The Golden Rules to quick and efficient cooking 

It's wise to invest in basic kitchen necessities opposed to buying too many items:. My bare necessities include: Chef's Knife, Paring Knife, Cast Iron Skillet, Large Stockpot, small saucepan, roasting pan, and baking sheets. 

  • Have two to three separate cutting boards -- one for raw meats, one for cooked meats and one for produce. (Plastic ones work just fine)
  • Get in the habit of prepping all of your ingredients before cooking a recipe ( washing, chopping, peeling).
  • Always wash vegetables thoroughly, especially those that grow directly or under the ground -- carrots, celery, cabbages, spinach, lettuces, kale, chard, strawberries. Fit Spray is a great all-natural spray that helps remove waxes and residue found on produce, other natural produce cleansers work as well.  
  • Keep coarse salt like kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper next to your cooktop so you can season as you go.
  • Season well, and appropriately as you cook -- don't over season, especially with salt and pepper. This takes practice, always salt little by little as it's much harder to correct something over-salted than under-salted.
  • Keep a bowl near your cutting area and workspace for produce scraps to go into a compost bin. If you do not compost, it's a good idea to throw produce scraps in a plastic bag before disposing in the trash -- this cuts down on odors. 

Important How-Tos

(Source: Stewart, Martha. Martha Stewart's Cooking School. New York: Potter, 2008. Print.)