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Easy Cooking Timesavers You Can Buy

The premise of this book is that busy people need to prepare a meal in 20 minutes. That premise does not mean, however, that any of us is guaranteed the luxury of a whole 20 minutes, and I say this with only the slightest irony. For that reason, many of the following chapters feature not only “from scratch” 20-minute recipes, but a section on comparable Easy Timesavers methods and recipes that take full advantage of prepared foods, marinades, and other timesaving tricks. This is the arsenal of the intelligent, busy cook who knows how to find quality ingredients for a meal on a double-quick schedule. They include things like the following:

  • Prepared salads made possible by improved packaging that keeps produce fresh
  • Marinated entrees, ready to cook without additional seasoning (Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin and Barbecued Ribs)
  • Cooked entrees (those beautiful roasted chickens behind the grocery store deli)
  • Ingredient mixes, such as Trader Joe's frozen Seafood Mix (similar mixes are available in the frozen food section of many grocery stores), just perfect for quick prep of a seafood stew or pasta
  • Pre-prepared pizza crust, enabling quick pizza with a homemade taste
  • Pre-prepared seasoning mixes
Cook to Cook

Save extra freezer space for storage of quick items that go from freezer to table in minutes.

Many more specific suggestions follow, each intended to provide an even quicker timeline for a meal without sacrificing taste or quality.

The enemy of quick cooking, it should be noted, is the all-too-human desire to make things overcomplicated. Of course we all want to explore new cuisines and new ways of cooking, but a common misconception is that to make good food, one must use multiple ingredients and multiple steps. In many cases the opposite is true: Simple preparation of quality ingredients allows delicious fresh flavors to shine through. In this sense, 20-minute cuisine has great potential. Use quality ingredients, follow simple methods, and take advantage of the possibilities.

Partially pre-prepared foods such as ingredient mixes and pizza dough also deserve freezer space, allowing storage of quick items that go from freezer to table in minutes.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to 20-Minute Meals © 2003 by CWL Publishing Enterprises, Inc., John Woods, President. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's website or call 1-800-253-6476.


August 29, 2014



Eating a colorful diet or fruits and veggies helps ensure your child is getting the nutrients he needs to keep his brain sharp while at school. Aim to pack three or more different colored foods in his lunch (or for snack) every day.


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