Would you like to cut down on your time in the kitchen?
No matter how much fun cooking can be, we all have other things we must attend to, other ways we want to spend our time. And, importantly, learning to cook efficiently and with grace can be a source of happiness, springing from a sense of accomplishment and success. That’s the “A” in the PERMA theory of well-being.
Here are my tips for how to cut down on your time in the kitchen! I have segmented them into three sections: Before You Start to Cook, As You Cook, and Planning Ahead.
Before You Start to Cook
- Enlist some help. Cooking time can be a nice social time.
- Make sure that your workspace is uncluttered.
- Familiarize yourself with the recipe.
- Will you be making extra? (See Planning Ahead section below.)
- Set out all ingredients.
- Set out utensils. Try to select those that will clean up easily.
As You Cook
- Give preference to the microwave. It can save time and help minimize clean up.
- Minimize cleanup by:
- Using utensils that clean up easily
- Using as few utensils as you can
- Soaking them as you go
- Measure ingredients carefully. This is especially important in baking.
- When using spices, add in increments, tasting as you go. Remember, you can’t remove them, but you can always add more.
Consider Making Extra
Plan to make extra to freeze and have for another meal, or to use the next day.
This could be a meal “starter” — perhaps a sauce for pasta. For examples, see:
- Best Ever Homemade Tomato Sauce
- or the roasted vegetable sauce in Pasta With Roasted Summer Vegetables
Or the “extra” might be a complete meal like Carol’s Chili.
Take Advantage of Convenience Foods
- Consider fresh or frozen vegetables in microwaveable bags.
- Consider slaw mix and other pre-prepped veggies.
- Instead of baking everything from scratch, you may want to use a mix. Today’s baking mixes have come a long way. I particularly recommend mixes by King Arthur.
- Immaculate Baking Company offers cookie doughs, scratch mixes, and refrigerated dough.
- There are some very good frozen foods. Amy’s is an organic food pioneer, offering a wide variety of vegan and vegetarian foods. I also recommend Alexia all-natural foods.
- Try a good quality fresh pasta, such as Three Bridges, as the base of your meal.
Have you found ways to cut down on your time in the kitchen? Please share your tips with the rest of us!