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Improve Your Cooking With This One Tip

My kitchen isn't big, so being organized while cooking is a must for me. Clutter distracts me from what I'm doing, so I prep ingredients ahead before starting to cook. It reduces mistakes and allows me to have only what I need to make the recipe in my work area.

The practice is called mise en place (MEEZ-ahn-plahs), which is a fancy French way of saying “everything in its place.” In cooking it means to prep ahead and stage your ingredients. You'll notice chefs on the cooking shows live by it.

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The idea is to chop, slice, dice and mince vegetables and herbs, and prep anything else required for the dish before diving into a recipe. Also, measure out any liquid or dry ingredients before any cooking begins.

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Here are the benefits:

• Prepping the ingredients ahead of time allows you to notice any missing ingredients.

• You can take note of any special preparations that are needed, like letting certain ingredients come to room temperature, for example.

• You can keep your work area organized by cleaning up as you go along, after ingredients are prepped.

• You can line your prepared ingredients up in order of use.

Read through the recipe before you start and, if you have them, use small prep bowls to stage the ingredients. Now you're ready to channel your inner celebrity chef.

What are some things you do to stay organized while cooking?

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