Welcome to ‘5 Ingredients 10 Minutes’ Cooking Classes!
- Welcome Video
- 2-Step Quick Start
- Substituting Ingredients
- 7 Tips for Knife Skills
- 3 Keys to Minimizing Cleanup
- 3 Things You Should ‘Never’ Do
- 26 Time Tricks
- Meal Ideas [download]
Prefer to listen on your ipod? CLICK HERE to download the audio in mp3. (you may need to right click and ‘save link as’)
2-Step Healthy Dinner Quick Start Program
While there are many options you can take to make a different to your cooking. The quickest way to get started is to actually make a plan and get cooking. I’m afraid that’s really all there is to it. Of course, having a collection of fast healthy recipes is really the best starting point but by buying ‘5 Ingredients 10 Minutes’, you’ve already ticked that box..
So here’s the easiest process to get started that you can implement straight away…
STEP 1. Stock up
Here’s the thing. You need actual food in the house to be able to make any sort of dinner. If you’re keen to get going fast, just check out the video recipes below or flick through your copy of ‘5 Ingredients 10 Minutes.
Choose 2-3 recipes you want to try and shop for those ingredients.
STEP 2. Make a promise with yourself and get cooking!
Make a promise to yourself (OR as we’ve discussed, make a public commitment to a friend or family member, or on facebook) that you’re going to change your habits and take action.
Next time you get home from work late and you don’t feel like cooking, turn the thought around and just cook one of your ‘5 Ingredients 10 Minutes’ recipes anyway. There’s no need to wait to get started.
How to Master the Art of Substituting Ingredients
These days I hardly think twice about swapping different ingredients when I’m cooking but I wasn’t always this confident.
I remember how frustrating and limiting it used to feel not knowing what would work.
The good news is that you too can develop your substitution confidence.
Here are 7 tips to make your ‘Substituting Ingredients’ journey as easy and pain-free as possible.
1. There are no rules. The only result we’re after is something that tastes delicious, it doesn’t matter how you get there.
2. Look for similar ingredients. The easiest place to start. The more similar ingredients are the more likely your substitution will be successful.
3. Look for similar functions. For example, say you’re making a salad that calls for roasted almonds and you need to avoid nuts. What function are the almonds playing in the salad? If they’re there to make the salad more filling and substantial, maybe you could try some avocado chunks or goats cheese.
If they’re there for textural interest maybe some crispy bacon pieces would work or some finely diced red capsicum (bell pepper).
4. Trust your instincts. You’ve got all those years of eating behind you so even if you aren’t experienced in substitution you know what tastes good to you.
5. Remember Clancy’s ‘Law of Cooking’. “If you think it’s going to taste delicious it probably will!”
6. Everyone makes mistakes. We all have failures. Take it as a learning experience or an inexpensive ‘cooking lesson’ and keep trying.
7. Practice makes perfect. Seriously, the more you experiment, the better you’ll get!
8. Don’t forget that ‘just skipping it’ is an option too. I find, especially in more complicated recipes, that often you can skip at least one or two ingredients without really noticing them.
Of course, it’s best to make sure the ingredient isn’t listed isn’t essential. Having 5-Spice Chicken salad without the chicken would be problematic. Although a name change can easily fix this.
Like to learn more?
Download your FREE surprise bonus copy of ’30 Dinners’ below and check out the bonus section at the back of the ebook. There’s an ingredient substitute ‘cheat sheet’ for you to print out to give you loads of ideas for substituting ingredients.
7 Tips for Knife Skills
Are ‘knife skills’ something you don’t feel that confident with? Well you’re not alone. Most people who are just getting into cooking say they’d like to improve the way they handle their knife.
But to be honest, I don’t think knife skills are as important as you’d think. Sure most cooking involves some sort of chopping, but on a domestic level does it really matter whether it takes you 20 seconds or 2 minutes to peel and dice an onion?
If you’re in a commercial kitchen chopping bags of onions, it’s a big deal. But surely the extra time it takes you isn’t really significant.
Of course it is important that you know how to be safe when you’re wielding your dangerous kitchen equipment. So focus on safety first and trust me, the speed and confidence will flow naturally.
7 tips for knife safety
1. get a good knife sharpening system. I can’t stress how much easier your life will be if you keep your knives sharp. Not to mention safer and you’ll be quicker. I’m a big fan of the ‘Furi fingers’ because they’re the most foolproof system I’ve used. But whatever works for you. Just choose something.
