5 Steps to a 30 Minute Meal

5 Simple Steps to Cook a Meal in 30 Minutes or Less

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Sautéing is one of the quickest and easiest way to get dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less. And not just any dinner…I’m talking a freshly cooked, right off the pan, melt-in-your mouth meal that will leave everyone thinking you slaved over the hot oven all day.

(That will be our little secret.)

The cooking method sautéing is one of what I call, The Fabulous Five — the 5 essential cooking methods you need to master just about anything your heart desires. Stick with me and we’ll get you up to speed in no time. It’s much easier than you may think, and the best part, it’s fun too!

Use these 5 tips speed your sauté without losing anything on taste.

#1: Use a good pan.

As with many things in the kitchen, you’re only as good as your equipment. I highly suggest investing in a high quality, non-stick, flat bottomed, heavy duty sauté pan. If it’s feasible, get small, medium, and large sized so you can handle everything from batch cooking to single-servings, to omelettes and garnishes.

The weight of the pan and the flat bottom will give you an even final product and make it easier to prepare multiple pieces of meat or fish at once. The non-stick surface maintains that golden crust you want as you lift your final product effortlessly from heat to plate.

I use Swiss Diamond sauté pans. They’re durable, can withstand high heat, and their revolutionary nonstick coating ensures an even and beautiful finish.

Swiss Diamond Saute Pan

#2: Wondra Flour.

This is my secret to a perfectly crunchy crust everytime. Wondra Flour is a highly granulated flour that puts a very thin coating on your product before you sauté. You don’t need much and the taste is less than noticeable.

Spice it up with seasoning or just leave it to good ol’ salt and pepper and let the flavor of your meat or fish stand out signing. Just give your meat or fish a quick dredge before it hits the hot pan and you’ll hear that crust start to form.

Wondra Flour

#3: Mise en place…or “everything in its place”

This French culinary expression is especially important when sautéing because once you get cooking, it won’t be long before you’re done.

Sautéing can take as little as 1 to 5 minutes on each side, so you want to be ready to flip as soon as your first side is done. That means preparation is crucial.

Have your meat or fish seasoned and dredged. Make sure the oil in the pan is hot, and you’ve got a place for your final product all set up. Once that first piece hits the pan, you’ve got to have your eye on the clock and your tongs in hand.

Of course cooking time depends on your thickness of your product, but you want to be ready to flip as soon as your first product hits the halfway point.

#4: Wire rack for cooling.

A wire rack over a sheet pan is one of the best combos in kitchen equipment since knives and cutting boards. Not only are they great for cooling baked items, but they are a must for a dry roast, and the perfect post-cooking spot for sautéd products.

Depending on how much oil you’ve used, you can let your cooked product drain into the sheet pan, or just let things cool while you prepare sides or set the table. Unlike a cutting board or plate, a wire rack lets your final product cool evenly without getting soggy in its own juices. If you’ve used Wondra flour, or some other type of breading, these wire racks are a must to maintain that final-product crunch.

Wire cooling rack

#5: Finish thicker pieces in the oven.

For thicker meats that may dry out if fully sautéd until thoroughly cooked, slide them into a 300-350 degree F oven. Again, use the wire rack over the sheet pan to maintain your crust, and let cook until the internal temperature reaches about 165 degrees F (the exact temperature depends on the meat you’re preparing).

With these 5 tips and the fother info you’ll find on Chef Jungle, you’ll be untangling the mysteries of cooking in no time. It’s as easy as 30 minutes, and these simple techniques can literally change your life!

Be sure to follow Chef Gerrie’s Chef Jungle on Facebook for more tips and tricks, and let me know how I can help in the comments section. I’ll see you in the jungle!

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