My Top 5 Tips for Easy, Breezy Cooking

by Anna D

Now that the holidays are over and we’re getting back to a somewhat normal routine, I thought it would be timely to share my tips that make cooking faster and easier. But, before I go there, let me preface this post by saying that I haven’t always been a “cooker.” I started out being a bit “challenged” in the kitchen. In fact, whenever I cooked for my Mom, she would be surprised at how good my cooking has become…LOL.

I also would like to tell you that I don’t enjoy cooking that much. Sure, if I have time and I don’t have anything else to do, I find it relaxing every now and then. But, I mainly do it because I know it is the only way I can ensure that my family and I eat healthy at home and eat the dishes I actually want to eat. And if you didn’t know already, it is a sure fire way to trim your waistline. Plus, it does save us a lot money in the long run.

So, for a busy mom, wife, and entrepreneur, I have developed my own short cuts in the kitchen to make cooking more enjoyable and less complex. Here are a few of them…

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Tip #1 Buy Pre-cut Vegetables

I know not all vegetables are packaged pre-cut but when I do find them, I typically will grab them. For instance, I would always buy butternut squash pre-cut just because it is such a hassle to peel and cut them myself. A good place to find these pre-cut packages are at Trader Joe’s. They usually have a wider selection there compared to other grocery stores. My mom would also buy minced garlic in a jar sometimes but I always like to have freshly cut onions and garlic for maximum flavor.

If buying broccoli or cauliflower, try to get the bundle with only the “crowns.” This makes them easier for you to pull apart and/or cut. Plus, you’re only paying for the parts you actually eat instead of paying for the tougher part of the stalks that you throw away.

Tip #2 Freeze Greens and Fruits

This may not necessarily cut on your preparation and cook time but it does keep your greens and fruits fresher, longer especially if you mainly use them for smoothies like I do. Now, if I’m using the greens for salads or eating the fruits for snacks, I keep them in the fridge and use them right away instead of freezing them. If I’m sauteing the greens, I would still freeze them as they are going to wilt when cooked anyway so it won’t matter whether they’re fresh or frozen.

Tip inside another tip: If you’re storing your leafy vegetables in the fridge, put them inside a ziploc bag with a wet paper towel so they last longer and stay crisp.

Tip #3 Make a Grocery List

As easy as this may sound, I am always surprised as to how many people go to the grocery store without a list. Most people just go and pick up whatever they get their hands on and end up wasting their money because they don’t end up cooking most of what they bought.

Plan ahead by knowing the recipes/dishes you want to make for the whole week and create your list from that. This way, you know exactly what you’re getting at the store and you know you’re actually going to cook everything you bought. In addition, if you stick to your list, you don’t end up picking up junk that wasn’t in your plan to begin with.

Tip #4 Separate/Cut Ingredients Before Putting Them Away

This may seem counterproductive but I assure you, it will make your life so much easier. If you have vegetables you know needed to be cut, go ahead and do that and store them in ziploc containers. This way, you don’t have to take out your knife and cutting board each time you cook. For more details on how to do this, read this post by clicking here.

I would also like to add that if you buy meat in bulk, you may separate them into the portions you will be using or typically use for your dishes. This way, you don’t have to thaw the whole package and then re-freeze what you didn’t use. Meat also defrosts faster in smaller portions.

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Tip #5 Hit Two Birds with One Stone

There are times when I would cook the meat once then use the remaining meat for another dish. For instance, I would roast a whole chicken in the oven which is usually only good fresh out of the oven but we always have left over chicken afterwards. So, what I did was use the left over chicken to make soup! Because the chicken is already seasoned, it actually makes my chicken soup even yummier 🙂

You can do the same thing for ground beef. For example, if you’re making spaghetti for your post-workout meal and sauteing the beef in garlic and onions, you can double up the amount and use the same sauteed beef to put in your breakfast omelette or sauteed veggies for an instant meal!

These are just a few tips I can think of right now, I will update the post (or write a new one) if I think of more.

But, for now, I encourage you to try the tips above and share yours in the comment section below too.

Keep moving forward (and take others with you),

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