Post # 1
Im talking about the staples you have in your store cupboard to make your life easier when preparing meals. I will start
1. Ready made puff or filo pasty – I havent got time to make puff pasty from scratch
2. Canned chopped tomatoes – sure i could peel and chop my own tomatoes but who really wants to do this?
3. Frozen diced Onions – I am great at dicing onions but I hate the lingering smell and eyes watering so i recently tried frozen. Life changing (well maybe not)
Food for thought – My MIL doesnt cook anything from scratch which i think is kinda sad. She has a very bland and boring diet and DH did too before he met me. Im currently teaching him to cook from scratch. I know so many people that used jarred sauces and pre prepared meals daily for things that are simple to prapare your self. I do however think that so much is readily available pre prepared now a days that that special time i remember from my childhood of cooking with my grandparents and parents is going to die out in generation to come. Im really commited to teaching my daughter how to cook, just like my mother taught me.
This is probably more of a western concern though as I know in differnt cultures food plays a big part.
I feel guilty ‘cheating’ sometimes as I trained as a chef but we all do it right? what are your cheats?
Post # 2
Rotel (tomatoes with chilies)
Other shortcuts I take include making large batches of chicken/beef stock, breads, dumplings, etc and freezing them for later use. Since I’m time rich and money poor (SAHW), I don’t see the point of spending extra money on purchasing these things, especially flour based items (i.e. breads, cakes, dumpling wraps, etc).
Post # 3
Minced Garlic… I don’t have time and hate having the smell on my hands (no matter how hard I try to keep them clean) for hours.
Post # 4
(It cuts out a lot of unnecessary jar opening and cross knife contamination):
Post # 5
ChocolateLime: I don’t really see anything wrong with “cheating” by using canned diced tomatoes. I work 40 hours a week, plus have a 2 hour commute and try to either work out or do something outdoors ( like take a walk or horseback ride 3x a week). I value that time more than worrying about canning my own spaghetti sauce 🙂
But to answer the question– DH loves Velveeta mac n cheese. It isn’t my favorite, but it is easy and I can doctor it up a bit here and there to make it taste a little better. Plus, they make it with wheat noodles now, so I buy that.
I also sometimes make a quick veggie soup with Veg-All. I’ll add in a few potatoes or carrots if I have some I need to get rid of, but mostly just open then can, add some broth and diced tomatoes and I can have “homemade” veggie soup in 30 minutes.
Post # 6
ChocolateLime: Ive started buying a bag of prepared stir fry veggies from the store for stir fry. Much easier than chopping all my own. I also no longer make the sauce from scratch either :-/
But seriously I can make the entire meal in like 15 minutes so I don’t feel bad for one second. I work f/t and also teach yoga…I do enjoy cooking from scratch but sometimes I like to eat dinner before 8 pm 🙂
I am also a fan of jarred sauces, especially when your already making something labor intensive like meatballs or lasagna
And I don’t know who has time to mince their own garlic so I have a huge jar ready to go. lol!
Post # 7
- Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA
Definitely canned tomatoes!
Minced garlic in a jar.
We also buy chicken breast or pork loin on sale, divide them into quart ziplocks, put in enough marinade to cover the meat, and freeze them. A bag can be quickly defrosted and broiled – really yummy and easy to add onto salads, stir fry, etc.
Also a couple really great spices, like this Panak’s curry paste – I put this in with any soup / stew / stirfy and it’s so freaking good.
Post # 8
I buy a lot of premade simmer sauces. That way I can just cut up chicken, saute it, and then just pour whatever tasty sauce onto it and have a wide variety of chicken dishes without having to learn to make a bunch of weird random sauces! (like General Tso’s sauce or Lemongrass or whatever else). No regrets!
Post # 9
lolot: Why did i not think of putting meat & marinade together and then freezing it. Such a good idea!
Post # 10
robynrox47: You can use a little food processor to mince garlic real fast if you dont like doing it by hand. And here’s another neat trick to peel them! http://www.wimp.com/bestgarlic/
All my sauces are “cneats”. Tomato sauce, chili sauce, curry sauce. As long as my main meat and veggie is fresh, if the seasoning comes from a “cheat”, I still call it a close enough to a from scratch meal since I control how much of what goes in it and it’s still TONS better than a ready made frozen meal.
Post # 11
ChocolateLime: I also use canned chopped tomatoes but only when I’m making pasta sauce. Some other things…bagged frozen fruit for smoothies and pizza dough. There’s also others, but I wouldn’t call them staples because I will make it from scratch if I have enough time.
Post # 12
I usually have boullion in the cupboard instead of making my own stock/broth. Some of my other cheat staples are sauces (tomato, teriyaki, soy, chili, etc.). Usually my meat and veggies are fresh and “real,” but a lot of the seasoning and condiments are not.
Oh, and I usually buy pizza dough instead of making it. When I have time, I make my own pasta sauce and noodles, but that doesn’t happen very often.
Post # 13
LadyBear: Ah yes i forgot about boullion, i do too although i do try to make my own most of the time and freeze batches, i just keep it in the cupboard for lazy days!
Post # 14
Jarred sauces, Classico’s brand of Alfredo is AWESOME, and they have a “lite” version
Anytime I use my crock pot, I double the recipe and freeze it
Minced garlic/frozen onions. I hate the lingering kitchen smell
Old El Paso’s “taco kits” Why buy 5 packages when this brand is like $2 at Walmart?
canned biscuits-aint no body got time fo dat! lol. Bread is baked from scratch on holidays only