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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

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                                      Last Updated on March 13, 2019

                                      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                                      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                                      Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                                      You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                                      Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                                      1. Work on the small tasks.

                                      When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                                      Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                                      2. Take a break from your work desk.

                                      Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                                      Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                                      3. Upgrade yourself

                                      Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                                      The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                                      4. Talk to a friend.

                                      Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                                      Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                                      5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                                      If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                                      Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                                      Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                                      6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                                      If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                                      Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                                      Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                                      7. Read a book (or blog).

                                      The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                                      Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                                      Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                                      8. Have a quick nap.

                                      If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                                      9. Remember why you are doing this.

                                      Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                                      What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                                      10. Find some competition.

                                      Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                                      Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                                      11. Go exercise.

                                      Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                                      Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                                      As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                                      Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                                      12. Take a good break.

                                      Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                                      Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                                      Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                                      Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                                      More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                                      Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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