5

votes

Cooks and engineers! Seeking Cooking efficiency hacks?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 27, 2011 at 9:25 PM

Before I went Paleo cooking was a hobby I enjoyed. Since Paleo it has become less hobby and more necessity b/c of having to cook and prep so much more of my food everyday. I want to ask all the Cooks on PH for ways you???ve made your cooking time more efficient.

For instance, when you prep and cook do you make use of healthy Paleo staples in a variety of tasty ways to get more of them into your diet each day? ie. I want to eat more Kimchi so I actively look for ways to incorporate it into my recipe building each day.

Also in the name of efficiency: Do you cook more than one thing at the same time to use the same energy for several dishes. Like - adding eggs to a batch of simmering bone broth to get some boiled eggs done while making stock. (got this one from an MK Fisher book)

or

For the cooking/engineers out there: Have you created special tools to prepare foods you never prepared before you went Paleo? What did you build/make/engineer?

5d6a58590ba76136e8dc50c561c8ada2

(450)

on August 08, 2011
at 03:05 PM

love Alton Brown!

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on April 26, 2011
at 05:19 PM

They are! I was pretty hooked on em for awhile, be careful! ;)

0d50f54d2c57d74806be35d916f8dc74

(634)

on April 26, 2011
at 03:58 PM

OMG, sweet potato hash browns sound amazing!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 05, 2011
at 09:34 PM

thanks I'll take a look at that one.:)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 29, 2011
at 07:17 AM

Even easier:) Thanks

3eb3f79868b24b3df4450ea2d4f9a5d5

(2387)

on March 29, 2011
at 06:51 AM

Laura: if you write a post or comment, there is a menu bar right on top of the text window. The buttons are for bold, italic text, adding a hyperlink... the sixth button (looks like a tiny polaroid) is the one I was referring to.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 29, 2011
at 02:34 AM

Ok figured it out. Post pics to sites like flickr. Then click on the picture you want to put on PH and find the drop down menu that says "share this" copy the html code and paste it in PH with your answer.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 29, 2011
at 02:21 AM

thanks Felix I am glad to hear that there is a button somewhere on the site. I'm still going crazy though trying to find it. Could you take pity on me and tell me where I find this photo implementation button? Is it on my profile page? On another page on the site? Perhaps near my avatar? Or is it some other arcane set of movements clicks and rollovers:)?

A3e654929c08c0723607842656b57f8f

(834)

on March 28, 2011
at 08:52 PM

imgur.com is a great way to upload images to the internet to share with others. Both simple and free.

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on March 28, 2011
at 06:30 PM

Ah I see. Yeah quality jerky is so pricey! Are you making it in your oven, or do you have a dehydrator?

3eb3f79868b24b3df4450ea2d4f9a5d5

(2387)

on March 28, 2011
at 04:30 PM

Thanks. You'll need to upload the photo somewhere (I store mine on my blog, but Flickr and many others should work just as well). Here on Paleohacks there's a button to implement images that's pretty straight-forward to use.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 28, 2011
at 04:26 PM

Elaborate please:) What are your favorite recipes for the pressure cooker?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 28, 2011
at 04:23 PM

I forgot to ask how you got that photo into your answer? I do food photography too and haven't figured it out yet. Help!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 28, 2011
at 04:20 PM

Never lost the love, just cooking a lot more and interested in time savers and new methods for foods I now have to make myself. Instead of spending so much $ on certain Paleo foods I'm doing stuff I never thought I'd do. Beef jerky for instance that's a big diy project.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 28, 2011
at 04:15 PM

Good idea, although I managed to melt the last silicone one I had:( I just saw an episode of "Good Eats" about making cooked eggs using a steamer. 1/2" water, steamer basket, eggs, 12 minutes, done. It uses less energy than boiling a whole pot of water and cooks the eggs perfectly. I like the efficiency hack of putting veggies in one half the steamer and a few eggs in the other half to get 2 things done at once.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 28, 2011
at 04:09 PM

Finally watched that episode of Alton Brown last night. That looks easy. I'd have to buy a fan though. AB is a super hacker.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 28, 2011
at 04:04 PM

