My Cooking hacks and Habits

Uncover practical cooking hacks and habits. From air fryer wonders to big-batch salads, meal subscriptions, weekly soups, and more, this article shares tips that make my cooking life easier and more effective.

The Air Fryer: quickly cook stuff

The Air Fryer is not really a fryer: it's a convection oven on steroids. Hot air circulates quickly around the food in a much smaller space. It is speedy to get to temperature and the hot air circulation cooks food faster and crispier.

Examples of things I use it for:

  • Brussels Sprouts: a little bit of oil goes a long way for delicious caramelized goodness.
  • Frozen fries: a match (pun intended) made in heaven for the air fryer. Way easier and faster than the oven.
  • Frozen fish from Costco: thin fish filets can be put in the air fryer frozen, bigger fish like salmon need to thaw in the fridge beforehand but will cook quickly and nicely
The Air Fryer I use. So far, I am happy with it

Big Batch Salads

What's great about salad recipes is they do scale very well: it doesn't take much effort to make more. While we're at it chopping some onions and cucumbers, why not chop a bit more?

The flip side of the big salad equation is that salads (green salads especially) tend to get mushy and soggy quite quickly. What's the point of making more if it goes bad before you can eat it?

What makes a good salad?

Contrasts in:

  • texture
  • taste
  • temperature

Tip to keep your salads for longer:

  • Avoid greens that wilt quickly, prefer hearty greens like kale, cabbage, etc.
  • Use a salad spinner and/or paper towels to get rid of excess moisture
  • Do not mix the dressing. Add dressing to your plate only when ready to eat.
  • Go easy on juicy fruits/veggies like tomatoes, also easy on the salt
A big batch of Mediterranean Orzo Salad


  • Do not mix with the dressing, it will store longer
  • Salads usually require a mix of pantry items and fresh items, a well-stocked pantry makes shopping and planning easier

Meal subscription plans

Meal subscription plans can be convenient but are usually more expensive than doing your groceries and making your recipes. However, I still used one for a while.

When time-crunched, they are accommodating and save you some time and it is better than eating out. But this is not the reason I opted for such a subscription. It helped me try and discover new recipes in easy mode: you can focus on the recipe without having to shop for ingredients.

So far I had a good experience with Cook It in the Montréal région (Québec, Canada). I also appreciate the efforts they made in the last months to reduce cardboard waste.

Chicken in Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Sauce

Here are a couple of my favorites among the recipes it got me to try:

Soup once a week

In my routine, and especially in the winter I try to eat soup at least once a week. I rarely make my own soup, but this could be a good option too. Soup is easy to make in larger batches that can be frozen or shared with friends.

With a bowl of soup, I do a simple Grilled Cheese and a simple side of salad like cabbage, shredded carrots, or my personal favorite: endive salad with walnut oil dressing.

Tuscan white beam & kale soup from Allen Family food found at Costco Canada

A big batch of not salads

It's not just salads that you can make a decent batch of at once and serve for multiple meals. If it freezes well, you can prep even more at once.

Good examples are:

  • Lots of bolognese
  • Meatballs (any meatball recipe and the sauce that goes with it)
  • Pizza dough
  • Lasagna freezes and reheats quite well
Swedish meatballs in the making.

Go-to quick recipes:

Having herbs on hand

One thing that can make a good dish great is the addition of fresh herbs such as dill, persil, cilantro, basil, mint, etc.

Buying herbs for a single recipe is not convenient because it means you need to actually buy it in order to cook. It also quickly gets expensive to buy fresh herbs in small quantities. On the other, buying more than you need leads to waste as they quickly go bad.

If you have a balcony or garden space, dedicate some space for fresh herbs in the summer. Make sure to prune them often to prevent flowering. Cilantro will flower very easily. You can also plant some herbs every month and stagger your harvest.

If you don't have space or want to have herbs in the winter, there are hydroponic kits such as Aerogarden for year-round indoor harvest. Grocery stores also sell pots of herbs that you can keep indoors for a while.

Keep 1 or 2 hits for your guests

Applying all this tips you'll likely do some dishes that you love. When having guest over, there is no need go all fancy. A hearty meal that you love, made will love will make for a great dinner.