Posted on September 12 2019
Busy days make it difficult to get dinner on the table, but it's not impossible. With a little planning and time saving tips, you can look like a master chef without spending hours laboring over a hot stove. Check out these top cooking tips to save time in the kitchen.
Planning can feel like a drag, but it saves lots of time later in the week. Start by checking out what you already have in the fridge, then plan a menu for the week. Make a list of the ingredients you need, then head to the grocery store. This eliminates the need to spend time deciding what to have for dinner every afternoon. It also saves you multiple trips to the grocery store because you can get everything you need at once. For additional meal planning tips read more here.
Use Canned Beans
Canned beans are a great source of protein and quick to add to many dishes. They are often high in sodium, but buying low sodium varieties and rinsing the beans before using them takes care of this problem.
Go for Quick-Cooking Grains
Cooking quick meals is challenging enough, but making them healthy is even more difficult. Whole grains are full of nutrients, but often take a long time to cook. Turn to quinoa and other quick-cooking whole grains to help you get dinner on the table in a flash.
Try Frozen Vegetables
Vegetables are an important part of a balanced diet. Turn them into a quick addition by using frozen vegetables. Frozen vegetables are usually harvested and frozen at the peak of their season, so they offer good nutritional value. In fact, they may be more nutritious than fresh vegetables purchased out of season. Add them to soups, sauté them for a quick side, or toss them in stir fry to add a quick bit of color to your meal. Read more here about vacuum sealing and freezing your own fresh vegetables.
Use Prepared Vegetables
Prepared vegetables save time chopping or shredding. To avoid the extra cost of these items, consider prepping the vegetables yourself on the weekend. Then you'll have vegetables ready to go for fast weeknight dinners.
Add Smoky Flavor
Use smoked paprika to add a burst of smoky flavor without the time and hassle of cooking bacon.
Prep with Your Food Processor
Food processors make short work of a variety of time-consuming kitchen tasks. Mix up pie dough, chop onions, shred carrots, and purée fresh produce for juice with the touch of a button.
Get to Know Your Immersion Blender
Immersion blenders transform a pot of soup into a smooth purée quickly and easily, without the hassle and mess of transferring the hot liquid to a blender. They also work great for making pasta sauce, applesauce, and more.
Go Beyond Slicing Eggs
An egg slicer is great for slicing eggs, but it also makes short work of other foods, like strawberries, bananas and small, firm mushrooms.
Coat Your Measuring Spoons
If you need to measure sticky, syrupy items, coat your measuring spoons or measuring cups with nonstick cooking spray. The sticky ingredients will slip out easily.
Smashing garlic with the flat side of the knife makes it easy to remove the peel and gives you a head start on mincing. Or buy garlic already minced for a real time saver. It's important to note that garlic is one of the few foods that should not be vacuum sealed.
Cook Veggies with Pasta
When cooking a pasta dish that includes vegetables, toss them in with the pasta during the last minute of cooking. Drain as usual and toss with sauce. This saves time and avoids getting another pot dirty. For tender greens like spinach, place them in the colander and drain the pasta over the leaves to wilt them.
Slice Meat Easily
If you need thin slices of meat, try placing the meat in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes first. The chilled meat is easier and faster to slice.
Use Your Broiler
Cooking grilled cheese or quesadillas for a crowd is easy with a broiler. Use it to toast multiple sandwiches at once instead of doing one after another in a pan on the stove.
Make recipes in large batches and freeze some in our vacuum seal bags for a quick meal later on.
Use a Slow Cooker
Many slow cooker recipes go together quickly and then cook throughout the day. This makes it easy to come home to tantalizing smells and a hot dinner. Read more here for five essential slow cooker tips.
Try Sous Vide Cooking
Sous vide cooking allows you to prepare several dishes at the same time without worrying about it being overcooked or dried out. The computerized precise temperature controller will maintain low temperature as required by the recipe on hours on end. You can also save time by cooking in bulk and tossing similar foods in the water bath that require the same amount of temperature. Bonus: some meat can be left cooking overnight.
So, instead of focusing too much on how much time is still left until it reaches the maximum temperature for you to take it out so food does not burn (like in traditional cooking) you can leave your food braising, unattended in the vacuum sealed bags allowing you time to do other things.
Ready-to-use broth is a quick way to add flavor to a number of dishes. Save time by heating it in the microwave before adding it to the pot.
Line baking sheets or pans with foil to cut down on messy dishes and clean up. Or make a simple cooking dish of parchment paper pouches; they're great for steaming fish and veggies.
Give baked potatoes a quick start by microwaving them for about five minutes before finishing them in the oven. You'll save about half an hour of baking time with delicious, crispy results. Here's a delicious recipe for steamed baby potatoes.
Choose Smaller Produce
Cook fresh produce in a flash by shopping for baby varieties. Small, tender vegetables cook much more quickly than their full-grown counterparts.
Getting a delicious, healthy dinner on the table quickly doesn't have to be an impossible dream. Use these time-saving tips for cooking to transform weeknight meals into quick and easy dinners.