Become a Better Cook! This Just Maika Cooking: Cook’s Notebook section will focus on everything related to food-prepping tips to save time connected to all my recipe posts, which are updated frequently.
6 Ways to Save Time in the Kitchen!
Important Food-Prepping tips.
Place a damp kitchen cloth or paper towel on the countertop.
Then, place your cutting on top. This will create friction and prevent your board from slipping.
1. Have a Steady and Ready Cutting Board
- This will help prevent your board from moving around and slipping while cutting, which can be frustrating and hazardous when using a sharp blade.
- Solution 1: Line the bottom with a grip liner (buy on Amazon), damp paper towel, or kitchen towel for thick wooden or plastic cutting boards.
- You want to ensure the liner is flat enough to grip the board’s bottom surface as much as possible.
- Solution 2: For the Fotouzy flexible plastic color-coded cutting boards.
- Place a damp paper towel under it.
- This will ensure the cutting surface is flat and keep the board from slipping.
Image of the 7-inch PAUDIN Chef Santoku Knife.
2. Start with a Sharp Blade
- Did you know that dull blades are more dangerous than sharp ones?
- You are likelier to slip while cutting with a dull blade, especially with ingredients with a thin layer of a slippery membrane, like onions.
- If your blade is sharp, it will always cut through how you want it to.
- Dull blades won’t cut straight, causing un-uniformed cutting and a wrong way to practice your knife skills.
- Solution: Sharpen your blades often.
3. Have a Container for Waste
- This prevents less time walking to the garbage can.
- Having everything in arms reach creates a more efficient prep area with less time walking around.
- Your area will stay clean and free of debris, which equals less cleaning at the end of cooking.
- Solution: You can achieve this using a deep square-shaped container, a medium-sized bowl, or a small garbage pail you attach to the cabinet next to you, like the INSHA Hanging Trash Can.
4. Read the Recipe in its Entirety
- The worst thing you can do is start cooking from a recipe with missed ingredients or steps because you didn’t know beforehand.
- This can cause food to overcook or burn, like mushrooms burning during a stirfry. After all, you are looking in your cabinet for a container because your recipe requested to be set aside after it is fried to do the next step.
- Not reading beforehand can also cause your kitchen to be a mess due to disorganization, from half-prepped ingredients to multiple pots, pans, and utensils scattered around.
- If the recipe uses an oven, make sure your oven is calibrated to the correct temperature!
- Using the rack in the center of the oven, hang an oven thermometer to the center of that rack. Heat your oven to the desired temperature suggested. When the preheat indicator turns off, check the temperature of your oven; if the thermometer doesn’t read the same temperature, increase or decrease the oven temperature until it meets the suggested temperature.
- Solution: Read the recipe for marinades, ingredients, oven temperatures, kitchen equipment, and accessories needed beforehand to help you set up for success.
Ingredients for the Aleppo Pepper Spiced Vegetarian Borscht recipe.
5. Gather All Ingredients
Before you Touch that Darn Stove and Start Cooking
- In the culinary professional world, the term “mise en place” was drilled into our heads. This is a French culinary term that means “putting in place.” You don’t want to be in the middle of a rush and a section of your station is not set! Ugh, I can just hear my chef and see his face! No, thank you! Hahaha
- You can’t even start in some recipes because you must marinate the protein for 24 hours!
- Some recipes call for certain ingredients to be steamed in advance or other sides made in advance, like rice.
- Solution: Know exactly what you need.
- Know your inventory and have a complete shopping list made.
- Gather and prep all your ingredients and place them on a wide sheet pan. I personally use a pizza tray; it’s convenient and easy to store, and if I have the ingredients directly on the pan, it’s easy to slip it right off into a pot or pan.
6. Add Time-Saving Kitchen Equipment
- Food Processors - You can quickly chop herbs, onions, garlic, and other vegetables. For larger prep, you can use a larger food processor with a food shute that can even help make dough. Some may even use a manual food chopper, which is easier to store and great for meal prep.
- Japanese Mandolines - They can also help in slicing and shredding vegetables quickly, such as carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, etc. I personally have used this Benriner brand for over 20 years.
- Rice Cookers - This allows you to throw all ingredients in, set the cooking time, and let it cook while you prep everything else.
- Air-Fryers - These combine a fryer and an oven, conveniently shortening the cooking time for healthier meals.
Cook's Notebook: Become a Better Cook!
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