Looking to up your game in the kitchen? Trying to prepare more meals at home? Perhaps you’re short on time and need quick tricks and shortcuts. Or you might just be looking for some helpful tips to improve your already impressive cooking skills. No matter what your goals in the kitchen are I’m here to help. Here is my list of top 10 cooking tips to get you into the kitchen more often, keep you safe while you’re there, and make the time spent preparing meals enjoyable and less stressful. Get ready friends! Grab a pencil, copy and paste, or simply pin this for a later read. Here we go…
Tip Number 1
Plan your meals
I cannot stress this tip enough. Every week I plan out what events are going on and determine my family’s dinner menu based on those expected outings. This helps me figure out which nights I know I’m going to have time to cook and which nights I’d prefer to have leftovers. I can also make my grocery list from this weekly menu and check my pantry for items I have on hand and which I need to stock up on (check out this post on my Top 10 Vegan Pantry Staples). Overall, the first of my top 10 tips will really simplify your life in the kitchen in more ways than one.
Tip Number 2
I’m sure you’ve heard this a hundred times but it ready does make preparing a meal less daunting if all the vegetables are washed, peeled, de-seeded and chopped beforehand. A little extra time spent early in the week will feel like a lifesaver when that dinnertime rush begins at home. Since most of the meals you’ll prepare from this site include quite a bit of vegetables the more time you can spare upfront the better off you’ll be in the long run.
Tip Number 3
This may sound just like Tip Number 2 above but it’s actually different. It’s important to get out every ingredient you’ll need to make your recipe (not just the vegetables). I also like to suggest that you get out all measuring utensils, knives, can openers, peelers, bowls, etc. Having everything out will save you time and ensure that you’re focusing on the task at hand which can help prevent kitchen accidents such as cuts and burns.
Tip Number 4
Read the recipe
This may sound obvious but I cannot emphasize this tip enough: read the recipe. ALL THE WAY THROUGH! And read it before you begin the meal. I even suggest reading the recipe the evening before. Sometimes a recipe will call for day old rice, soaked nuts or beans, 24-hour marinades and the like. There’s nothing worse than prepping all your ingredients and getting out all your utensils only to realize you can’t prepare your meal because something wasn’t made ahead of time.
Tip Number 5
Keep a stocked pantry
I’m guilty of not fully reading a recipe when I’m making my grocery list. Or of accidentally deleting ingredients from the grocery list on my phone. It happens. Enter the next of my top 10 cooking tips: keeping a well-stocked vegan pantry. Try to keep it supplied with some essential non-perishable items such as diced tomatoes, sauces, canned and dried beans, nut butters, pasta, herbs and spices, and oils to name a few. That way if you get home and realize you’ve forgotten something crucial to the recipe there’s a good chance you won’t have to improvise. The missing ingredient may be present in your well-stocked pantry.
Another reason I love keeping a good amount of spare food in the pantry is well…life. You (or your children) get sick and you can’t make it to the store when you’re running low on food. Last minute activities prevent you from making the meal you had planned. You have a rough day and don’t feel like preparing a more intricate meal you were originally going to make. Having a full pantry will: buy you time when you’re running low on fresh food; cut down on prep when you’re strapped for time; and help you when you’re looking to relax after a trying day.
Tip Number 6
Have littles help
Assign your child(ren) age-appropriate kitchen tasks. This could be as simple as setting the table before dinner or as involved as preparing most of the meals themselves. If kids get involved they’ll feel an immense sense of accomplishment and appreciation for the meal they helped prepare and meals served to them in the future. Use your best judgment in determining what tasks are appropriate and be sure to always watch your little helper(s). As they become more proficient in the kitchen the pressure on you to prep, cook, and clean-up will steadily decrease.
Tip Number 7
Make sure your knives are sharp
The next of my top 10 cooking tips is a pretty important one when it comes to kitchen safety. Did you know that it’s actually much safer to use a sharp knife than a dull one? Sharper knives require less pressure to cut through food thus you’re less likely to have a dangerous slip-up. Keep your knives sharp and your fingers safe!
Tip Number 8
Have a garbage bowl
Having a large bowl dedicated to kitchen scraps while preparing a meal is a lifesaver for cleanup. It saves room on the cutting board or kitchen counter and also prevents food scraps from being thrown down the kitchen sink.
Tip Number 9
Peel ginger with a spoon
Fresh ginger is pretty soft and its skin in thin. There’s no need to use a knife to peel it. Simply use the back of a spoon! Once I discovered this handy little trick I wanted to put fresh ginger in everything. Just make sure you wash the ginger before peeling and after a few quick strokes of the spoon you’re ready to dice, grate, or julienne your way to Asian fusion bliss.
Tip Number 10
De-seeding a squash
I’ve been using this little trick for years and it saves me a lot of heartache in the fall and winter months when I’m eating my body weight in squash. Get yourself a sturdy ice cream scoop and use that instead of a spoon to scoop out the guts of your squash. And as a bonus tip: don’t throw out those squash seeds! Pumpkin, delicata, butternut and spaghetti squash seeds are amazing roasted. Keep your eyes open for an upcoming Chili Roasted Squash Seeds.
I hope that you’ve found my top 10 cooking tips worth reading. What are some cooking tips and tricks that you always use to make your experience in the kitchen stress-free, safe and enjoyable? I’d love to hear so leave a message in the comments below!