How to make cooking faster and less daunting experience
“How to make cooking faster” is arguably one of the most common questions busy mums ask. It comes as no surprise. As a mum, you’re probably faced with a day job, caring for the kids, cleaning the home, and, yes, cooking. You do most other things once a day, but cooking is done multiple times on most days.
And since you shouldn’t cook the same meal twice daily or every day, knowing what to cook can become daunting. You may go to the grocery store and spend hours racking your brain on what you may or may not need.
And when the cooking begins, there’s always so much to do. And being a busy mum, time is always a never-ending concern. So how can you make cooking faster, easier, and less daunting so you can find time and energy to carry out your other to-dos?
There are simple tricks to follow. You’ll find that cooking becomes as easy as pie, an experience you happily look forward to without going, “Oh my, not again.”
So, let’s begin!
10 steps to make cooking faster and less gruelling
1. Plan your meals before the week begins
One thing that may easily get you frustrated daily is not knowing what to cook. There are so many choices, so which do you go for?
It’s always advisable to take a few minutes on weekends to plan your meals for the next week. And there’s good news: There are many free meal timetables online you can download and put up in your kitchen!
A meal plan will let you know what foodstuffs to buy, how to budget, and what to cook every time so that you never spend valuable time racking your brain.
2. Mentally run through the cooking process before you begin
One way to make cooking faster is to mentally itemize the process before you begin. Think about what comes after each step so you can be proactive and get them ready before the time comes. This will ensure you don’t run into jams, like forgetting to get water boiling.
This can make all the difference in whether you spend two hours or one.
If you’re cooking more than one meal, think about how you can incorporate some steps such that you do something once instead of twice, like boiling water.
3. Heat the oven before you begin
Avoid waiting until you’re ready to put that food in the oven before you turn it on. Do that as soon as you get in the kitchen so the oven can heat up while you prep whatever you want to put in it.
You can also speed up cooking by heating the oven through convection, then switching back to regular once it’s hot enough.
4. Gather all your needs around you
Now that you have a mental game plan in mind, you know all that you will need. Pull out all the appliances, utensils, and cookware you’ll need before you begin cooking. This will ensure you don’t search for them later when you’re in the middle of something else. This simple trick will make cooking a more convenient experience.
You know, you grumble more when you start getting frustrated because something you realize you need urgently is over 10 ft. away.
5. Hack through your spices
When you’re in so much hurry as a busy mom, the taste is at risk. You may either forget to add a particular ingredient or put an insufficient quantity of it. Prepping certain special spices may also require time. To avoid such problems and make cooking much faster, use the secret herbs and spices to give your food that distinctive, mouthwatering taste. It’s a hack. Why? Because you don’t have to worry about getting this and that for every different dish.
With the secret herbs and spices, you’ve got yourself a master key.
6. Don’t be scared to improvise
Women worry a lot over what should work for that special dish. It’s normal. If they recommended rice wine vinegar, then that’s the only thing that’d work, right? Nope! Any other vinegar would work in its stead quite well.
Even though the final taste doesn’t come as it was at that restaurant, it doesn’t take away the fact that it still tastes great. Don’t always beat yourself up or spend time sourcing for certain rare ingredients. One secret to making cooking less daunting is to improvise; do with what you have.
7. Put recipes in digital format
It’s advisable to type recipes on your smartphone so you can easily pull them up while cooking. This would also make things easier if you want to make changes or add notes to the recipe. If you didn’t note it down ASAP, you’ll probably later forget what you did exactly or how you did it.
8. Get the water on the fire as soon as you step into the kitchen
If you already know all the steps for cooking the dish and boiling something comes first, don’t wait to prep that constituent first. Make your cooking faster by getting the water on the stove as soon as you step into the kitchen so that it’s already hot by the time the ingredient is ready to go in. Then proceed with the prep work.
That way, you wouldn’t have to waste precious moments standing and waiting idly for the water to boil.
9. Clean vegetables efficiently
Chances are, you rinse your produce before cutting off the inedible parts. That can be a waste of valuable time. To make things quicker, trim vegetables or cut up the lettuce before rinsing. That way, you’d only spend time cleaning what you need in one wash.
It’s also an excellent idea to combine different vegetables in a colander to minimize water usage and speed things up.
10. Multitask where applicable
They say multitasking makes one inefficient, but not in cooking. Instead of waiting for the meat to finish frying before grating the tomato, you can grate in between the stirs. Check the meat, continue your grating. That way, you wouldn’t have to sit idly for a few minutes.
Every moment counts for a busy mum. Life can get really busy, but cooking should be more of an enjoyable experience. It’s something you do multiple times daily, so there’s every reason to find shortcuts to it. By practising the above and anything else you discover works for you, cooking will become a less time-consuming task.