10 Ways You're Not a Lazy Genius in the Kitchen
1. You don't preheat your oven.
Food needs to start cooking at the right temperature, and if you put your food in the oven before it's hot enough, your food will suffer and so will you. It's lazy but not genius.
2. You don't salt your food.
You're actually a good cook. Do know why your food never tastes as good as you think it should? Because you didn't use enough salt.
Food shouldn't be salty, but adding to salt to each layer of ingredients as you cook them makes your meal go from the Hemsworth brother that no one knows about to Chris and Liam at the same time. Adding salt is the lazy genius way to get two Hemsworth brothers.
3. You don't rinse spinach, egg, and oatmeal off your dishes soon enough and then turn into a raging psychopath.
Just do it. The bowl/pan you use to thaw spinach, beat raw eggs, or serve oatmeal in must be tended to IMMEDIATELY or else you'll spend an hour scraping ceramic and gnashing your teeth when you should be watching The Hour or reruns of The Office. Unacceptable.
4. You melt butter to soften it.
I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN. When you bake, butter should be treated with care and reverence. Butter is basically Beyonce.
The temperature of butter is THE most important component of baking, and shortcuts are severely frowned upon. The reason your cookies don't look like the picture? You softened your butter in the microwave instead of leaving it on the counter for thirty minutes.
5. You don't cook with chicken thighs.
Gone are the days of boneless skinless chicken breast and - please stop the madness - the chicken tenderloin. Eat the thighs, you guys. Today. They're cheaper, they taste better, they're impossible to overcook, and while they do have the tiniest bit more fat than chicken breasts, they also have extra iron and a few other minerals I can't remember or pronounce. Stores sell boneless skinless versions, too, so do yourself a favor and EAT THE THIGHS.
6. You put bananas and tomatoes in the fridge.
Nope. Just nope.
7. You don't make extra of freezable meals.
Some of your go-to dinners are freezable - chili, soup, baked pasta dishes, etc. - and you're doing yourself an injustice by not making a double batch and freezing half for another day. It takes barely any extra time to cook double, but the time it saves on a Wednesday night when you just. don't. want. to cook. is invaluable. It's the laziest of all the laziest genius meal-planning moves.
8. You put knives in the dishwasher.
Butter knives? Sure. Paring knives? I'll forgive you. Big chef's knives? Please forthelove STOP. Your knives cost a lot of dolla dolla bills, y'all, and you are destroying their very essence every time you exile them to the dishwasher with the kitchen commoners. Knives are royalty. Like butter and Beyonce. Wash them by hand. This is something to be a genius about because the little effort it takes to wash them will keep them in good stead for years, saving you money.
9. You overcook pasta.
Pasta is meant to be cooked in heavily salted aggressively boiling water for 7-9 minutes tops. Then it's meant to be drained - NOT RINSED - and added to a previously prepared (or opened) sauce over heat to bring everything together. Cooking pasta for longer than necessary or - worse - leaving it in the pot of water while you get other things together breaks my heart. Pasta is the workhorse of our meal plans, you guys. Don't ignore it. It gets angry and tastes gross.
10. You buy salad dressing.
If you can't live without your Hidden Valley, you get a pass. I get it - some dressings are too iconic to mess with. But if you buy regular Italian dressing or whatever is on sale because you need salad dressing in the house, you're wasting a chance to be a lazy genius.
Here are my two favorite everyday dressings:
- When you need something creamy, whisk together 1 tbsp. of mayo, 1/2 tbsp. of Dijon mustard, 1/2 tbsp. champagne or white wine vinegar, and a little salt and pepper.
- When you need something tangy and oily, whisk together 1 tsp. Dijon mustard, 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar, a dash of soy sauce, salt and pepper, and 1 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil.
Don't even measure. Just work with ratios if you want. Yes, opening a bottle of Kraft is the ultimate in lazy, but the genius tradeoff you're losing for fantastically delicious dressing isn't worth it. And have you already forgotten #2? If your dressing isn't singing, it probably needs more salt.
Now go and say you're sorry to your knives.