When you are in a hurry and don’t have time to cook, using your oven is the least thing you would consider. Oven dishes are not precisely what we consider to be fast cooking, since most of them take quite some time.
Yet I found that my oven is a great asset on days when I am at home but still I don’t actually have time to cook. Like Saturdays when I have to do all the housework I never got to during the week. Or Sundays when I would like to prepare a special meal but I don’t feel like standing in the kitchen.
There are many oven dishes that taste and look special and impressing whilst requiring only little time to prepare. And once in the oven, they basically cook themselves. I set my timer and quickly check on my food at certain times, and otherwise I can do some other work or simply relax. No need to worry about how long the food will take. That’s a perfect opportunity to enjoy long-cooking foods without having to invest much actual working time.
Here are some tips for getting your fabulous dishes into the oven quick:
Use ready-to-use or no sauces
Use easy-to-prepare foods
Only do what you really have to
Tip #1: Use ready-to-use or no sauces
If you need to prepare your veggies and still make a sauce you won’t get the preparation done in half an hour, so say goodbye to sauces. If your veggies need liquid to cook, add some chicken or vegetable stock and cover with foil, or cover the vegetables with a mixture of milk and beaten eggs (I use about half a liter and 2 eggs for 1,5 kg veggies).
Alternately, prepare your sauce in advance. Most vegetable or veggie-meat sauces can easily be frozen. If you love your sauce Bolognese for example, cook a lot of in one day and freeze portions of it. When you feel like having a quick lasagna, simply defrost your sauce, add to the pasta, cover with cheese, and done you are.
Tip #2: Use easy-to-prepare foods
Use mainly foods that don’t require much preparation. That is everything that does not need to be peeled and has no pips or seeds to remove, like tomatoes, mushrooms, marrows, aubergines, broccoli or cauliflower. Peppers, potatoes and carrots are also good to use if you are a bit skilled in peeling and seeding them (tip for preparing peppers faster: quarter them, cut the stem away and wash the seeds off under running water).
If it comes to meat, we talk about everything you just need to wash and season, like chops, fillets or chicken pieces.
Tip #3: Only do what you really have to
Cut your meat and veggies (especially the faster cooking ones) into rather large pieces. If you don’t care much whether your food takes half an hour or one hour in the oven as long as you get it in quick, then there is no need to finely chop things. Larger cuts simply go quicker.
You may also want to buy foods that are already washed, peeled, seeded and cut so that you can use them straight away. Many vegetables are available like that. And check the instructions on frozen foods if they can be baked in the oven from frozen.
If you want a cheese topping, buy your cheese grated or grate it a day or two in advance. If you use it often, you can constantly keep stock of grated cheese in your fridge.
If you apply these three simple yet effective tips, you will be able to create great healthy meals in your oven without having to spend much time actually working in the kitchen. Get your food in the oven quickly, then check on it periodically (don’t forget to set your timer) and do whatever you want whilst your food is cooking itself.
Bettina Berlin is a health professional specializing in healthy nutrition even on a tight schedule. Eating healthy and thus maintaining a healthy weight can significantly improve your health and help prevent many diseases. Is your life so hectic that preparing healthy food often seems impossible? Then visit http://www.elishas-quick-recipes.blogspot.com today and get your FREE fast cooking tips and much delicious quick easy recipes!
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