Got time to cook? Some days you get more time than others. Running short on time doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice your waistline to takeout food or store-bought meals. Check out these 7 kitchen hacks to shorten cooking time.
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As with any cooking shortcut, when you use the kitchen tips below to adjust recipes, always check to make sure your food is fully cooked before serving.
1. Cut meat and fish into smaller pieces.
A recipe might instruct you to cook an entire cut of meat or fish, but you can often prepare the meal just as well – and faster – by slicing it into smaller pieces. Cooking poultry or meat without the bone will also slash cook time. Try it with recipe ideas like 21 Quick and Easy Salmon Dinner Recipes and 15 Favorite Chicken Dishes for Your Slow Cooker.
2. Use smaller baking pans.
One of the top kitchen hacks to reduce cooking time is to pour batter for cakes, cupcakes, and muffins into a smaller pan(s) than the recipe instructs. For example, turn Pumpkin Raisin Muffins into mini muffins.
3. Cook crockpot recipes on high.
The crockpot is convenient, but cooking times can stretch all day. Many slow cooker meals can be safely cooked on high. This usually cuts cooking time in half. Use this kitchen hack with Slow Cooker Chunky Beef & Potato Stew and Slow Cooker Skinny Chicken Enchilada Soup.
4. Plan meals that incorporate the same ingredients.
Another way to reduce cooking time is to plan meals using the same ingredient, which allows you to streamline prep. For example, when you make Black Bean and Quinoa Chili Bowl and Chicken Breasts with Quinoa and Kale during the same week, prepare the quinoa for both recipes at the same time. When it’s time to make your chicken recipe, simply add the prepared quinoa.
5. Cover those pots.
In the hustle and bustle of dinner prep, this is a basic step that often gets missed. Your food will cook faster when there’s a cover to hold in heat. Unless a recipe states that the food should cook uncovered, make it a habit to cover pots and pans to decrease cooking time. Make this method work for you with Orecchiette Pasta with Broccoli or Sicilian Cart Driver’s Pasta.
6. Fully defrost frozen ingredients.
Some crockpot and casserole recipes ramp up the convenience factor by incorporating frozen ingredients. If you want to decrease cooking time, defrost ingredients, whether meat or vegetables, before adding them to the recipe.
7. Bag the food you’re cooking.
Bagging food holds in heat, allowing it to cook at a faster rate. For the microwave, use steamer bags for frozen meats and vegetables. Be careful not to overcook in steamer bags because it can dry out your ingredients. When cooking meat in the oven, use an oven bag to reduce cook times. This also traps moisture, which allows the meat to retain more of its own juices. Try it with healthy recipes like Everything Roasted Chicken.
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