If there’s one thing you could probably use more of, it’s time. Here’s how you can make cooking fast and easy with these tried-and-tested prepping, cooking and cleaning hacks to get you out of the kitchen and back into the sunshine.
1. Cut smaller pieces
Keep this in mind next time you chop your veggies, especially chunky vegetables like carrots, pumpkins, kumara and potatoes. Smaller pieces cook faster because more surface area gets in contact with the heat, making it get hotter quicker.
Bonus points if you cut all your pieces the same size! If half your kumara is 5 cm thick while the other half is double the thickness, you’re gonna end up with burnt thinner pieces and undercooked thicker pieces.
2. Buy boneless
If you’re pressed for time, buy boneless cuts of meat. Bones keep the meat around it at a lower temperature for longer than if it was boneless so it takes a bit more time to cook. For comparison, boneless, skinless chicken thighs cook in 15 to 20 minutes, but bone-in thighs take between 25 and 30 minutes.
3. Put a lid on it
If you’re boiling or simmering, put a tight-fitting lid on your pot. This will trap the heat in the pot instead of it escaping out. But if you’re trying to reduce sauce, keep the lid off so liquid can evaporate quicker.
4. Preheat your sheet pan
When roasting things such as fries and veggies, place your sheet pan in the oven as it preheats and you won’t need to flip them halfway through — plus it’ll give your veggies a nice crispy bottom.
5. Use your microwave
Gordon Ramsay might turn his nose down at this hack but the secret to cutting vegetable cooking time in half is to microwave them. Microwave your vegetables like mushrooms, kale, eggplant, or courgette before you sautéing them to cut cooking time in half.
6. Cut down on the clean up
For one less dish to wash, cover your baking sheet or roasting pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. It catches all the drips so you can just roll it into a ball and chuck it out when you’re done.