Not everyone has the time or passion for cooking meals every day. Perhaps your to-do list takes most of your day, or you’re just the type who prefers binge-watching cooking shows on your PJs while eating ramen. Nonetheless, wholesome and hearty meals are still possible even if you’ve nodded along as we described those people above.
The good news is, like with any life skill; you can hack your way around cooking. This will save you time and even the patience to create something besides instant noodles. And sorry to call you out, but ordering a three-cheese pizza every day isn’t healthy. No, not even with a side of “vegetables” in the form of fries.
Tip #1: Make a Bigger Batch
Even if you are busy or lazy, there will come a time where you’d have the energy and sudden enthusiasm to cook. So, why not take this opportunity and create a larger batch? If you’re living alone, you might be used in cooking small portions because anything bigger seems unnecessary and costly. However, you’re actually saving money and effort in the long run.
If you think about it, the leftovers that you’d get from a large batch is like you cooking in advance. What’s great about this is you’re doing all the work once, and you can reap your efforts for the days to follow. And as you can see over here, reheating food with a convection microwave oven can even take lesser time without giving dried, unappetizing results.
If you or your family doesn’t like the same meals in two consecutive days, you can alternate the leftovers. For example, if you’ve made lasagna on a Thursday night, you can freeze it until use on Saturday. Some days you might even enjoyed dinner so much that having it for breakfast the next morning doesn’t sound so bad.
Tip #2: Early Meal Prep
What makes some recipes time consuming is the number of preparations that you’ll need. Even if that certain pasta sounds amazing, if it needs an hour just for the ingredient prep, you might end up just tolerating a canned pasta.
Remember the “make a bigger batch” tip earlier? Well, some recipes have similar steps, and you can take advantage of this. For example, if you’re making a shepherd’s pie, why not make a larger portion of dough? Or if you are chopping some veggies, you might as well cut some more for next use.
Some veggies store easily, and having them quickly accessible can be the difference between buying an expensive dinner to a quick healthy one right at home. If you also have a well-stocked pantry, you can even experiment with a lot of meals.
For example, let’s say you have some free time on a Sunday. While you’re browsing your friend’s Instagram account, you can make use of the time and boil some chicken to get a stock. Of course, you need to watch what’s on the stove, but meal preps like this barely need time and effort to do.
Speaking of meal prep, you can easily check the internet nowadays for different recipes that you can do in advance. Whenever you have free time or energy, you can prepare the ingredients in food containers that are a week’s worth of food. This way, all you have to do is reheat them or do some minor cooking, such as stir-frying. You can even do all the cooking in one day to get the next days for “free” with the help of a convection microwave oven!
Tip #3: Prepare a List of Quick and Few-Ingredient Recipes
Think of this tip as being authoritative and dictated to what you’re going to cook for a day. Sounds weird, right? The thing is, if you force yourself to stick to specific recipes for a week, your chances of actually committing to them is higher.
It also means that you already come prepared and not just browsing through web pages with slight anger from being hungry. If you created a list of 30-minute recipes, you could have a gist of how much time you need to allot on your busy/lazy lifestyle.
You will also be seeing the steps, and if they seem easy enough, maybe you’d even end up doing them in advance and saving you more time later. And if you have leftovers, perhaps you can get creative and transform them into something more delicious. From pizzas to enchiladas, you might actually surprise yourself and find every mealtime enjoyable.
Since we’re talking about food, we have written some hacks that can save you time and effort from cooking to cleaning.
- Whenever you’re adding oil for stir-fry, pour the oil along the pan edges. This way, it will already be hot enough once it reaches the middle of the pan.
- Adding salt in boiling water will prevent eggs from cracking open. You can also submerge them immediately in cold water, so their yolks maintain their color.
- When you’re reheating bread, pizzas, or anything alike, you can place a cup of water with them in the microwave. This way, you can prevent them from going dry.
- Rolling lemons before squeezing them will result in more juices. However, you can also place them in the microwave or in a bowl of warm water.
Food Storage Hacks
- Placing fruit in a paper bag with an apple will hasten the fruit’s ripening process.
- Bananas are notorious for ripening too quickly. You can slow this down by covering the main stem of the bunch with a foil.
- Clean, emphasis on clean, shower caps can replace cling wraps and foils for food storage.
- Place paper towels at the bottom of your drawer pantry to keep your stock fresh.
Kitchen Clean-Up Hacks
- Rubbing your hands on a stainless steel material will get rid of leftover odors in your hands.
- Pour baking soda, followed by boiling water onto your drain to unblock and clean it.
- Give your kitchen garbage can some love by washing it regularly. Once it dries, sprinkle some baking soda at the bottom before reusing it.
- Not to be obsessed with baking soda, but a mixture of it with vinegar is great for wooden chopping boards. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, scrub, then rinse.