I’m sure any mom can relate to those moments when your kid says, so sweetly, “Can you come play with me?” My heart sinks as I answer, go play by yourself – I have to finish these dishes.” Or make dinner or ________ (insert house or work project). How do you win? There must be a way to “do it all”… some way to keep the home running and also have time to soak up our sweet children, and maybe a little time for ourselves somewhere in there.
I’ve heard about dinners that take half an hour to make. Are those a real thing? Can someone learn to be a 30 minute dinner chef? Recipes often claim that’s all it takes to whip up a tasty meal. I don’t know about you, but dinners take me about an hour to cook, whether it’s from a recipe or something I make up on my own. But surely it must be possible! I did a little internet sleuthing to bring you tried and true tips from experts who really do know how to make a meal in 30 minutes.
Tips from real 30 minute dinner chefs
The kitchn.com has a fabulous article that dishes up all the places we unwittingly go astray when we cook. Think:
- Are the things you almost always use gathered in the same place, like your spices, olive oil, onions, garlic, and most-used cooking tools?
- Read a recipe thoroughly before starting. That way, you’re not surprised by directions part way through that required chilling or thawing or something else you should have done yesterday.
- Clean as you go. This gives you space to work as your cooking progresses, and makes for less clean up later. This is especially helpful in tiny kitchens where messes can make you start to lose your cooking ingredients or tools, which obviously eats up time when you spend a minute looking for the measuring spoon that you just put down.
Eat This, Not That! offers 30 tips to cut down on time in the kitchen. Some of my favorites include:
- Sharpen your knives (it makes chopping faster)
- Get yourself some kitchen shears (think – fancy, sharp scissors that replace a knife – you’re faster and your fingers are safe).
- Cook with a small pot. It takes less time to heat and also distributes heat more evenly as your food is heating.
Finally, remember the old wisdom to measure twice, cut once. It’s the same in the kitchen – if you move deliberately – read the recipe twice, don’t rush – you will be way less likely to make mistakes. And not having to fix a mistake? That’s solid gold.
Keep showing up
Getting systems in place so that cooking or cleaning takes less time doesn’t happen overnight. But if you keep showing up in this area, looking at where you’re at and choosing small changes to make, you’ll find yourself in a new space before you know it. If you become a 30 minute dinner chef, maybe you really can sneak in a half hour of laughter and play with your children before dinner!