quick cooking

It may be a great accomplishment to be able to say that we cook “everything” from scratch.  Unfortunately in today’s society that is not always feasible.  Most people are caught with the dilemma of not having nearly enough time to do all the things they would like to do.  In order to save time, they are resorting to canned and packaged products often to help speed up the cooking process.

Even though most of us would agree that homemade is better and cheaper, sometimes we do have to consider which is more important–the time or the money?  If you are working out on the job all day long, need to hurry home in the evening, and have a hearty meal ready for your family as quickly as possible, you probably will need all the help you can get with quick fix ideas.

One of the most important things for efficiency is to plan ahead.  It takes a small amount of time to plan your menu for dinner the night before.  You can take a package of hamburger out of the freezer to thaw.  Or better yet, when you purchase your hamburger bring it home and cook it all.  Place it in plastic quart bags and freeze.  When it comes time for dinner, just thaw your package.  This will save you a lot of time in preparing the meal.

You should always have a quick fix stash on hand in your pantry.  Whether it is jars of alfredo sauce and noodles, or jarred spaghetti sauce and noodles, keep something in your pantry for those days when things are just not going right and you need dinner —FAST.

Here are some tips for quick fixes

  • Instead of rolling out biscuits and cutting them with cutters, make drop biscuits by simply adding additional liquid to the ingredients.
  • Make quick doughnuts by poking a hole in the middle of canned biscuits.  Fry in hot fat and dust with powdered sugar.  These are best eaten while still warm.
  • Dust cakes with powdered sugar instead of frosting them.
  • Make bar cookies instead of drop or rolled cookies
  • When chopping green onions, use a pair of scissors.
  • Scissors speed up the time it takes to cut little ones foods on their plates.
  • To save the amount of time it takes to make a white sauce, substitute a can of 10 oz cream soup for casseroles when time is limited
  • Designate a theme night.  Have taco Tuesday.  Set out all the ingredients and everyone makes their own.  You can do the same with nacho’s.
  • Make twice the amount.  When making baked chicken, double up and save the remainder for the next day’s chicken fajitas.  Or cook two casseroles and freeze the second one for later in the month.
  • Simplify your side dishes.  Sometimes fresh fruit, cheese cubes, or raw fresh vegetables can make things easy.
  • Buying chicken in bulk and then freezing in smaller plastic resealable bags.  You can add marinades and spices right to the bag.
  • Green onions cut up with a pair of kitchen shears,put into a water bottle and placed in the freezer.  Just shake out the amount needed and put back in the freezer.
  • Instead of peeling corn on the cob, place the entire corn in the oven and bake at 350 for 40 minutes.  It will make it much easier to peel and will taste delicious.
  • Store your dairy products like sour cream, yogurt, and cottage cheese upside down.  It makes them last longer.
  • Cook bacon and sausage on a tin foil covered cookie sheet.  Place in oven and bake 350 for 40 minutes. 
  • Buy ground beef in bulk and cook thoroughly when you get home.  Put in individual freezer bags for easy meals.  If you want to make meatballs, hamburger patties, or Salsibury steak patties, you can do this and freeze on a cookie sheet first then place in a freezer bag.
  • Freeze small leftover amounts of tomato paste in ice cube trays.  Place in freezer bag.
  • Have lots of eggs?  Scramble them up and pour into ice cube trays.  Freeze and then pop out into freezer bags.  Thaw and use in your baked goods.  Works great!