For some, cooking is a truly enjoyable experience. For others, not so much. Sometimes when you get home from work, the last thing you want to is prepare a meal. Use these time saving tips to free yourself up for other things. You know, like actually sitting down with your loved ones and enjoying the meal!
1. Prep first
Read the recipe and have it all ready to go before you even start. Get out your pots, your measuring cups, utensils, cutting boards. Look at the recipe again to make sure everything is set. If things need to be chopped, chop them all at one time so you aren't having to stop and do it in the middle. This will save you time but also prevent that dreadful experience of burning your meal because you didn't have an ingredient ready in time.
2. Befriend the freezer
Using your ice cube trays just for ice? Not anymore. They make the perfect place to store pestos, pureed veggies, tomato paste or fresh herbs frozen with a little water. It takes no time at all to pop out a cube and throw it into the mix.
3. Think ahead
Multitasking is the key to saving time. Or at the very least, it gives you a head start. If you need to preheat your oven or boil water, do it while
you're chopping your veggies or doing other prep work. Why do all that only to have to wait on that pot that refuses to boil?
4. Set a timer
You may have a good sense of time in general but guessing in the kitchen isn't a good idea. Timers aid your multitasking in that it reminds you of one task while you focus on another.
5. Stick to one recipe
The internet has made it extra easy to find recipes you'd like to try. It is great. But don't try them all at once. If you are a beginner cook, try to stick to one -- at most two, recipes at a time. When you are making something new, you have to concentrate on the directions. Make your life easier by choosing one place to start. Maybe your new dish is the main while you round it out with old classic sides you could make in your sleep. Meal time should be about good food and company, not about you wanting to pull your hair out because you've bit off more than you can chew.
6. Cook for a crowd
Cooking in large batches saves you time in a big way. Double your recipe and you've got dinner set for next week as well. Freeze your left overs in a freezer safe container and label it with the date and its contents. Labeling saves time too because now you don't have to sort through your entire freezer to find those stuffed peppers you know are in there somewhere.
7. Keep an organized kitchen
Having a consistent kitchen layout is essential for time saving. For example, always put your veggies in the same fridge drawer, your cheeses in another. Milk on the top shelf, meats on the bottom. If you are consistent, you won't find yourself hunting through your fridge at every turn. You'll know exactly where you are headed when that door opens.
8. Clean as you go
This is not a new trick but is definitely worth repeating. Keep a place to throw your scraps so you don't end up with garlic skins or pepper seeds all over the place. Keeping your surface clean gives you more space to work. When you are done with a spice, put it back in the cupboard. Same goes for the milk. Just stay ahead of it. If you have a dishwasher, put things in as you go. If not, wash things up as your meal is cooking and before you sit to enjoy it.
How do you save time in the kitchen?