Whether you’re new to cooking or you spend your weekends whipping up recipes, you can always use tips to make your time in the kitchen more efficient and enjoyable. Here are 6 easy cooking hacks you can use to speed up food prep and make your meals more mouth-watering than ever.

#1. Chop onions like a pro

Chopping and dicing onions can be one of the most tedious tasks, but it doesn’t have to be. Chefs and caterers use this easy trick to dice onions in a hurry. Start by cutting the onion in half from the top to the root. Cut off 1/2″ from the top and peel the skin off. Rather than continuing your cuts horizontally, start cutting vertically. Position the knife near the edge and plunge the knife tip into the onion close to the roots, but without cutting through them, and cut through to the top. Continue cutting until you get to the other side, then rotate the onion 90 degrees and cut vertically from the top to the root.

#2. Brine chicken before cooking

For perfectly juicy chicken every time, soak your chicken in brine ahead of time. You can make your own brine by mixing one gallon of warm water with 3/4 cup kosher salt, 2/3 cup sugar, 3/4 cup soy sauce, and 1/4 cup olive oil. Bring to room temperature and soak chicken in the refrigerator for two hours or overnight.

#3. Make pancakes without the mess

There’s nothing better than fluffy, delicious pancakes in the morning, but they can leave you with a sink full of dishes. Make your pancakes without the mess by doing the work in a large Ziploc bag. Pour your dry ingredients into the bag, shake, and add wet ingredients. Massage the mixture to remove any clumps then snip off one of the tips of the bag so you can use it like a pastry piping bag to pipe the pancakes directly into the pan.

#4. Freeze fresh herbs with olive oil

There’s no replacement for using fresh herbs in your favorite dish, but what if you don’t have your favorite herbs fresh on hand? Here’s a trick you can pick up in private cooking classes in NJ: chop up your fresh herbs and freeze them in an ice cube tray with olive oil. The next time you need fresh rosemary, thyme, or even mint, you can drop a cube in.

#5. Cook on cast iron

Every chef knows the value of genuine cast iron. With cast iron pans, you can use any type of utensil you want and your food will turn out amazing with minimal effort. Cast iron even works well in the oven and stovetop. The reason this material works so well is it maintains and distributes heat evenly. These skillets can also be used for everything from searing and baking, to sautéing, braising, and broiling. The more seasoned the pan, the better your food will taste so make sure you stay on top of seasoning your cast iron as needed.

#6. Dredge bacon before cooking

Want perfectly crispy bacon every time? Lightly dredge each bacon slice through flour and place on a foil-covered baking sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees or cook on the stovetop to skip the splattering grease and mess.

Even if you love cooking and picking up new tricks, sometimes you just don’t have the time or energy to spend in the kitchen. For those days you don’t feel like meal planning or you need meals for a major event, consider Jersey Shore catering for comfort food done right.

"Creating Culinary Magic"

- Chef John Deatcher

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