Classic 30-Minute Meals: The All-Occasion Cookbook

August 18, 2010 · Posted in Bestselling Cooking Books 

Product Description
An outstanding collection of Rachael Ray’s best 30-Minute Meals, now in one volume. Features over 150 meals selected from 8 of Rachael’s best-selling titles…. More >>

Classic 30-Minute Meals: The All-Occasion Cookbook

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5 Responses to “Classic 30-Minute Meals: The All-Occasion Cookbook”

  1. Theresa Reed on August 18th, 2010 8:42 am

    “Classic 30 Minute Meals” is the latest offering from the prolific Rachael Ray. This is not a ‘new’ cookbook but a collection of some of her ‘greatest hits’ from her earlier books. If you have her original “30 Minute” books, then you won’t need this one. However, if you want some of the best recipes and want to skip some of her “filler” material (repeats, variations on a theme), then this is the book for you.

    There are complete menus (which I really like) for everday dinners, parties, datenights, and even kid chefs. As usual, these are standard Ray fare: pastas, tex-mex, burgers and lots o’ chicken recipes. But overall, the menus are well balanced, easy to prepare and full of fresh ingredients. Although I am not crazy about “Rayspeak” (EVOO, Yum-O, etc.) I do like her ideas. Because I am a seasoned cook, I have been easily able to make her recipes in 30 minutes – but I realize that some of the ingredient lists are a bit much and the prep time will vary depending on your skills and tools. I respecially like the datenight menus as I am an empty nester and now it is just my hubby and myself. (The only complaint I have is that sometimes her portion sizes are rather large – there is no way that I can eat a half pound of meat! So, on occasion, I do have to adjust a bit.)

    I would recommend this to someone who wants to venture into Ray’s world but doesn’t want to buy the entire collection.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  2. Katy on August 18th, 2010 11:19 am

    I enjoy Rachael Ray’s cooking show because of its simplistic approach to cooking great food. Rachael is fun, very fun! But in contrast to her television program, her initial cookbooks were disappointing. Although her books had all her great recipes, I could never bring myself to buy them. They showed nothing of her personality in them. They lacked pictures and structure. Cooking and eating food is a sensual experience, and these books seemed boring; all of my senses were not stimulated – and I never bought them.

    So I will admit I need pictures and gloss to get me excited about cooking! Watching her gets me excited about trying new things that I would have thought were complicated otherwise. This new book brings those things together: visuals of the food and pictures of Rachael cooking and simple recipes to follow. Plus, she throws in fun little notes. It’s a book that finally reflects Rachael and her cooking. It contains the best of her recipes in one fantiatic book. If you’ve put off buying her book, this is the one to own.

    Rating: 5 / 5

  3. Steven A. Peterson on August 18th, 2010 12:42 pm

    This is a useful compilation of 30-minute meals from Rachael Ray. The book is nice and glossy, with a plentitude of pictures of Ms. Ray, from childhood to present that help to personalize the volume. As most readers know, she has had shows on television, featuring her cooking suggestions as well as a more recent talk show. But that is secondary. The primary task of any cookbook is to provide interesting and doable recipes. Let’s take a look at what is within this book.

    First, and this is something important to me, there are lots of recipes! Often, in fact, two to a page.

    Second, there is quite a variety of recipes–from pizza (Puttanesca pizza) to other pasta dishes (Pasta al Forno) to meat dishes (e.g., maple-mustard pork chops with grilled apples) to vegetable dishes (Seared greens with red onion and vinegar) to deserts (Black-and-white ice cream sandwiches). And so on. Characteristics of her recipes include the liberal call for “evoo” (extra virgin olive oil). Also, she uses a wide array of herbs and spices that “spice up” the recipes nicely.

    A couple quick examples. . . . “My Sister Ria’s Lazy Chicken.” This features boneless chicken breasts, evoo, thinly sliced potatoes, thinly sliced onions, crushed tomatoes, small zucchini thinly sliced, and accompanying elements, such as a “couple glugs” (ugh) of white wine, Montreal steak seasoning, basil, oregano, and Italian cheese (shredded). Key point: These are easy to acquire ingredients. The instructions are straightforward; this is a 30-minute dish that will satisfy. I have made this for my family, who are often picky in their tastes, and the end result was appreciated by all.

    A simple dish for watching sporting events on TV. “Pigskin Potatoes.” Ingredients: Potatoes, evoo, and Montreal steak seasoning. Get the oven heated up to 425 degrees. Slice the potatoes lengthwise into thin wedges. Toss the outcome with evoo, to coat. Then, sprinkle on seasonings to one’s taste and put wedges onto a cookie sheet. Finally, stick them in the oven until golden brown. Tasty munchies during a television session with football and other sporting events.

    And so on. . . .

    In short, this is, first, a nice introduction to the cooking style of Rachael Ray. Second, and more important, there are a lot of easy to make and tasty dishes presented in this volume. Not all are as easy, of course. But, in the end, this is a welcome addition to my library of cookbooks.

    Rating: 5 / 5

  4. Professor Donald Mitchell on August 18th, 2010 3:04 pm

    I hear two views about Rachael Ray. Most people love her. A few people feel like all she does is open cans and toss in some tomatoes and onions to make a meal.

    In both opinions, too little is focused on her recipes. In the beginning of her 30-minute cookbooks, you mostly got directions for how to add garlic and anchovies without offending your taste buds or those of your guests. She soon passed through that stage into showing legitimate time-saving ways to do typical American meals. From there, she began to consider classic recipes from many cuisines and find time-saving short-cuts that produced delicious meals.

