We might all aspire to the Insta worthy foodie life, but let’s be realistic - who has the time to painstakingly hard cut and slow simmer and perfectly light up a staged dinner shot? Most of us just want to get our butts home from work and have something (delicious) to eat pretty quickly. What if you could still cook something pretty fab while keeping the time requirements to a bare minimum? By following just a few of these time saving tips, you can whip up masterful meals and still be under the 20 minute mark!
Make Use of Canned or Pre-Sliced Veggies
Canned or frozen vegetables can sometimes get a bad rap but the truth is that if you are smart about it - reading labels and picking ones without added salt, flavorings, or other unnecessary additives - you can save the time washing and slicing up fresh produce with these already prepared deals. Same for beans - save yourself from soaking dry beans for hours with canned! You may even be able to find fresh produce that’s already chopped at times. Something like a butternut squash can be a pain to dice up and take close to an hour - but for just a buck or so more, you can save yourself the hassle and the headache and buy it already cubed.
Be a Prepper
No, not one of those doomsday bunker preppers - a recipe prepper! Before you start cooking, make sure you have all of your ingredients measured and prepared. You’ll be able to save so much time if you can just dump them in as you go along rather than having to pause at every step to go find something or chop something or pour something. If you have some free time on, say, a Sunday afternoon as well, you can really get ahead and pre-chop certain veggies for the next few days! Just make sure to secure them from air and store them in the refrigerator.
Microwave When You Can
Not everything is microwave-friendly - and not everything should be microwaved - but you can save a ton of time by par-cooking in the microwave and getting your food done faster. Potatoes can take a notoriously long time to cook (up to an hour in the oven) but can reach the same level of being cooked in just 20 minutes in a microwave. If you’re using frozen veggies, you can partially defrost them, too.
Pans? Make ‘Em Wide, Make ‘Em Shallow
Thank you, high school science class! Want your dinner to heat up faster? Make sure you are using a wider surface area that’s not so high and mighty on the height so that all ingredients are evenly close - and closer - to the heat source. The more ingredients that are physically touching the bottom of the pan, the quicker they will heat up and be ready to eat!
Roll Over Leftovers
Cook smart by reusing something delicious that you already spent time on in a new way the next day! If you’re main component is already cooked, it is a no-brainer that you’re saving time. Did you make up some ground turkey meatloaf on Monday? Layer it between pre-boiled lasagna noodles and some sauce for a pasta bake Tuesday. Did you saute up some beef and broccoli Wednesday? Add some coconut milk and some spice and have a curry Thursday!