This method looks great for families. In addition it seems like you could use slow cooker with the beef and come home after work to a tantalizing beef stew, ready to eat.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 28, 2011
at 04:01 PM

Wow! Wish I could try one of those. Live anywhere near San Francisco? I've heard you can build your own, now that would be an amazing hack. Jan- are you up for it?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 28, 2011
at 03:59 PM

Felix that soup is beautiful. Now I know what to do with some of the tomatoes I canned this past summer. Thanks

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 28, 2011
at 03:57 PM

Not too worried:) I love the challenge of creating new recipes and learning ways of doing things based on the need to cook more instead of eating out as much. Paleohacks is my secret to success.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 28, 2011
at 03:00 PM

Hi Jan - I was just looking this up online and they are crazy expensive - do you know of any cheaper than $1000?

Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 28, 2011
at 02:58 PM

I do that too now preping veggies when I get home from the market - it's just a change in habit for me - I chop while hubby puts the other stuff away.

B124653b19ee9dd438710a38954ed4a3

(1634)

on March 28, 2011
at 09:12 AM

Not at all paleo, but the name fits http://www.cookingforengineers.com/

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 28, 2011
at 03:26 AM

I agree! I was already into many of the "foodie" trends like offal and pastured meats, but to be given so much permission in this diet to eat as much fat as I want is pretty freeing as a cook. My focus now is quality and zero waste, so I thought hacks like this would be interesting as a discussion. Love my crockpot for duck confit.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on March 28, 2011
at 03:07 AM

and I use a pressure cooker and steamers......all easy and very very fast.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on March 28, 2011
at 03:06 AM

Sure. I premake most foods because beef is easy to get ready in a crock pot. It cooks all day when I am gone. Fish also cooks easy when you do sashimi! Veggies paleo style requires a saute pan and a good fat. Done in 5 min! I used to eat gourmet style and prep time was hours. Now its very very simple.

9aa2a816c61170cc0183a68be0386ba5

(1702)

on March 28, 2011
at 02:56 AM

Do yourself a favor and invest in some steamers (silicon, amazon has bunches, check out the Orca brand) - you can cook an entire bag of frozen veg in a large enough steamer in about 5 minutes. I LOVE MINE.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on March 28, 2011
at 01:45 AM

Ingredients freeze. Meat and veggies. Then cooking is pretty quick once you thaw it...

D67e7b481854b02110d5a5b21d6789b1

(4101)

on March 28, 2011
at 01:43 AM

yes, i bought four 100w incandescents for the project, so I have 3 in reserve.

Ceda025d1f349bc43be115a5f9199fb1

(501)

on March 28, 2011
at 01:03 AM

would love some more details on this, or a pointer to where you get recipes that freeze...

E2b9c679315c7c9c7265783dde89f350

(1303)

on March 28, 2011
at 12:06 AM

I'll bet that makes awesome eggs! I've never liked hard boiled eggs, except when boiled with onion skins, but I might just try that idea.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 27, 2011
at 11:29 PM

ha ha I'm obsessed with reading Paleo Hacks. Like to read it while stuff is cooking too:)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 27, 2011
at 11:21 PM

I think I want to make a dehydrator too. I saw one online that had beautiful instructions, but it used and incandescent bulb which are not going to be so available in the future. Does yours use and incandescent bulb?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 27, 2011
at 11:19 PM

Can you elaborate on why you cook less or is it more efficiently?

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on March 27, 2011
at 09:54 PM

Funny my cooking time has shrunk on paleo?

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13 Answers

2
61852721b5ff3613f56f043fe890a679

(1172)

on March 27, 2011
at 11:30 PM

two words:

pressure cooker.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 28, 2011
at 04:26 PM

Elaborate please:) What are your favorite recipes for the pressure cooker?

2
D67e7b481854b02110d5a5b21d6789b1

on March 27, 2011
at 10:01 PM

I made the cardboard dehydrator of Lex Rooker fame see here http://www.traditionaltx.us/images/JerkyDrierInstructions.pdf

I bought a Cuisinart ice cream maker for when I want some ice cream (which used to be all of the time, but now I never get it out).

