I love what Michael Ruhlman is saying to the American Public about cooking. He has been telling people that its bullshit that people don’t have time to cook, and I agree with him wholeheartedly. What I disagree with is the notion that somehow Jamie Oliver, Rachel Ray, and other chefs promoting quick meals are contributing to this. I’d say the opposite. If anything they are teaching people that its better to make a quick meal than to eat fast food or frozen dinners. I don’t think for a minute that they are propping up the processed food industry. If Rachel and Jamie can get 1 percent of the population to quit eating those tasteless, sodium-laden, frozen entrees they deserve praise.
I know a lot of people who started cooking real meals after Rachel Ray became so popular I have 2 Rachel Ray books and to be honest, I have never had a bad meal using her recipes. A lot of times they are healthy, tasty, and yes, quick to prepare. I have never been someone who put time limits on dinner preparation. If I want something quick I’ll throw some salmon or shrimp on the grill with some veggies and make a quick salad with homemade vinaigrette and some local cheese. Weekends I’ll spend an hour or more on dinners from hearty braises and gumbo in the winter to grilled whole chicken and long smoked bbq ribs and shoulder in the summer. Its all dependent on your schedule. There should be no shame in wanting dinner on the table in 15-20 minutes a couple nights a week just as there should be no shame in spending all day making an incredible Sunday dinner.
One tip I would recommend is to think about your week on Sunday afternoon and try to do some prep work. If you want a quick stir fry on Monday, chop all your meat vegetables and mix up your sauce ingredients on Sunday, then all you need to do is cook your rice (I’ll even admit to using Trader Joe’s frozen basmati rice or their killer pre-cooked wild rice) and stir fry the meats and vegetables. Making pizza? Get your toppings ready and store them in small bowls in the fridge and make your dough for the crust. It’s amazing how doing 20 minutes of prep on Sunday makes cooking during the week seem like a breeze.