5 Tips for Being Efficient in the Kitchen

Do you find yourself throwing away food because it’s gone bad and you just forgot to cook it? Do you hate reheating the same leftovers again and again? Or do you just wish you could spend less time cooking and more time enjoying your food? Either way, creating more efficient kitchen habits is an excellent idea. Even cooks who think they’re fairly efficient can benefit from some of these tips.

1) Organize

Spend some time thinking about what utensils, dishes, and appliances that you use on a regular basis and which ones you only pull out on special occasions. Put rarely-used dishes and tools on the top shelves of cupboards and make sure the ones in regular rotation are close at hand. Using drawer organizers can really help with this. It’s also a great idea to put a jar on the worktop and fill it with spoons, whisks, and other tools.

2) Shop Efficiently

It’s important to not buy too much or too little food. Recipe books can be somewhat unhelpful, as standardized portions may be too much for cooks living alone or with a partner, and may not be enough for those with large families. It’s important to remember to scale recipes up or down depending on how many people are eating. Also, planning several days’ worth of meals before going shopping helps avoid waste.

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3) Prep Ingredients

Ingredients for multiple meals can all be prepared at one time. Large amounts of meat can be cooked, chicken can be roasted in the oven, vegetables can be sliced and onions and garlic chopped in large quantities. This can be done on Sunday afternoons or on a day off when a cook has some spare time. It can even be done while watching television! Preparing ingredients ahead of time makes stressful weeknight cooking much faster.

4) Transform Leftovers

Reheating the same leftovers again and again can be boring at best and unpleasant at worst. That’s why it’s important to think of ways you can transform leftovers. For example, cooked meat (like a whole roasted chicken) can be eaten alone for one meal, and made into a bake, a soup, or used to top a salad or sandwich later. Almost any ingredient can be transformed this way.

5) Make Two

Sometimes it can be helpful to double a recipe and make twice the amount, especially when making a labor-intensive dish that requires a lot of chopping or cooking time. This means that on days when cooks have free time, twice the food can be made without additional work and often without dirtying additional dishes. The extra food can be stored in the freezer for later. Then, it only needs to be reheated on a busy night, and no additional cooking time is needed!

Brendan is the Head Chef at one of the leading waterfront Sydney restaurants. Being efficient in the kitchen helps him to always get his meals out on time. Brendan is currently writing his third cookbook which will be in stores early next year.

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