Most quick recipes deliver speed but not flavor. They often rely on silly shortcuts (no, you cant stuff bell peppers with raw ground beef and onions) and second-rate convenience -products (think canned soup). No wonder most "quick" recipes are fast but forgettable. In The Best 30-Minute Recipe, Americas Test Kitchen turns its crew of test cooks loose on the world of quick cooking in an effort to find flavor, not just convenience.
Many dishes are naturally quickstir-fries, hearty salads, skillet sautés, and simple pasta dishesbut they also need to be full-flavored and foolproof. We have streamlined these -dishes, subtracting an ingredient or shortcutting a cooking method, to make them memorable and dependable.
But some recipes seem impossible to make in a mere 30 minutes. How about a richly flavored chicken stew that typically takes more than an hour at best? Parcook chicken thighs in the microwave to jump start the cooking. Meatloaf? Downsize one large meatloaf into four individual servings and brown them in a skillet. Baked ziti? Make the entire dish in a skillet, where the pasta cooks in a richly seasoned tomato sauce instead of a big pot of boiling water. And forget about second-rate supermarket shortcuts. Once you try our Quick and Crunchy Breaded Pork Chops, youll never be tempted by a store-bought breading mix again. Our recipe has all the convenience of the shake-and-bake version, but it tastes worlds better.
We also discovered that many "quick" recipes fail to include prep times. In The Best 30-Minute Recipe, every test cook used a timer to be sure every recipe really can be prepared, cooked, and on the table in 30 minutes or less. And if a recipe was cutting it close, we looked for acceptable shortcuts. When we couldnt make a creamy chicken and rice casserole in 30 minutes, we turned to instant rice (sautéed in butter to improve the rices texture and flavor) with excellent results.
Special features include "Got Extra Time?" which provides suggestions and recipe alterations that will make a good dish even better if you have a few extra minutes to spend in the kitchen. Other features like "Making the Minutes Count" and "Kitchen Shortcuts" help you prep and cook more efficiently, -giving you skills you can use for a lifetime of cooking.
Organized around the most logical ways to think about quick cooking, The Best 30-Minute Recipe will lead you right to the type of dish you feel like making. Want to make an entire meal in a skillet? Turn to "Skillet Suppers" for dishes like -Skillet Steak Fajitas and Skillet Paella. Feel like preparing a simple, flavorful sauce while your pasta boils? Choose from dozens of options in "While the Pasta Cooks." You can also check out "Skillet Pasta," recipes that cook the pasta right in the -skillet with the sauce, saving you time and leaving you with just one pot to wash. -Another chapter, "Starting with Leftovers," offers -appealing ideas for turning last nights dinner into a -completely new meal, such as Asian Spicy Noodles with Beef and Spinach or Curry in a Hurry.
The test kitchen also evaluated dozens of popular -convenience foods important to quick cooking, from ready-to-use minced garlic and jarred tomato sauce to preshredded cheese, precooked bacon, and more. If a product didnt make the cut, you wont find it in our recipes.
Put disappointing quick recipes behind you. The Best 30-Minute Recipe will help you get dinner on the table -quicklya dinner that you can really enjoy! Fast food isnt good food -unless you use just the right ingredients and the right combination of techniques. So dont sacrifice flavor. Dont sacrifice the pleasures of the table. Let Americas most trusted test kitchen show you how to cook both quickly and well. With The Best 30-Minute Recipe, satisfying, home-cooked meals really are just minutes away.