<This is a contributed post> Cooking is one of those tasks that you just can’t run away from. Ordering takeout can be convenient, but you can’t rely on it every single night. Understandably, most people dread preparing meals each night after work or school. After all, who wants to come home from a long day at work to start thinking about what to cook?
Fortunately, you don’t have to worry every evening about how you will feed yourself and your family. All you need to do is follow a few tips and tricks, and the burden will be lifted off your shoulders. Well, here are seven things you should do to make cooking more manageable.
Plan Your Meals
Are you constantly annoyed by the question, “What’s for dinner tonight?” Well, meal planning is the perfect answer to this question.
Rather than figuring out what you will cook every night when you are tired and want to rest, it is better to plan what the family will have for dinner beforehand. Make a habit of planning a week’s worth of dinners at a time, and you will save yourself a lot of headaches.
Meal planning not only saves you time, but it could also save you some money too. When you are hungry and tired, you are more likely to order food rather than prepare yourself. Often, takeout food is more expensive than home-prepared meals and can be much less nutritious.
Additionally, when you plan your meals, you can buy the necessary groceries in one go. This saves you an unnecessary stopover at the grocery shop after work, which ultimately means that you save more time.
Most people shy away from planning meals because they think it is a complex task. But this is not true. You don’t need to have every detail about your meals planned out for a meal plan to work. Something as simple as deciding what your family will have for dinner on weeknights can go a long way in making cooking easy.
Prep Your Meals
After meal planning, meal prepping is the second most incredible thing you can do to make cooking easy. Essentially, this entails chopping vegetables, cutting meats, and even cooking some food halfway so you can have an easier time when you do the actual cooking.
It helps to have some cooking staples always ready to put in the pot and cook. For instance, you can chop lots of onions and put them in the fridge. Minced garlic can also be frozen in bulk. That way, when a recipe calls for either of these ingredients, all you have to do is to pull them out and toss them in.
Preparing grains, like rice, often takes a lot of time. This makes them perfect candidates for meal prepping. Doing this takes the dread out of preparing fried rice or some other grain-based meal.
If you don’t fancy cutting meats yourself, you can rely on butcher meat delivery services. But you will need to set reminders on your phone, so you can order the meat before you start cooking.
If you don’t like to cook every night, there’s a trick that you will love. In the culinary world, it is called batch cooking. Simply put, it entails multiplying the ingredients in a recipe several times, so you cook several meals all at once. You then store the extras in the refrigerator, and when it’s time to eat, all you have to do is heat them and serve.
With batch cooking, you cut the time you spend standing in front of a stove significantly. Talk about convenience!
Make Friends With A Slow Cooker
Slow cookers are a godsend for people with busy schedules and hardly any time to cook. Most slow cooker recipes are incredibly laidback. You generally toss all the ingredients in the cooker and leave them cooking all day or all night. When you come home in the evening, you already have something warm and delicious for your family to eat.
Make Good Use of Leftovers
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Leftovers can save you from having to cook several times a week. They are especially great for quick and easy lunches. You can also employ some creativity and covert leftovers into fresh and tasty dishes. For instance, some leftover pulled pork can make an excellent ingredient for filling sandwiches or pork tacos. There are no limits to the meals you can recreate using leftover food that might have otherwise gone to the bin.
Clean as You Go
Do you usually dread cooking because of the mountain of dirty dishes you have to deal with afterward? One of the best ways to avoid having to deal with a load of dishes is to clean items as you cook. Wash that chopping board as soon as you are done with cutting, and clean the garlic crusher after using it.
Cleaning as you go can save you a lot of time and energy. Additionally, it helps improve productivity because you spend time cleaning when you don’t have something else to do in the kitchen. For instance, the time you might have otherwise spent on social media while you wait for food to boil can be better used cleaning a few dishes as you go.
Invest in a Good Knife
If there is one thing you are guaranteed to do when cooking, it is cutting things up. This is why your knives must always be sharp. If you are constantly chopping things using a dull knife, you have to put in more effort, spend a lot of time, and expose yourself to the risk of suffering an injury.
It is good practice to have your knives sharpened by a professional at least once a year. Additionally, learn how to sharpen knives yourself so that you can do it on an as-needed basis. Consider taking a free course on the correct cutting techniques, as this skill will come in handy during your time in the kitchen.
Cooking need not be a chore you dread. You can make things easier for yourself by following the tips and tricks on this blog. As you actualize them, you may even find yourself enjoying the art of cooking.