About time.


I had a really interesting talk with a fellow cook the other day about something that we both felt was crucial for anyone cooking food from scratch.

Timing.

I blog single recipes as well as combined dishes.
The combined dishes are probably the easiest ones to time yourself with.
But if you are a new cook or just started cooking from scratch it can be tricky.
No worries, it’s a skill you develop over time and practicing does help.

Cooking times can vary depending on what kind of stove you are using. Old, new,gas or electric.
I cook on a newer stove powered by gas and it has these “power burners” that make cooking water for pasta pretty speedy.

What can you do to plan a meal and have it all come out at the same time?

I’m going to try and explain with one of my dishes, the Tarragon Chicken with mustard sauce.
I’m going to serve it with a salad and mashed potatoes.

First make sure you have all your ingredients you need out and handy.
You do not need to go all fancy like on the cooking shows where they have every ingredient in a little cup.
Measure as you go and you’ll have less to clean up.

A Boneless Chickenbreast (4 oz. each) should cook on low heat or 160 degrees F. for 20-30 minutes .

Mashed potatoes take some time, Whole small or baby potatoes should take 10 to 15 minutes to boil. Medium potatoes take 20 to 25 minutes. Whole large potatoes can take 35 to 45 minutes.

In this case I fill a pot with water, cut up my Medium potatoes in 8’s and set it on the stove. They will start boiling as soon as my chicken goes to simmer.

Preparation time for the chicken is not long, 2-5 minutes.
As soon as my chicken is fully made I turn on the stove for the potatoes.
Chicken will simmer and I check it 2 or 3 times in the 30 minutes that it is simmering.

Put away extra ingredients, but keep the salt,pepper and tarragon handy.
Clean up after yourself, I don’t like to have to do this after my meal.
You have the downtime while the potatoes start cooking anyway.
This is also a good time to throw together a green salad.
Cut up some Romaine, or go easy and toss some out of the bagged salads.

Once the potatoes are done, someone better have set the table by the way, you drain them and mash them with butter and a little milk or cream.

This is it, dinner time!
You can keep the potatoes warm in an ovenproof dish if they cooked faster than your chicken.

In theory, what dish will be the most work or cooking time.
Meat is always a time taker, unless you are making steak pretty rare.

I can cook meat without timing it but I suggest you look online how long the meat you want to cook should take.
From now on I’ll add approximate cooking times so you can get an idea.

I hope this was helpful.

Enjoy!

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