After some trial and error and years of cooking dinner, I’ve got a few kitchen time management tips to help you time dinner perfectly.
Kitchen Time Management Tips: How to Time Dinner Perfectly
Good Kitchen Time Management Starts With Meal Prep
I begin every meal by gathering all the ingredients and placing them on my island. If you don’t have an island, dedicate a counter top to food prep. To prep:
Open canned ingredients, measure liquid and dry ingredients and chop vegetables based on your recipe.
- Open canned ingredients
- Measure and pour liquid and dry ingredients
- Chop vegetables
- assemble casseroles or combine ingredients per recipe
Determine Cooking Time for Each Dish in the Meal
The key to making sure everything is ready at the same time starts with knowing how long each dish takes to cook. Let’s use this sample meal as an example.
- blackened tilapia– prep 10″, cook 5″
- box dirty rice mix prep 10″, cook 25″, and another 5″ to sit and fluff
- green bean casserole– prep about 7 or so minutes, cook 30″
Start With the Longest Cooking Time
The casserole and dirty rice take about the same amount of time and take the longest amount of time. So, that’s where we should start.
Always preheat the oven first. My oven takes 10 minutes to preheat to 350. Be sure to check your oven preheat times on different temperature settings.
Put water on to boil. Our sample meal requires boiling water. Water can take up to fifteen or so minutes to come to a boil on my stove. Notice how long yours takes and keep that in mind when you are cooking. You may even want to fill the pot before you preheat the oven since it takes longer.
Now that the oven is preheating and the water is set to boil, we’re going to continue preparing the dirty rice.
Brown the meat. The dirty rice also calls for lightly browned ground meat. So, I started browning the meat right after I put the water on to boil. You could also brown the meat ahead of time.
Once the meat was done, and the water had come to a boil, I emptied the contents of the dirty rice box and the ground meat into the pot of boiling water.
Now that the dirty rice is cooking, we can move on to the next dish.
In this case, we’re putting the green bean casserole into the oven. We’ll check both of these dishes thirty minutes based on their cooking times.
Time the dishes with the shortest cooking times
From prep to cook time the fish will only take fifteen minutes. So, we would wait until the other dishes only have fifteen minutes left before prepping the fish.
Take advantage of the wait time to prepare cold sides like a salad make a pitcher of tea.
You could also load the dishwasher with the dishes you’ve dirtied so far. Cleaning as you go saves on time in the kitchen after dinner.
When it’s time, prepare and cook the last dish.
It’s okay if casseroles or sides finish cooking a few minutes before the other dis hes. It gives them a chance to rest and settle a little bit before serving. Just be sure to leave them covered so that it’s still warm when the rest of dinner is ready.
Dinner is Served
Once all the dishes are ready, dinner is ready to be served.
Let the kids or your spouse set the table or set out the plates and silverware to save a little time.
Hopefully, these kitchen time management tips will help you time dinner so that every dish is hot and ready at the same time.
For kitchen time management tips and meal time ideas, read: