I picked up Jamie Oliver’s Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes: A Revolutionary Approach to Cooking Good Food Fast after reading a positive review on Vitafamiliae (an excellent blog if you don’t already read it – click over if only to see their awesome blog header).
“Entire meals–in minutes!” I thought, “That’s JUST what I need!”
Apparently I overlooked the part where Lora from Vitafam mentioned that even when she and her husband work together the recipes take more like 45 minutes than 30.
I’m not against recipes that take a long time, but since I got the book thinking it was a quick dinner fix, I was a little disappointed to find that even when I skip two or three of the dishes in one of the featured meals, it takes me an hour or so to get it to the table.
However, I will say that if you can get over the expectation of quickness, one very nice aspect of the book is how Jamie lays out recipes in sets as meals, and then gives the instructions in the order you should tackle them to get the whole thing together at once. That’s a skill you probably already have if you cook for your family a lot, but it’s always nice to have someone do the calculating for you.
Another plus is the range of interesting and unusual chicken and salad dishes in the book. I do tend to put the same old salads together all the time and so I really liked the ideas in the book. It also inspired me to put more thought into side dishes, rather than focusing on the main dish and throwing a boring salad and steamed green vegetable on the plate to fill in the space.
My husband loved that the recipes in this book rely heavily on bacon. Bacon in salad, bacon on chicken, bacon, bacon, bacon. If you are his Twitter follower, you probably saw lots of bacon-themed dinner photos because he is THAT enthused by heavily baconed cookery. Fortunately for his waistline, I use turkey bacon. But still, for one memorable meal I cooked fifteen pieces of bacon for the main dish and salad. I know, right?
Recipes we particularly enjoyed included:
- Tray-baked chicken (chicken with oregano, paprika, tomatoes, bacon, and rosemary)
- Chopped salad (with avocado and feta and bacon)
- Herby salad (bacon, fennel, mint, garlic)
Recipes we do not recommend included:
- Crunchy salad (fennel, radish, lemon – sounded good, but wasn’t, probably due to lack of bacon)
- Piri Piri chicken (peppers, onions, whatnot, but no bacon)
- Beet salad (includes feta, but no bacon - wasn’t bad, but sort of meh)
Overall I do think the approach of grouping recipes into meals and presenting them in time order is helpful and we did like lots of these recipes, so I would recommend Meals in Minutes, in spite of the false advertising in the title and opening chapter.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and is fueled by bacon. At least indirectly.