According to the National Restaurant Association (NRA), 133 million Americans eat out every day. Michael Donohue, spokesperson for the NRA, contends that, “The typical adult eats at a restaurant nearly six times a week.” While this is great news for restauranteurs it may make budget-minded moms and pops blush with shame. So why do we eat out so much? Time is partially to blame. The grocery shopping, the cooking, the prep, the cleaning — all of these things take time that we, as working Americans, really don’t have. Luckily, however, there is a way to get in and out of the kitchen in a flash. There are plenty of chefs and cookbooks that have proved to us that having dinner out in under 30 minutes is achievable.
Tips to making your kitchen 30 Minute Meal-Worthy
You can’t just throw together 30 minute meals if you’re in the midst of a filthy or unorganized kitchen. You need to be adequately prepped to churn out meals in a flash. One way to prep for a 30 minute meal? Practice what chefs like to call “mise en place,” or “to put in place.” The basic premise of mise en place is that if you put everything out in front of you before you start to cook, you’ll be able to prepare a meal quickly and efficiently. Get your mise en place set up by doing the following:
- Make sure you have all of your ingredients in front of you
- Have plates ready so you can put the meal on the plates and serve it while the dish is still hot.
- Have stations set up for different phases of the meal. Arrange a washing, chopping, and seasoning station.
- Put all of your herbs or different chopped ingredients in bowls so that you can easily grab and use them. The bowls can be quickly thrown in the dishwasher after use.
Apply this technique to all of your meals to churn them out as quickly as possible.
Examples of 30 minute Meals
Thirty minute meals usually include elements like a meat that can be cooked in a skillet in a flash and simple recipes without hundreds of ingredients. Meals that you can cook in under 30 minutes include:
- Steak with herbs: Steak is so easy to just throw on a cast-iron skillet and cook. All you need is herbs like rosemary, parsley, and oregano to really make a rib-eye taste delectable in only about 8 minutes!
- Lemon Garlic Tilapia with Spinach: Just sauté some spinach and throw a tilapia filet on the skillet with garlic, lemon, and butter for a delicious dinner that only takes about 20 minutes.
- Parmesan Chicken Tenders: Bust out your olive oil and get ready for some quick frying. You can bread your chicken tenders in rosemary, shredded parmesan, red pepper flakes and garlic cloves. Then, just fry up your breaded tenders and serve with a pasta salad and some leafy greens for a great meal.
You can make the time to cook for thirty minutes each night. Just start planning your meals out, and open your mind to the possibility that cooking could actually be enjoyable.