The Importance of Mise en Place at Home

Or, how to make a “20 minute weeknight dinner” actually take 20 minutes with one simple trick.

Mise en What?

The concept of mise en place, pronounced meez n plahz, comes from the french term for everything being in its place. In cooking, it means to have all of your ingredients out, every ingredient chopped and measured, all pans prepared, recipes read and understood before you start cooking. It’s simply setting up your kitchen to allow you to be the most efficient chef. 

Mise en Why?

Mise en place is how professional chefs stay organized and move quickly through recipes. Mise en place is also how bloggers create 15 minute weeknight dinners. You know those recipes that say they’re 15 or 20 minutes but they actually take you more like 30-40 minutes? You know what I’m talking about, the recipes leaving you wondering how the hell someone can cook a starch, vegetable and protein in 20 minutes. Maybe they’re just better cooks than you, maybe they’re just faster than you.

Hold on now, that’s not true. One of the reasons these recipes are labeled 20 minute dinners is because these homecooks are utilizing the concept of mise en place in their very own kitchens. Before they start actually cooking, and timing the recipe, they’ll have all of their ingredients out on the counter, all the veggies chopped and ready to go and the recipe thoroughly read. With everything prepared and ready to go, you too could achieve a 20 minute weeknight dinner in 20 minutes!  

Mise en How?

So how can you use the concept of mise en place to facilitate cooking at home? The most effective way I’ve found is to carve out 30 minutes on the weekend to prep some ingredients. Wash and chop all your veggies, dice some onion and mince some garlic. If you keep everything in an airtight container in the fridge, it’ll stay fresh till the end of the week. This simple step will eliminate that 10 minutes it takes for chopping AND will eliminate washing the cutting board and knife every time you cook! It’s really simple and you might not think it’ll change anything but I swear it helps!! I also love it because it’s kinda a tie between doing a full on meal prep sunday and having literally no plan at all for the week. It’s hands down one of my favorite tricks to keep my weeknight dinners easy, quick AND fresh. 

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