2. choose a safe storage place. It’s dangerous to have your super-sharp knife knocking about in your cutlery drawer. Not to mention, not the greatest for your knives. Best option is a knife magnet so your knives are safe and accessible. Next best thing is to invest in cheap plastic blade covers. Or make your own cover with cardboard and sticky tape.
3. use an appropriate cutting surface. I have a wooden all purpose board I use for most general jobs, and then plastic ones for raw meat, fish, poultry and veg. I wash the plastic boards on the hottest cycle in my dishwasher.
4. don’t put your knives in the dishwasher. This keep them sharp and avoids rust spots. And of course is doubly important for wooden handles.
5. be very careful cleaning knives. Rinse under running water. Pass a doubled up wash cloth down the length of the blade to remove any debris. Then rinse again, dry with a clean tea towel or paper towel and put it away.
6. never leave knives in the sink. Especially in a sink of soapy water. Accident waiting to happen.
7. be careful passing knives. Either place it on a bench so the other person can pick up. OR hold by the spine with the cutting edge facing down and pass the handle towards the other person.
Not confident with your knife skills?
Watch this video to learn the safest technique.
3 Keys to Minimizing Cleanup Time
Is washing up a necessary evil? I’ve had more than a few people tell me that while they have a love of cooking, they tend not to venture into the kitchen as much as they’d like because they just hate the cleaning up part.
I understand where they’re coming from but cooking doesn’t have to be like that. So today I thought we’d look at some tips for keeping the piles of dishes at bay.
KEY 1. Reduce
Reduce the amount of equipment you use by embracing simplicity. Keeping the amount of equipment in your kitchen to a minimum will help – you can’t dirty things that don’t exist! But more on that to come…
Seek out one pot meals or things that can be made and eaten from the same pot. See the ‘Insiders Guide’ below for a list of ‘One Pot Wonder Recipes’ from ‘5 Ingredients 10 Minutes’.
Serve in the cooking pot. The whole idea of transferring your creations to a separate platter or serving dish is great if you have an army of servants to help clean up. But not a great idea if you’re the cook and the cleaner. If your saucepans aren’t good looking enough for the table, it might be better to invest in more attractive cookware and skip the serving ware.
Clean as you go. There are always a few minutes here and there when you’re waiting for a pot to boil or for something to finish cooking. Make it a habit to use this time to get a start on the cleaning up. My favourite ‘when I have a second’ tasks are to put away ingredients I’m finished with and stacking (or unstacking) the dishwasher.
KEY 2. Reuse
If you need a spoon, reach for the one you’ve already used rather than grabbing a clean one every time. Same goes for pots and pans. A quick rinse will have most things ready to go again in only a few seconds.
KEY 3. Recycle
Compostable or recyclable plates and cups will certainly save on washing up. It doesn’t really feel right using them everyday. I save this option for picnics or large parties.
STEP 1. When you’re cooking next, challenge yourself to have all the excess ingredients put back in their places before you serve dinner.
STEP 2. Then when you’re feeling like you’ve got the ingredient putting away habit under control, challenge yourself to stack as many used items into the dishwasher as you can. Or if you don’t have a dish, start the washing up process as you go.
STEP 3. Add at least one ‘one pot’ recipe from 5 Ingredients 10 Minutes to your repertoire.
The 3 Things You Should ‘NEVER’ Do if You Want to Get Excited About Cooking.
We all go through phases in life where we aren’t very inspired. Where everything seems like too much effort. When we’re stuck in a rut. Although it is rare, even I – someone how adores cooking, get a little ‘over it’ from time to time.
The good news is there are precautions you can take to keep these uninspired moments as infrequent as possible.
1. Don’t follow the ‘recipe’ every single time
As you’ve hopefully come to appreciate from the variations on Stonesoup and in Solve Your Dinner Dilemma, there are always countless ways to vary every recipe. Even small changes like substituting mint for parsley can keep a favourite dish becoming bored.
2. Don’t be complacent
If you find yourself stuck in a rut or completely uninspired remember it’s all about your attitude. You are the only one who can change your situation for the better and this is a good thing. You can make a difference if you want to!
3. Don’t play it safe
Rene Redzepi, chef at Noma, currently rated best restaurant in the world spoke in Melbourne earlier in the year and I was lucky enough to attend. One of the things I found most surprising was his attitude to failure. He is constantly reminding his chefs that if they aren’t failing then they aren’t trying hard enough. And that it’s only when we embrace the possiblity of failure that we allow ourselves the freedom and space to cook really delicious food.
