How to Cook 30 Minute Meals has been sponsored by Collective Bias, INC. and The Coca-Cola Company, all opinions are mine alone. If you want to get dinner on the table fast, then you need my best dinner time saving tips!
#BecauseICan #PickYourFlavor #CollectiveBias
I love this time of the year. The snow is melting, the temperatures are warming up slightly, and there are so many fun things to get out and do! We live in the mountains of PA so during the winters, we find ourselves staying at home more than I care to admit. With Spring right around the corner, it is time to get out and do interesting things!
At the beginning of March, I challenged myself to get out and do at least one new or interesting thing each month. Today, we headed out to a Fun Factory, which was great, and next week, we are seeing a new musical! I often find myself feeling so boggled down with housework, making dinner, our jobs, and running to activities, that some of the fun stuff has slipped away. I think this is natural for everyone, regardless of where they are in their life, but it is so so important that we still live our most interesting lives. We all need to break out of our comfort zones and find new things or stop to enjoy old favorites!
Speaking of old favorites, have you seen the new Diet Coke® flavors and can design? The iconic taste hasn’t changed, but has a new look and some amazingly fun flavors! I picked up one of each new flavor at my local Giant Eagle and we have been loving trying them all. The flavors are so sassy and interesting and include Feisty Cherry, Twisted Mango, Ginger Lime, and Zesty Blood Orange. They are packaged in sleek new cans and the flavors are so crisp and refreshing! I love that my Giant Eagle has both 8 packs and also single on the go cans, so you can sample each flavor! The Feisty Cherry is sweet, but packs a refreshing punch and is definitely my favorite, but they are all so good!
I often struggle of thinking of fun and spontaneous activities to do on the spot, so I have started a running list of interesting activities we can do all spring and summer long! I love making lists and it love checking off items, so this is a great way for me to ensure we get out and do these things!
While I struggle at being spontaneous, one thing I’m good at is making dinner. Do you struggle at dinner time and find yourself in the kitchen way longer than you intended? The faster dinner is on the table, the faster you can move on to more interesting activities! Nobody, from young professionals, to experienced mothers, want to be slaving in front of the stove for an hour each night, especially when the weather is nice! I very rarely spend more than 30 minutes on dinner. With proper planning and multi tasking while cooking, I can get dinner done quickly.
I have mastered how to cook dinner in less than 30 minutes and I’m sharing my essential tips with you!
Here are my tips for getting dinner on the table fast
- Buy short cut ingredients instead of entire convenience meals. You can still take credit for a homemade meal but save a lot of time! Try no boil pasta, frozen steam in bag vegetables, microwave steam rice, or rotisserie chicken. Convenience products have a bad rap but they have some such a long way! They are no longer full of preservatives and additives!
- Use an electric pressure cooker. You won’t believe how quickly this cooks meals. It takes some trial and error, but you will get the hang of it in no time. I have been telling all my friends about pressure cooking. So much has changed since the days of our grandma’s old-fashioned pressure cookers! They are no longer scary or unsafe, but perfect for anyone who loves delicious, but quick meals!
- Keep a well stocked pantry and only grocery shop once a week. If you don’t have to stop at the store on the way home from class or work, then less time is wasted! Always keep these items on hand: ground beef, pasta sauce, pasta, frozen vegetables, chicken breasts, cheese, butter, milk, and eggs. You can make SO many different meals with just those ingredients. Don’t forget to always have salt pepper, and garlic powder in your spice drawer! I limit my trips to the grocery store and Giant Eagle is the perfect one stop shop. I love that they have great sales (especially on meat!) and they have the best selection of speciality and gourmet items in my town!
- Meal Plan. I know you have heard this one a million times, but it is so important. If you know what you are making beforehand, you will save at least 15 minutes. I always plan four dinners for each week and then plan on leftovers and take out two nights, and one dinner at a family member’s house. Pick a designated time and day to do this each week. Keep a running list of meal ideas as you think of them or see on Pinterest! (Check out my Easy Dinner Recipe board!) I also keep a Google Keep list going of easy dinner items at all times! It is easy to add to on your phone.
- I use the rule of 2/1 when making my dinners. Serve two homemade elements to one store bought. Don’t be afraid to use store bought shortcuts for entire components! The grocery store has some amazing goods these days! I love Giant Eagle’s rotisserie chicken and also their selection of in house made foods! I love frozen french fries and steam in bag vegetables for quick side dishes, but I always make the main component from scratch.
- Learn to multitask while cooking. Start with the item that will take the longest and prepare it first. While it is cooking, do your other prep work for the other components. Do NOT prep all your ingredients first. That takes more time and can be done while other ingredients are in the oven, on the stove, on the grill, etc.
Here are some of my most favorite quick dinner ideas
Once you master the thirty minute meal, you will free up your evenings and also have less post work stress! The multi-tasking element is truly the hardest to master, but with some practice, you can get it! The quicker dinner is over, the fast you can get out the door to more interesting things! Don’t forget to be on the look out for the single Diet Coke cans so you can try all the new flavors! They are perfect for on the go!
Earn $1.25 with the purchase of 1 Diet Coke 8-pack, 12 oz. cans (any variety), along with any brand of avocados (any variety, any size). Both products must be purchased on the same receipt to receive credit for this rebate.
Have you tried the new Diet Coke flavors yet? Which one is your favorite?