Today’s “lazy”… er, Tasty Tuesday tips come from Cara, who is a woman after my own heart. She knows how to work those pre-packaged meals and make them her own. Spaghetti sauce in a jar? By the time I’ve added sauteed onions, peppers, mushrooms and a few of my own Italian seasonings, you’d never know I didn’t spend all day slaving at the stove.
(Oh, and I only use the word “lazy” up above, because that’s the word Cara used when she gave me these cooking shortcuts. In reality, this lady is anything BUT!)
Turning store-bought into tastes-like-homemade
- Pasta Roni with ground turkey. (Cara writes: I usually season the turkey with garlic salt, then mix it into the Pasta Roni)
- My “Po’ Mama” Chicken and Dumplings. (Says Cara: I heat up 2 cans of Campbell’s Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup, then make the dumplings from Bisquick and drop them in the soup)
- And then of course, Skyline chili from the can over spaghetti! Never fails.
For all of you non-Cinci folks who haven’t experienced Skyline, it’s a meaty chili seasoned with cinnamon and chocolate (yeah, you read that right). I didn’t grow up here, so I can’t really stomach it, but locals love the stuff. As Cara notes, you can buy it in the can and make a classic three-way by pouring the chili over spaghetti, then adding tons of shredded cheddar cheese. Not sure if Skyline chili contains any veggies, but you just might have all the food groups covered.
More cooking shortcuts we love
- Regular delivery of organic, natural produce and groceries (we wrote about one that’s available in the midwest called Green B.E.A.N. Delivery, but you might know of others in your area).
- Rotisserie chicken from the grocery store—you can use this as a main dish, then take the rest and add later to salads, stir-fry dishes and more.
- Quick and easy ingredients to keep on hand: Items like canned diced tomatoes, frozen shelled edamame, bagged baby spinach, presliced mushrooms and more can make whipping together a quick meal so much easier. Check out this list from Cooking Light for more shortcut ideas.
- Put it on (or in) a pita! Pita pockets are great as a pizza crust alternative, and you can bake them for a few minutes in the oven with whatever ingredients have around. They’re also a good substitute for sandwiches (we like the Sandwich Pockets and Salad Pockets from Kangaroo Brands). Stuff ’em with salad, PB&J, anything you like.
- Microwavable frozen rice: Saves you so much time! Just pop a bag in the microwave and you’ve got hot, delicious rice.
- Any of these secrets/shortcuts to better cooking from Design Mom, such as frozen ice cubes of seasoning plus olive oil
- Freeze ripe bananas (peel them first) or any other produce you like in resealable freezer bags; throw ’em in the blender later for a healthy smoothie on the way to work or school.
- Consult the queen of semi-homemade cooking, Sandra Lee, for endless ideas, recipes and tips on how to save time and cook deliciously
What are your favorite cooking or kitchen shortcuts?