Nothing slows down meal preparation like
hunting down ingredients in every corner of your kitchen. Keep a
well-organized, well stocked pantry, and quick meals will always be at
your fingertips. When you are in a rush, sauteing, frying, grilling and
pressure-cooking are faster methods than stewing, braising, and
roasting. However, when you have plenty of time but you can't be in the
kitchen to monitor the food, stewing, braising, baking, roasting and
slow-cooking require less attention than sauteing, frying and grilling.
To choose the fastest equipment for the job,
use the right-size pan to help liquids boil faster and prevent areas of
the pan from scorching before ingredients are done cooking. Also, you
may want to invest in some gadgets and tools that make life easier, such
as a garlic press and kitchen scissors. Consider buying a mini food
processor. The mini versions do a better job with small batches of
chopping (such as onions), and they're a lot easier to clean.
To speed the preparation time, buy ready-cut
fresh vegetables and greens, especially chopped onions, shredded
carrots, baby spinach, and other ready-to-eat salad greens. Likewise,
buy precut stew and stir-fry meat. Or purchase other quick-cooking cuts
of meat and poultry, such as flank steak, boneless pork loin chops, lean
ham, boneless skinless chicken and turkey breasts, turkey tenderloin and
ground beef. Most seafood is fairly quick-cooking. You can also round
out quick meals with frozen vegetables.
To help food cook faster, stir food
constantly and consistently, which helps heat penetrate more evenly into
the food and speeds up cooking. Also, allow ample room around foods so
that heat can circulate. When cooking large quantities of an ingredient,
remove individual pieces as they are done to equalize the cooking
throughout the batch and allow unfinished pieces to cook faster.