Sometimes, the best way to enjoy a meal is while it’s cooking. But there are other times when you can leisurely cook a meal, sipping a glass of wine while your favorite music or a podcast plays softly in the background. Cooking dinner seems like such an accomplishment and not just because food tastes better after hours of preparation, rather than just minutes on the stove top with only one eye open for stirring.
There are days when we feel so rushed that even before our day begins, we know what time will come next – 6 p.m. and all of the responsibilities that come with it. Dinner needs to be on the table fast and you need help. We have all the tips to make cooking your dinner faster after a long day.
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Take a minute: The next time you’re about to head into the kitchen, take just one minute to think through what you are going to do.
By doing so, not only will your cooking be more efficient and delicious, but also a lot less stressful! Planning out how much work is involved in each dish before starting can save a lot of headaches and frustration while making dinner.
Start Boiling Water: If you need to boil water for your dinner, get that going first. You don’t want to have to wait for water, especially when you’re making something like pasta where timing is key!
- If you happen to have an electric kettle, it can help get the water heated up faster.
- Using lids is another way to boil your water with more speed since it seals in all of the steam.
- If you need to add salt to the water (like for pasta), add it after the water is already boiling. Putting salt in your water before raises its boiling point will make it take longer.
Grate Butter: There are many quick tricks to get around the need for softened butter in recipes. One of these is to grate it on a box grater into nice flaky shreds, which will soften in your oven at the same rate as room temperature butter.
Toss the fluffy grated butter into flour to lightly coat it and then all you need is a fork or your fingers to turn it into perfect crumbs in moments. Why grate your butter?
- The butter softens more quickly
- Incorporates better into other ingredients
Use a Garbage Bowl: If you’re looking for a way to reduce the time and effort it takes to prepare your food, consider dedicating a specific container to use as a garbage bowl.
This can be especially helpful if your trash or compost bin isn’t located next to where you prep food. A waste bowl will help keep unwanted things from getting on your kitchen floor and cut down on trips back and forth between the trash can and your prep area.
Wide, Shallow Pans are Your Best Friend: You wouldn’t think that this would make a difference, but wide, shallow pans can make cooking much more efficient.
Plus, the wide surface area means the food has less of a chance to stick and burn on the bottom of pots or pans. If you need any more convincing, here are some other reasons why wider surfaces are better than narrow ones:
- You can brown more food at once in a single layer
- Liquids reduce faster due to increased contact with heat
- Foods cook evenly because they have greater exposure to hot air all around them
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