Sunday, October 2, 2011

The 75 minute challenge: Cooking

Living alone has it perks and challenges. One everyday challenge is preparing breakfast and packed lunch for myself, check work emails, shower and prepare for work, and make sure the kitchen is clutter free before going. So I have a 75 minute challenge from the moment I wake up and an hour and 15 minutes from that, because any longer than that, I will be late for work, for sure.

Here are some tips on how to prepare your meal if you are always in a hurry.

1.) Prepare the night before - Check your stuff if you have anything else to prepare for the next day. If you are cooking, I suggest you prepare the ingredients the night before (or days before) so all you have to do is to just put everything in the pan. As for myself, I bought ready made sauces and prepared spices for my cooking, because I want everything fast and fresh. No, I did not buy the powdered mix varieties that are so popular nowadays. Some examples of the prepared sauces and spices I bought are: 

  • chopped garlic (bottled)
  • black beans and garlic (bottled)
  • chili and garlic (bottled)
  • chili oil (bottled)
  • soy sauce
  • oyster sauce
  • canola oil
  • cornstarch
  • flour
  • glutamate 
  • salt
  • oregano
  • dried basil
  • thyme
  • and a lot more others.
If you have that much of an arsenal of ingredients, all you need is a little creativity and understanding on how those ingredients must be used and which ones compliment each other depending on what the main ingredient is and what dish are you going to make. 

2.) Learn to multitask - As you cook the rice, you might as well start steaming some veggies (if your recipe has vegetable ingredients). So I suggest you buy a rice cooker with a steamer. While you are cooking, you can also take a shower. The only downside of taking a shower before cooking the viand is that you might be smelling like your lunch. After the shower, the rice and veggies are probably cooked. You can now start cooking your viand. Then you can eat and check your work emails, twitter, facebook, etc. 

3.) Plan your menu well and ahead of time - Of course, everything that you will cook must the quick preparing types, those that can be cooked within 15 minutes or less or at the shortest time possible. You will not be able to cook sinigang, adobo, or bulalo during work weeks because those dishes take so much time to prepare.

4.) Prepare the ingredients ahead of time and store them well - What I do is, during my rest days, I grocery shop and prepare the ingredients right away when I get home. Preparing means; cleaning, slicing, and storing them to individual containers and store them in a refrigerator at its maximum temperature. Make sure that the ingredients will be consumed within 7 days to avoid spoilage, this applies to vegetables and fruits, as well as defrosted meats you will be needing for the week that you can store in the chiller. For other meats, you can store them in the freezer. 

So there, those are my tips, I hope you find use for them.


  1. thanks for the tips. i cook packed lunch too. but i do prepare them before ahead of time. i like adobo. so what i do, i marinate the meat then add enormous pour of pepper hehe. then the garlic and onion. put in the fridge. on morning presto i put altogether in the pan and wait to simmer until cooked. i prefer those meat are no long way to cook para mabilis.

    yes its true that you'll smell like hell if you bathe before cooking.

    i dont check work emails at home, im checking it during the ride.

    you have a nice workflow!but nevertheless, good morning hijo! :)

  2. You're a good cook! Thanks for all the tips..I might use them someday ;)

  3. @Ipe: Madali lang naman magluto e, magsimula sa pagpprito.

    @Mangpoldo: Good day and thank you!

    @Dennis: Thank you, but I am not a good cook until criticized. :-)