However the biggest change for me has been in the area of prepping food before I need it to cook with for a meal. I used to come home from the grocery store and immediately put everything in the fridge, that's it I'm done with my gathering :) But that also made for a convenient excuse to order pizza instead of cook because it would take too long to put a meal together or I wouldnt have any meat thawed, and so I would mostly cook on weekends. This also led to quite a bit of spoiled unused food. Since changing my lifestyle, I wash all produce, chop onions if needed, and throw some marinade or spices together on my meat on Sundays. Now cooking a meal during the week takes less than an an hour from start to clean-up.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 27, 2011
at 11:21 PM

I think I want to make a dehydrator too. I saw one online that had beautiful instructions, but it used and incandescent bulb which are not going to be so available in the future. Does yours use and incandescent bulb?

D67e7b481854b02110d5a5b21d6789b1

(4101)

on March 28, 2011
at 01:43 AM

yes, i bought four 100w incandescents for the project, so I have 3 in reserve.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 28, 2011
at 02:58 PM

I do that too now preping veggies when I get home from the market - it's just a change in habit for me - I chop while hubby puts the other stuff away.

1
24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on March 28, 2011
at 11:30 AM

Sometimes I'll take whatever leftover veggies I have and make a couple fritattas- then I just take a big wedge to work with me for breakfast throughout the week; I've found that to be a great timesaver. When I make pulled pork in the crockpot, or chili, I make a big batch and put some in a large pyrex container to freeze for later on. I also gave in and got a food processor, just a $40 one from overstock. It's been great for making my own snack bars, sweet potato hash browns, grating cheese, and it's pretty easy to clean up. I hope you re-find your love for cooking! I've loved cooking since I was a kid, and it does start to feel like a chore sometimes :(

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on March 28, 2011
at 06:30 PM

Ah I see. Yeah quality jerky is so pricey! Are you making it in your oven, or do you have a dehydrator?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 28, 2011
at 04:20 PM

Never lost the love, just cooking a lot more and interested in time savers and new methods for foods I now have to make myself. Instead of spending so much $ on certain Paleo foods I'm doing stuff I never thought I'd do. Beef jerky for instance that's a big diy project.

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on April 26, 2011
at 05:19 PM

They are! I was pretty hooked on em for awhile, be careful! ;)

0d50f54d2c57d74806be35d916f8dc74

(634)

on April 26, 2011
at 03:58 PM

OMG, sweet potato hash browns sound amazing!

1
9aa2a816c61170cc0183a68be0386ba5

on March 28, 2011
at 02:59 AM

Personally, I'm so much more into food now that I'm paleo then I was before. Before, it was a hassle to find recipes that were satisfying for me as a diet-a-holic trying to cut out fat and bad foods and too much meat and that my boyfriend would eat on a regular basis (him enjoying meat and potatoes and fatty sauces). It stressed me out to no end.

Now, though - I can EAT the fatty food and the bacon and the eggs for breakfast and NOT FEEL GUILTY. This is the best diet ever.

Anyway - my biggest suggestion if you don't have one already is to invest in a crockpot, some microwave steamers of some sort and spend some money on high-quality spices (check out Penzeys if you have one near you or their online catalog.) I'm constantly trying new foods I've never had before (liver, etc) and its SO EXCITING :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 28, 2011
at 03:26 AM

I agree! I was already into many of the "foodie" trends like offal and pastured meats, but to be given so much permission in this diet to eat as much fat as I want is pretty freeing as a cook. My focus now is quality and zero waste, so I thought hacks like this would be interesting as a discussion. Love my crockpot for duck confit.

1
Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on March 27, 2011
at 10:37 PM

I buy frozen vegetables because they're precut. Instead of chopping up a head of cauliflower, I can just throw it in a pan while I leave to go read paleohacks :). I also don't have to plan as much because if I don't feel like eating it it won't go bad. I still buy some fresh, but the majority is frozen.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 27, 2011
at 11:29 PM

ha ha I'm obsessed with reading Paleo Hacks. Like to read it while stuff is cooking too:)

9aa2a816c61170cc0183a68be0386ba5

(1702)

on March 28, 2011
at 02:56 AM

Do yourself a favor and invest in some steamers (silicon, amazon has bunches, check out the Orca brand) - you can cook an entire bag of frozen veg in a large enough steamer in about 5 minutes. I LOVE MINE.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 28, 2011
at 04:15 PM

Good idea, although I managed to melt the last silicone one I had:( I just saw an episode of "Good Eats" about making cooked eggs using a steamer. 1/2" water, steamer basket, eggs, 12 minutes, done. It uses less energy than boiling a whole pot of water and cooks the eggs perfectly. I like the efficiency hack of putting veggies in one half the steamer and a few eggs in the other half to get 2 things done at once.

