November 18, 2011

Cooking 101 have your menu planned and all of the ingredients for the week, but you are still finding the actual task of cooking to be a pain.  Here's a little help.  These are the top 12 tips that will help make your time in the kitchen much more productive and a lot less frustrating.


1. Always start with a clean sink and empty dishwasher, or at least a dishwasher that isn't full of clean dishes so you can add to it as you work.


2.  Plan what pots/pans you need.  The goal is to use as few as possible.  If you are sautéing veggies and making a sauce later, sauté first and then add the sauce, no need to dirty two pots.




3.  Think about the timing of the meal.  How long does each component take to make?  You want all of the dishes to be warm and finishing up at the same time.


4.  Get all of your ingredients out at the beginning of the cooking process.  This will make your cooking time more productive.  And always make sure your meat is thawed!


5.  Prep everything first and use a garbage bowl (an upcoming great gadget). This means fewer trips to the garbage can since all of your “trash” goes into the bowl, fewer germs on your hands/countertops and a big time saver!




6.  Once the meal is underway and cooking, take time to clean the dirty dishes and utensils you have used as you go, or at least load them in the dishwasher.  This helps immensely to make clean up after the actual meal a lot faster.


7.  Have your most used cooking utensils displayed nicely for easy access right next to your stove (space permitting).  I use unique/colorful flower pots as mine.




8.  When the meal is finished and you are putting the food away, instead of leaving the meal in the large baking dish and covering, or in one big container, make individual servings in plastic containers. They will be ready to go for lunch the next day.  This saves lots of time in the morning.  Just grab and go.




9.  Always pre-heat your oven and/or pans before baking/sautéing. 


10.  Season (s&p) and taste as you go along to develop flavors. Don’t add all of the seasonings at the end, it will just taste salty.


11.   Don't be afraid to change the ingredients or swap them if you are out of something (assuming it’s not a major ingredient).  Be creative.  This is how some of the best recipes are born!


12.  Jam out!!!  Music is great to have in the kitchen.   I love cooking to Pandora radio on my iPad.  Mine stays on the counter and is also great for looking up last minute recipes if needed or even the occasional quick Facebook check.



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