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Guest Post: 25 Time Friendly Fixes for a Stress-Free Cooking Experience

When it comes to weeknight cooking, time usually isn’t on your side. Cookbook author Brent Garell shares a few ideas on how to transform your cooking experience so the clock is never working against you.

1. Read a new recipe from beginning to end before you begin. Unexpected surprises will slow you down.

2. Post a substitution guide on the side of your fridge so you can overcome any cooking obstacle at a moment’s notice.

3. Think of your favorite double compilation music album when cooking. It’ll remind you to double the recipe so you can freeze the leftovers for a future meal.

4. Leave only your chicest looking small appliances on the counter to prevent clutter.

5. Buy a bench knife. Use it to swiftly shuttle vegetables, cut brownies, level flour and clear your cutting board of crumbs or scraps.

6. Toss aside your slow wooden spoon in favor of a fast sexy whisk when mixing dry baking ingredients.

7. Hate washing dishes? Before you make a recipe look at the measurements beforehand to see if you can reduce the number of utensils required to accomplish your measuring needs.

8. Spray your utensils with cooking spray before measuring gooey ingredients (such as honey and molasses) so they flow instead of stick.

9. Install a message board in your kitchen. Outline the week’s lineup of dishes on it so you never have to spend extra time figuring out what to make.

10. If having fun isn’t part of your cooking routine, then prepping meals will drain your energy like a never-ending polka.

11. Splurge on knives. A good sharp knife will save you loads of time chopping, dicing and slicing.

12. If you find yourself in a cooking groove…don’t stop! While your dish is simmering or baking in the oven, start chopping the veggies or making the marinade for your next meal.

13. If watering eyes syndrome is slowing you down, then chill your onions in the fridge before chopping.

14. Imitate Rachael Ray on 30 Minute Meals and grab as many ingredients as you can at once from your refrigerator or cupboards. Walking back and forth is time consuming.

15. Combine your favorite marinade with your favorite meat in a zip-lock bag and then freeze. The morning of the day when you plan to cook it, place the bag in the fridge to let it thaw so it’s ready for the grill when you get home.

16. Elevate your cooking experience by taking centre stage in the kitchen with the confidence of a worry-free celebrity chef.

17. Keep a small music-playing device on your kitchen counter. Move to the rhythms while you cook to reduce stress and make the time fly by.

18. Banish those pesky plastic covers on your spice jars so you have easy access to your spices with your measuring spoons.

19. Perk up your cooking routine by inviting friends over to cook up a week’s worth of meals for you all.

20. Slightly wet the surface of a baking pan before lining it with foil. It’ll effortlessly adhere like tight leather pants on a ‘80s rock star.

21. Don’t bother peeling garlic before putting it into a garlic press. Set in the unpeeled clove and squeeze. The minced garlic will come through the press and the papery skin will get left behind.

22. Stash leftover vegetables in the freezer. Add the frozen veggies to stock; simmer until tender then purée for a fast healthy soup.

23. When hosting a party be sure to cook way too much food. You’ll end up with leftovers for a week.

24. Utilize your leftovers.

25. Reward yourself with a meal made by someone else every week. We all need a break once in awhile.

Brent Garell is author of The Cook-a-Palooza Experience…Cooking That’ll Move, Groove & Inpsire You! A sizzling new cookbook that pairs delicious calorie-conscious food with music to make meal preparation quicker, more approachable and fun!

More tips and free recipes from his book can be found at: http://cookapalooza.com.. Join the Cookapalooza fan page on Facebook or follow @kitchenroadie on Twitter for his latest tips. Contact Brent via e-mail brent@cookapalooza.com