We prepped a bit beforehand because we had to travel to the kitchen with all of our stuff, but I got home from practice at 6:15 and we had dinner on the table by 6:45. Dinner was pasta with chicken and veggies plus chocolate chip cranberry nut scones for dessert. If you spend 10 minutes (or less) prepping in the morning before you head out for the day, you could have dinner + dessert ready in thirty minutes or less.
The leftover scones make great breakfast/snack the next day, too!!!
The recipe looks complicated, but it's pretty simple. Basically, mix the scone batter while you're waiting for the water to boil, and bake them while the pasta is cooking. (You can also bake them while you're eating, if it's too hectic to try to bake them while cooking.) Then once the pasta is in the water, cook green beans, and heat pre-cooked chicken, canned corn and tomato sauce; combine with pasta and you have dinner. Yum!
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Thirty Minute Meal
1 pound of pasta (preferably penne)
1 pound of green beans
1 15oz. can of corn
12oz. pre-cooked chicken breast (if you have more than one frying pan, start with raw, sliced chicken)
0.5 jar of pasta sauce (we used about a cup of sauce)
2c all-purpose flour
2t baking powder
5T frozen unsalted butter
0.5c dried cranberries
0.5c mini chocolate chips (or you could use chopped chocolate, but we had mini chocolate chips, and what else would you use them for???)
0.5c nuts (I used mixed nuts)
0.75c whole milk or heavy cream (the latter will be very rich; I recommend milk)
1. In the morning, wash your green beans. In big bunches, chop off both ends and discard, then cut the beans in half. You'll lose a little extra bean by cutting off both ends, but you'll save a lot of time.
2. Also in the morning, cut your butter into quarter-inch cubes (the smaller the easier it'll be later) and put it back in the freezer in a plastic bag. Chop the cranberries and nuts into small pieces and put them into a bowl or jar together with the chocolate.
3. In the evening, put on a pot of water to heat up. Preheat your oven to 425°F.
4. In a mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
5. Add the cubed butter to the flour mixture and rub it in with your fingers until the mixture is very homogenous. (You want little teeny bits of butter coated in flour.)
5. Stir in the cranberry-nut-chocolate mixture and add the milk/cream, stirring until the mixture just comes together. (You may have to knead it gently for it to form a dough.)
6. Wet your hands and make the dough into 8 balls. Place them on a baking tray, and leave them be for a few minutes.
7. While you're waiting for the water to come to full boil, get together the rest of your ingredients. If you have time, feel free to chop up some garlic to add to the green beans.
8. When the water boils, add copious amounts of salt and the pasta and give it a quick stir. Put the scones in the oven. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Turn the flame on your frying pan(s).
9. If you're using raw chicken, use one of the frying pans to cook your strips of chicken.
10. Add butter to the other frying pan and when it melts, add your garlic for a minute (optional), and then the string beans. Stir occasionally. About 5 minutes into the cooking, spoon some of the pasta water into the pan and let the beans steam slightly.
11. When the timer goes off, taste a pasta and if it's just underdone, drain it. Otherwise, check your scones. If they're golden brown in places, pull them out of the oven. Repeat until the scones are out of the oven and the pasta is cooked and drained.
12. The beans should be mostly cooked at this point (taste one and see! If not, give them another minute). Add the corn, the tomato sauce and the chicken to the green beans, heating them through. (If you used raw chicken and you don't think it's quite done yet, you can let it continue to cook until the last second.)
13. Combine the pasta and the sauce mixture. Let it sit on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes. (This is a great time to get out plates and set the table.)
14. Serve and enjoy! Don't forget to eat a scone at the end.
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