Just because time is short, it doesn’t mean you have to settle for a can of soup or a sandwich for dinner, or making one of the many boring and flavorless fast recipes (which often aren’t even as fast as they promise). Our test cooks have created more than 200 recipes that keep the ingredients and cooking time to a minimum and offer tons of flavor and plenty of variety.
By combining steps, minimizing pans, and employing a little test kitchen trickery, our test cooks have made naturally fast recipes even faster, and they’ve made recipes that traditionally take hours ready for the table in half an hour. And while they used a minimum of ingredients, one thing they didn’t minimize was flavor.
While some dinners are naturally pretty fast—like chicken cutlets, pasta, and burgers—we made sure to make every minute count by combining steps, making pans pull double duty, and finding shortcuts wherever we could. But we really put our test kitchen know-how to the test by foolproofing recipes that normally require long stays in the oven or hours on the stove. You can making traditionally long-cooking meals work in 30 minutes— from Skillet Greek Lasagna to a Quick Beef Carbonnade- without sacrificing flavor.
The expertise and knowledge of America’s Test Kitchen comes through in the editorial elements scattered throughout the book. From seeding a bell pepper to how to get easy-to-peel hard-boiled eggs, “Quick Prep Tips” show in one or two steps how to get your ingredients ready fast. “Smart Shopping” boxes give tell readers on how to pick a ripe avocado or what Asian Chili Garlic Sauce is, as well as sharing valuable ingredient information we have garnered over the years on specific ingredients through taste tests. If a recipe requires some assembly, we include steps to visually walk home cooks through the process, so they can see how easily the recipe actually comes together. One-page features in each chapter provide a primer on basic ingredients or teach a quick cooking lesson.