I cook a lot, and I love to cook, but there is nothing worse then spending endless hours in the kitchen when you don't need to. I like to have my kitchen streamlined so I can easily access my utensils and appliances I really use and need. I also appreciate a good plan of action. Here are my top ten kitchen time savers that will save your sanity and give you peace of mind in your kitchen.
Tip #1 Keep Sharp Knives
I know my cooking class students are tired of hearing me say this: "Make sure your knives are sharp" (sorry if you are hearing it again!). You are not alone. I know you have a drawer full of knives that might never see a sharpening stone. Dull knives are actually more dangerous than sharp ones because they are more likely to slip. Believe me, dull knives can give you a nasty wound. You actually chop things faster with sharp knives, thus adding to your streamlining goals. You can go fancy, or you can do like I did and buy a sharpening stone for $10 at the hardware store.
Tip #2 A Honer Is Not A Sharpener
That steel bar that came with your knife set? I have a secret, and I swear I won't tell anyone if you didn't know this: "It's not a sharpener, it's a honer." After you sharpen your knives with your sharpening stone, give it a few rubs along the steel, it'll even out the blade and help make your knives work better.
Tip # 3 Buy Yourself A Fantastic Knife
Do yourself a favor and invest in a good 8" chef's knife, it makes chopping so much easier and you will feel like a real professional in your own kitchen. Wusthoff and Henkel are my favorites.
Tip # 4 Your Cutting Board Needs Attention Too
If you are spending minutes each time you cook readjusting your wooden cutting board because it keeps moving away from you (you do have a large wood cutting board, don't you?) then you need help. A simple paper towel put beneath your board will prevent all future slips and wasted time.
Tip #5 The Person Who Bought You The Food Processor As A Wedding Gift Had The Right Idea
Dust off the food processor you got as a wedding gift oh so long ago. My food processor sits prominently on my counter (not too many appliances get that privilege!) because I use it often, as in a few times a week. I grate, chop, slice and blend with it. It does what a blender cannot do and saves me a ton of time.
Tip #6 Take Out Your Blender Too
Are you wondering about my Vitamix, my pride and joy? Of course my blender gets a place in my tips. I wrote about using a Vitamix before - smoothies, sauces, pureed soups, frozen desserts, chia seed pudding, almond milk... the list goes on. Saves me an incredible amount of time and sits right next to my food processor.
Tip #7 Read Your Recipes Like A Novel You Can't Put Down
Read the whole recipe from start to finish before you cook. Is there nothing worse than being on the fifth step of a recipe, only to find out that you needed COOKED quinoa, not uncooked? Bummer, now you need to pause the recipe and wait for the grain to cook, thus holding up your dinner. Your quinoa could have been cooking right along with your recipe, if only you had read the recipe through.
Tip #8 Get To Know The Fancy French Words "Mise En Place"
It translates to "everything in its place" and for good reason. I know you are in a rush to get dinner ready but make sure all the ingredients are prepped and ready, condiments are out and poured, garlic and ginger minced, all of it before you start cooking. A stir fry, for example, takes about 30 minutes to prep, but about 3 minutes to cook - it goes that fast, and you need your ingredients at the ready. Speaking of the dinner rush, you can also consider your time. Could some of these ingredients get prepped in the morning? Just a thought.
Tip #9 Double Up
Who wants to cook every night? Whenever you make a soup, tomato sauce, a casserole, a stock, or really anything that freezes well, double it! Your insurance policy for a quick weeknight meal.
Tip # 10 Meal Planning Is The New Black
Embrace meal planning with a vengence. I can't stress this tip enough. Without good meal planning incorporated into your week you could see yourself at the grocery store more often than not and probably the takeout restaurant. Meal planning simply means sitting down and thinking out your week, thinking about what you want to eat and getting creative with using a few ingredients in a variety of ways. It saves a ton of time in the kitchen, extra hours at the grocery store, and reduces stress by taking the daily guesswork out of what to make for dinner every night.
This is a short list and I could go on and on with kitchen tips. I would love to hear from you, what tips do you have to save time in the kitchen? Post them below!
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