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Image: '30-Minute Get Real Meals'
Crown Publishing Group
updated 9/28/2005 2:17:20 AM ET 2005-09-28T06:17:20

Little time is no excuse to head out for fast food. A healthy and flavorful meal can be prepared in 30 minutes or less with the help of Food Network's Rachel Ray and her new cookbook, "Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Get Real Meals: Eat Healthy Without Going to Extremes."  In her world, carbs and other goodies that are lately out of fashion are still allowed in moderation. She was invited on "Today" to share her recipes.

There are many flavors of sharp Cheddar out in today’s markets to choose from, so go plain or go wild! Among the choices out there in sharp Cheddars: five-peppercorn, smoked, dill, garlic and herb, roasted garlic, horseradish, chipotle, habanero, jalapeño — on and on!

Recipe: Mini Cheeseburger Salad With Yellow Mustard Vinaigrette (on this page)

Recipe: Haricots Frites (on this page)

Recipe: Smoked Gouda Fondue With Bacon and Almonds (on this page)

Recipe: Chicken Cacciatore and Rigatoni (on this page)

Recipe: Stuffed Roasted Strawberries (on this page)

Excerpted from “Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Get Real Meals: Eat Healthy Without Going to Extremes,” by Rachael Ray. Copyright © 2005 by Rachael Ray. Published by Crown Publishing Group. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt can be used without permission of the publisher.

Recipe: Haricots Frites

  • Salt
  • 1-1⁄4 pounds (4 large handfuls) haricots verts (thin green beans), trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons light-colored oil, such as vegetable oil or peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Bring 2 inches water to a boil in a large skillet. Salt the water once it comes to a boil. Blanch the haricots verts in the boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and run under cold water to cool. Pat the beans dry on paper towels.

Dry the skillet as well and return it to the heat over high flame. Add oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the beans to the hot oil and stir-fry, using tongs to move and toss the beans until they are charred and very hot, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle the beans with the sesame seeds and cook for 30 seconds more, to both toast the seeds and distribute them. Pile the fried beans onto a serving plate and sprinkle with salt to taste.

Serving Size

4 regular servings or 2 super-sized servings

Recipe: Smoked Gouda Fondue With Bacon and Almonds

  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 8 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded
  • 1⁄3 pound (about 6 ounces) smoked Gouda, shredded
  • 1 rounded tablespoon flour
  • 1 large garlic clove, smashed out of its skin
  • 3⁄4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1⁄2 cup smoked almonds (I like Diamond brand), coarsely chopped
  • Serve with:
  • Blanched bite-size pieces of cauliflower, white asparagus, parsnip
  • Seared cubes of kielbasa
  • Cornichon pickles
  • Red pears, slightly underripe

Broil or fry the bacon until crisp. Drain, cool, and chop. Combine the cheeses in a bowl with the flour. Rub the inside of a small pot with the smashed garlic, then discard the garlic. Add the wine and lemon juice to the pot and bring up to a bubble over medium heat. Reduce the heat to simmer and add the cheese mixture in handfuls. Stir constantly in a figure-eight pattern with a wooden spoon, melting the cheese in batches. Transfer the fondue to a fondue pot and top with chopped bacon and smoked nuts.

Serving Size

4 servings

Recipe: Stuffed Roasted Strawberries

  • 12 extra-large strawberries (the bigger the better!)
  • 1 to 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • Spray whipping cream (the real kind in the can in the dairy section)
  • Cocoa powder, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the tops of the berries off just below the stem. Cut the tips off (about 1⁄4 inch), so that the berries will sit upright. Next, use a small spoon or a melon-ball scoop to hollow out the strawberries, working from their tops, to create a cavity in each one. Stuff some chocolate into the cavity of each strawberry and place them upright in a baking dish. Lightly sprinkle the berries with sugar, if using. Roast the berries until soft and the chocolate is melted, 10 to 12 minutes.


To serve, place 3 strawberries on a dessert plate in a triangle. If the berries have given off liquid in the baking dish, spoon it over them. Spray a small mound of cream in the center of the berries, and top each berry with a rosette of cream. Sift a little cocoa powder over the plate, and serve!

Serving Size

4 servings

Recipe: Mini Cheeseburger Salad With Yellow Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 2 pounds ground sirloin
  • 1⁄2 cup finely chopped white or yellow onion (1 small onion)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 rounded tablespoon grill seasoning, such as McCormick’s Montreal Steak Seasoning, or coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), for drizzling
  • 12-ounce brick of sharp Cheddar cheese, such as Cabot brand or Cracker Barrel brand, any flavor you like
  • 3 romaine lettuce hearts
  • 1 cup sliced pickles, drained (choose from sweet, half-sour, or dill varieties)
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • Dressing
  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard, such as French’s brand
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) (eyeball it)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
  • 3 tablespoons drained salad pimientos, or 1⁄4 red bell pepper, finely chopped

Preheat a grill pan or a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat or preheat an outdoor grill. Combine the meat with the onion, Worcestershire, and steak seasoning or salt and pepper. Form 12 large meatballs. Flatten the balls into small patties. Drizzle the formed mini patties with EVOO to keep them from sticking to the cooking surface.

Slice the brick of cheese into 1⁄4-inch pieces. Grill or panfry the mini burgers for 3 minutes on each side, then add the cheese to melt over the burgers, closing the lid of your grill to melt the cheese or tenting the mini cheeseburgers loosely with foil.

Coarsely chop the romaine and combine with the sliced pickles and halved tomatoes. Whisk together the mustard and vinegar, then stream in the EVOO. Add the chives and pimientos to the dressing and stir to combine.

Arrange the mini cheeseburgers on the salad and drizzle the yellow mustard dressing over the completed dish.

Serving Size

4 servings, 3 mini burgers each

Recipe: Chicken Cacciatore and Rigatoni

  • Salt
  • 1⁄2 pound rigatoni
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) (twice around the pan)
  • 1 pound chicken tenders, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1⁄4 pound thick-cut pancetta, chopped
  • 5 to 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper flakes
  • 4 portobello mushroom caps, halved, then thinly sliced across
  • 1⁄2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • A couple of handfuls fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to pass at table

Heat a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. When the water boils, season with salt and add the pasta. Cook to al dente, with a bite to it.

Meanwhile, heat a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the EVOO and chicken, white and dark meat, and season it with salt and pepper. Let the chicken sit for 3 to 4 minutes, then turn it and brown the opposite side for 2 to 3 minutes, seasoning it after the flip as well. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate and reserve. Add the pancetta to the pan and crisp it up, 2 or 3 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, stir for 30 seconds, then add the mushrooms and brown for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until deep brown and tender.

Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper after they’ve darkened. Deglaze the pan with the red wine and reduce it for 30 seconds, then stir in the stock and tomatoes. Bring the sauce up to a bubble and add the chicken back to the pan. Simmer the chicken for 5 minutes in the sauce to finish cooking through. Add the cooked pasta and parsley. Stir to combine and check seasoning. Serve with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Serving Size

4 big servings


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