How to Cook Faster, Smarter and Efficiently

By Morgan Shupe, categorized in Foodies’ Folder

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“Efficiency” is a favourite word in my household. I, myself, can be pretty efficient but my kind of efficiency is based around food, cooking, and all things that go with them. So here are my top tips to help you be efficient in the kitchen!

Before we start, make sure your kitchen is set up to ensure everything you need is easily accessible.

  • Keep your most used appliances on the counter, or in an easy-to-reach spot.
  • Store your most used ingredients close to the hob for easy access – these are usually your favourite herbs and spices, vinegars, salt, pepper and anything else you use often that doesn’t need to be refrigerated.
  • Keep your most used tools in the drawer closest to where you work – such as knives, vegetable peeler, measuring jugs, whisks, wooden spoons, spatula, or anything you use at least once a week. A utensil jar can also be a great addition to your counter!
  • Start with a clean kitchen to make sure there’s no mess to get in the way of your super quick and efficient cooking skills.

Now that your work space is ready to go, here are my 10 tips to cooking faster, smarter, and efficiently:

1. Plan it Out!

The best way to be more efficient when cooking is to know the full scope of what you need to do. This may mean just mentally walking through the steps it will take to get dinner on the table, or making a list of things that need to be done in order of timing for bigger meals. Always read recipes fully before starting. Taking a minute to do this will help you avoid forgetting to do things that may save you time, like remembering to preheat the oven.

2. Oven? Water? Check!

If you need to preheat your oven or need to boil a pot of water always do this first. This will allow you to start other tasks while they heat e.g. peel the veg.

3. Wash Everything Together

Wash produce faster by chopping off the ends of root vegetables and washing everything in a colander together. If you’re using lettuce, chop it before washing.

4. Mise En Place

French for “putting in place”, it means to get everything you need for a recipe ready and prepped. The best way to do this is to grab a large bowl or baking tray and grab all the ingredients you need from your fridge and cupboards. After that, prep anything that needs cleaning or cutting. Don’t worry about premeasuring ingredients like sauces or dry ingredients, this only creates extra dishes and they can usually be measured right before they are needed.

5. Compost/Rubbish Bowl

This is a trick all of the fastest cooks use. Grab a large bowl and as you are prepping your ingredients throw all your compost and/or rubbish into it instead of going back and forth to the bin to save time. Remember to separate things that can be recycled though.

6. Knife Skills

A huge part of cooking is just cutting things. Always use a sharp knife and chopping board on a stable surface, you will have everything chopped and ready in no time!

7. Become a Grate Chef

Cut your vegetables extra small to save time cooking. You can also save time chopping by grating vegetables instead which will cook even quicker.

8. Use Science

You may remember from science lessons that water is a great conductor of heat. Add a small amount of water to vegetables to cook them faster.

9. Cover!

If you need to cook something on a boil or simmer, cover with a lid to help them cook faster – keep in mind this traps liquid and is not a good method when trying to thicken liquids.

10. Clean as You Go

Wash dishes as they become dirty and clean up messes as you make them. This saves you lots of time after you have finished cooking. It also means you don’t have a pile of washing up to do after your meal.

With these ten tips, you’ll be the most efficient cook in your house!

What are your best tips for cooking faster?