Trying out New Recipes

When I tell people that I like to cook, I either get a smile back from kindred cooking spirits, or I get a blank stare from people who would rather grab a ready-to-go rotisserie chicken from the heated food pavilion in the supermarket, or have someone zip by with a parcel of takeout goodness.

Cooking is a hobby and a passion for me, something that I find fun and also a simple way to take good care of the people I care about the most. I understand that for some people, however, cooking feels like a chore. Nevertheless, I strongly encourage anyone trying to lose weight to cook more of their own food to help with their efforts.

If you’ve decided to ramp up the amount of cooking you do, what are things you can do to make that easier for yourself? Here are some suggestions.

Keep your recipes handy. I have cookbooks, and I keep them open on the counter while I cook. But I haven’t bought a new cookbook in years. Nowadays, I find recipes on the Internet, and I either take my laptop into the kitchen with me to review the recipe (and to watch Hulu or Netflix while i’m cooking), or I view it from my phone. Either way, make sure you save yourself a copy, rather than having to work from the Internet and risk losing your recipe. And be sure to save the copy somewhere easy to find on your computer, like in a Recipes document folder you create.

Make sure you have all the ingredients. I’m guilty of this one myself. Last night, I realized I’d still forgotten to get something from the grocery store that I’d forgotten to pick up on Saturday. I couldn’t work around it, so I had no choice but to venture out. I would encourage you to get all the ingredients out on your counter at once, to make sure everything’s accounted for.

Read the recipe before making it. This will give you an idea of how much time you need to set aside for prep and actual cooking. It also will give you an understanding of what needs to be done, before you get distracted with the minutiae of executing the recipe and forget a task.

Prepare ingredients beforehand, even if the recipe doesn’t tell you to. Good recipes will tell you in the ingredients list to have your onion chopped from the beginning, but sometimes you are expected to chop veggies and measure spices on the fly. If you’ve read the recipe through, you’ll know what you can prep before you ever turn on the oven or stove, to save yourself from confusion.

Set a multitasking gameplan. Again, good recipes will help you do this, but if you’re left to your own devices, you’ll need to figure out how to carry out each step without leaving a pot to burn on a flame or forgetting that your shrimp can’t stay in a marinade for too long. Prep and reading the recipe in advance help with this; having a clock handy also helps, as does refraining from trying to cook and do something else unrelated, like laundry. You cooking needs your undivided attention.

These are the strategies I use. How do you keep a tight ship in your kitchen? Let me know in the comments!

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