There is nothing more frustrating than being dead tired, ready to go to bed, and having to wait for something to cool down enough to put it in the refrigerator, except having to wait hours to eat a chilled dish made with cooked foods.
You can’t put hot food in there; it raises the temperature and can spoil other foods. You can cool foods down quickly and avoid the wait.
It’s actually really easy. Just set the pan in some cold water. There are many ways to accomplish this.
I have a really big soup pot that actually plugs the sink when I set it on the drain. I put it in the sink with the lid on (so that no water gets in the food), fill the sink to just above the level of the soup, and then remove the lid to let the heat out. Typically I refresh the cold water a couple of times. The whole process takes just a few minutes and the soup is cooled.
For my crockpot crock it takes a little longer because the pot itself retains heat. I also have to plug the sink. Still it only takes a few minutes.
If you have smaller dishes to cool, you can put them in a bowl of ice water. You can also portion large amounts of food into smaller containers to get it to cool faster with or without using the cold water.