Are you busy at home, working or studying full time and you need to cook quick meals? Do you feel nervous when you come back from work and wonder what to cook quickly for your family? Or maybe you are intimidated in the kitchen and you just want to learn some basic skill to cook fast?
A few years ago, as a busy, full time working mum, I managed to cook simple quick meals, using basic ingredients, when I got home from work. I had the chance to have basic cooking skills but if you dont know cooking that much, or if you are a beginner in the kitchen it can become so challenging that you feel it’s better not to cook at all and end up with fast food or delivery services…
Lot of my friends felt in this category at the time, this bringing two major issues to them: it was really not healthy for their body and it costed them a lot of money on the long term. Between work, leisure, children… for some of us, finding enough time left to cook becomes a luxury.
By looking at my friends and colleagues’s excuses for not willing to cook and comparing to what I was doing naturally, I understood that cooking quickly doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. It’s just a matter of organization and the right choice of quick cooking methods. So I want to share with you some tips to cook faster and not to loose time in the kitchen. These unpretentious tips allow you to save on what is actually consumed and come to be relatively cheaper solutions in the end.
1. Choose easy meals to cook fast
easy to cook in a quick way… You’ll not going to be very efficient if you choose to make a slow cooker lamb!
So go for omelets, quiches, pasta, seared lean meat and fish, eggs, rice, raw vegetables and fruit… all of these dishes are easily made in less than 20 minutes… Even less.
Also think about recycling your leftovers: some minced cold chicken in an omelet or a salad will always do the trick!
2. Have the recipe in your head to cook quicker
Have the recipe in your head. Don’t read the recipe while cooking as it can become very confusing. Try to learn it before and visualize the various steps… It will be easier. And once you know how to make a basic omelet, it’s just easy to change ingredients according to your taste.
3. Organization: the key of success to cook faster!
Before embarking on the preparation of meals, prepare all the necessary ingredients and utensils. This will save you a moment of panic when launching and especially go faster in the preparation.
French cooks call this “mise en place”: it means that you have to prepare all ingredients and utensils that the recipes implies and set them up in a convenient and accessible way before you start cooking.
Preheat your oven: run it during the preparation steps. Once your dish is prepared, you will only have to bake immediately at the right temperature.
In the same way, put water to boil as it allows you 4 to 5 minutes to prepare your ingredients.
4. Preparation tips to save time cooking
The bags of frozen vegetables and canned products have the advantage to save you time: no need to wash, peel and cut into pieces.
Peel vegetables and cut your meat into pieces while waiting for water to boil or the stove heating. During cooking the dish, you can anticipate certain preparations: preparing the serving plates, peeling potatoes, preparing marinades, cooking ingredients in preparation for future dishes or salad, doing the washing up, booking the remaining ingredients you don’t use for later.
5. Choose simple, quick and even cooking methods:
- Foil: allow you to quickly slip a fillet of fish or raw lean meat without preparation beforehand. Steam cook your fishes or lean meats in foil in your oven. They can be seasoned as you like and accompanied by finely sliced raw vegetables. Here’s a good fish in foil recipe.
- Stir frying and cooking with a wok is quick and healthy as long as you don’t put too much oil. More about woks here.
- Bread: if we don’t have time… it’s better not to cook at all! On a thick slice of bread you can place slices of tomatoes, eggplant or zucchini, herbs, a slice of ham or salmon, a little mozzarella or goat cheese. Cold or browned in the oven, they are delicious bruschettas accompanied by a green salad. Find a great bruschetta recipe here.
- Salads: to cope with vegetables, starchy foods and meat, are another alternative to fast food. Mix flavors by combining several food groups. Discover more salad recipes.
- Compound plates: a handful of cherry tomatoes, 3-4 sticks of surimi, a slice of ham, some lettuce leaves, a piece of cheese, bread and a few raspberries, for example. It makes you a complete meal, ready in less than 5 minutes.
For more fast cooking tips, I encourage you to read the 7 Effective Tips to Cook Faster and Save Time in The Kitchen.
I’m curious to read about your own tips to cook quick and easy food when you’re busy. Please share your views in the comment below.