Saving Time in the Kitchen: Cooking Tips

Saving Time in the Kitchen: Cooking Tips

In previous articles, we’ve saved you time shopping and prepping your food for cooking; now it’s time to share some quick cooking tips.

  1. If you like the firmer skin of an oven-baked potato, shorten the baking time by piercing the potato with a fork and microwaving them for 10 minutes before finishing them off in the oven.
  2. If you’re baking a whole chicken, shorten the baking time by asking your butcher to butterfly the chicken for you.
  3. Turkey will roast more quickly if it’s not stuffed. Bake the stuffing alongside in a casserole during the last hour, adding a little more low-fat, low-sodium stock or broth to keep the stuffing moist.
  4. If wanting browned onions or other root vegetables, don’t add any salt until after they are nicely browned and caramelized. Salt slows down the caramelization process.
  5. Buy legumes such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, and split peas when you know that you’ll be needing them soon – the longer the storage time, the longer the cooking time.
  6. If you like to bake pizza at home, invest in a pizza stone and preheat it in the oven before you start the pizza baking. It takes less time to bake on a hot stone.
  7. Like to make soup? Buy frozen stocks from your supermarket or professional-quality stock made from concentrated pastes that are diabetic-friendly – very low-sodium or low-sodium — from our diabetic supply store. Heat up the stock, adding small pieces of meat, poultry, vegetables, grains, pasta, etc. Add fresh or dried herbs and you have soup in minutes instead of hours.
  8. Freeze any leftover soup in individual microwavable plastic containers. Pop into the microwave to reheat.
  9. Always bring meat or poultry to room temperature before cooking (please, don’t leave it on the counter for hours – it only takes a few minutes). It’ll bake, grill, or cook on the stove top quicker and more evenly.
  10. When making mashed potatoes or turnips, the smaller the pieces, the quicker they’ll cook.
  11. Like hash browns with your Saturday or Sunday morning egg substitute or egg white omelet? Buy frozen hash browns at the supermarket or microwave a baking potato (following your oven’s instructions) and dice. Cook the hash browns in a hot cast iron skillet that has been lightly spritzed with refrigerated butter-flavored cooking spray. You’ll have delicious fat-free hash browns in minutes.
  12. When removing fat from hot stock, soup, or sauce, pop it into the freezer if there’s time, or lay a piece of paper towel on the surface. When you remove the paper towel, much of the fat will be gone. Repeat as needed.
  13. Make use of your microwave to quick cook vegetables, reheat foods, make sauces, and poach chicken and fish. Read the guide to your microwave so you have the times and instructions for its use firmly in your mind.
  14. Beans and grains cook more quickly in a microwave and keep their distinctive characteristics and proper consistency (not all mushy). Consult your oven pamphlet for exact times for your microwave oven.
  15. To quickly toast nuts and seeds without your constant attention, place 1/4 cup of nuts or seeds in a microwave dish and add 1 teaspoon of margarine. Microwave on HIGH for about 5 minutes, stirring once after 2 minutes. While the nuts or seeds are toasting, you can be doing something else.
  16. Bake meat loafs, casseroles, soufflés, etc. in individual dishes to cut down on the baking time.
  17. If baking a low-sugar or sugar-free cake, bake the batter in muffin cups instead of a cake pan to cut down on the baking time.
  18. When sautéing mushrooms, don’t crowd the skillet. They need room so the liquid they give off will evaporate quickly so they can brown.
  19. When making a dish, double or triple the recipe, freezing the extra batches in one or two microwavable plastic containers. Your next meal(s) will be ready in minutes.
  20. Make use of the defrost feature of your microwave oven to quickly thaw chicken or meat before you start cooking.
  21. Do you own a pressure cooker – a three-pound pot roast will cook in under an hour in a pressure cooker.
  22. Bonnie makes use of her bamboo steamers to prepare an entire meal in minutes. Layer the ingredients according to their cooking time, the foods that take more time at the bottom of the stack and the ones that take the least time on the top.
  23. When steaming vegetables, a wet kitchen towel between the pot and the lid will keep the steam in the pot, reducing the cooking time.
  24. Use a large skillet when reducing liquids before making a sauce. The larger the surface area, the quicker the time it takes for the liquid to evaporate.
  25. Finally, read through the recipe and make sure you have all of the ingredients pre-prepped and assembled BEFORE you start cooking. A lot of precious time can be wasted hunting through the pantry, cupboard, or fridge for missing ingredients.

Next post, we’ll talk about faster kitchen clean-up.