Surely if it’s good enough for the best chef in the world, it’s good enough for your kitchen too!
26 Time ‘Tricks’ to Help You Save Time
In the kitchen, as well as in life, I like to do things as quickly as possible. I mean I run for exercise because I find walking way too slow.
I’m always on the lookout for shortcuts that will get me where I want to go quicker without sacrificing the things that are important to me, like flavour.
PLANNING TIME TRICKS
1. plan your meals. I know it sounds a bit boring but having a rough idea of what you’re going to need and doing a weekly shop is so much faster than going to the supermarket every night on the way home. There’s nothing worse than having to fight for a park when you really just want to get home. Be kind to yourself.
2. determine your critical path. OK this isn’t as scary as it sounds. In project management, the critical path is the list of tasks that depend on another critical task being completed before they are. It can be really helpful to take a moment to think through your recipe and figure out which element is going to take the longest to cook and any things that depend on each other. Then prioritize getting those critical elements cooking asap.
For example if you’re cooking fresh pasta with boccincini, basil & red peppers, the pasta is going to take the longest to cook (the other ingredients just get stirred through) so immediately you should be boiling water to cook the pasta and getting that happening first. Then in the mean time you can cut your peppers and pick the basil leaves.
3. don’t be afraid to change the technique. If there’s something you normally bake in the oven, think about whether you could pan fry it, or cook it under the grill. For a great example, see the recipe for my [almost] instant apple crumble where I’ve taken a dish that normally needs at least 1/2hour in the oven, and turned it into a 10 minute dessert.
4. plan to have leftovers. I’m always a big fan of leftovers if I can rework them into a different type of meal. Sometimes I make extra and freeze for future use. Other times I reinvent the leftovers as another meal. So Sunday night’s extra lamb shanks that were originally served with good old mash, get shredded and mixed with their rich tomatoey onion sauce for a lamb ragu with pasta on Monday.
5. think about actual active cooking time. A tray of roast mushrooms may take 1/2 hour in the oven, or a slow roast leg of lamb may take 5 hours. But if it only takes a few minutes to pop them in the oven to begin with, and don’t require much supervision, they can free up a lot more of your time than something like a stir-fry which cooks in minutes but takes a heap of chopping prep time.
6. question your habits Just because you normally cook something in a certain way, or just because you cook something full stop, doesn’t mean it always needs to be cooked. Case in point the broccoli in our broccoli, bacon & avocado salad.
7. use simple recipes. OK. We all know where I stand on this one. But before you even choose to cook a particular dish, it’s a great habit to question whether this is as simple as it could be. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried out an idea thinking it wouldn’t work because it would be too simple and would be lacking in some way, and been blown away by the results (in a good way).
PREPARATION TIME TRICKS
8. cheat (!) There’s nothing wrong with using modern convenience foods to save some precious minutes. Tinned chickpeas, par cooked rice, fresh pasta, jars of roasted peppers and frozen peas all make a big difference.
9. choose ingredients wisely Knowing the cooking times of different ingredients can help guide your decision making and save you time. For example choosing dried soba noodles instead if udon will save you 6 minutes of boiling noodles. And red lentils can be cooked in 10 minutes whereas most other lentils are at least 20 minutes or more.
10. keep your knives sharp. The most common activity in the kitchen is chopping. Sharp knives make it much easier to get your confidence and your speed up.
11. roughly chop herbs, don’t pick their leaves. While it is lovely to have whole picked leaves, if I’m in a rush I just roughly chop things like parsley or coriander. Still delicious and less wasteful.
12. skip the peeling. Keeping the skins on things like carrots and spuds not only saves time but gives you the most nutrients as well.
13. chop to the optimum size. The smaller pieces of food are, the quicker they’ll cook. BUT the longer it will take to chop. Only go for smaller sizes if it’s going to help you gain valuable cooking minutes.
14. increase the surface area in contact with the heat. Think about a whole chicken breast and how long it takes the heat to get from the pan into the middle. Then imagine chopping that chicken breast into 4 pieces and bashing each one out so it’s only 5mm (1/4in) thick. What’s that going to do to your cooking time?
15. boil water in the kettle first. If I’m short on time I always put water in the kettle to boil for pasta or whatever else I need. So much faster than the stove top.
