I loathe daunting household tasks. I fear time-consuming chores and, growing up, I avoided them at any cost (see below). As an adult I am constantly googling ways to simplify chores and then tolerating them with a shot of Jim Beam.
This post may shock those who know me best, because I am not an organized person. I don’t enjoy labels, compartments, travel plans; my days are spontaneous at best. God blessed me with talents other than order and organization.
So if you live in the perpetual unknown and clutter, rest assured that these tips are something even you can accomplish.
One day it just clicked for me! What if I can make my cooking life easier? If meal preparations were simple, I would certainly play chef more often!
Here we go.
- Be on the look-out for timely shortcuts. Many grocery stores (my favorite is Publix) will chop or slice meats according to your recipe. They also sell pre-chopped commonly-used, fresh vegetables like onions and peppers. My favorite food shortcut that stays fresh for months, is this minced garlic found in the produce aisle. (No need to make a garlic mess when you can apply it by the spoonful – so simple.)
- Have an “ingredient runner.” Picture a mechanic under a vehicle ordering tools. That is the cook and the ingredient runner. My husband is a great “ingredient runner” when we are in a hurry (and a school-aged child can help with this as well). My husband stands at the pantry and fridge and quickly passes me necessary items from frozen corn to chicken broth. He will also close up bags and containers and put them back to their appropriate home, limiting my project time and frustration. His time invested is usually five minutes.
- Use paper plates for chopping or mixing ingredients. What a travesty when the chopping board has been soiled by raw chicken and we still have cilantro to chop! Should we pause everything to wash the cutting board at the sink? If you are lazy like me, absolutely not. Just pull out a paper plate, chop the cilantro, and discard. So simple. So easy. (This excellent trick was introduced to me by my husband, honorary ingredient runner.)
- Leisurely list your needs – before the store trip. Over the course of the day before my meal(s), I lazily select my desired recipes and review my cupboards. I peruse my Pinterest boards called Healthy Eats and Sinful Eats. I complete these activities at a bathroom break or TV commercial. Later I make a 15-minute trip to my favorite store, clutching my plan and list. I grocery shop the day before the meal so that minimal effort is necessary on the day I cook. Who would go to the grocery store regularly if it was a two-hour browse fest and panicked internet search?! Been there, done that, and I ran home, defeated.
- Use the appropriate utensils. This tip is so essential. My favorite is the tongs. The tongs are underrated for the female indoor cook. But they can flip meats or vegetables, gently stir – no need to complicate techniques with flat spoons or spatulas. Find what works for you and stick to it. Tongs complete me.
- Utilize the slow cooker or other appliances such as a pressure cooker. Meals become timely when a side dish is added to the slow cooker in the morning and simmers while I’m at work. I make all of my mashed potatoes this way. When I get home, all that I have to do is prepare the meat and maybe another side such as bagged salad! So easy.
That’s all I’ve learned yet. Please add your best tips in the comments below!