If you’ve never heard the word Mise en Place, don’t worry I’m here to the rescue with a little culinary French that should help put “everything in its place,” which is exactly what the word means. I think of it more as being fully prepped and ready to cook at a moment’s notice without any hesitation. There’s even a show on TV called Cutthroat Kitchen where people can sabotage prepped ingredients or even change things during the cooking process which I can imagine would be extremely stressful. It only took me a few times while working in a restaurant to realize that if I wasn’t prepped to the nines that I would have a miserable night cooking for guests.
While most of you don’t necessarily work in a professional kitchen, most everyone has to cook in some capacity for yourselves or others so being prepped or having your mise en place completed still applies. Nothing worse than starting to cook and realizing a quarter of the way in that you forgot to chop garlic or mince some herbs, so back to the cutting board for you. If you have everything prepped and ready to go then the cooking process is seamless and some who normally don’t enjoy the cooking experience may actually enjoy it for the first time. It also allows you to solely focus on cooking and not having to worry about 10 million other things like cutting, slicing, filleting, etc. So in other words prep first, cook second, easy as pie.
I do however realize that working a 9 to 5 limits your time to properly prep up food to feed the family so I wanted to share with you what I used to do when I was at my corporate gig to help save some time.
Once my daughter went to sleep and the house calmed down a bit I would mosey on down to the kitchen and start slicing up food, searing off chicken breasts, marking beef, etc. I was in it. I would be prepping for the next day’s food and would rarely spend over 15 minutes doing it. Once my prep was done, I would place all of it in storage containers wrapped in plastic or with lids and place it in the refrigerator. On the next day I would call my wife at about 3:00 pm and would tell her to get things going in the pressure cooker. By the time I would get home at around 5:30 or 6:00 I would have this delicious slow cooked meal that only took a few hours to make thanks for the dual partnership I had with my wife everything. I’d prep and all she had to do was toss it in the pressure cooker and leave it alone. It was a beautiful thing and honestly such a stress reliever. It’s the worst when it’s 4:30 and you have no food or can’t think of a thing to cook, the worst…
By doing this process we saved time, money and had plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day which really helped the whole family to never have to worry about what we were eating. Pressure Cookers cook extremely fast, it’s like putting something in the slow cooker for 8 hours can all of a sudden get the same result but in only 2 hours and with the same minimal amount of work to put in. Awesome!
We would eat amazing dishes like Thai chicken curry, or beef vegetable and barley stew, or even a seafood pasta. If you don’t have a lot of cooking experience, which my wife does not, but why would she need to, the pressure cooker is a wonderful tool to have. It is an all in one pot stop, and cooks things masterfully as if you’ve been a sous chef at a restaurant somewhere. Chicken is brown, sauces are thickened, meat shreds apart with ease, the pressure cooker is where it’s at.
If I knew I was going to have a really busy week then I would do some prep on Sunday night for a bout 30 to 45 minutes and get a couple of meals ahead and simply freeze them in storage containers and my wife could pull them out and pressure cook them at the proper times each day. I can’t tell you enough how much this helped the everyday flow to our lives, literally life saving :). The pressure cooker isn’t just about prepping and cooking, it can also save precious oven space during the holidays or even just help cook things at supersonic speeds.
I’m sure you’ve heard stories like this before, but it’s really just about doing it and my best advice for you is to find slow cooker recipes you like and put them in the pressure cooker but for ¬º of the time because it literally cooks that fast. I hope this helps you enjoy the cooking process more and helps saves some time for the things that really matter in your life. Just remember though, it all starts with mise en place!