There are a lot of people out there who love to cook. These are the people who don’t mind putting in all of that effort to shop, chop, dice, and sauté because they get rewarded for their efforts with a nice meal. But, for a lot of us, the reward simply isn’t enough. Even though you know you should cook for your health and to save money, you still find yourself ordering a pizza. Cooking doesn’t have to be painful though. Follow these kitchen tips and you’ll find cooking a lot easier. Heck, you might even start to like it!
Upgrade Your Kitchen Tools
Chances are that you hate to cook because it takes you too long. A lot of this is simply practice, but it could be because you are using the wrong tools. If you are trying to cut an onion with the wrong knife (which will be dull too since you don’t take care of your kitchen gear), then it will probably take over a minute. With the right knife, you can get that onion chopped in 20 seconds flat.
While you are at it, you might want to invest in some handy kitchen tools which save a lot of time:
- Bottleneck blender: great for making soups and dips. To clean, all you need to do is rinse.
- Crock Pot: just throw in a bunch of ingredients, turn it on, and you’ve got a tasty stew. You can even set it to cook while you are at work. It doesn’t get much easier than that!
- Food processor: A mini food processors like the Magic Bullet makes it super fast and easy to chop up foods like onions and carrots. Just make sure you choose one which doesn’t have a lot of parts so it is easy to clean too!
Choose a Foods, Not a Recipe
Here is how a lot of people decide what to eat: they find a recipe which looks good and then set about cooking it. They should be doing it in reverse! First, pick out a main ingredient (in other words, see what you’ve got in the fridge or what is on sale at the store). Then search online for a simple recipe which uses this ingredient.
*Tip: To find a recipe using the foods you have on hand, go to Google Image Search. Just type in the ingredients + recipe. For example, search for “tofu carrots tomato rice recipe” and you get these results.
Keep Your Kitchen Stocked with Staples
If you are making a trip to the supermarket each time you need to cook, then it is no wonder you hate cooking! Keep your pantry stocked with the staples (like oil, seasonings, rice, beans, onions) and you will be able to cook just about any recipe with just the addition of an ingredient or two. Use this vegan shopping list to make sure you always have staples and ingredients on hand for a complete meal!
Initiate Spaghetti Wednesdays
Lots of people love to cook. Then they start having families and have to cook every day. A common complaint from these people isn’t that they hate cooking, but hate figuring out what to cook. So, make it easier on yourself by having a fallback. Make Wednesdays pasta day, or Fridays pizza day. This way, you at least get one day that you don’t have to think about.
Invite People Over for a Cook Fest
Cooking for one seems like a lot of trouble. Sure, you can cook lots of food so you have leftovers – but who wants to eat the same leftovers for days on end? To make it more enjoyable, invite a friend over for dinner. Be explicit about the fact that the cooking will be a joint effort.
Cut Down on the Cooking Time
Pasta normally takes about 10-20 minutes to cook. But, if you soak it in water overnight first, the cooking time is reduced to just a couple minutes. The same applies to grains like rice, couscous, and quinoa. Likewise, there are all sorts of other tricks to make cooking go faster. The easiest one is to simply cut foods smaller — like those potatoes you want to boil and mash. My favorite tip is to bulk cook grains, beans, legumes, etc. Then I put them into baggies and put them in my freezer so they are always ready.
Make Cleanup Easier
One of the main reasons that people hate cooking is because they’ve got to cleanup afterwards. Seriously, cleanup doesn’t have to be difficult. For starters, choose simple meals that can be cooked with one pot. If you are serving a multi-course meal (like the main dish with a salad or soup), first serve the salad or soup and then serve the main course on the same dish. You’ve just reduced your dishes by nearly half!
Make use of all that time you spend waiting for the onions to sauté or water to boil by cleaning up as you cook. As for washing pots and pans, put some hot water in them immediately. Then let them soak. Cleaning them up tomorrow will be a lot easier.