6 Cooking Methods For A Busy Schedule
It’s not easy to cook meal after meal after meal when you’re working 9 to 5 and more. Here are some useful tips which may help you cut some time but without cutting the quality of your body so desperately needs.
1. Cook then freeze
It’s a simple concept: cook more than you need for a single sitting, then freeze the rest and re-heat for another time. You can even cook enough – just once – to ensure you’re actually cooking for three or four sittings later on down the line. Sous vide cooking is perfect in this regard. It allows you to cook the food and store for later, via the use of a bag. Any plastic bag is fine, so long as it is polyethylene or polypropylene; these are so safe you can eat them without toxic effects!
You can either toss the bag of excess food in the freezer or even use a vacuum sealer to completely expel any excess air and eliminate the possibility of freezer burn. Vegetables work especially well using this technique. The vacuum sealer essentially pasteurizes the veggies so they taste unbelievably fresh even after being frozen for an extended amount of time.
If you have a variety of foods stored in your refrigerator, this will increase the sense of variety and prevent boredom from setting in. A variety of sauces, styles of rice, pulses, meats, etc. will help to make the subsequent sous vide or microwave process yield you a delicious range of options, rather than the same old stuff again and again.
2. Frozen Veg
Counterintuitively vegetables that are purchased in frozen form can actually be healthier and more succulent than their raw, unfrozen cousins. Why? Because they are often picked at their peak when most nutritious; then immediately frozen within hours of being picked. Strangely, this can allow for many nutrients to be locked in. Regular vegetables are actually all too often picked before being ripe so that they can be transported vast distances away from their point of origin. Broccoli, peas, edamame, carrots and many other vegetables are all worth buying frozen, rather than unfrozen.
You can also buy fresh pre-cut veggies in plenty of stores. They might be slightly more expensive than their whole veg brethren, but when time is an issue, do you really want to be spending precious minutes cutting and slicing? I think not.
3. Under pressure cooking
A pressure cooker works wonders with your active cooking time. It speeds things up, saving you precious minutes. It’s particularly good for vegetarians or those who eat a lot of vegs because it keeps the veggies fresh and succulent unlike a slow cooker, which specializes in stews or more meat-heavy dishes. The humble pressure cooker works by pushing out air from the container and sealing in steam from the boiling liquid within. It also works wonders with lentils, artichokes, soups, and a whole variety of ingredients.
4. Use Certain Grains
Certain grains such as quinoa, bulgur wheat, and millet have a fast cooking time, so they are perfect if time is at stake – they won’t take more than 20 minutes to prepare. Oats, too, are not just for breakfast but can be turned into a tasty side, eg. spinach & tomato oats. Brown rice pasta has a rapid cooking time; with a few vegetables, it can be easily made into a pasta primavera. A cold bean salad takes next to no time to prepare, as a side.
5. One size fits all
If you don’t want the hassle of multiple pots bubbling away, try the one size fits all approach. Using a hot pot, slow cooker, air fryer, a sous vide, or even rice cooker you can combine all your ingredients into one container and just let it go to work, while you go to work. You can create various combinations of rice, vegetables, stews, chili con carne, sausage & butter bean stew, tomato, pepper & bean one pot, while your rice cooker will be able to produce rice pilaf, risotto, even paella if push came to shove. When time’s a factor, you’re not going to be as fussy as you would be if you were aiming to take longer, doing things with multiple dishes. The other good thing is that these devices will keep the food at a certain temperature for an extended period of time, so your meal is ready when you are.
6. Frozen or Take-out
One of the easiest cooking methods is to reach into the freezer or pick up the phone and order out. It doesn’t have to be a sell-out. There are plenty of delicious frozen food options, and things like vegetables and fish freeze particularly well; ready in a short space of time via your oven. Alternatively, most restaurants that deliver are catering increasingly to those who are concerned about health and obesity; in the long run, it’s not good for business. Plenty of well-known fast-food outlets also have a range of healthy eating options, and will even signpost everything on the menu, from calories and ingredients to nutritional properties.