Thursday, January 26, 2012

Saving Time in the Kitchen

As I mentioned earlier today, I love cooking and baking. I should have gone to culinary school. I think I would enjoy catering; though I sometimes wonder if you get sick of food after a while.

Over the years I've found ways to help me save time in the kitchen. Here are some things that work for me:

Gather all your ingredients and supplies first

By the time I am ready to make a dish, I have everything right at my fingertips. Whether it's a batch of cookies or stir-fried chicken, I take out all my ingredients, utensils, pans, and bowls first. If a dish requires vegetables like onions or garlic, I slice and dice first, so once it's time to cook I simply toss in what I need to add to the pan.

Put things back right away 

In my mind there is nothing worse than waiting until you're done cooking to put everything away. Put things away after you use them. While your dish is simmering on the stove, put away the ingredients you don't need anymore. When I make stir-fried chicken, I put vegetable oil in the pan, and add onions, celery and ginger. I put the used cutting board that held the vegetables into the sink right away, then the oil and ginger go back into the pantry. I continue this as I add the rest of the ingredients to the pan, so that by the time I'm done, the counter top is almost empty.

Clean up while things are cooking

One thing I despise is coming back into the kitchen after a good meal to a pile of dirty dishes. Just like I put the ingredients back right away, I try to wash the dishes dirtied during food preparation while I cook. The cutting board and knife from the vegetables I used in the stir-fry can be washed while waiting for the chicken to cook all the way through. The small bowl I use to mix the cornstarch and soy sauce can be washed while I am waiting for the rice to finish cooking. It might not seem like a big deal, but it is so much nicer to enter the kitchen to a handful of plates to wash than have an entire sink full of dishes to clean after eating.

I hope you find these tips helpful. Feel free to share some ways in which you save time in the kitchen.

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