Cooking Tips

How about some random cooking and kitchen tips?

Share your kitchen with your kids: Creating fun ways for kids to get involved in cooking is my favorite thing to do. The most important thing to remember is that whatever task you assign, it doesn't always have to be doing something crucial for the meal and they most certainly don’t have to know this either. One thing is certain they must have a part to play. A few examples of some acceptable activities are washing vegetables, mixing, sorting, pounding, pouring and measuring for the slightly more mature kids. Even the littlest kids find joy and confidence in helping. One of the most enjoyed activities for a little one is pouring water or dry pasta and rice into different size containers. Set them up a large tray or pan and put them to work with different size spoons and cups.

Cole "mincing" garlic

Share your kitchen with your partner: Dominating the family meeting space or meal doesn't help in an enjoyable preparation or meal time. Let your husband share the cooking responsibility. Take turns cooking or cleaning to support the common good.

Prep in advance: Whenever possible prep your ingredients in advance to make cooking time smoother. This is especially true if you have little helpers. I love to prep during nap time or morning time when the house is more “agreeable.” Most of the time, cooking is all about timing and if you are negotiating with little hands, prepping earlier is much easier for everyone. When prepping for the evening meal, I also love to prep for future meals. My husband actually taught me this, but for example if I am mincing garlic, chopping onion or washing lettuce and I know I will need some of that ingredient in the next few days for lunch or dinner I will prep for that as well.

Clean as you go: Some people might refer to me as a neat freak, but to be honest I enjoy sitting down for a meal comfortably knowing that there is little to nothing to clean up. Dinner time is an occasion to connect with your family or guests – stay focused on what is important.

Time leverage: Whenever possible I prepare for the next days ahead. For example if I am making lunches and stuffing a baggie with grapes, crackers or carrots I make sure to prepare several and store – that way when I go to make lunches the next day I have an easy grab already prepared.

Sunday night lunch prep for the busy week ahead!

Substitute water: When cooking rice or other dishes that require water try replacing or partially complimenting the water with a low-sodium broth to add flavor.

Sauté vegetables: When possible, before adding raw vegetables to a soup, casserole or pasta sauté lightly to add extra flavor.

Prepare pan: I can’t admit how many times I wish I would have lined a pan with foil beforehand. Do yourself a favor and think about it before you cook. You will save yourself money, time and frustration.  

Mark your dish: Did you forget a pan or dish at a friend’s house tonight? I mark my pans with a sticker! Everyone has a Pyrex glass dish…mark yours so your host knows it is yours.

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