Tuesday, March 04, 2008

30-Minute Meal, My Ass.

PDM and I both worked late tonight. Again. I got home first, and started cruising our cookbooks for some supper ideas. I was looking for something relatively simple and easy, since I have had two long days in a row, and had developed a migraine somewhere between 5-6pm, and did not arrive home until 7pm. Not the best time to try anything fancy. I flipped through a few books and finally turned to a Rachel Ray 30-minute meal cookbook. The "chicken piccata pasta toss" didn't sound too hard. It actually sounded pretty good. I made a list and then went for a quick trip to the grocery store. But as usual, the "30-minute meal" took me around an hour and a half to prepare, and that included getting some major help from PDM once he got home. It was after 9pm when we ate.

I have never cooked one of these 30-minute recipes in less than 45 minutes. Anyone else have this problem, or is it just me? I realize that I am very slow with chopping up meat and veggies, but I do not see how this could add an extra hour to the prep time. I am usually good at multitasking, but not so much in the kitchen...

14 comments:

Sunshine said...

I saw an article where a journalist had taken Rachael Ray to task that her 30-minute meals were anything but 30. I think the explanation was that she has a certain amount of prep and short cuts she does when she gets her groceries put away. Something like that.

Did you factor in commercial breaks? lol

Jim Donahue said...

She also tends to us a lot of pre-cut veggies and the like. And when she does her own chopping, you can tell she's great with a knife--she zooms right through.

LL said...

I'm sure if you already knew the recipe by heart, had all of the ingredients on hand, already had them chopped and portioned... then it'd probably take you 30 minutes. But since most of us have to read the recipe... find something that actually is in our house that the recipe calls for or a close substitute, then slice, dice, and portion... well... it's not all that quick.

That's why I don't use many cookbooks. Well... that and I'm just cooking for myself so we're back to that "one ingredient or less" menu that I've become so very fond of...

Labwench said...

I continually have the same problem when trying one of her recipes for the first time. However, in agreement with the above comments, once I have the recipe memorized, I can actually complete it in 30 minutes.

Kathleen said...

I'm highly impressed that you got home after 7:00, looked through cookbooks, WENT TO THE GROCERY STORE and then prepared dinner. I would have made a grilled cheese sandwich and declared it dinner.

Jeni said...

I have a recipe -I devised it myself -for chicken and bowknot noodles -that I can whip up in very close to 30 minutes. Matter of fact, I made it for supper last night. Just cut up one or two boneless chicken breasts, toss them into a pan where you have sauted a diced onion, one or two celery stalks and about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of baby carrots, chopped, sprinkle generously while the chicken sautes with favorite spices (basil, salt, pepper, seasoning salt, chicken flavoring stuff. Then add a cup of chicken bouillion and after that, a can of cream of chicken soup. Let it all simmmer. Boil water for the bowknots and cook them; drain and mix it all together! Very easy and also the whole family here loves it and never any complaints from ANYONE in the peanut gallery when I make it either. Tonight, we're having another dish that is almost as easy - sausage gravy over biscuit! Yeah, breakfast for supper! (Also something no one usually complains about, so I'll be on a roll then -two nights in a row with happy diners!)

Dave said...

Look at it this way, at least you didn't have to hear and listen to her insufferable perkiness. "EVVO!!" Arggh.

fermicat said...

sunshine - I factored in wine breaks!

jim - I suck at chopping stuff. S-L-O-W. That's me.

ll - I would be slightly faster with the tried and true, but I wanted something we aren't tired of. PDM is much better at improvising. Cooking is just not something I care about being good at.

labwench - good to know there is hope for me with practice.

kat - I considered takeout, but we need to eat more home cooked meals and I didn't want to do the same ol' same old.

jeni - that sounds good. We'll have to try it.

dave - she is pretty damn perky. PDM gets irritated by the cheerleader-ish personality more than I do, but her bubbliness is over the top.

Tonight we are having simpler fare. PDM is frying up some bacon for BLTs. We were at the pub earlier and had beer and fish dip.

TheWriteGirl said...

I shrieked with laughter at the title. Damn right you have to factor in the wine breaks! But how true, they always take longer than advertised. Well, I made a big ol' pot of split pea soup this past weekend, so for the near future it's just a bowl in the microwave for me. Voila! Dinner-in-a-minit!

Anonymous said...

Do you still have the "5 Ingredients and 3 Easy Steps" cookbook I gave you years ago? If you do, you could have had a great meal in 30 minutes.

USE IT!!!

Love you

tiff said...

PB&J = 5 minutes. ;)

You've got the prechop and stuff, just like RR does. Then, use super high heat and your BROILER for eveything, and then maybe there's a chance of being done in 30 minutes.

or, you know. PB&J.

fermicat said...

twg - glad you got a good laugh. Everyone I have talked to about the 30-minute meals can't make them in 30 minutes.

Mom- yes, I still have that cookbook. But this time I got suckered in by Rachel Ray's perky promises... and chicken piccata sounded so good.

tiff - nothin' wrong with PB&J, especially on a good wheat bread, with crunchy peanut butter and strawberry preserves.

wa11z said...

Ummm...I have no idea.

BC said...

I just throw something in the nuker. Yeah Im one of those that will make a large meal and freeze portions. By the time I make it home, Im so damned tired that i dont want to cook. Tonight was definately take out considering that today was a take-me-out day. 300lb kid slammed me against the wall while i was breaking up a fight. But when I got home, I ate lasagne in 10 minutes. :D