My friends would know this about me – priority, priority and priority. I applied this a lot at work, at school, in personal life, in motherhood and yes, even at cooking.
One of the questions people loved to ask was how I managed to cook after work, and to keep it within 30min. While I did not cook anything fancy, it would usually still be a delicious home cooked meal of 2 dishes with rice. Delicious with the constraint that it bore minimal or no salt so that X could dine with us, hence, I still felt I had done a good job as well as ensuring a good mix of meat, fish and vegetables.
The fact that Z could tell me that he enjoyed dinner, despite being spoilt with dinners at restaurants, make me feel very appreciated.
Sequence to get things done – Example, say if I were cooking chicken soup & stir-fried vegetables with seafood:
1900h – Grab rice from fridge (and grab the plate of thawed food at the same time), pour the required amount into measuring cup, rinse rice, fill to desired water level and set to cook
1901h – Rinse soup pot, fill water and boil at stove.
1902h – Take seasoning from fridge (alternate with red dates, dried scallops, dried mushroom) or process other ingredients such as potatoes, carrots, pearl beans, celery, pumpkin, old cucumber, corn, apples, pears. By the time you were done processing, the pot of water should be boiling so it would be time to throw the ingredients in.
1907h – Cut fats and skin from chicken thigh parts
1912h – Place chicken into pot of soup, set to medium heat after the soup boiled
1913h – Soak vegetables, rinse saucepan, wipe saucepan dry, add a little oil to the pan
1915h – Take onion and garlic from fridge to peel and chop or slice. Once done, set side.
1917h – Clean the seafood (usually prawns or squids) i.e via shelling, cut into frying pieces, add a dash of salt and set aside. Wash vegetables and cut to smaller pieces for frying.
1920h – Heat saucepan to high heat and add garlic/onion to stir fry till golden brown.
1921h – Add vegetables in and fry.
1923h – Lower heat to low, take the chance to wash the salt off the seafood and add to saucepan. Stir fry further and taste. If need be, add a dash of less salt fish sauce.
1926h – The vegetables dish is ready.
1927-1930h – The rice is probably ready by now. Turn off stove fire for soup as it should be ready too. Serve.
The second dish could also be alternated with simpler and faster dishes to prepare such as steamed fish, pan fried fish, baked fish, omelette (i.e. with ham, mushroom, sausages, prawns, leek, cheese and more).
Well, cooking was not so difficult, right?