“Fast Casual” is the fastest growing restaurant right now, and I want to bring that home to your kitchen. Here is where I will teach you how to make your own “Fast Casual” meals with my Speed Cooking perspective and understanding.
Two approaches to speed cooking
The way I see it, there are two approaches to speed cooking:
- Cook, eat, go: You have 30 minutes to cook AND eat.
- Prep, do other things while the food cooks, then eat: You have 10 to 15 minutes –maybe 20 minutes– to cook, and then you have an hour to do other things while it cooks itself.
Successful Speed Cooking
Here is a simple chart to illustrate “speed cooking.”
|Amount (# of servings)||+ Cost||+ Time||= success with Speed Cooking|
|3 pounds chicken strips (12 servings)||$$||10-minute cooking time||happy, have 12 meals|
|3-pound whole chicken (8 servings)||$||1-hour cooking time||happy, have 8 meals|
|1 cup chopped sautéed veggies (1)||$||10-minute cooking time||not-so-happy, the food is gone in one meal|
|10 cups chopped sautéed veggies (10)||$$||1-hour cooking time||happy, have food for about 10 meals|
Note: this is cooking time only, does not include prep time (I’m all about efficiency with the prep, and can show you my tricks).
Cost varies, you get the point, yes?
A quiz for you
Which of the following belongs in The Recipe for Successful Speed Cooking?
- Knife skills
- More than one person (a tribe)
- Orchestrated Magic
Joni’s top recommended time-saving kitchen tools:
Dutch oven cook pot
If you’re going to cook in bulk so that you are in the kitchen less and have more food in the fridge, then you’ll want one of these.
Glass mixing bowls
Now that you’ve cut your veggies where will you put them? Plastic bowls are good to have, too, yet, I choose glass bowls to highlight here because they can be used for more things, and they clean up easier –than plastic.
I know, I know, this doesn’t look like it’s a MUST HAVE, yet I’m here to say: THIS IS A MUST HAVE. It’s like carrying 10 items from the store to your car — having that bag sure comes in handy. It’s just that this is on a much smaller scale and the distance traveled is much less, yet having this tool sure comes in handy, you’ll see.
To act like you know what you are doing –you need good props. To do a job properly you need the right tool. And having a chef’s knife is at the top of the list when it comes to cooking. I choose this knife to highlight here because of the price point and many people find this handle very comfortable.
Cuisinart is THE BEST. I’ve tried several and I agree with Cook’s Illustrated – this one rates the best. It’s not the same as a blender, so don’t fool yourself into thinking the blender is all you need. NOT! I put it in the dishwasher, easy peasy.
Are you looking for a good investment towards more time for other things than being in the kitchen? Look no further. Use your food processor, or use your chef’s knife to cut up the veggies, then use your food scrapper to scoop it all up and dump into this “set-it-and-forget-it” machine.