Cooking can be time consuming and we know how on-the-go parents are these days. Here are Healthy Little Cooks’ tips for making your cooking process as quick and easy as possible:
1. When in Doubt, Throw it Out
Be sure to scour your kitchen (the fridge, the freezer, and all your cabinets) for food that’s past its prime. Making sure that you are in stock with fresh, ready-to-use food (spices included) will ensure that your time is used wisely: for preparing and cooking. Nothing adds time more annoyingly then realizing that your top needed ingredient has gone bad or is expired. Your cooking time is best used when you’re actually “in” the kitchen, and not at the store trying to replace old, out-dated cooking items.
2. A List is the Way to Go
A smart way to keep your food items organized (and avoid storing spoiled items, as mentioned above) is to keep an on-going shopping list. A shopping list can serve two primary functions: 1. a way to keep track of food items that are in need of buying more of (such as expired items or something that simply was all used up); and 2. a way to write down any needed items (such as when planning out making a recipe). This step ensures that when you go to make that favorite dish, you have all you need right there waiting for you.
3. Plan It Out
Along with the idea of creating an on-going shopping list, is planning out your meals for the week. Doing this ahead of time, or basically any time prior to starting the cooking process, will ensure that you have all the ingredients you need in your kitchen already. Also, try planning out meals for the week that might use similar ingredients. This will maximize your purchases and minimize the cost by getting the most use out of what you buy.
4. Organize and Store
Keeping your dry ingredients (the ingredients that do not normally spoil quickly) in clear storage containers will help you keep track of what ingredients you have on hand and will help indicate when you need to get more. This system works great for items such as flour, grains, pastas, nuts, sugars, salt, etc.
5. Measure It All Out
Have you ever watched a television cooking program and noticed how they have all their needed items already measured out and waiting for them to use? A great time saving technique is to measure out all your ingredients into small bowls first. Especially when following a relatively new recipe, this will ensure that you can easily and quickly retrieve the necessary items without having to fumble through added measuring time during the cooking process.
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