Cooking can be fun, but it can also be incredibly time-consuming, especially if you aren’t maximizing your cooking efficiency. Now, cooking efficiency might sound like a made-up term, but it’s an important facet of making the most out of your time over the stove. These five kitchen hacks can get going again.

1. Get organized

If you can’t ever find anything in your kitchen, you won’t be an efficient chef. Take some time to get organized. Put your most-used spices and ingredients in the front of your cabinets and your most-used tools in the closest drawers. As you get more organized, you’ll be able to more efficiently move around your kitchen without thinking.

2. Sharpen your tools

Have you ever felt like you were sawing more with your knife than cutting? If so, you should sharpen it. Dull tools can greatly decrease your efficiency in the kitchen. Take some time to sharpen all the tools that should be sharp. If necessary, you might need to buy new utensils if you can’t easily sharpen them.

3. Prep your ingredients beforehand

While some ingredients like liquids can be measured at the moment, others require more preparation. Take time to prepare these ingredients before you start the actual cooking. Many professional chefs follow this same practice so they don’t have to distract themselves from actively cooking.

4. Learn the recipe before cooking it

Take time to read through the entire recipe before you start cooking. This way, you can avoid not having an ingredient properly prepared when you need it most. This also helps you stay a step ahead of the game. When you know what comes next, you’ll know what materials you’ll need, such as the right-sized bowls and the right utensils.

5. Cook meals that use the same ingredients

Some ingredients can be used over the course of several meals. Try planning your meals with this in mind. For example, if your meal plan calls for chicken multiple times, prepare all the chicken you need beforehand. This way, you don’t need to spend time preparing it the day you’re making that meal.

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