1
4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

on March 27, 2011
at 10:16 PM

I prep meals for the week cut marinade spice etc on one day and freeze all but the first two I'm goin to cook. I then pull out a meal a day from freezer and move to fridge to thaw. So it's 15min meals or less when it's time to eat.

Ceda025d1f349bc43be115a5f9199fb1

(501)

on March 28, 2011
at 01:03 AM

would love some more details on this, or a pointer to where you get recipes that freeze...

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on March 28, 2011
at 01:45 AM

Ingredients freeze. Meat and veggies. Then cooking is pretty quick once you thaw it...

0
Medium avatar

on April 26, 2011
at 01:23 PM

My main aim for efficiency is pre-cooking. Normally I'll boil a sweet potato for about 30-45 minutes before making it into a mash, but if I could parboil say, 5 of them, and store the pre-cooked ones in the fridge til I'm ready to use them it would be ideal. However, do the nutrients degrade quickly? How long could I store them for?

I know this isn't an answer, but another question...I'll edit when I find the answer.

(PS - someone should edit the title to something simpler, like "Cooking Hacks" or "Favorite Cooking Hacks?")

0
452b4d079e0c39d4ca923e712f64239f

on March 28, 2011
at 09:15 PM

I just wrote a blog article about this a few days ago: http://wenchwisdom.blogspot.com/2011/03/how-i-create-my-own-cave-kitchen.html

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 05, 2011
at 09:34 PM

thanks I'll take a look at that one.:)

0
3eb3f79868b24b3df4450ea2d4f9a5d5

(2387)

on March 28, 2011
at 11:53 AM

My love for food went into overdrive when I went paleo. I love cooking, but I still need to save time every now and then.

Tomato soup has been a huge time saver for me. I cook it once a week and can eat it as dinner or lunch 6-7 days. Add some royale or diced mozzarella to satisfy your protein needs.

Cooking it doesn't take much time in the first place if you use canned/pre-pureed tomatoes. To 4 liters of pureed tomatoes, just add half a cup of olive oil, handfulls of oregano and thyme each, some salt, pepper and chili, minced garlic if you like, bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes and your done (you might need to add up to 1L of water to dilute it). Reheating takes just a couple of minutes.

cooks-and-engineers!-seeking-cooking-efficiency-hacks?

Also, going back to the roots helped me reduce cooking/preparation time to a maximum of 20-30 minutes every time: "Heat some vegetable. Heat some meat. Done."

Cutting and cooking some cauliflower/broccoli/savoy cabbage takes just 10-15 minutes and you can stir-fry your meat in the mean-time.

Boiling two dozens of eggs for a few days in advance for breakfast (add some apples/grapes/pears from your fruit bowl) also saves a lot of time.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 28, 2011
at 04:23 PM

I forgot to ask how you got that photo into your answer? I do food photography too and haven't figured it out yet. Help!

A3e654929c08c0723607842656b57f8f

(834)

on March 28, 2011
at 08:52 PM

imgur.com is a great way to upload images to the internet to share with others. Both simple and free.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 29, 2011
at 07:17 AM

Even easier:) Thanks

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 29, 2011
at 02:21 AM

thanks Felix I am glad to hear that there is a button somewhere on the site. I'm still going crazy though trying to find it. Could you take pity on me and tell me where I find this photo implementation button? Is it on my profile page? On another page on the site? Perhaps near my avatar? Or is it some other arcane set of movements clicks and rollovers:)?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 28, 2011
at 03:59 PM

Felix that soup is beautiful. Now I know what to do with some of the tomatoes I canned this past summer. Thanks

3eb3f79868b24b3df4450ea2d4f9a5d5

(2387)

on March 29, 2011
at 06:51 AM

Laura: if you write a post or comment, there is a menu bar right on top of the text window. The buttons are for bold, italic text, adding a hyperlink... the sixth button (looks like a tiny polaroid) is the one I was referring to.

