Advertising
Advertising

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.

5EF0C515-2CF9-4409-854A-5A80C02B4BA1

    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.

    38D496C4-368B-49B1-B836-F516ED9AFBD4
      veggies

        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!

        3DBD55F3-78F9-40FB-AADB-4CA5DD93E8A5

          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.

          Advertising

          BEA3E647-5532-4F02-BC24-7E7F30F14C2B

            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.

            4311836838_3ca569f63c_o

              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.

              smaller salad

                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.

                Advertising

                642F991E-FB12-4F75-9014-0708CE373D6C

                  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!

                  Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 1.11.08 PM

                    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.

                    75789F61-4DCC-4628-94C3-D9E9F92C0E95

                      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.

                      potato

                        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.

                        Advertising

                        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.

                        4D90B6DB-7062-403B-8D27-F9E3E7022DA3

                          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.

                          072E7C67-01AE-4517-80C5-B840D3A5BEE9

                            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.

                            8C48CFC7-7AB6-4AB3-BFFA-96505A8CC64D

                              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”.

                              Advertising

                              CC9B1BA0-397F-460A-8012-3816D5795C7C

                                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.

                                6C3C7378-D8D3-433D-BA34-649A088C7A1D

                                  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.

                                  D5C03959-5F56-4CD4-9860-1DCF56EEC706

                                    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.

                                    E08E7569-2F6F-4850-96F8-0600493A21FC

                                      Source: pixabay.

                                      Featured photo credit: flickr via c2.staticflickr.com

                                      More by this author

                                      Colin Rhodes

                                      Chief Technology Officer

                                      travel 12 Dos and Don’ts of Air Travel For Conscientious Travellers 5 Ways To Have A More Productive Doctor’s Visit Life Secrets of a Barista Why You Should Be Tracking Your Health in a Personal Health Record agreeement Career Hints – 5 ways to overcome a disagreement with your supervisor

                                      Trending in Food and Drink

                                      1 27 Healthy Pressure Cooker Meals (with Easy Recipes) 2 15 Easy-to-Make Crockpot Freezer Meals for Busy Nights 3 5 Savory Ice-Cream Sandwiches Every Dessert Lover Can’t Miss 4 8 Hearty Soups That Will Surely Keep You Warm This Fall 5 8 Mouth-Watering Turkey Stuffing Recipes For Thanksgiving

                                      Read Next

                                      Advertising
                                      Advertising
                                      Advertising

                                      Last Updated on November 19, 2019

                                      20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

                                      20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

                                      Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

                                      If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

                                      1. Create a Daily Plan

                                      Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

                                      2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

                                      Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

                                      3. Use a Calendar

                                      Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

                                      I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

                                      Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

                                      4. Use an Organizer

                                      An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

                                      These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

                                      Advertising

                                      5. Know Your Deadlines

                                      When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

                                      But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

                                      6. Learn to Say “No”

                                      Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

                                      Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

                                      7. Target to Be Early

                                      When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

                                      For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

                                      Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

                                      8. Time Box Your Activities

                                      This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

                                      You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

                                      Advertising

                                      9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

                                      Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

                                      10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

                                      Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

                                      You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

                                      11. Focus

                                      Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

                                      Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

                                      Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

                                      12. Block out Distractions

                                      What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

                                      I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

                                      When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

                                      Advertising

                                      Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

                                      13. Track Your Time Spent

                                      When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

                                      You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

                                      14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

                                      You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

                                      Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

                                      15. Prioritize

                                      Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

                                      Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

                                      16. Delegate

                                      If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

                                      When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

                                      Advertising

                                      17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

                                      For related work, batch them together.

                                      For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

                                      1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
                                      2. coaching
                                      3. workshop development
                                      4. business development
                                      5. administrative

                                      I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

                                      18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

                                      What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

                                      One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

                                      While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

                                      19. Cut off When You Need To

                                      The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

                                      Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

                                      20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

                                      Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

                                      More Time Management Techniques

                                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                                      Read Next