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The 4 Cooking Techniques I Mastered Thanks to Meal Delivery Kits

Thanks to meal kits, I'm so much more confident in the kitchen!

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Last Updated: October 27, 2021

Back before I received my first box, I assumed the only cooking skill I’d learn from a meal delivery kit was how to operate my microwave. Fast forward a few shipments, and I feel that I owe so much of my growth as an amateur chef to at-home meal delivery kits.

If you’re not familiar, a meal kit is a food delivery service in which a company sends a customer a weekly shipment of fresh ingredients.

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While some meal delivery companies specialize in microwave-only, ready-made meals; the majority of delivery companies send raw ingredients that need to be cooked and prepared. If you’re a cooking enthusiast like me, meal kits are the perfect way to learn: no shopping for hard-to-find ingredients, no hunting for the quickest recipe online. With my meal delivery shipment each week, I simply read over the included instructions, follow them semi-closely (because I like to throw in a personal touch here or there), and end up with a delicious meal for my entire family.

After just a few weeks of meal delivery cooking, I learned four essential cooking skills that I use almost daily in the kitchen. Here’s just a taste of what I’ve picked up since I started my meal delivery journey:.

1) Chopping and Mincing

Every good chef should know their way around a kitchen knife. After making my fair share of vegan potato soups and seafood dishes, meal kits taught me how to chop and mince like a pro.

Chopping: This is the easier of the two cutting styles. When chopping, your goal is to break down your ingredients into bite-sized portions.

To chop, I steady my ingredient with my non-dominant hand, safely away from the blade. Using soft, controlled strokes, slice the ingredient into evenly-sized pieces. Repeat until each slice is even and bite-sized.

Mincing: A bit tricky at first, mincing is an essential cooking skill. The goal is to finely cut an ingredient into easy-to-cook bits.

After chopping an ingredient into quarters, line up each quarter. To mince safely, I learned to steady the top of the kitchen knife with a flat palm. Keeping the tip of the knife set against your cutting board, you simply lift and lower the back end of the blade to rapidly cut the ingredients into smaller and smaller pieces. Mince until every piece is about the size of a popcorn kernel.

You’ll typically mince or chop:

    • Nuts
    • Garlic
    • Onion
    • Potatoes

I used this method in these meal kit recipes:

    • Curry/Tikka masala
    • Soup
    • Stir fry
    • Chow mein

2) Cold-Washing Rice

From a meat-lovers taco night to keto-friendly stir fry, a fresh, soft pot of rice is the bedrock to a number of meal kit entrees. To get your rice just right, you’ll have to put in a little prep work.

The secret to soft, fluffy white or brown rice is to pre-wash it in cold water. Unwashed rice tends to hold on to its starch, making your final product come out with a mushy or sandy texture.

Cold-washing is about as simple as it sounds: once you have your desired amount of rice in a pot, cover the rice with cold tap water. Swirl the water-rice mixture with your hand and drain carefully, using the lid to prevent any rice from escaping the pot.

Repeat this process until the rice-water mixture begins to drain clear, no longer white and starchy. It usually takes me about three or four washes before I can get to steaming.

I used this method in these meal kit recipes:

    • Tacos
    • Stir fry
    • Mediterranean salad

3) Peeling Fruits and Vegetables

Whether you’re making chicken noodle soup or potato salad, peeling your ingredients is the first step in cooking comfort food.

When I first started cooking with meal kits, I dreaded the deceptively simple instruction to “peel ingredients.” If I used my rounded peeler or, worse, a small knife, it would take me about five minutes to peel a measly carrot. I didn’t speed up my process until one meal kit recommended I try a new tool.

For easy peeling, invest in a flat peeler. Shaped like a capital “T,” a flat peeler is designed to work fast. To use one, you simply hold it by the handle and drag it down and over your ingredient.

You can peel:

    • Carrots
    • Potatoes
    • Apples

I used this method in these meal kit recipes:

    • Shepherd’s pies
    • Soups
    • Sweet flatbreads

4) Cook a Stovetop Chicken Breast

Shredded into a street taco or smothered in tikka masala, chicken tends to be the protein of choice for meat-friendly meal kits. You can cook a chicken a million ways, but this is the way I’ve learned works best:

Cook: Add the chicken to the stovetop for 5–7 minutes, untouched. Once the chicken begins to brown, flip and cook for the same period. Jab the center of the chicken at its thickest point with a food thermometer: the temperature should reach 165° F for safe eating.

I used this method in these meal kits:

    • Savory flatbreads
    • Spicy chicken sandwiches
    • Street tacos

Make Dinner Even Easier

Now that you know the techniques I’ve learned during my meal kit-making journey, it’s your turn to pick up a culinary skill or two.

To find the right meal kits for cooking enthusiasts like me, check out the link below. You’ll find a list of top-rated meal kit delivery services, each with cost estimates, stats, and answers to FAQs. Bonus: take advantage of deals & discounts just by following each brand’s link!

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I hope your future in the kitchen is full of delicious smells, lots of learning, and the kinds of easy-to-make meals that your family will love.