Many of us love to spend time in the kitchen, but nobody likes to waste their time. So, we have compiled some of our favourite convenient time saving kitchen hacks for you to use, with links to some great sites with even more tips! Our IMK Hosts, who are exceptional home cooks, share their helpful hints for cooking too.
1. Prep Ahead with Meal Planning
Planning meals at the beginning of the week can take a bit of stress away. Meal planning makes the rest of your week easy as you don’t have to spend any time thinking about what you might cook for dinner tonight. This also makes grocery shopping simple as you know exactly what you will need to buy for the recipes.
2. Slow-Cooker (Crockpot) Advantages
Using a slow-cooker allows you to come home to a warm meal at the end of the long day. Just toss your ingredients in and let the slow-cooker do its magic. This is perfect for hearty stews, soups, and flavourful roasted meats. IMK host Raymond, also uses an Instapot to make the bone broths for his soups. What would take his mother hours to make, now takes Raymond minutes.
For more tips: 8 Ways a Slow Cooker (Crock-Pot) Saves You Time & Money
3. Use Frozen Veggies and Fruit
Although everyone enjoys fresh fruits and vegetables, using the frozen alternative in certain dishes can save you time and money. This quick tip takes away the preparation time of cutting up fruits and veggies as you can just throw them into the recipe. IMK host Leila, always has frozen herbs in her freezer so she can make kuku sabzi, this is very common in Iran, not only frozen herbs but also frozen roasted eggplant that is ready to make the delicious Mirzaghasemi (eggplant dip).
4. Easiest Way to Shred Chicken: Use a Hand Mixer
Instead of shredding your chicken by hand, try to use a hand or stand mixer to save time in the kitchen. This is great for many dishes like tacos, salads, and wraps. Works great for that pulled pork coming out of the crockpot too!
For more tips: How to Shred Chicken (four easy ways!) | Ambitious Kitchen
5. Have a Scrap Area or Garbage Bag on the Counter
Put all your scraps like vegetable peels and pieces you cut off veggies that you don’t want, and have one designated bag for all of it to be thrown into. Saves time from walking to and from the compost bin 50 times. Just do it once at the end! Alternatively, keep all your vegetable trimmings in a bag in the freezer and make your own stock each month.
6. Crush Garlic with a Knife - No More Pesky Peeling
Everyone loves garlic, but peeling the cloves can be such a pain. Here is a helpful hint for cooking garlic: try flattening the blade of your knife and pressing down on the garlic clove, then the skin will peel off, allowing for a quicker preparation experience. Simply chop up the clove, but don't throw it in your dish just yet! To obtain more health benefits from garlic, after you chop or crush the garlic at the beginning of your prep, and let it sit there for awhile as you prep the rest of your ingredients.
Here is another cooking tip for garlic: fresh garlic contains a chemical called alliin, when crushed or chopped an enzyme called alliinase is activated, this enzyme converts alliin to allicin. Allicin is believed to have anti inflammatory properties and block free radicals. The cooking process deactivates the enzyme, but letting the freshly crushed garlic sit for 10-15 minutes may help boost the levels of allicin. IMK host Emily is not a fan of using a garlic crusher, her favourite way to prep garlic is to "rasp" it or grate it. The more surface area created, the more flavour comes out.
7. 5 Minute Food Hacks: Defrost Meat Faster with Vinegar
You can defrost meat quickly by pouring white vinegar over the surface of the meat. The vinegar will lower the freezing temperature of the meat, causing it to thaw faster. And as an added bonus, the vinegar will also help tenderize the meat too!
A tip from IMK Host Melissa's Nonna: use red wine vinegar to cleanse/clean your chicken, I combine these two tips and accelerate the defrosting process with red win vinegar!
For more tips: 13 Brilliant Hacks That Will Save You Time In The Kitchen
8. Poach Eggs in the Oven - Using a Muffin Tin
Instead of sitting over the stove in the morning to make eggs, try pouring your egg mixture along with your favorite toppings like veggies or bacon into a muffin tray. Then put them in the oven to bake, and you’ll have perfect egg bites for everyone in your house! Don't forget to grease your muffin tin, and don't worry about making too many, these are the easiest little egg bites to freeze.
9. Coat Measuring Cups with Oil or Cooking Spray
One of the simplest hacks is to coat your measuring cups with either an oil or cooking spray to make sure that you are getting the most of your ingredients.
10. Save Time After Cooking: Clean As You Go
While you’re cooking, try putting the ingredients away after you use them and clean up messes as they happen. Then, when your meal is complete, you can relax and enjoy it in a clean space. Cooking with friends over, or doing online cooking classes like our IMK Home Cooks? Fill your sink with hot soapy water and just place your dishes in there as you go, makes clean up so much easier!