Rising to the Occasion:
Tips for Seasoning
Your Meals with Soul
with Karen Mitchell-Wilcher
What is the Speed Limit
I admit to being a distracted driver. I am not distracted by the cellphone, or the road rage in the backseat of the car generated by my offspring. However, deciding what I can cook for dinner within the 30 minutes allotted for when the traffic pattern of our schedules takes a detour causes a speed bump in my brain.
For the record, I do use a road map for our week. I even go so far as to keep a color coded calendar for my children’s activities. I scour the food section for specials and create shopping lists. I developed a monthly cycle of menus based on my own tried and true recipes. Despite all of the preventive maintenance I endeavor to put in place there are still those days that speed limit is 30.
Occasionally when driving the posted speed limit shifts to 30 mph thereby causing you to have to slow down to adjust your speed. Depending on your day and commute it is just as plausible that you will have to adjust your speed to reflect a 30 mph (meal plan handbook) in the kitchen too.
My grandmother was a fulltime homemaker who did not drive. She would walk to the markets as needed and make everything from scratch. Although she was speedy in the kitchen, she had few limits on her time to cook. Several of my grandmother’s meals could take up to two hours in the kitchen.
My mother was a schoolteacher who did drive. She usually had an hour to get dinner on the table after coming home from work and shuttling us from an activity or two. Lucky for her, my grandmother acted as the crossing guard for our family showing up at our house just in time to get us safely to domestic bliss. Many weeknights my grandmother had prepped the food or cooked the main course so only a few tasks remained.
I, however, work from home, need to drive three children to four corners of the earth, have a mother who lives in another state and more often than I prefer end up with a mere 30 minute pit stop to prepare dinner!!!
So I know exactly how you feel on those days that you find yourself needing to patch together a good meal in a hurry. Spicy Shrimp and Broccoli Stir-Fry for dinner along with Good Fortune Almond Cookies for dessert is a menu worthy of citation.
I often use GPS (grocery procurement savers) to navigate thru dinner prep. Purchase broccoli florets and sliced onions from the salad bar of your supermarket. Use an instant or boil in the bag style of rice. Buying, bottled minced garlic and ginger can save you a few minutes of prep time and both keep well in your fridge after opening.
Use your kitchen timer for cruise control and it will keep you organized while operating within the 30 minute zone. Marinate the shrimp for 20 minutes while you are making your cookie dough and getting the cookies into the oven. The timer will ensure that the food gets cooked and you are track.
So the next time you find yourself at the crossroads of what can I make for dinner in 30 minutes; you can map out the dinner hour with time to spare!!