Making food can be time-consuming and quite a hassle in our hectic life. But there are ways to speed things up, and they are anything but difficult. One of the most important rules if you want to keep cooking times short is to choose the right foods (those that will be done quick), and it helps a lot to plan ahead. But there are also a couple of things in the cooking process itself that can help you to have your meal ready faster:
1. Prepare food to reduce cooking time
2. Choose quick cooking methods
Way #1: Prepare food to reduce cooking time
How you prepare your foods will determine how long they will take to cook. A bit of extra effort in preparing your foods will save you time at the end of the day. It usually takes less time to cut vegetables or meat than to cook the whole big bulk. Boiling a whole large potato can take 30-45 minutes. Cutting it into thin slices on the other hand takes you just some moments and then it’s done in 15 minutes only. Small pieces (e.g. one-centimeter-cubes) or thin slices are good options for vegetables, especially harder ones. A grater can be helpful for quick slicing. As for meat, use thin filet pieces, or cut thin slices or small cubes.
Way #2: Choose quick cooking methods
There are several ways to cook food in a short time:
- Boiling: Cooking in boiling water, for 5 to 20 minutes depending on the food. Prevent overcooking, as certain nutrients are absorbed by the water. Alternately, use the liquid for making a soup.
- Steaming: The food is lying on the sieve inserted in a pot and cooked in the rising steam. This is a quicker method than boiling, and healthier as more nutrients remain in the food. Combine foods of similar size or texture (e.g. potatoes and carrots).
- Stewing: Cooking in a closed pot or wrapped in foil in the oven, with or without adding fat. For hard vegetables like potatoes you should add some liquid, water-rich foods like marrows can be stewed “in their own juice”. If you are in a hurry, use this method only for fast cooking foods like mushrooms or tomatoes.
- Gratinating: Small pieces or thin slices of vegetables, covered with béchamel sauce or grated cheese, are baked on 250°C in the oven until the veggies are soft and the cheese brownish. For quick cooking, choose foods that are fast cooking or canned vegetables.
- Sauté: Quick frying of foods in hot fat in an open pan, without water, frequently stirring to prevent burning. A good method for small pieces of meat or vegetables. For vegetables, try to use healthy fats like olive or rape-seed oil.
- Microwaving: Cooking foods in the microwave. A quick method that does not require fat. You should still cut your meat and veggies small or thin, they will then be done even quicker.
As you can see, cooking fast is to a great extend about being clever and making the right choices. If you apply the tricks outlined above, you will be able to prepare stunning meals in less time. A great opportunity to save money and provide healthier food for your family!