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Secrets to speed cooking

Speed cooking begins with speed food shopping: Take the guesswork out of nightly dinners by spending only 20 minutes devising a menu for the whole week. Speed cooking begins with speed food shopping: Take the guesswork out of nightly dinners by spending only 20 minutes devising a menu for the whole week.
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  • Tomato Basil Pasta, 9/1/14

    Tomato Basil Pasta, 9/1/14

    Monday, September 1 2014 12:26 PM EDT2014-09-01 16:26:50 GMT
    Serge KrikorianDinner's Ready2 Servings2 Tbls. Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided5 Tbls. Unsalted Butter, divided (NOT margarine)1 tsp. Minced Garlic1 Shallot, minced1 Pt. Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise8-10 Leaves Fresh Basil, cut into ribbonsSalt Ground Black Pepper, to tasteGrated Parmigiano reggiano cheese, for garnish4 oz. Penne Pasta (or pasta of your choice), cooked according to package directionsOption Add-Ins: Diced Grilled Chicken, Sauteed Shrimp, sauteed sliced fresh...More >>
    Serge KrikorianDinner's Ready2 Servings2 Tbls. Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided5 Tbls. Unsalted Butter, divided (NOT margarine)1 tsp. Minced Garlic1 Shallot, minced1 Pt. Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise8-10 Leaves Fresh Basil, cut into ribbonsSalt Ground Black Pepper, to tasteGrated Parmigiano reggiano cheese, for garnish4 oz. Penne Pasta (or pasta of your choice), cooked according to package directionsOption Add-Ins: Diced Grilled Chicken, Sauteed Shrimp, sauteed sliced fresh...More >>
  • Spicy Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce, 8/27/14

    Spicy Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce, 8/27/14

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 11:49 AM EDT2014-08-27 15:49:39 GMT
    Gary DukeAlley Oops4 tomatoes, chopped2 tablespoon olive oil1/2 onion, sliced thinlysalt, black pepper, crushed red pepper and garlic to taste4 eggsfresh mozzarella cheese, cubedparmesan cheesefresh basilbread slices1. In a sauce pan, cook the onions in the olive oil for a few minutes, add the tomatoes and seasoning to mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover, simmer for an additional 15 or 20 minutes.2. Uncover sauce and gentle crack the eggs evenly around your tomato sauce. Place ...More >>
    Gary DukeAlley Oops4 tomatoes, chopped2 tablespoon olive oil1/2 onion, sliced thinlysalt, black pepper, crushed red pepper and garlic to taste4 eggsfresh mozzarella cheese, cubedparmesan cheesefresh basilbread slices1. In a sauce pan, cook the onions in the olive oil for a few minutes, add the tomatoes and seasoning to mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover, simmer for an additional 15 or 20 minutes.2. Uncover sauce and gentle crack the eggs evenly around your tomato sauce. Place ...More >>
  • Summer Shrimp Salad, 8/25/14

    Summer Shrimp Salad, 8/25/14

    Monday, August 25 2014 8:49 AM EDT2014-08-25 12:49:13 GMT
    Capi PeckTrio'sServes 41 1/4 lbs. large Gulf shrimp in the shell2 ears corn on the cobs, steamed, grilled or roasted/ kernels removedFor the dressing:2 cloves garlic, smashed1 1/2 t. cumin1 t. paprika1/2 t. cayenne pepper1/2 c. lime juice1c. olive oil1/2 c. cilantro leavessalt to tasteCombine all dressing ingredients in bowl or jar. Whisk or shake well to combine. Set aside.2 Haas avocados, sliced1/2 c. cilantro leaves8 cups arugula or other greens of your choice?1 half Vidalia or sweet onion...More >>
    Capi PeckTrio'sServes 41 1/4 lbs. large Gulf shrimp in the shell2 ears corn on the cobs, steamed, grilled or roasted/ kernels removedFor the dressing:2 cloves garlic, smashed1 1/2 t. cumin1 t. paprika1/2 t. cayenne pepper1/2 c. lime juice1c. olive oil1/2 c. cilantro leavessalt to tasteCombine all dressing ingredients in bowl or jar. Whisk or shake well to combine. Set aside.2 Haas avocados, sliced1/2 c. cilantro leaves8 cups arugula or other greens of your choice?1 half Vidalia or sweet onion...More >>


By Aviva Patz

 
With all the washing, chopping, slicing, dicing, simmering and stirring that goes into making a home-cooked meal, it's no wonder people give up and order takeout. But with a couple of insider strategies and some helpful kitchen tools, you can whip up delicious, nutritious fare in half the time it's taken you until now.

"Time is not the only thing you'll save -- you'll also improve your health, save money and nurture your family," says clinical psychologist and blogger Alma Schneider, who helps people overcome obstacles to cooking at takebackthekitchen.blogspot.com. Schneider's four-pronged approach can help you crank out great meals in no time.

1. Shop smart and fast.

Speed cooking begins with speed food shopping: Take the guesswork out of nightly dinners by spending only 20 minutes devising a menu for the whole week. Then shop for all the ingredients at once. Schneider has streamlined the shopping process by typing up a list of items she frequently buys. Before she hits the supermarket, she simply prints the list and circles the items she wants. Planning meals in advance also allows you to defrost foods in plenty of time or marinate them overnight as needed.

2. Streamline prep time.

"You don't need to do your prep right before dinner -- that's a rookie mistake," says Schneider. Instead, look for little pockets of time in your day. For example, while the kids eat breakfast, wash and chop vegetables, or rinse fish or meat and put them in a container. Or take out all the ingredients (spices, flour, canned goods) and tools (zester, cutting board) you'll need for later.

"Imagine you're the sous-chef of your own cooking show," says Schneider. "By the time you're ready to make dinner, you'll have everything laid out before you."

Cut back prep time further by buying pre-washed and chopped fruits and vegetables -- fresh or frozen -- and asking the butcher at the meat counter to chop or slice your meats.

3. Get the right tools.

Schneider swears by the time-saving power of a slow cooker. "You can throw ingredients into it and let it cook all day," she says. "I make great chilies, soups, stews -- even lasagna." Use a rice cooker to cook rice and other healthy grains to perfection and have them ready at the same time as your other dishes. Last, a food processor can do the hard work of slicing, grating and heavy mixing for you -- and in a fraction of the time. "None of these items are a huge investment," says Schneider, "but they'll save you tons of time."

4. Recycle ingredients.

Repurpose your dinner ingredients so you can cook once and eat twice -- or even three times. You might grill meat or fish one night and then use the leftovers in a soup, salad, sandwich or pilaf the next day. Shred last night's grilled chicken for tacos tonight. Use yesterday's meatballs to make gyro sandwiches today. The same strategy works for sauces, marinades, salad dressings and spice rubs. Simply prepare double the amount the first time so you can enjoy it again without any extra work.

Copyright (c) 2010 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.

Aviva Patz has written for many national publications, including Parents, Parenting, Health, Self, Redbook and Cooking Light.

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