Hassle-Free Cooking Tips by Chef Marwa El Shafae

Not a long while ago, a mother who has a passion for cooking created a page on Facebook to encourage other mothers to replicate popular recipes to help their children eat healthier options. From her finger-licking fried chicken drums to her irresistible cinnamon rolls, Marwa El Shafae managed to impress her growing audience with her delicious recipes. Her page reached 2.8 million followers on her page “Cook & Eat Fel Baet” in 2 years. With weekly appearances on television programs and a treasure of recipes on her page, Marwa El Shafae proved that her talent is undeniable and today she is sharing with us her tips to healthy and hassle free cooking. 

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Hi Marwa, with your significant experience in cooking, what’s your secret to hassle free cooking?  

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The key to successful, healthy and hassle free cooking is to be organized. There are many aspects in which you can be organized. 

  1. Planning ahead helps to keep everything under control. So every night I decide what I will be cooking in the morning. 
  2. Also being focused avoids making a lot of mess. Take a little while to decide what to use for cooking and which pots are the right size. This will save you the hassle of using a pan that is too small and transferring the food to a bigger one. 
  3. I am very organized with the cooking steps. If I am making rice, meat or chicken and vegetables, I start by boiling the meat or chicken because I will be using the stock to cook the rice and veggies. And while everything is being cooked I finish all the washing up. So by the time the food is done everything is clean. 
  4. I wake up and start my day early so the cooking doesn’t consume much time of my day. 

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But what about working mothers? Any tips? 

Though I prefer cooking fresh food daily, there are many things you can prepare ahead that will minimize the time you spend in the kitchen, while making sure the food tastes as fresh as possible. Here are some tips:

  1. If you are going to cook vegetables earlier,  make sure you freeze them half cooked. This way when you defrost them and heat them up they wouldn’t end up being over cooked. To avoid any change in the taste. Don’t leave the food in the freezer for more than 10 days
  2. If you buy frozen vegetables always check the production date. If the vegetables are frozen in one bulky piece of ice, this means that they were defrosted and refrozen. Don’t buy them. 
  3. If you will prepare fresh vegetables to freeze them make sure you blanch them first. You do this by dropping them in boiling water for few minutes, then transfer them immediately into a bowl of cold water with ice to stop the cooking process.
  4. If you buy meat and chicken in bulk to marinate before freezing, skip the salt in this phase as it draws the juices out of the meat. You can divide them into portions, each enough for one meal and prepare them for different recipes. 
  5. I avoid cooking a big quantity of rice to keep in the fridge for days as many health professionals warned from the health hazard of doing this.  
  6. Also if I am making batches of cooked minced meat to freeze, I never add jarred tomato sauce to it because its taste changes.
  7. You can buy a loads of tomatoes, blend them and freeze the sauce to use later. You can add onions or garlic to the tomatoes as well. Don’t forget to label them. 
  8. I keep all the spices in the fridge to keep them fresh. 

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