Are you sick of spending too much time in the kitchen? If you love to cook but you’re a time-poor career person or if you just want more time to enjoy other things like gardening, reading, or watching your favourite series, then this blog is definitely for you! These are our brilliant recipe cheats and kitchen shortcuts that will help you to deliver tasty meals to your dinner table in a flash.
Cooking equipment is your best friend
No, we don’t mean that you need to have a convection oven or an 8-burner stove to get your meals done quickly. Microwaves and slow cookers can be your best friends too. The trusty microwaves isn’t just for heating leftovers, it’s also a great piece of kitchen equipment that will speed up the cooking of some of your recipe’s ingredients.
Bacon takes only 1 minute to cook in the microwave. Root vegetables and pumpkin are both easier to peel if you throw them in the microwave first for a few minutes. And your spaghetti squash will take you only 10 minutes to cook in the microwave instead of an hour-long of roasting in the oven.
As for that slow cooker, it’s the ultimate time saver – just throw everything into the pot in the morning and come home to a dish full of deliciousness in the afternoon. Not sure what to cook? Just check out these 100 slow cooker recipes from Taste.
Simplicity is a beautiful thing
Many restaurants prepare their ingredients separately, but if you’re cooking at home, there’s absolutely no need to spend a lot of time preparing and cooking everything individually. Your pasta will be done in half the time if you cook it in the sauce itself instead of cooking the macaroni and making the sauce separately. Your good old macaroni cheese will still be amazingly delicious if you cook the macaroni in the milk. It’s not only faster to cook, those lovely macaroni noodles naturally help to render the milk down to a creamy sauce, so all you have to do is throw in some grated cheese at the end. There’s a simple, one-pot dinner done in next to no time!
For salads and sides, buy packaged greens that are fresh and ready to cook, such as chopped stir fry vegies or cauliflower rice. They may be a little more expensive to buy but having a bag or two in the fridge will dramatically reduce your food prep time (especially if you're time-poor). And if you fancy having a roast chook for dinner but don’t want to spend an hour or so cooking it, try this speedy roasted chicken and chips from Donna Hay.
Keep them small
Do you know what many chefs' little secret is? They slice, cut, and dice their ingredients quite small, not just for presentation, but more importantly, because smaller things are faster to cook. If you don’t want to buy the pre-packaged variety, use a food processor to do the trick for you. Even better, if you use ingredients that are naturally small such as small new potatoes or baby carrots - it’s easier to cut and slice them, or you can add them to your recipe whole. Take a look at how fast and easy it is to whip up these tasty gourmet sausages with couscous – just 5 minutes prep and 10 minutes cook time to get dinner on the table!
A little work now can give you a whole week of shortcuts
With all of the cooking shows on TV these days you’ve probably heard the term “mise-en-place.” It’s French for food preparation, and it’s what usually takes up far more of your time than the actual cooking. If you get a few spare hours, it’s worth spending the time preparing your meals in advance – or even for the whole week! Of course, you’ll need to plan your recipes and make a list of the ingredients needed first. Cook your grains and cut-up veggies so they’re ready when you need them. Simply blanch your greens and roast your veggies then freeze them (or keep in the fridge for up to 3 days). Make stock and pack it in smaller portions before freezing. And don’t forget to add this yummy roasted vegetables with green tahini to your repertoire, so you can use your prepared veggies.
Want to spend less time in the kitchen and still serve homemade meals? Then don’t cook at all! No, we don’t mean grab your phone and call for a delivery. There are great tasting meals that you can serve on your dinner table without having to cook a thing. Nothing beats serving that leftover roast chicken wrapped in pita bread, with some spinach leaves, chopped cucumber, grated carrots and sliced tomatoes (or whatever happens to be in the fridge). For more no-cook recipes, check this list from Taste.com.
Get these cheats and shortcuts working for you!
These recipe cheats and kitchen shortcuts can really do wonders for your time management. Of course, you may need to invest in some quality equipment to make it work for you, and if that isn’t within your budget right now, we’re here to help. Just check out our cash loans from $1,000 to find out how quick and easy it is to get your hands on some extra funds. Once a loan is approved, we can usually deposit the funds into your bank account within a few hours - so you can get these cheats and shortcuts working for you in no time.