Well, there’s a reason, and it’s mainly because you’re not a celebrity chef with a whole kitchen team behind you! Washing, chopping, supervising kids, and figuring out if you have enough bowls for your 18 ingredients is never factored into that 30-minute time frame. Not to mention dishes! Who has ever seen anyone do dishes on the Food Network?
So, now you might be wondering, okay how do I get to that magic 30-minute meal? Well, they have all their ingredients pre-chopped and pre-measured, an unlimited number of pans, trays, spatulas, and utensils, that not everyone has time, space, or money for. Also, maybe 30 minutes just won’t be enough time, and that’s ok! Taking the time to make dinner and letting go of time limit expectations (within reason, we do have things to do!) can be a great way to get your kids involved in age-appropriate steps like washing, stirring, pouring, or even chopping with a small knife under supervision.
If you are short on time or patience and need a few shortcuts, using frozen fruit and vegetables in recipes where they will be cooked, using par-cooked rice, and pre-chopped or peeled produce can be a huge time saver (and might make you feel like a smart chef). Adding new twists to classic recipes you know you can whip up in no time is another great way to add variety and flavour to any dish as well. A few new spices, a new sauce, or a new veggie can make something exciting without scaring your kids off from eating it (which all parents dread). Top tip: don’t change too much at once, as it can be overwhelming to little ones.
An additional great way to cut down on time is to make it vegetarian! Adding cheese, beans, pulses, or even fish like tuna can be a quicker alternative to cooking meats like chicken, turkey, and beef that can be more time-consuming. Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself and have fun! Whether it’s cooking for you, a partner, or your family, enjoying the cooking process makes the finished product taste that much better, after all, it’s made with love.
Chef Lisa Ruscica
Chief Food Ambassador