Being an at-home cook is a great way to explore culinary creativity and delicious experimentation. If you’re anything like me, completing dishes in a timely manner can be hard to achieve and causes endless frustration. In light of these realities, I compiled a list of kitchen cooking tips for speeding up food preparation and making the kitchen a more comfortable arena for everyone.
Who’s Cooking in the Kitchen Infographic
1. Buy a Good Knife
As an at-home chef, a knife is your first and most important purchase. A good one will save you time and make cutting through a range of foods simple.
2. Learn to Chop Correctly
Now, to put that knife to use: This is probably the simplest way to cut minutes (or in some cases, hours) off of dinner preparation.
3. Plan in Advance
A coworker recently explained how her brother-in-law plans out Thanksgiving each year, well in advance, on paper. Every moment is timed. The turkey is weighted and timed appropriately to the moment. While this may seem excessive, it’s an effective way to make sure all of your food makes it on the table at the same time.
4. Buy Fresh or Defrost
If you have to defrost an item, remember what needs to be defrosted and make sure you build that into your cooking schedule. To defrost, fill a bowl with warm water. Make sure your food is sealed water-tight. Dunk your frozen feast under the water. Check it to make sure the water hasn’t cooled. Why not use a microwave? Unlike the microwave, using warm water won’t cook the meat.
5. Clean/Organize Your Space
The best way to feel mentally prepared to cook quickly is to have a shiny open space with the items you need close at hand. Your cutting board should be directly in front of you, a sponge nearby, your compost bin within easy reach. Everything should be ready to use. This will allow you the mental and physical space to jump right in.
6. Study Your Recipe
This is probably the step that trips me up the most. I probably waste 10-15 minutes per cooking session staring blankly at the recipe, double and triple checking everything. Save yourself some time. Study the recipe thoroughly before starting. Glancing throughout should only happen to double check order and amounts that you already know.
7. Have Your Ingredients Prepped
Painstakingly reading over the recipe, double checking the amount, measuring it out, and dumping it into the right place also wastes time. Measure out proper ingredient amounts and set them up in bowls or plates so they are ready to join the dish at a moment’s notice. Think of your favorite cooking program and their colorful bowls of ingredients lining their counters.
8. Warm the Plates
Having warm plates when you place food is a two-fold blessing. One, it will keep your food warm, and two, it’s much more desirable to serve food on warm plates than on ice cold plates.
9. Don’t Burn Down the Kitchen
One of the biggest events that can set back your dinner time is a kitchen fire. Keep a careful eye on your stove top and stopl fires before they can start.
10. Clean As You Go
Not only is a messy kitchen stressful and unsanitary, it also slows you down! Clean dishes as you finish using them. Wipe down surfaces after chopping meat or messy fruits and veggies. Fill time when water is boiling, or when meat or veggies are marinating. Post-meal-consumption food coma will thank you.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!