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The Best 30-Minute Recipe

The Best 30-Minute RecipeIt’s no wonder that the idea of a 30-minute meal is so popular. No matter how much we like to cook and how much time we’re willing to spend in the kitchen working on a perfect dish, there will always be times when something quick and simple is what sounds the most appealing. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, a quick meal became synonymous with a semi-homemade one, where premixed and precooked ingredients are thrown together to approximate a more thoughtful dish. This shouldn’t have to be the case, and The Best 30-Minute Recipe seems to prove it.

The cookbook was put together by America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Illustrated Magazine with the exact same kind of attention to detail that they are so well known for. The 300 or so recipes in the book are primarily short and to-the-point, written in the clear and precise style that the test kitchen has developed over the years. There are lots of tips for saving time during cooking, and every recipe starts with a brief description of how the test kitchen developed and perfected it. On top of the recipes, the book also includes reviews of kitchen equipment and ingredients, both of which should help you to shave minutes from your cooking time while adding flavor to your dishes.

Most of the dishes are savory (as opposed to just dessert recipes), but there is a tremendous amount of variety in here that makes the book a very useful all-purpose one to have around. As usual, the only negative thing that springs to mind is that there are only a few (admittedly excellent) photos in the center of the book, where there could certainly be more. That said, the presence of photos is a definite improvement over the many other ATK books that are devoid of pictures entirely. Lack of photos doesn’t come close to putting me off of this cookbook, however, especially since the test kitchen has taken pains to include numerous diagrams and sketches that show your specifically how to prep the food to get the best – and, in this case, quickest – results possible.

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  • Evie
    December 10, 2007

    I love this cookbook. I’ve made about 25 of the recipes in it so far. It’s great for the variety, I agree… and for the cooking methods!
    Simmering pasta right in the sauce is an excellent idea, for example.

  • KitchenNut
    December 10, 2007

    This is one of my very favorite cookbooks. Even if you don’t love each recipe, the tips of how to save time are worth the money alone! I rarely cook my pasta in a pot of water, anymore, based on their fantastic ways to cook pasta right in the sauce!

  • Rain
    December 14, 2007

    I tend to only want to buy cookbooks with pictures but since I’ve started using the America’s Test Kitchen ones I’ve been spoiled for anything else. They are probably the best cookbooks I’ve ever used. Every recipe has been a winner.

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