Careful meal preparation is one of the top tips when it comes to saving yourself time during the week. You can easily dedicate a chunk of a Sunday to prepare your meals for the week. That way, you only have to grab and go or reheat as needed during your busy week.
While meal preparation is a great habit to engage in, what happens when it is time to cook a difficult meal? Cooking does not have to be complicated, even though many feel it is. The good news is that there are a few things you can do when preparing any meal that will make the process easier for you. You will be cooking like a master chef before you know it!
Read Before You Begin
Before you start cooking, read the entire recipe. This will help give you an understanding of when you need each ingredient, if you have to do any steps in advance, and how long everything should take you. Essentially, reading the entire recipe ensures you are not surprised by anything you will need to do when preparing the meal.
Gather All Ingredients
Do not leave all the ingredients in your refrigerator or cupboards while cooking. Before beginning, gather everything needed and set it out on your cooking space. This way, everything will be at your fingertips and you won’t need to search for anything. This is also a great time to read the recipe. As mentioned, this also makes preparing difficult meals easier.
Prep Ingredients In Advance
Did you know that you can actually do some meal preparation before the bulk of the cooking? This will make things easier in the long run, especially when it comes to keeping up with the recipe itself. Whenever possible, prep some ingredients in advance. This often includes chopping or dicing vegetables, mixing spices, and even slicing some meat.
When you prepare ingredients before cooking, you only have to dump the vegetables, spices, et cetera in your pot to boil, pan to fry, or in the oven to roast—whatever the recipe requires. It won’t be necessary to rush chopping your vegetables before the meat is done, and if you need to use a spice blend as soon as your meat goes in the pan, it’s ready to go.
Consult As You Go
While reading your recipe in its entirety before you begin is a good idea, do not just read it once and cook from memory. Consult the recipe on a regular basis, especially if you are working through a particularly complicated step. We would also recommend reading two steps beyond the one you are currently on, just as a preview of what is coming up.
Remember To Breathe
Sometimes when people are attempting to cook a difficult meal, they find themselves overwhelmed. Unfortunately, becoming overwhelmed while cooking simply increases the chances of making an error. If you find yourself stressed out while cooking, take a moment to breathe and relax. If it helps, review the recipe. Just center yourself and move forward once you gather your emotions. It also helps to do this right before a complicated step, or at a moment where you cannot stop, like when constantly stirring a sauce.
Now you have all the skills you need to make that recipe you have been eyeing for some time now. Get cooking!
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