Have you ever noticed that a lot of 30 minute meals…
- May take 30 minutes or less to prepare, but add in cooking time and (fairly often) marinating time, tossing dinner together at the last minute is often thwarted.
- Require a lot of equipment and that equipment has to be cleaned. I mentally cringe every time something requires a quick buzz in a food processor. Yeah, they’re great, but take up a lot of room in the dishwasher, and washing them by hand means cleaning four large pieces and a sharp blade. A blender is a bit easier with only 3-4 parts. (and it takes up less dishwasher space), but more washing up.
- Speaking of blades… It’s why I often use just a knife to slice or chop things. It’s much faster and easier to clean than my beloved mandoline, or my mini-prep machine, it gives me control over the cuts and improves my knife skills. And there are days when wielding a big sharp knife is very therapeutic!
- Then there are the bowls, pots, pans etc. Until recently, it was one of the reasons why I scoffed at any 30 minute meals that involved pasta. You always have to make sauce, which generally uses a pan, why even pesto needs a Cuisinart. With my new range and the high burner, it still takes a while to boil water and cook pasta (unless it’s fresh). And no one likes to clean the pasta pot–another space hog! This changed recently when we picked up a “Fasta Pasta” cooker that cooks pasta in the microwave. I never would have considered it, however Cooks Illustrated named it one of the winning tools of 2014 (and they were right!). While it’s not going to save you more than a few minutes cooking time, it will save you at least that much time cleaning up (and fits nicely in the dishwasher).
- They need side dishes. Which combine the worst parts of all of the above…
Yes, me too and a clean-up guy (most of the time). It’s why I love grilling!
Only 30 minutes! If you do all of the prep work the night before…couldn’t agree more, although I do have some tried and true quick meals!