Rachael’s Top Tips for Making a Meal in 30 Minutes

The magic is all in the preparation.

Host Rachael Ray makes her Chicken Francese, as seen on 30 Minute Meals, Season 28.

Photo by: Scott Gries

Scott Gries

At the beginning of April, Rachael’s beloved show 30 Minute Meals returned to Food Network. Rachael appeared live our Facebook page to demo some of her favorite techniques and answer fans’ questions. Here are her top tips for making a 30-minute meal a possibility any day of the week.

1. Clean and sort everything right after you shop

Bring home your groceries and get them cleaned, advises Rachael. “You’re more apt to eat more vegetables if you put them away clean ... Everyone does one big shop and then you fill in during the week with a smaller amount of food. You have to put it away clean and it will stay fresher longer, plus you’re more apt to use it when you come home late.”

2. Build a pantry of what you like to eat

Rachael suggests that everyone builds a pantry of whatever it is they like to eat the most. “I like a Mediterranean diet”, she says, “so I always have tomatoes, olive oil, root vegetables, garlic, carrots celery, onion. If you love Tex Mex food you need a lot of beans, you need some chorizo in the freezer. You need the basic building blocks so that you always have go-tos.”

3. Go big with your cutting board

“Get the largest cutting board you can afford to purchase of the best quality,” says Rachael.

4. Work as near as you can to the stove

If you live in small apartment, put your cutting board over the sink and drop everything right into your pots and pans. “Work, chop and drop,” she says. She doesn’t like mis en place bowls to put every little thing in. “I just like to leave piles around the board. I don’t like a ton of dishes ... Don’t waste your space!”

5. Use your garbage bowl

“Everything goes in here while you’re cooking,” says Rachael. The garbage bowl collects everything, and you can sort it out later. “It’s a huge timesaver so you’re not wasting steps and time running all over the kitchen.”

6. Have everything on hand when you start to cook

If you follow all the above tips, you should be set up to create a meal in less than 30 minutes. Bring everything over to where you are working and don’t move again. “Once I get to my station I should not have to move until the meal is done,” says Rachael.

Get more tips and tricks for speedy weeknight meals on 30 Minute Meals every day at 12|11c in April.

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