16. outsource some of the cooking. Picking up a BBQ chicken with chips (fries) and gravy on the way home from work may feel like a cop out (not to mention, the health side of things) but picking up a BBQ chicken and turning it into a chicken and bread salad means you get the brownie points (and nutrients) of a home cooked meal, without the time required to fire up your own BBQ.
Chinatown has some other awesome options for this. I love a good Chinese BBQ duck to turn into sang choi bau (just add fresh lettuce, cucumber and some hoisin sauce).
17. go for prewashed & pre-chopped I always pay extra for bags of prewashed lettuce leaves. And if I’m in a hurry I do sometimes buy scrubbed potatoes.
To be honest I rarely choose pre-chopped veggies because I feel that the freshness and nutrient content isn’t as good as whole. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t if you can afford that convenience.
TECHNIQUE TIME TRICKS
18. get as close to the heat as possible. The further away the food is from your heat source the longer it’s going to take to cook. Pan frying or BBQing are my go-to cooking methods when I’m short of time. Boiling can also be fast but there’s the time needed to get the water hot in the first place.
19. use the most direct heat. Apologies for getting a bit physics class on you but the other factor is that solids (especially metals) conduct heat better than liquids and gasses. Which is why a hot pan cooks so much faster than the same food sitting in a hot oven.
20. cook with gas or induction. I do love the instant heat of gas. Although after being wowed by Australian chef, Tetsuya’s new masterclass kitchen last year, I do have a hankering for a clean induction cook top which has instant heat with the added benefit of being super easy to clean.
21. use a fan forced oven. My country kitchen is blessed with a fan forced oven and cooks things significantly more rapidly than my sad old gas number in Sydney.
22. make technology your friend. Food processors can grate, slice or puree things in a fraction of the time it would take using an old grater or a mortar and pestle. And I’ve already sung the praises of electric kitchen scales where you can just weigh and go without fiddling around with messy measuring cups.
23. rinse and reuse equipment as you go. I used to hate the concept of cleaning as you go because I preferred to concentrate on the cooking task at hand. But over the years I’ve realised that it can actually be quicker to rinse that bowl or spoon in front of you rather than reaching to the cupboard for a clean one and it definitely saves on cleaning up time – my least favourite part of playing in the kitchen.
24. focus. One of my biggest time wasters is when I try and do something else while I’m cooking. Not only do I end up not getting either task done particularly well, I often burn something and have to start again. Much better to be in the moment and get it done right the first time.
25. practice. Like pretty much all activities practice makes perfect – the more often you cook, the quicker you’ll become.
26. ask for help. If you have access to one, employ a kitchen slave. Not only do many hands make light work – it’s also an opportunity to relax and catch up with your loved ones.
Meal Ideas from 5 Ingredients 10 Minutes
Click here to [download] your printable pdf. (note you may need to ‘right click’ and ‘save link as’)
BONUS VIDEO RECIPES FROM ‘5 Ingredients 10 Minutes’
Chickpea Noodle Soup | Fiery Tomato & Couscous Soup | Hearty Red Lentil Soup | ‘Healthy’ Green Goddess Soup
Shaved Fennel Salad with Ricotta | Mixed Green Salad | Black Quinoa & Broccolini Salad | Chickpea & Parmesan Salad
Brown Rice Salad | BBQ Chicken & Bread Salad
Big Plate of Greens with Parmesan | Super Simple Broccoli with Almonds | Shaved Cabbage with White Beans
pasta and noodles
Pasta with Crushed Peas | Chicken & Lime Noodles | Pasta with Greens & Almonds | Pasta with Bocconcini
Noodles with Hot Tuna & Aubergine
grains and legumes
eggs and tofu
fish and seafood
meat and poultry
Spanish Chicken with Chickpeas | Chicken & Cashew Stir Fry | Butter Chicken Curry | Lamb Cutlets
Minute Steaks with Broccolini | ‘European’ Beef Burgers
THE ‘INSIDER’S GUIDE’ to ’5 Ingredients 10 Minutes’
- One Pot Wonders
- Breakfast & Lunch
- Pantry Recipes
- Cook in Advance
- Summer Specials
- Winter Warmers
Insiders Guide Download
The bonus ‘insiders guide’ includes printable alternate recipe lists to help you browse the recipes in a completely new way. CLICK HERE to download your printable pdf. (note you may need to ‘right click’ and ‘save link as’).
One Pot Wonders
Breakfasts & Lunches
Cook in Advance
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