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Learn Ways to Simplify Cooking during Festivals

  • JWB Post
  •  October 22, 2014

 

It seems like we often try to do more cooking in less time over the holidays. Our myriad of kitchen activities make the circus juggler seem like an amateur. Here are some kitchen items, methods and ideas you might “gift” yourself with over the holidays to reduce the number of balls you’re trying to keep in the air!

1. Hot beverage carafe

During Diwali we welcome guests at home. So, servings of tea rise to 3 digit numbers.  Rather than make several small, fresh amounts of coffee or tea, keep it hot and fresh-tasting for hours in a carafe. (NOTE: Some coffee makers come with carafes.)

A carafe also is great for keeping hot chocolate warm to greet family. Preheat the carafe by filling with it hot water and then emptying the water before adding your beverage. This warms the carafe and helps keep your beverage hot longer. Look for a carafe that is easy to use and clean.

2. Universal pan lid

Every time you lift the lid to peek into a pan to check what is going on, takes time and releases heat, making the foodtake longer to cook. If you’ve ever wished your pans had see-through lids, buy a “universal pan lid.” These lids usually have several rings of ridges that let the lid fit over different sizes of pans. Some brands may cover pans from about 8″ to 12″ in diameter (as measured across the top of the pan). Other brands may offer both a smaller and larger size of universal pan lid. When comparing features of various universal pan lids, consider whether these factors are important to you for intended uses: Stay-cool knob?; Oven-safe? To what temperature?

3. One Pot Meals

Much of the complexity in cooking today is due to the vast array of cookware, utensils and accessories in modern home kitchens. Specialty cookware and utensils broaden the chef’s scope in preparing meals and are valued by cooking enthusiasts, but if you want to prepare meals in a hurry without much fuss, one-pot cooking is hard to beat for simplicity and easy cleanup. The variety and quality of the meals are limited only by the cook’s imagination. One-pot meals can be steamed, sauteed, stewed or baked, and the “one pot” can be a saucepan, skillet, crock pot, pressure cooker or baking dish.

To learn several methods of one-pot cooking, and some favorite recipes, visit here.

4. Pressure Cooker Meals

All kinds of recipes and foods can be cooked in the new smaller pressure cooker/canners, which save on energy and your time. Most foods cook in a fraction of the time it normally would take, in most cases cooking up to one third faster than conventional methods. A pressure cooker is also a healthy way to cook as water-soluble vitamins and minerals are retained better than in regular pots. And less oil is used which maintains a lower fat content in food.

5. Freezer-based Meals

A well stocked and managed freezer will help you plan delicious, balanced meals efficiently. When you cook a large amount of food, save some for a future meal. If you have more than you need of something, put it in an airtight container or freezer bag, and label clearly the contents and the date with an indelible marker. When in this habit you’ll find that you rarely forget things in the freezer, resulting in less waste, thereby saving you money as well as simplifying meal preparation.

If you have a chest freezer, tape a piece of paper to the outside of the lid and write, or cross off, the food packets as they are added or taken from the freezer. This way, you don’t have to dig through the freezer to see what’s available, and you’re saving energy by not opening the lid longer than necessary.

6. Master Mixes

In the past, the term “master mixes” meant making your own baking mixes of dry ingredients. Here we are referring to assembling or cooking in advance basic parts of many recipes. These can be stored in the fridge or freezer to give you a head start on meals.

7. Keep a pot of ‘foundation’ food in the fridge

Another way to simplify meal preparation is to always have in the fridge a pot of cooked rice, potatoes, beans, or pasta to be the foundation for quick meals. If cooked food is not contaminated with traces of other food like meat or fish, is kept cold and tightly covered, it can keep up to four days, or even longer, in the fridge.

8. Don’t do it alone!

Make your Family people involve in cooking. Remember you were not destined to live in the kitchen.

9. Share your ideas how to simplify cooking during festivals

Also share your favorite Diwali recipes!

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