Making dinner in 30 minutes or less sounds great to me, but it doesn't happen very often with challenge meals because I am really slow in the kitchen, especially when trying a new recipe. I think I laughed out loud when I saw the Week 51 challenge was 30 minutes or less. Could I really make a full dinner in 30 minutes? Including prep time and thorough washing of vegetables? Was that really possible?
I decided not to try something new, but instead to do a variation on something I've made on a semi-regular basis, and also to use a few "shortcut" products. I figured in 30 minutes I could cook some panko breaded chicken tenders in the oven (pre-breaded from Costco) and then make a vegetable saute from scratch (but using frozen pre-roasted corn). Those shortcuts would certainly shave minutes and make it more likely that I wouldn't go over in time.
I started preheating the oven early, and didn't count that in the 30 minutes because technically I could have left the oven preheating all day and it wasn't really part of making dinner. After the oven was ready, I started the timer, laid foil on a baking pan, and then got the chicken in the oven. (It would take 25 minutes.) Then it was time for the vegetables. Wash and chop zucchini. Get it started in the pan with some olive oil (covered with a splatter guard to keep some of the heat in). Once the zucchini has softened some, add frozen roasted corn. In the meantime, wash and chop scallions. Add scallions after the corn. Season with salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder. After pulling out the chicken, add feta cheese to vegetables, and cook vegetables and cheese together until time runs out. I was happy with the vegetable mixture with about a minute to spare, and just let it keep going for the final minute since I had the time. I was pretty proud that I didn't go over in time, and also that I managed to do it while watching Scorpion too.
This is the type of everyday meal that we'll have for dinner sometimes when I'm not trying out new recipes or cooking a challenge meal. It's nice interspersing simpler meals like this that are still healthy and tasty with some of the more complicated ones, unlike a recent week when I was catching up on challenges and did four in one week with another new recipe for day 5. It helped that I've made these vegetables before, just without the zucchini, so I already had some idea of how it would go and mostly had to just keep one eye on the time. It also helped that there was minimal washing to be done as that always seems to be a time drainer. At least now I know that it's possible to make something in 30 minutes if planned right!