One of the most difficult things about cooking is how time-consuming it can be. Our rumbling tummies demand to be fed as soon as we stumble in bleary-eyed out of bed in the morning. And while making a nutritious meal like homemade chili requires a fair bit of preparation, popping a pizza in the oven does not.
However, opting for quick-fix convenience food typically does little to satisfy our hunger and, more often than not, our stomachs soon begin to rumble again. So what are we supposed to do? Well, we simply need to utilize some handy time-saving cooking hacks which will fill us up in a timely manner, and, more importantly, keep us full and healthy.
1. The simplest way to bake potatoes:
The average baked potato can take up to an hour to cook, however, if you use this handy hack, you can have one in roughly 30 minutes. All you have to do is cut your potatoes in half and sprinkle them with salt and olive oil. Then place them cut side down on a baking sheet and cook at 400°F for about 30-40 minutes. Full instructions can be found here.
2. Frozen pies are the way forward.
One of the biggest problems in the delicate art of pie making is soggy bottom crusts. But if you freeze your pie before baking it, the crust will cook before the filling has thawed, thereby preventing the soaking up of juices that would otherwise ruin your meal.
3. Don't cook your pasta in a casserole dish, use a frying pan instead.
Because a frying pan is wider, it heats up faster than a casserole dish and saves you cooking time. Get the full method here.
4. Steam cook vegetables in the oven.
To steam cook your vegetables in the oven, rinse and cut them before laying them out on a long sheet of parchment paper and baking at 350°F for 20-30 minutes. Check out this website for more details about this time-saving hack.
5. Freeze chopped onions for future use.
One of the most time-consuming parts of cooking a meal is chopping up onions. However, a little-known fact is that they are perfectly fine to freeze. So why not chop up some for use during the week at the weekend when you have more time?
6. Make muffins from leftover pasta.
One of the most frustrating things about cooking from scratch is the leftovers you inevitably end up with (unless you're a wizard at measuring out portion sizes). However, they can easily be turned into pasta muffins, and if you've got kids, you can hide the healthy veggies they normally turn their noses up inside them. This is exactly how you make them.
7. Freeze chicken marinade
This is the perfect way to save time when you get home from work hungry but also want to eat something nutritious.
8. Mix candy and ice cream for a delicious and quick dessert.
To make this delicious recipe, simply get some of your favorite candy or chocolate and a flat beater. Chop the candy and add it to some ice cream. This will create a thick mixture, so you'll need a heavy-duty mixer to finish it up. Full details are available here.
9. Homemade baked chips
It's no secret that chips can be unhealthy, however, if you're craving some that are better for you, make your own for a quick and delicious snack. Simply cut corn tortilla into triangles, spray them with oil and then sprinkle some salt on top. Once you've done this, simply pop them in the oven at 10 minutes at 450°F. It's super simple. Seriously. Check out the full recipe.
10. Put Greek yogurt on salmon before cooking.
The yogurt will make the fish tender and, from a time-saving point of view, it will help breadcrumbs stick to it. Here's the recipe.
11. How to easily cook poached eggs:
To make the perfect poached eggs, you'll need to make sure the eggs you're using are fresh. Then add some vinegar, crack the eggs and put them in the water one by one. Increase the cooking time by 20 to 30 seconds for each egg you add.
12. Homemade lollipops
These are ridiculously easy to make and a quick and fun way to keep kids entertained. Simply put candy on parchment paper covering a baking sheet and bake at 390°F. Once the candy has started to melt, add the sticks. Then voilà! Lollipops.
13. Easily baked breakfast sandwiches
Are you sick of eating the same thing for breakfast every morning? Then why not make some breakfast muffins. Put some chicken or bacon in a muffin tin, add an egg to each mold and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 30-40 minutes in the oven.
14. Don't have enough time for breakfast muffins? Try this instead.
Simply whisk eggs with milk, pour them in a casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes. Full recipe details can be found here.
15. Cook eggs in the oven
To cook eggs in the oven, grease a baking tray with spray or oil and then add eggs. Top with salt and pepper and bake for around 17 minutes at 350°F. The full recipe is available on this website.
16. This is how you make caramelized onions in the oven:
Sadly, a lot of people avoid adding onions to dishes because they can't cook them well. But if you try this recipe, you can do it well, and, better still, quickly. Seriously, trust us on this one and make your food even tastier.
17. Frozen bacon is easier to cut.
Coil up strips of bacon and freeze them on a baking sheet. Then put them into zip-top bags and put them in the freezer.
18. This is how you make the perfect sandwich every time:
Simply take four pieces of ham and arrange them like in the picture above so that the entire piece of bread is covered.
Check out this video for full instructions:
19. And this is how you make the perfect soft-boiled egg:
The perfect boiled egg should have firm whites and a warm, runny yolk inside (perfect for dipping). To make it, bring water to a boil, add the eggs and start a timer. If you're cooking one or two eggs, it will take five minutes to get the perfect yolk.
20. Bonus: Anti-theft lunch bag
There's nothing worse than going to the effort of making food only to have it stolen by a co-worker. However, if you have one of these lunch bags with fake mold on the side, you will never unknowingly waste time by creating a tasty sandwich again.
So there you have it - 20 handy time-saving cooking hacks to make your life a lot tastier and healthier. Because let's face it, when you've had a hard day at the office, nothing will set you up better for the evening than a filling and nutritious meal.