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Top Ten Tips for Quick Cooking

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There are a few tips and tricks that you can use to make your time in the kitchen shorter. Apply these five tips to your everyday cooking and you'll have more time for the rest of your life. And remember, the more you practice a skill, the better you'll be! Enjoy your time in the kitchen and you will soon become an excellent cook and baker.

1. Use Convenience Products

Red and White Tortellini
Red and White Tortellini
Convenience products, or 'value-added' products as they are known in the industry, are foods which have been processed, usually to include more than one item. Frozen mixed vegetables are a conveninence product, as is prepared pesto and pasta sauces. By keeping a store of these items in your pantry, fridge, and freezer, and collecting recipes that use them, you can dramatically reduce the time you spend in the kitchen. My recipe for Red and White Tortellini uses pasta sauce, frozen tortellini, and frozen meatballs.

2. Read Through the Recipe First

Recipe Cards
Linda Larsen
It's essential to read completely through the recipe you have chosen before you begin. Try to literally see yourself going through each step to make sure you understand the process and that you have all of the food, utensils, and equipment you need on hand. And look through How to Read a Recipe before you begin. Make sure you know what kitchen and cooking terms mean by looking at my Glossary.

3. Use Fewer Ingredients

Baked Fried Chicken
Baked Fried Chicken
Recipes that use fewer ingredients are automatically going to be faster to make. You can vary these recipes by adding more ingredients if you'd like, depending on what you have on hand, what your family likes, and what looks good in the market. The recipe for Baked Fried Chicken only uses four ingredients.

4. Use Leftovers and Planovers

Meatloaf Spaghetti
Linda Larsen
Cooking once and eating twice is a proven way to cook faster. For instance, when you cook chicken for dinner, cook a few extra pieces and refrigerate them. Then use them in recipes for precooked chicken. Or for leftover meatloaf, make Meatloaf Spaghetti.

5. Build a Repertoire of Easy Dependable Recipes

Tortellini with Peas
Linda Larsen
Learn five or ten recipes really well, so you can make them easily without thinking. Then add a new recipe to this collection every month or so. Before you know it you'll have a collection of meals you can turn to when the 5:00 rush hits. It's a good idea to memorize four or five of those recipes so you don't even have to look them up before you begin. For instance, I have the recipe for Tortellini and Peas memorized. And be sure to keep the ingredients for those recipes on hand.

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