10 Chef-Worthy Cooking Tips From Plated’s Test Kitchen

Here at Plated, we’re all for things that make your (and our) lives simpler! From dinner planning to easy prep and quick cook meals, we welcome short cuts and tips that allow us to focus on doing what’s worth it. To help you make the most out of your time in the kitchen, we rounded up some cheffy hacks from the Plated Test Kitchen. Whether you’re looking for a way to keep your cutting board from slipping, tips for cleaning a dirty pan, or an easy hack for roughly chopping nuts, we’ve got you covered.

Preheat your oven as soon as you get home

Preheating your oven right away will save time once you’ve started prepping ingredients so you don’t have to wait for your oven to heat up when it’s time to start cooking!

Designate a trash bag

Use your Plated meal bag as a trash bag for any scraps you need to discard. Roll the top of the meal bag down a few times, then stand it up and toss in onion peels, empty liquid pouches, and woody herb stems.

Use your meal bag as a trash bag

Use the Plated app as a timer

The Plated app is useful for ordering your weekly box, but it doesn’t stop there. When it’s time to start cooking, click into one of your recipes and tap the in-step cook times to set a timer for each step along the way. If multiple timers are running at once, the app will keep track of each of them and alert you when an individual task’s time is up. So. Helpful.

Prevent your cutting board from slipping

Sometimes cutting boards slide around under the pressure of a knife. Not ideal. To prevent sliding while you’re chopping, place a damp paper towel between the counter and the cutting board. The paper towel will grip both the counter and the cutting board and prevent any mishaps.

Let your produce ripen

If your recipe uses avocados, tomatoes, or stone fruit, take them out of the Plated meal bag before you head to the fridge! These items may need additional time to ripen and they won’t do so in the fridge. If you’re dealing with an unripe avocado, we recommend ripening it at room temperature in a brown paper bag for 2-3 days before using. Green tomatoes are an exception—they should always be stored in the fridge!

Let your produce ripen

Clean hot pans for reuse

Dirty pan? Still need it for the next step? Add about a ¼ cup of water to your hot pan and swirl it around to quickly release any burnt-on bits. Wipe it clean and you’ll be ready for the next step.

Cook pasta and veggies together

A Plated favorite for cooking vegetables quickly in pasta dishes is boiling the veg with the pasta! In the final minute or so (depending on the vegetable), add your prepped veggies to the boiling water then drain along with the pasta. Et voila!

Say ‘no’ to chopping nuts

Chopping nuts can be tough (we see you, hazelnuts!). Rather than trying to chop them, leave nuts sealed in their pouch and gently crush with the bottom of a heavy pot or pan. You crushed it (sorry, we had to)!

Crush nuts with a heavy pan

Make simple, easy garlic bread

Garlic bread without mincing garlic sounds impossible…but it isn’t! Toast bread with olive oil and salt, then, rub the cut sides of the bread with a garlic clove. The residual heat from the toasting will “cook” the garlic and mellow its raw flavor–no mincing needed.

Dessert is always a good idea

No-churn ice cream is a big hit in our Test Kitchen. Whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Add condensed milk and any flavorings you like (cocoa powder, anyone?) and whisk until combined and thickened. Transfer to a tin and top with parchment then place in the freezer for about an hour to chill. Give our Chai-Spiced Ice Cream a try.

Story contributed by Plated Recipe Developer Liz Dinsmore.

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