Despite working a full-time job and training for my first half marathon I try to cook as much as possible. It’s certainly not always easy and I admit that even though I love cooking, I’m not always in the mood to cook after a long work day. Along the way I’ve found a few ways to reduce the time it takes to prepare my favorite meals so I thought it was time I share some of my favorite cooking hacks!
#1 Fresh is best but frozen is the next best thing
Fresh is best and that will always be my motto but let’s face it sometimes you don’t have 45 minutes to cook brown rice. I’m not a fan of the precooked rice that you microwave because a lot of it has added oils. Frozen stir-fry vegetables are another favorite. Thai Green Curry is a delicious meal I can throw together in 20 minutes utilizing frozen brown rice and stir-fry vegetables. All I have to add is green curry paste, a little vegetable stock and coconut milk. TA-DA! In fact, I always keep everything for Thai Green Curry on hand because I never know when I need to throw together a quick meal. I’m on the search for frozen quinoa because that will be a life changer if I can get my local Kroger to sell it. I might also experiment with freezing it myself … I’ll keep you posted. However, as with anything that you’re not buying in its natural state always be cautious and check the ingredient list, food manufactures are geniuses at sneaking in unwanted oils, sugars, salts, etc.
#2 Cook big batches and use throughout the week
Back to the frozen quinoa, since I have yet to find it in my small town I currently cook quinoa in large batches. I simply refrigerate and use it all week in various recipes. This is also great for beans. Since soaking and cooking your beans is definitely the way to go you can plan ahead and use them in different recipes. Now, I give this advice but I’m not exactly the best at using this advice.
#3 Prep it when you buy it
This applies mostly to celery and carrots. I like to cut my celery in half or thirds lengthwise and then slice into 1/4 inch sticks. Once sliced, I wrap it tightly in aluminum foil to keep it crisp in the refrigerator. I’ve had celery stay nice and crisp for a few weeks but most of the time I pull it out and dip it into hummus as a quick snack. I also like to cut carrots into sticks and keep in a plastic container covered in filtered water. Carrots and celery are awesome snacks but prepping them like this also cuts down prep time when you’re using either in a recipe.