Nov 13, 2010

Kitchen shortcuts

Here's a quick question for those of you who wind up doing a lot of the cooking in your household, either by choice or necessity.

What's your favorite kitchen shortcut?

You know, like buying shredded cheese instead of shredding it yourself. Or maybe using a special kind of jarred sauce* that you particularly like when making pasta. Could be anything. I love a good shortcut. But it has to be good, and not detrimental to the recipe and finished product at all.

Lately, I've been buying freshly chopped onion and celery from our supermarket. They package them together as "stuffing mix" in our local market's produce section. And friends, I put chopped celery and onion in EVERYTHING! Chili? You betcha. Soup? Of course. Tuna salad? Yummy. I could go on and on. It's just such a quick and easy alternative to chopping the ingredients yourself.

So what do you do to save time/effort in the kitchen?  Besides just dialing in for take-out, of course.

*I use jar sauce all the time, so I'm not judging.  Especially if I'm just making a quick and easy pasta dish for the night.  I usually jazz it up with whatever I have around in the spice cabinet, but some of them taste really good.  Of course, if I'm making a special dinner I make my own sauce.  Or one of a variety of sauces that I'm working on perfecting, that is. 
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Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. Yeah...I can cook.

12 comments:

sybil law said...

Definitely shredded cheese, sometimes pre chopped veggies from the salad bar (not usually, though), the pre cooked bacon that takes 30 seconds in the microwave is awesome on cold school mornings, absolutely jarred sauce... Actually, I think that covers most of it.
Also, I use fragmented sentences to save time.

RW said...

I can't think of any. I don't trust the salad in those pre-mixed salad bags. I refuse to buy any cheese but whole so I can shred what I need ad save the rest for later. Jeez I even squeeze my own lemons for lemonade. Like sometimes twice a week.

I honestly don't know.

SK Waller said...

Boxed chicken broth. I use if making rice, soups, anything that requires water. Definitely better than plain water in rice.

We do make our own stock, which we keep in the freezer in zip lock sandwich bags, but the boxed stuff is so much easier.

Avitable said...

I just go out to a restaurant and let them make a meal for me.

Ms Batman said...

As a single mom of two Drama Tweens, my favorite kitchen shortcuts are usually routed through a drive-thru somewhere along the way.

white rabbit said...

I don't have any. I belong to the RTFM school of cookery...

Heff said...

We usually DON'T take shortcuts (except for the jarred sauces), and we add onion to EVERYTHING, also. It makes that after dinner cigarette AWESOME, lol.

B.E. Earl said...

Sybil - The only one I disagree with is the pre-cooked bacon. I haven't found one that tastes very good yet.

RW - We've been known to buy those pre-mixed salad bags, but only for Caesar salad. Other than that, we like to make our own salads and even our own dressing.

Steph - Aw, yeah...I definitely use canned or boxed broth. Use it for everything, like you do. Making your own stock is better, but this is a great shortcut.

Ms. Batman - Heya! Yeah, fast food joints are so convenient that you forget they are the devil!

Wabbit - I hear ya. Give me a recipe and I'm golden. RTFM...ha!

Heff - Like I said, I always make my own sauce for special dishes. But for your everyday Wednesday night pasta? Sure...gimme some of that jarred sauces. But I go with the really good ones. You can't chince on jarred sauce.

sybil law said...

Oscar Meyer is the pre cooked bacon I buy. I've tried other ones and they were nasty. It's definitely not for a good BLT, but I like the protein pack it gives my kid before school and you just can't beat 30 seconds. :)

Kaylen said...

I am happy to spend an extra couple bucks on shredded cheese because I despise cleaning the cheese grater. The dishwasher never seems to get every bit of cheese off of it and I nearly lose a finger cleaning inside of it. Eff that shredder, I'll pay more!!

I am jealous over your chopped onion/celery mix!! I've never seen that in my store but I want it!

B.E. Earl said...

Sybil - I've tried that brand, and since I don't have kids...

Kaylen - It is pretty sweet...

WebSavvyMom said...

-->I cut fresh mushrooms for sauces, pizza, stew, etc. with a boiled egg slicer. They're all uniform and I can just toss the slicer in the dishwasher.
~deb