3eb3f79868b24b3df4450ea2d4f9a5d5

(2387)

on March 28, 2011
at 04:30 PM

Thanks. You'll need to upload the photo somewhere (I store mine on my blog, but Flickr and many others should work just as well). Here on Paleohacks there's a button to implement images that's pretty straight-forward to use.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 29, 2011
at 02:34 AM

Ok figured it out. Post pics to sites like flickr. Then click on the picture you want to put on PH and find the drop down menu that says "share this" copy the html code and paste it in PH with your answer.

0
1e277ab24aa0ef17ceb17179ef0b134e

(10)

on March 28, 2011
at 10:19 AM

Before I went Paleo cooking was a hobby I enjoyed. Since Paleo it has become less hobby and more necessity

Incidentally, for me it is exactly the other way round. Let me explain.

Before Paleo, I usually cooked meals trying to follow exact recipes. These made cooking a hard task because, being an engineer and therefore of the optimizer type, everything "had to come out right" (That is not to say I did not enjoy it then. But it left me more exhausted than Paleo cooking does). With Paleo cooking everything is much more relaxed. I know my base recipes. The basic ingredients (my staples) are fewer and I know them well. This simplifies shopping and cooking. I also usually have less things to prepare for a full meal, since for example I don't have to prepare the pasta and the sauce just the meat.

And cooking is much more fun too. Because I know my basic recipes very well I can now improvise. Cooking an omelette in the morning with a slice of apple and some bacon takes 10 minutes. And maybe I throw in some leftovers from last nights dinner or a tomato. And since I don't have to think about much it its almost a zen like experience or at least relaxing (which is hard to believe for my cigarettes&coffee roommates :) ).

So speaking from an engineering perspective maybe you should not worry so much about better tools or methods but instead simplify your cooking process and enjoy it too. :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 28, 2011
at 03:57 PM

Not too worried:) I love the challenge of creating new recipes and learning ways of doing things based on the need to cook more instead of eating out as much. Paleohacks is my secret to success.

0
44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on March 28, 2011
at 08:55 AM

Immersion circulator, low temp salmon and meats are great! And you can use it to render lard and tallow at optimal temperatures.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 28, 2011
at 03:00 PM

Hi Jan - I was just looking this up online and they are crazy expensive - do you know of any cheaper than $1000?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 28, 2011
at 04:01 PM

Wow! Wish I could try one of those. Live anywhere near San Francisco? I've heard you can build your own, now that would be an amazing hack. Jan- are you up for it?

0
Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

on March 27, 2011
at 11:06 PM

My paleo cooking has been reduced to either really fast in a skillet, or slowly using the slow cooker. In the cooker I might fit in multiple animal parts that cover a few meals. I have no real "hacks," but one of these days I plan on using Alton Brown's jerky technique that uses box fans and furnace filters.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 28, 2011
at 04:09 PM

Finally watched that episode of Alton Brown last night. That looks easy. I'd have to buy a fan though. AB is a super hacker.

5d6a58590ba76136e8dc50c561c8ada2

(450)

on August 08, 2011
at 03:05 PM

love Alton Brown!

0
Ab19df3ededa28f7bf7daeba8435b205

on March 27, 2011
at 10:36 PM

For chicken, I take boneless skinless that have flattened just to make them uniform thickness for grilling and 1 gallon bag, marinade for 24 hours (48 if they have a good exp date) and then grill all at once. Let cool completely. AFterwards, I leave 1/2 of them whole and the other half I cut into strips...some thin in one backand some cubes in another. Same for bacon. some strips some crumbled.

Bought a bunch of beef cubes, for fam, since I cant eat red meat yet, maybe after gut heals, then put into two large pans, drizzle with garlic olive oil and about 8 mashed cloves each, (diced tomato if you can handle niteshades), white onion and cook at 325 till cubes are tender. Throw all into serving size bags and freeze until I need.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 28, 2011
at 04:04 PM

This method looks great for families. In addition it seems like you could use slow cooker with the beef and come home after work to a tantalizing beef stew, ready to eat.

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