Adopting good cooking habits will upgrade your culinary experience and save you time in the kitchen so that you can enjoy more of what really matters: eating good, nutritious meals daily.
It’s a learning curve. Start small and don’t overwhelm yourself with complicated meals that will take a lot of your time and energy. Choose simple, easy to put together dishes and gradually progress to more elaborate ones.
This guide will show you how to streamline your routine and be more efficient as you cook without stripping away the joy of the process.
Divide and Conquer
Divide your kitchen into zones. Each zone will serve a different purpose and the bigger picture is that you will always stay organized and have what you need handy when you need it.
A prepping zone, a cooking zone, a clean-up station, and a storage section is all you need and rest assured that the size of your kitchen makes zero difference when it comes to organizing it into zones.
The prep zone is ideally stationed on your counter, next to the stove for easy access. This is where you will gather all your ingredients for the recipes that you are cooking. Have your bowls prepared, as well as your chopping board, your utensils and any other equipment needed. Having different chopping boards is rather important and stackable ones take much less space when stored. Use a different board for veggies and another for raw chicken and meat. Same goes for the knives you are using to chop those as you don’t want to spread dangerous bacteria like campylobacter, salmonella and E. coli. Speaking of knives, using a well sharpened knife is always much more safe and efficient so invest in a high quality knife and take good care of it to elongate its lifespan.
The cooking zone is the easiest to define as it's pretty much self-explanatory. Whether you are using a high tech stove, or a basic cooktop make sure to keep it clean and free of oily residues. Always preheat the oven or the stove-tops on time. Keep in mind that the time it takes for each oven to preheat is differs according to each brand and various technological characteristics of your equipment, so make sure to act accordingly to save both time and energy.
The cleaning zone is centered around your sink and your goal is to keep it decluttered as you go. Wash up what you are using on the spot instead of letting the dirty dishes pile up. When that’s not possible stack the little pots into the larger ones and always soak them with a little water to save time on cleaning later.
The storage zone is the area where you keep your cooked meals until they cool down while you are meal prepping. Having beautiful, stackable containers made of recyclable material will certainly brighten your counter. Make sure that the prepped meals are always brought down to room temperature before placed in the fridge as a rapid change of temperature might alter the taste and texture of some foods.
Streamlining a few simple cooking techniques will make your life much easier and with time they will become your default.
The time you are taking to gather ingredients going back to the fridge again and again or waiting for the oven to heat, gather up. So before you start read the entire recipe and take all the necessary steps beforehand.
Defrost the ingredients that come out of the freezer, preheat the oven and then start chopping.
When you are chopping vegetables or meat keep in mind that the larger the pieces, the longer they take to cook. If you are cooking a variety of different ingredients in the same pan start with the ones that need more time, like potatoes, carrots, and legumes and gradually add the ones that need less time to cook, like peppers and onions. If you prefer adding them all to the pan at the same time chop them in different sizes – the ones that need more time in smaller pieces and the ones than need less time in bigger pieces. Add the garlic and all the delicate, fresh herbs last.
Always see what needs to be peeled, chopped and sliced beforehand, so you have everything you need handy while you are cooking.
Plan your meals and prep what you can ahead. Not only you are saving time and money but you cultivate a feeling of self-care at the same time. You are less likely to indulge in a takeaway option when you know you have something healthy and delicious waiting for you at home.
In app we trust. If you are uncertain of what makes a good wholesome meal plan turn to the experts rather than wasting time and energy. Achieving a balanced diet is now easier than ever with trustworthy health apps and websites that do all the hard work for you. At Nutrient we take care of everything, from generating the perfect meal plan tailored to your likings, to delivering the groceries to your door and bringing you recipes to help you enjoy a nourishing and delicious diet without the extra stress! And the best part? You get all those for free, so one less thing to stress about!
Let’s head to the kitchen and put those ideas into action, shall we?