19 Ways to Cook Everything Faster
Cookbook author Mark Bittman shares his best tips for whipping up dinner in record time—without sacrificing taste.
Serve up raw vegetables
Instead of roasting winter veggies, eat them raw. Squash, beets, parsnips, and celery root make great salads and slaws. Since root vegetables are sturdy, grate them. If they’re still too crispy for comfort, marinate them for a half hour or longer in a vinaigrette.
Whip up a summer soup
Some soups need to simmer for hours, but cold soups, such as gazpacho, involve simply putting ingredients in a blender and turning it on. So underrated. Whip up one of these other 15 weight-loss recipes you can make in less than half an hour.
Use frozen vegetables
They work well in soup or any dish. Minimally processed and chilled immediately after harvest, frozen vegetables are an anomaly in the frozen-food aisle—a true gift to hurried cooks. I always keep frozen peas and corn on hand.
Don’t wait around for a preheated oven
Unless you’re baking—or roasting something that requires an initial blast of very high heat—you don’t have to wait for the oven to reach its set temperature before putting in the food. Veggies and slow-roasted or braised meat work well this way. Speed things up even more by taking advantage of these 16 foods you never realized you could microwave.
Leave the butter in the fridge
If you’ve forgotten to let the butter soften, melt it in the microwave; then use a brush to apply it to bread for a more even coating.
Make meatballs into meat “drops”
When making meatballs, the most time-consuming part is rolling them. The solution? Don’t. Use two spoons to drop little mounds into the hot skillet. They’ll brown beautifully—and taste just as good. You’ll want to try these other 20 recipes just like grandma used to make.
Simplify lasagna night
Trade typical lasagna noodles for egg roll wrappers, which don’t have to be boiled and come in small, easy-to-handle squares. They taste like fresh egg pasta. If you liked these tips, you’ll love these 25 brilliant kitchen shortcuts you’ll wish you knew sooner.