I love to cook. There’s nothing quite like enjoying a tasty home-cooked meal that I have prepared and made myself. It’s satisfying knowing that my effort has paid off and I have produced something that I can be proud to share.

However, if you’re a novice, it can take time to learn some of the tricks and hacks that can improve your cooking skills or speed up your kitchen prowess.

Then there is the cleaning up afterwards — a sink full of dishes that gets in the way whilst you are cooking that no one wants to deal with.

Here are a few tips I’ve learned to improve your kitchen capabilities:

  1. Plan what you need to do. Whatever takes the longest, do first. Warming up an oven, boiling up some water. Put those on first. It takes about 10 mins for an oven to heat up to the right temperature, and about 5 minutes for the water to boil where its constantly bubbling. Get that going first before you need to prep the food.
  2. Defrost meats in advance. If you plan what you are going to eat you can preserve the quality of meat. Leaving it on a counter top to defrost will increase bacteria levels, nuking it in the microwave will leave you with a cooked outside and frozen middle. Put it in the fridge for 2 days in advance. If you’re in a hurry, defrost in water.
  3. To open an impossible-to-open jar lid,  hold the jar upside down and put it over the cooker flame for a couple of seconds. Alternatively if you are going to use the whole jar, stab the lid with a sharp knife to break the vacuum.
  4. Don’t have a steamer? Put your vegetables into a colander and put it into a pan with boiling water that fits. Make sure the colander doesn’t reach the water and then cover it with a lid. The lid may not fit perfectly, but it does the job.
  5. Get more juice out of lemons and oranges by warming them up. You can do this in your hand or in some warm water.
  6. Wash while you cook. This removes wasted waiting time and keeps you on top of the cleaning. When you put some meat in the pan and need to turn it over in a couple of minutes, fill the sink with water and start washing up. After you’ve washed a couple of items, it’s time to turn the mean. You can use this as a method to time your cooking.
  7. Shell boiled eggs with ease. You can do so by breaking a small hole at both ends and blowing into one end.
  8. Recipes are guidelines, they do not need to be followed to the letter. Love ginger?  Put some in.
  9. Avoiding wheat but need to make a crispy coating without using bread? Oats do a great job. Put them into a food mixer and you have a coating that can be applied to almost anything.
  10. Short on time and need to make a roast? Chop it up into smaller pieces. Your cooking time will be vastly reduced.

These are just some of the hacks I use when cooking. Do you have any to share?

(Photo credit: Chef Woman via Shutterstock)

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