Cooking doesn’t have to feel like a chore. With these 9 tips, you can make cooking quick and easy every day.
by Troop Atomic Mommy
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Imagine feeling uninspired, slightly agitated, and extremely tired simply by looking at a bowl of uncooked fresh produce at the end of the day. Coming home after a long day at work to such an experience can be a bit of a nightmare simply because you’re at a loss for what to make. This is a very common occurrence, which shouldn’t come with any form of remorse. After all, 70% of meals in the U.S. are eaten outside the home. However, there are many quick and easy solutions to this daily challenge including taking a cooking class to help you brush up on your skills. That said, here are some neat tricks and tips to make cooking less stressful and much less time-consuming.
#1 Keep an inventory of your pantry
After planning your meals and grocery list, it is time to take stock of hats in your pantry. Stocking up your pantry and fridge is a great way to make your cooking process a breeze. Cooking becomes easier when you have all the ingredients required to make a meal.
Stock up on recipe bases such as canned beans, rice, pasta, oats, flour, tuna, spices, and tomatoes. These ingredients have a higher shelf life and are inexpensive, so don’t hold back on stocking up. Fruits, vegetables, meats, and fish are more perishable. Thus, they should be kept in your freezer, only to be removed when they’re about to be cooked.
#2 Your chopping skills matter
How good are your knife skills? Knives, chefs confess, play a huge role in your efficiency in the kitchen. Everyone who has a kitchen has a knife and cutting board, but how many of us have great knife skills? The better your skills are, the quicker and easier your culinary experience becomes. You easily chop foods such as eggplants and butternut squash in mere seconds. Take time to watch youtube videos teaching you how to chop a myriad of foods. Learn and practice consistently, and become a pro in no time.
#3 Cooking equipment should be available
Having the right ingredients without the right cooking apparatus can spell disaster for you, especially in moments of rapid hunger. It would be best to always have the right equipment for the job once you’ve put all your ingredients together. Standard cooking equipment includes cutting boards for meat and produce, silverware, pots and pans, dishes, cooking utensils, baking sheets, storage containers, and many more.
#4 Use slow cookers and pressure cookers
Thank goodness for pressure cookers and slow cookers! These two machines have reduced our overall time in the kitchen, making the cooking process a million times easier. A slow cooker is ideal for your rice dishes, soups, stews, and casseroles. Another great one is the air fryer, which is both time-saving and health-supporting. This unit does not use any additional oil, yet it delivers the best meals, from chicken to potatoes and waffles.
#5 Use simple recipes
The simpler the recipe, the quicker and easier it is to make! When you’re experiencing hunger pangs or wondering what to make quickly, save the experiments for another day. You can put together a quick and easy meal that’s well balanced with a lot of flavors, in record time just by using simple recipes. The trick to this is using limited ingredient recipes, such as a 5-ingredient meal. Some simple meals like this include one-pot dishes, freezer-friendly meals, and sheet pan dinners.
#6 Get more hands
Involving your friends and family, when available, is one of the best ways to make cooking simpler for you. While they might not be as skilled as you, they can be given tasks that will reduce your cooking time. When recruiting family to help, it is best to delegate tasks they already love to do. It might be washing vegetables, mixing spices, or taking over an entire meal.
#7 Rely on leftovers
The key to having leftovers is to make bigger batches of meals than you need. Leftovers are great because they can take away the stress of wondering what to have for dinner or lunch for a couple of days. They’re also great because, when done right, leftovers can be transformed into new dishes for consumption. When transforming leftovers, you can change their flavor with spices and beef up your skills in the process. If you had vegetables for dinner with some potatoes, you can whip up a stir fry with both ingredients or throw them into a soup for a more flavorful experience.
#8 Cook meals you love
Choose foods you love to make because it will make the entire experience worth it. By doing so, the cooking process will feel shorter, simpler, and more enjoyable. While this doesn’t mean you’ll never get to experiment with new foods, it is a great tip to help you cook faster meals.
#9 Always have a plan
You should plan your grocery list and meals as much as possible. Meal planning removes the stress of having to think of possible meals to try, while a grocery list guides you on choosing the right items instead of making impulse purchases. Make a note of all essential ingredients before entering the shop. For example, if you’re planning your breakfast options and you want to make these delicious breakfast crescent roll recipes, then be sure to add eggs, cheese, and sausages to your list. When writing your grocery list, ensure all your healthy favorites, such as vegetables, grains, fruits, proteins, and anything else.
Cooking doesn’t have to be a chore, provided you’re cooking out of love, with a plan, and sometimes with help from your favorite people. In learning how to love the art of cooking, having a plan and working according to such a plan is essential. Remember, it is about working smart, not hard.