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I was recently asked what sort home cook am I, the answer took no thinking about at all. That’s because although I love cooking during the week, I’m a fly in fly out kind of cook. Yep, like most people I don’t want spend all evening preparing the family meal. I want to fly in and fly out of the kitchen in 30 minutes or under. That doesn’t mean that I compromise – every meal has 4 must have criteria which are:

1. Must be delicious
2. Must have a good balance of veggies, carbs and proteins.
3. Must be quick to make
4. Must be easy – I don’t want to make a quick meal and then be left with heaps of cleaning up.

So rather than spending time online searching for quick meal ideas that you can cook in less than 30 minutes you could consider adopting some basic rules that just may reduce the time in the kitchen.

The first rule is fairly obvious and that is to always start with the ingredient that takes the longest to cook. But rather than just cook this ingredient as you would normally cook it, consider the short cuts eg potatoes and beetroot can often take a long time to cook, if boiled, baked or roasted. But did you know that they cook quickly in a microwave? You could also consider chopping them smaller which will also cut down the cooking time.

After identifying the ingredient that takes the longest to cook, it’s simply a matter of working down the list.

Check out this example of chicken tenders with chunky vegetable and rocket salad.

The beetroot will take the longest to cook so put this in a covered dish in the microwave with a little water and cook for 10 minutes on high. While this is cooking put some cut carrots into a pan of boiling water, they will take about eight minutes. Next up cook the chicken tenders on a hot griddle or in a frying pan. These will take around 4 minutes either side. When cooked remove and keep warm.
Carefully remove the beetroot from the microwave and drain the water from these and the carrots. Place the vegetables on top of the rocket, sprinkle with some balsamic vinegar. Then simply top with the chicken tenders and serve with some fresh crusty bread.

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Richard Brogan

I'm Richard and I head up the MAGGI Kitchen in Sydney. We have a small team of dedicated culinary experts who lead the development of all our products as well…