12 Things You Should NEVER Do While You're Cooking

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Finding time to cook is hard enough as it is. (That's why we're all about quick, easy meals all week long.) Once we actually get into the kitchen, we want everything to be as streamlined as possible. And we definitely don't want one silly mistake to ruin our meal — not to mention our whole evening.

To help keep us on track while we cook, we rounded up a few meal-prep no-nos: things to avoid at all costs. Whether it's chopping, seasoning, or even cleanup getting you down, we've got the fix. Ahead, find 12 tips that will make you a better cook, or at the very least help you minimize future kitchen disasters. And that's a great place to start.
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Don't keep your computer in the middle of your cooking space.
We know no one prints out recipes anymore. But, if you're going to be getting dirty in the kitchen, chances are your computer will, too. We suggest putting it on a counter that isn't being utilized or even on a table in a nearby area that isn't directly in the kitchen. That way you can peek at the recipe when you need to, without having to leave your expensive electronics in a prime splatter zone.
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Don't touch your eyes after handling hot peppers.
If you've been chopping jalapeños, wash your hands right away! And avoid touching your eyes for a while even after that. Otherwise, you'll end up like Leo here, and it's way worse than crying from chopping an onion.
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Don't wait until later to do all the dishes.
We're big fans of the clean-as-you-cook method. Finished chopping? Clean the cutting board before you move on to the next step. Have 10 minutes to wait until something comes to a boil? Wash as many dishes as you can. That way, by the time you're done with the recipe — and all you want to do is sit down with your plate of food and binge-watch Netflix the rest of the night — you won't have a massive mess to tackle later.
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Don't f*ck with the food.
Unless you're making a risotto, or your recipe instructions say, "stir constantly," don't mess with your food too much. You don't want to over-mix or move whatever's in your pan around so much that it doesn't have time to brown, caramelize, or cook through evenly.
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Don't use wet oven mitts.
We're not exactly sure of the science behind it, but we do know if you use wet oven mitts you WILL get burned. So if they're damp or wet, switch to a kitchen towel or something else. Your fingers will thank you.
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Don't prep food where you just handled raw meat.
If you just handled raw chicken on a cutting board, on a plate, or in a bowl, all of that equipment (knives and utensils included) is off-limits until it's clean. You definitely don't want to start chopping fresh veggies for your salad right over the raw meat remnants. You do not want to mess around when it comes to food safety.
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Don't leave spills or dropped food on the floor until later.
Yes, cooking is messy, and yes there will be spills and dropped pieces of food. But despite the fact that the mess continues as you keep prepping, you should always pick up or clean up anything that lands on the floor.

Onion peels, runaway pepper pieces, or a little spoonful of sauce are basically perfect for slipping and tripping on. Take it from someone who once completely wiped out on a slice of apple — pick it up now. You're saving yourself from having to clean later, and, you know, from falling on or near a hot stove or sharp knives.
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Don't cook for one.
Okay, maybe if you're making eggs or a grilled cheese just cook enough for one serving. But anytime you're making something that could have leftovers, double the batch. That way you're actually saving time by preparing meals for now and later.
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Don't drink while you chop.
We're big fans of having a (regular-sized) glass of wine while we prep dinner. But we find it's best to get all of the chopping and knife work out of the way beforehand. Booze and sharp objects don't necessarily mix well, especially if keeping your fingers safe is part of your cooking game plan, or you're trying to remember thing about hot peppers and eyes
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Don't crowd the pan.
Your dinner isn't a New York subway, and there's no need to squeeze as much food into your pot or pan as humanly possible. It'll actually take longer to cook that way, and your food won't heat evenly. If you're out of room, make dinner in two batches or on two separate burners.
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Don't season too much too early.
We don't care how good your intuition is, an over-seasoned dish is often a ruined one. So if you're in the early stages of making something, or you can't taste the mix yet because you're waiting for meat to cook, season more sparingly at first. Remember, you can always add more seasoning later, but you can't take it away!
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Don't rush.
If you really don't have time to make dinner tonight, don't push it. Rushing leads to injuries, mistakes, and food that isn't very good. Instead, if you're in a bind, eat something easy like cereal or a sandwich and then do a little prep for tomorrow's dinner. That way, you won't find yourself ravenous with no time to make a satisfying meal.
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