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17 Kitchen Cheat Sheets To Shorten Your Cooking Time

17 Kitchen Cheat Sheets To Shorten Your Cooking Time

1. For faster prep have a decent knife and know how to sharpen it

Nothing slows cooks down more than blunt knives that don’t cut well. They’re also unsafe. Learn to sharpen your knife by watching this youtube video and make sure it’s always ready for the task at hand. For advice on how to pick a knife, see Kitchen Knife Guru.

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    2. For faster cooking let someone else do the prep

    Chopping your own vegs for every dish is authentic, but it’s also slow. Why do all that work when you can buy it from the store pre-chopped? Most grocery stores carry a wide range of ready-to-use vegetables. Look at WholeFoods or Trader Joes or even order online. You will be surprised at the quality of the produce.

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        3. For a tasty kick keep frozen herbs in your freezer

        I love to have pre-packed herbs in my freezer. They can be popped into a stew, pasta sauce, or a soup. They’re not as flavorful as out-of-the-garden herbs, but they still taste great. Use about twice as much as you would with fresh herbs, and remember you can always make your own!

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          4. For faster pasta blanch and freeze

          Spaghetti cooks in 8 minutes, but the water takes time to boil. To save time pre-blanch your pasta for six minutes and then freeze on trays. When you’re ready to eat, reheat in the sauce and hey presto! According to stilltasty.com, frozen pasta has a 1-2 month use by date.

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            5. For quicker weeknight meals prepare and freeze on the weekend.

            If you have time on the weekend put it to good use by cooking large quantities of food and freezing individual or family sized portions. Pop them in the microwave and press go on a weeknight for a real meal. Try “24 Easy Freezer Recipes” from Southern Living or “17 best freezable recipes” from Cooking Light.

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              6. For easy salads use a jar.

              There is a growing movement for salads in a jar with dressing and components in layers. Just shake and serve. My favorite salad site is “30 Mason Jar Recipes: A Month Worth of “Salad in a Jar” from Zina at LassotheMoon.com.

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                7. For sophisticated satisfaction jazz up a grilled cheese

                There are so many options for the grilled cheese. Like pickles? Slide them in! The Food Network has 50 ideas that will lift good to great.

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                  8. For great canned soup add some extras

                  Canned soup isn’t always great. In fact, sometimes it’s plain awful. Buy the best quality soup you can and then layer in flavor with hot sauce and other foods packed with umami like parmesan cheese. The right ingredients turn plain jane soup into something of note. Don’t forget to add a jazzed grilled cheese!

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                    9. For great steaks, try thinner cuts

                    While thick cuts of steak like sirloins and filet need time to cook and rest, the thinner cuts cook in a snap and take a marinade very nicely. Martha Steward has an excellent recipe for so called “hangar steak” that I love, or look at this YouTube video where chef Jackson Lamb shows how to pan sear thin steaks.

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                      10. For a quick carb fix, microwave a russet potato

                      If you have a humble potato and a microwave then you’re in luck. An average size potato takes around 5 minutes to cook to a fluffy tender inside. The toppings are only limited by your imagination and your fridge. I like sour cream, cheese, broccoli slaw, and a little thousand island dressing.

                      In this post Bon Appetit shows us “12 creative ways to top a baked potato” that will make your mouth water.

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                        11. For a fruit explosion make a smoothy out of frozen fruit.

                        Smoothies are nourishing and easy to make. Take some of your favorite fruit and yoghurt and blend until it’s the way you like it. You can add spices like cinnamon, sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup and even a dollop of ice cream.

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                        If you are more interested in the health benefits of smoothies take a look at Prevention Magazine’s list of the  top 20 super smoothies.

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                          12. For a brilliant breakfast presoak your oatmeal and fruit

                          Instant oatmeal tastes like cardboard, but the real thing takes a long time to cook. Save yourself the work by pre-soaking your oatmeal over night and blitz it in the microwave the next morning. Self Magazine has a list of 18 delicious add-ins that are healthy and taste good.

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                            13. For radiant rice presoak and use the absorption method

                            White rice cooks quickly, but heathy brown rice can be slow. Pre-soak your brown rice over night with whey or an acid to get a more tender and digestible product. Tip Hero suggests these 33 cheap ways to spice up the results.

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                              14. For a captivating chicken dinner try these rotisserie tips

                              The humble rotisserie chicken can make so many great meals. Try Christine Skopec’s site for great recipes like “Speedy Enchiladas”, and “Herbed Chicken salad sandwiches”.

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                                15. For a quick chocolate fix use your microwave

                                When my wife showed me this neat trick for how to make a brownie in a mug I was stunned. Lana shows all the details in this YouTube video. If you add ice cream or powdered sugar it’s truly spectacular.

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                                  16. For a quick desert try old-school ice cream sundaes

                                  Ice-cream sundaes have been around for many years, but Delish has kicked it up a few notches with their “7 spectacular ice-cream Sundaes” that may melt your mind.

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                                    17. For a late night snack try an omelet

                                    Omelets were known to the Romans and Greeks two thousand years ago, yet they remain a staple for the late night snack. Eating Well published 50 Inspiring Omelet fillings to get you started.

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                                      Source: pixabay.

                                      Featured photo credit: flickr via c2.staticflickr.com

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                                      Colin Rhodes

                                      Chief Technology Officer

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                                      Last Updated on September 20, 2018

                                      How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

                                      How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

                                      Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

                                      If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

                                      1. Breathe

                                      The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

                                      • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
                                      • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
                                      • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

                                      Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

                                      2. Loosen up

                                      After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

                                      Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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                                      3. Chew slowly

                                      Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

                                      Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

                                      Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

                                      4. Let go

                                      Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

                                      The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

                                      It’s not. Promise.

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                                      Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

                                      Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

                                      21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

                                      5. Enjoy the journey

                                      Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

                                      Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

                                      6. Look at the big picture

                                      The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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                                      Will this matter to me…

                                      • Next week?
                                      • Next month?
                                      • Next year?
                                      • In 10 years?

                                      Hint: No, it won’t.

                                      I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

                                      Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

                                      7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

                                      You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

                                      Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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                                      8. Practice patience every day

                                      Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

                                      • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
                                      • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
                                      • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

                                      Final thoughts

                                      Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

                                      Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

                                      Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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