Cooking efficiently while still keeping things tasty and keeping together doesn’t have to require some special skills only chefs have. With some smart planning and picking up helpful tips, getting yummy meals on the table can feel like a breeze instead of a big chore that eats up your time.
This article will break down useful ways busy people can cook fast but still make food they get excited about – from getting your prep down to picking appliances and tools that make cooking easier.
The goal here is to help you see your kitchen as a place where creating deliciousness happens smoothly instead of somewhere that stresses you out.
Efficient Meal Planning Techniques
1. Map your week's meals
2. Cook components in batches
3. Prep produce for the week
4. Quick marinades are your friend
Must-Have Kitchen Tools
1. All-in-One Appliances
- An Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker makes shockingly fast work of dishes that typically require lengthy simmering like stews, hearty beans, and tough cuts of meat. The pressurized environment gently forces liquid and flavor into the food, accomplishing in 30-60 minutes what would normally take hours on the stovetop or oven.
- Keep an air fryer handy for crisping foods like chicken wings, fritters, and french fries with little to no oil needed. The convection heat technology surrounds food with a whipping hot air flow that browns and crisps to perfection.
- A slow cooker allows you to build flavor in a pot over time with minimal hands-on effort. Toss in ingredients in the morning, and come home to a fork-tender, meltingly delicious meal.
2. Quality Knives
- Look for a classic chef’s knife, handy paring knife, long serrated bread knife, and cleaver if you handle lots of bone-in meat.
- While you don’t need an exhaustive set, opt for individual knives that feel balanced and comfortable in your grip.
- Treat your knives well by hand washing them gently and storing them in sheaths or a magnetic strip.
3. Designated Zones
- Keep cutting boards, sharp knives, peelers, colanders, and prep bowls close to the sink for washing and preparing fruits and vegetables.
- Store pans and utensils right near the stove or countertops where you’ll need them.
- Have platters and serving tools handy in the dining area for seamlessly transferring food to the table.
- Keep a cleaning zone fully stocked with dish towels, brushes, soap, and sponges.
4. Smart Storage
- Clear, airtight canisters neatly display pastas, grains, and baking ingredients allowing you to see what you have at a glance.
- Mounted pot racks free up precious cabinet space while displaying essential pans and lids where they’re instantly visible.
- Taking a bit of time to properly label shelves, boxes, and freezer bags also goes a tremendously long way helping locate exactly what you need when racing against the clock.
Effective Cooking Techniques
2. Boiling and Simmering
3. Sheet Pan Magic
4. One-Pot Wonders
Work Smarter, Not Harder: Prepping Certain Foods
1. Fruits and Veggies
3. Tough Veggies and Meats
Next-Level Meal Prep
1. Batch Cook Pantry Staples
- Hard boil a bunch of eggs for protein-packed meals and snacks ready in an instant.
- Cook up a big pot of quinoa, brown rice, or other hearty grain to use as side dishes or quickly pile into grain bowls later on.
- Roast sheet pans heaped with vegetables that you can repurpose into easy sides, salads, sandwiches, omelets, and more throughout the week.
2. Assembly Line Lunches
- Designate minutes to make neatly organized jars, boxes, or bags stuffed with prepped salad components, grains, proteins, dressings – whatever elements someone would want for lunch on the go.
- Keep a variety of divided containers on hand expressly for grab-and-go meals to make things beyond easy.
3. Freeze with Care
- Take the time when freezing meal prep portions to flash freeze items in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet before transferring them to airtight bags or containers. This stops big frozen chunks from forming.
- Be diligent in labeling contents plus dates before stashing them away.
Manage Your Time Well
1. Designate Time Blocks
2. Prioritize Balance
Check off steps across all recipes so final components finish at the same time.
3. Communicate Between Dishes
In A Nutshell
Of course, it helps when you start with great ingredients too! That’s why you should drop by Fresh Farms to shop for fresh quality produce, dairy, proteins, and other staples for your next home-cooked meal.
So don’t let cooking intimidate you. Pick up some helpful efficiency tips then head to Fresh Farms to get your hands on the best ingredients going into those family favorites, quick weeknight dinners, and weekend chef creations you’ll look forward to making.