-Make grains in large batches: About once a month, I make a huge pot of brown rice. I then section it out into individual servings and freeze them in plastic bags, then defrost them as needed. This is great because I'm not always stuck waiting for rice to cook (it takes so long!) and also because I can defrost exactly the amount if rice that is necessary for the recipe I'm making (no waste!).
I also like to make a big pot of quinoa on Sunday nights so I can use it as a side dish or base all week.
-Buy preminced garlic: I have a feeling a lot of people will find this sacrilegious, but for me it's much easier to just plop some already chopped garlic out of a jar than deal with buying cloves and slicing them as needed. Cuts prep time quite a bit for me, as I use garlic very frequently, and a big jar lasts me months.
-Always have canned tomatoes in the cabinet: I buy canned tomatoes almost every third time I grocery shop, because I use them so often. They're perfect as a base for so many different things, including chili, pasta sauce, tacos, enchiladas, jambalaya, whatever. The store brand ones are often very cheap and already flavored with stuff like oregano and green chile, too.
-Don't be afraid to modify the recipe: If you don't have something you need, don't be afraid to omit it or substitute for something similar. This recipe tasted perfectly fine without onions, and this one was fine with extra spinach instead of kale. For baked goods, I especially like subbing for eggs with applesauce; the recipe always ends up really moist (use about 1/4 cup applesauce per egg). For an added bonus, it's vegan.
Have any similar time-saving tips? Anything you do to simplify recipes or simplify cooking in general?
On an unrelated note, here we are, your Master of Fine Eats bloggers, dressed up and clowning around at an event last weekend.
|Photo by Yvette Lopez|