30 Minute Meals – Time-saving cooking ideas #1

As many of us already know, it’s not always easy to get exercising and/or cooking


into our busy schedules every day. We have jobs, we have families, we have dedicated prayer times, we have hobbies…and we all have the same 24 hours in every day. So how is it that some women seem to have it all together, yet some of us can barely get supper on the table by 6:30pm, let alone get everything else done from our never-ending To-Do lists?

First of all, there are ways to get around many of these road blocks without sacrificing any family time or responsibilities. It way require some rethinking of our daily schedules, our family’s chore charts or one of many other aspects of the way we are accustomed to doing things. But change is good, especially if that change can also result in you eating healthier AND exercising on a regular basis.

Some of you may be thinking something like, “This woman doesn’t have a house full of children.” or “She has more help than I do.” This kind of thinking is what gets a lot of women into that negative area where they start to doubt themselves. We don’t want any of that here. So, for the purpose of this little lesson today, everybody has the same amount of children, and the same amount of help. And we’re still going to end up with a great meal on the table in 30 minutes or less.

Meal planning is something that takes getting used to if it’s not something you’ve done before. At first, it might seem like it’s taking a whole lot of time just to save 20 minutes a day. This process, like any other process or habit we learn in our lives, takes time. The normal length of time to learn a new habit is 3 weeks. The average length of time to cement it into our everyday lives without a second thought is 6 weeks. By all means, give yourself time for this!

Not only does planning your meals save you time in preparation and cooking time, it saves you time at the grocery store, and also saves you money on wasted food as well. Remember those peppers you bought, put them in the drawer and forgot they were there? It happens to all of us at one point or another. By knowing ahead of time what exactly you need for the week, you will be saving yourself (and your bank account) from forgotten fruit or vegetables in that drawer of the fridge. And believe me that can really add up over a year.

Okay, we’ve planted the seed about menu planning. We’ll get back to that in a bit more detail in a few days. For now, I want to show you how easy it is to make a proper, healthy meal in 30 minutes or less. And it can be much less if you’re the type of person who buys their salad pre-packaged in those large, reseal-able bags or containers.

Speedy Macadamia Chicken

4 boneless / skinless chicken breasts sliced

1 garlic clove, finely chopped or pressed

1/4lb green beans

½ sweet red pepper

1 large tomato

4tbsp honey

¼ tsp. sesame seeds

1/8 lb Macadamia (or other) nuts

Sesame oil

Put a pot of water on stove to boil in order to prepare instant whole grain or brown rice as per package instructions.

Chop or slice all ingredients. Save ½ of red pepper for salad. Heat sesame oil in a skillet or wok. Sauté garlic slightly. Add chicken and dill, and sauté for approximately 5 minutes.

Water should be boiling in your pot. Add rice and stir.

Add green beans and red peppers to skillet or wok, and sauté for saute for another couple of minutes.

Stir rice and check to see if it’s ready. If it is, remove from heat and cover.

Combine salad ingredients. Add tomato, celery, mandarin orange slices or other ingredients as desired.

Add the tomato and the macadamia nuts to skillet or wok; sauté another minute or two. Add the honey and the sesame seeds. Continue cooking just long enough to warm the honey.

Place rice on plate, and top with chicken mixture. Add salad and desired dressing, if any. Sit down, as a family and enjoy the extra time you have to spend together, since this delicious meal should only have taken you approximately 22 minutes to prepare from start to finish.

Now plan some extra time for yourself after dinner! Your first lesson in healthy cooking in 30 minutes or less has been passed with flying colors!

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