Tips to Help You Cook

Tips to Help You Cook

These days, you can find great recipes everywhere: in your grandmother’s archives, in the pages of your favorite magazine, and all over the Internet. The greatest recipes in the world, though, won’t help you prepare delicious food efficiently, so it’s wise to tackle cooking from a common-sense perspective. Here are some useful cooking tips and techniques that are designed to help you optimize the time you spend in your kitchen.

Prep Your Ingredients Before You Cook

It’s seldom that you’ll find a recipe that calls for an entire tomato or a big chunk of cheese. Instead, your recipe is most likely to call for a cup of peeled and diced tomatoes, or half a cup of grated Parmesan cheese. You’ll save a lot of time and frustration if you assemble your ingredients in the state in which the recipe calls for them before you begin cooking.

Culinary instructors at Cozymeal suggest that the prep is usually the most time-consuming part of preparing a meal and could be used more effectively. If you have a lot of leisure time on a weekend afternoon, why not do the prep then for the meals you will be serving throughout the work week when you know you won’t have much time?

You can also save time by putting your pots and pans over a low flame while you’re prepping your ingredients. That way your pots and pans will be at exactly the right temperature when it’s time to start cooking.

Try to Make Extra

It can be difficult to find the time to cook when you’re juggling work obligations , family obligations and the need for alone time. That’s why it makes sense to optimize the time you spend in your kitchen.

Sure, that chicken you plan to roast is earmarked for a special Sunday dinner, but roasting two chickens at the same time won’t require any additional cooking time. Then you’ll have a delicious protein at hand to combine into tacos, salads and wraps later in the week when you don’t have very much spare time to cook.

Don’t Throw Out Food

Your favorite pasta sauce recipe calls for sauteing exactly one-quarter of an onion in a few tablespoons of olive oil. So, what are you going to do with that other three-quarters of an onion? Many cooks will shove it in a plastic baggie and throw it back in the vegetable bin. Some weeks later, they may run across that left-over onion in a state of semi-decay when they’re sticking another plastic baggie containing three-quarters of an onion into their vegetable bin.

How much more efficient might it be to dice the entire onion the first time and store it in a place in your refrigerator or your freezer that’s been designated for such odds and ends. Not only will help you avoid wasting food, it will also save you an enormous amount of time when you cook.

This trick works for canned ingredients as well as for vegetables. Fresh herbs usually come in bunches that are far bigger than the amount that’s called for in a single recipe. Many home chefs put those excess herbs in an ice cube tray, fill with water and freeze. Next time they’re preparing a recipe that calls for that herb, all they have to do is thaw the herbs in hot water, and the herbs are ready to use.

Don’t Peel Your Vegetables and Fruits

Many of the nutrients found in vegetables and fruits are most abundant in the skins. Unless you are affected by a gastrointestinal condition that contraindicates eating large amounts of plant fiber, there may be no real reason to peel that apple or that carrot before you eat it. Just make sure to wash your fruits and vegetables thoroughly before you consume them.

Seasonal Produce is the Tastiest

When you make a point of cooking with seasonal ingredients, not only will you be savoring your food at its moment of maximal freshness, you will also be saving money because prices tend to go down when supplies are most abundant. You’ll have the opportunity to go to farmers markets, too, which will give you more insight into exactly where your food is coming from.

Clean as You Cook

Nobody likes scouring pots or scrubbing dirty cutting boards. If you keep a plastic tub or sink filled with warm suds and slide your prep tools into the water as soon as you’re finished using them, they’ll be that much easier to clean after your meal is through.

Get into the habit of washing off surfaces as soon as you’ve used them, and you’ll never have to contend with a greasy buildup. There’s no need to use products with harsh chemicals either; baking soda makes a great scrubbing reagent, and diluted solutions of lemon juice and white vinegar both clean and deodorize.

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