Preparing your own meals is one of the best decisions you can make for your health. Homemade meals are fresh and packed with ingredients. They are also cheaper than eating out or ordering take-out. It is a win-win situation.
Contrary to what many people think, cooking is not complicated. However, it does take time and effort. Learn how to cook faster so that you can save money and improve your health without taking too much time out of your day.
8 Tips to Help You Cook Faster
Cooking can feel less hectic if you adopt a smart plan. Here are eight tips to get you started:
1. Think about What You’re Cooking
What are you going to cook today? How many dishes will it take to make, and what ingredients will you use? You should have answers to these and any other questions related to your cooking before you step into the kitchen.
You can also go all the way and prepare a comprehensive cooking schedule for the week. It will prepare you mentally and keep you motivated. It will also help with the planning phases that are coming ahead.
2. Set Up Your Working Space
Cooking is bound to feel complicated if you are working in a disorganized kitchen and on a cluttered counter. Besides, and most importantly, cooking is a delicate process that demands the highest hygiene standards.
As such, it is important to clean and clear your counter and organize the kitchen before bringing the knives and bowls out.
Put everything in its rightful space and ensure that there is nothing on the counter that would get in your way. Create as much space as you need to accommodate all the ingredients and dishes without making a mess.
3. Follow the Recipe
The most embarrassing mistake you can make when cooking is getting the recipe wrong. It can ruin the whole dish and take you back to step one – or, worse, dampen your spirits and make you opt for take-out after all.
Fortunately, recipes are designed to prevent that very scenario. So, unless you have the recipe embedded in your head, don’t be shy to use a written recipe every step of the way.
4. Prepare the Necessary Ingredients
Cooking is bound to feel complicated when you start cooking before all the ingredients are ready. Unfortunately, many people make this mistake more often than not. They walk into the kitchen and start heating the pan right away, even before they get the necessary ingredients from the pantry.
This is a recipe for disaster, and if you manage to somehow keep up the end result will be a clumsy dish.
Cooking becomes easy and enjoyable when you do it in steps. Preparing ingredients is one of the most important steps. It will help you stay organized, as you can keep track of all the necessary ingredients.
It will also save you a lot of time when you finally start cooking, as all you have to do is pour in one ingredient after another, as directed in your recipe. It is this level of organization that makes cooking feel enjoyable – most importantly, such precision helps to bring out the inner-chef in you!
5. Work With Smart Kitchen Tools
Cooking today is the same concept that it was millennia ago. However, the way people cook has changed considerably over the past. Today, some cooking equipment is so sophisticated and high-tech that it can do most of the heavy-lifting.
The point is that these smart cooking equipment make cooking easier and quicker. Use tools like a sous vide to cook meat to the perfect temperature, smart cookers with various functions, or an air fryer to fry foods without excess oil.
Additionally, there are smart kitchens that can switch appliances on and off at pre-set times, which comes in handy for warming or preparing a simple dish when you are at work. Consider smart microwaves, toasters, and electric knives to make things easier.
The options are almost endless and impressive.
6. Prioritize & Multi-Task
The best meals are comprised of several courses. However, cooking several dishes simultaneously can feel hectic and confusing, but cooking one dish at a time is not practical, either – or time-saving.
As such, multi-tasking is the best way to go about it. It doesn’t have to be complicated, either – all you need is a good plan and knowing how to prioritize.
The best way to go about it is by starting with the simplest and quickest dishes first and working your way up to the bigger ones. This will be easy when you have all the ingredients ready. The most important part of multi-tasking is timing each dish precisely.
7. Put a Lid on It
Covering your pot with a lid when cooking helps to trap the heat inside. The logic is simple: you need heat to cook your food, and the more heat you let go to waste the longer it takes for your food to cook.
Try to keep your food covered as it cooks. It is also hygienic, as it ensures that nothing foreign gets into your food.
In addition to covering your pots with a lid, it is also recommendable to avoid cluttering your pans. Cramming too much food in one pan will prevent the heat from cooking each piece evenly. The result will be time wastage and uneven tastes and flavors.
P.S. Lids don’t work for every meal, especially not for meals that require minimal moisture. As such, remember to follow your recipe to the letter.
8. Clean As You Go
Cooking makes a mess, and the mess accumulates and clutters your cooking space over time. This is neither ideal nor hygienic, and so it is best to clean as you go.
Preparing ingredients is especially messy. Cooking is less messy, but expect to spill a drop or two and drop a piece of veggie. Whatever the case, ensure that you clean after yourself every time you make a mess. Use smart storage options like a vacuum sealer to put away your food once you’re done!
Cooking is not complicated. In fact, it will be enjoyable (and even somewhat therapeutic) if you adopt a smart cooking strategy. These tips will prove essential to your cooking strategy, and they will save you a lot of time and effort in the kitchen. Cooking will never feel daunting again!