    To me, one of the delights of all her recipes is that she understands seasonings. Rachael Ray couldn’t produce bland food if she tried! And her use of seasonings is imaginative, producing delightful variations to familiar combinations of flavors. Although as far as I can tell she doesn’t have any Mexican relatives, Rachael really gets Mexican food. Although I adore Diana Kennedy’s detailed, authentic recipes, I usually only have the time and patience for Rachael’s way.

    For the last few weeks, I’ve been checking out all of the Rachael Ray cookbooks and enjoying many fun, new tastes in my kitchen.

    Rachael is so prolific that she produces recipes faster than many of her fans can begin using the newest ones. What if you just want a good sampling of her most popular 30-minute recipes? Well, this book is a great value for that purpose because it draws on so many others of her cookbooks.

    Needless to say, this book cannot hope to replace Rachael Ray 365 for recipes and menus, but most people don’t need that much variety. Classic 30-Minute Meals would make a perfect gift for a new college graduate or newly weds who are still learning to cook.

    If you just like to see Rachael and remember the fun of her show, you’ll love the photographs in this book, which are more about Rachael than about food. It’s fun!

    The book is dominated by the every day and parties sections. But date nights and kid chefs aren’t too slim. I suspect that many people would have liked to see more of the every day recipes at the expense of parties. But if this helps you run more parties, that’s not all bad.

    Here are some of my favorite recipes in the book:

    Cajun chili with scallion corn cakes

    Goodness gracious, that’s great goulash!

    Mexican chunk vegetable salad

    Spinach artichoke calzones

    Weekday fiesta menu


    Greek shrimp and feta penne

    Chicken fried steaks with pan gravy and biscuits

    Maple-mustard pork chops with grilled apples

    Swordfish steaks with mango salsa and curry couscous

    Tuna pan bagnat

    Veal involtini with pancetta on a bed of spinach

    Ria’s favorite fajitas

    Green chile quesadillas

    Sausage, beans, and broccoli rabe “stoup”

    Swordfish kebabs with tomato, onion, and arugula salad

    Green minestrone

    Chili verde

    Broiled cod and Amalfi-coast lemon linguini

    Make your own burrito bar

    Tapas party

    Grilled halibut sandwiches

    Brandy and orange chicken topped with stuffed shrimp

    Arugula salad with blue cheese, pears, and apricot vinaigrette

    Veal scaloppini with wine, mushrooms, and green olives

    Every day cioppino (fish stew)

    Chicken paillard on baby greens

    Southwestern stuffed peppers

    Red snapper with olive salsa and green beans

    Red snapper Livornese


    Balsamic pork tenderloins

    Tortellini with spinach-walnut pesto

    Wild mushroom risotto

    Baked stuffed flounder

    Cod with burst grape tomatoes, parsley-mint pesto broth, and fingerling potato crisps with herbs

    Poached grouper with tomato and basil

    Ham with Jezebel sauce and cheese biscuits

    Ham and fontina frittata

    Asparagus velvet soup

    Lobster tails Thermidor

    Chorizo and shrimp quesadillas with smoky guacamole

    Steak pizzaola with the works

    Pork chops with brandied cherry sauce

    Tournedos with mushroom caps, red wine sauce, Duchess-style potatoes and steamed broccoli spears

    Tuna marinara with ravioli

    Mexican rice bowl

    Meat loaf muffins with barbecue sauce

    Bacon-and-cheese mini quiches

    Fruit Benedicts and egg scrambles

    Spinach and mushroom lasagna roll-ups

    Grilled t-bone steaks with chipotle-chili rub

    Green noodles and ham

    I can hardly wait to go cook some of these tonight!
    Rating: 5 / 5

  5. Citlali T. Contreras Moreno on August 18th, 2010 3:16 pm

    First I’ll tell you a little about me. I own a café, took formal studies on Culinary Arts and altough I have only been in business four years (plus the three of my Culinary education) my family is one that has always gathered around a kitchen, for every family reunion. So while I am not a terribly experienced chef, neither am I a complete neophyte at the kitchen range.

    That said, I must say that this breezy book was quite a surprise. The recipes in it are good, easy and very clear. It reads almost like a conversation with Rachael, like she is your chum and you are cooking together. I have already tried several of her recipes and they are hehehe Yum-o!

    I was a bit intrigued because I read some fairly contratictory reviews to other books by Rachael Ray. I love cooking, but I feel it a bit snobish to dismiss someone’s recipes just because they lack formal chef training. In fact, some of the best cooks I know lack said training, and in the case of this book, I believe Rachael’s practical talent is a plus! Not everybody can go to Culinary school, but almost everybody, in one moment or another, will find him/herself in the position to cook. Here’s where I advice you to get one of Rachael’s books. Especially this one.

    Every recipe (unless she warns you beforehand) takes more or less, 30 minutes (unlike some others that say they take that time, but fail to specify that that is only prep time, and then you must bake/broil/boil for say an hour and a half!) and they feel like someone’s tried and true family recipes.

    Ingredients… well, living in Mexico, I find some of them a bit hard to find, but they are easily substituted by others like them, and while the result may not be the one expected from the original recipe, they are nonetheless good!

    If you are like me, and have little time to cook for yourself (or are exhausted after cooking for others for 12 hours in a row) or just want great tasting food without a terribly lot of work, DO buy this book. I am already getting it as a wedding gift for two of my friends.
    Rating: 5 / 5

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