Preparing meals can feel overwhelming. Most people don’t want to spend any more time than necessary. Here are some ways to save time and take the drudgery out of it.
1. Do one task while you wait on another
Think about which food item will take the longest to prepare. Processes that can be started and left alone allows you to do other tasks while you wait.
2. Use a microplane instead of mincing
A microplane is a grater with a long metal shaft covered with small, sharp metal teeth that is faster and gives more uniform pieces than using a knife. Use caution as the food gets smaller to prevent cutting your fingers.
3. Use an extra-large cutting board
It saves time when chopping ingredients. Set aside each ingredient on the board instead of placing them into smaller containers to make space for the next item you need to chop.
4. Get peeling down to a science.
Instead of holding foods in one hand and peeling them with the other, place the food on the cutting board and hold in place while peeling. Most peelers can go in both directions. Peel up and down instead of lifting peeler off the item to take it back to the top.
5. Soak steel-cut oats overnight.
Soaking oats overnight in plain water cuts cooking time in half the next morning. Fill a Mason jar with 1/4 cup of steel-cut oats and pour 1 cup of water into the container.
6. Stabilize vegetables before cutting.
Most vegetables are wobbly on a cutting board, so cutting a small slice off the most bulbous part to give it a stable base will save time.
7. Cook bacon in the oven.
Baking bacon prevents grease splatters and gives straight, crisp bacon pieces. Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Fold foil edges up. Arrange in a single layer with as little overlap as possible. Bake 15-20 minutes. Monitor to avoid overcooking.
8. Cook squash before preparing it.
It can be scary to cut through a raw, rock-solid squash. So, roast and cool slightly first to soften it. This makes it easier to cut it and scoop out seeds.
For spaghetti squash, heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place on baking sheet and poke holes with a paring knife. Roast until a paring knife sinks in easily — 60 minutes for a 2-pound squash. Cool 15 minutes. Then slice in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Use a fork to pull the noodles away from the outer skin.
9. Use a mandolin for slicing.
Use a mandolin to cut up vegetables for faster meal preparation. It quickly slices vegetables thinly and evenly. Don’t forget to use the vegetable safety guard to prevent injuries.
10. Clean as you go.
Instead of cleaning the kitchen and washing all the dishes at the end, wash when there is downtime. It will seem like food is cooking faster. There will be less to clean up afterward.