Not much time to cook? Here are some tips to help you save time in the kitchen.
Cook Once, Eat All Week
Rice and other grains can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to five days. To reheat, simply place the desired amount in a colander and pour boiling water over it until it’s heated through. Drain and serve immediately.
Ketchup, Mustard, and Pickle Relish
Purchase ingredients that offer big, bold flavors that help cut down on the number of ingredients to prepare meals. Try having these in your pantry:
* Bottled marinades
* Flavored mustards
* Flavored oils
* Oriental sauces (hoisin, oyster, sweet-sour, and teriyaki)
* Salad dressings
Cut chicken breasts or beef steak into thin strips for stir-frying, and freeze in resealable plastic freezer bags or containers with lids.
For a quick microwave clean-up, place 1 cup water and 3 tablespoons lemon juice in a microwavable cup and microwave uncovered on High for 5 minutes. The steam makes spatters easy to wipe up, and odors are replaced with a lemony scent.
As a quick alternative to garlic bread, brush purchased bread sticks with Italian salad dressing and toast until golden brown.
Line casserole and lasagna dishes with heavy-duty aluminum foil to completely seal food with a double fold. Then freeze unbaked assembled dishes right in the casserole or lasagna dish. When completely frozen, remove food and wrap again with foil or place in a plastic freezer bag to store in freezer. To bake, place the food in the same casserole or dish the mixture was frozen in, keeping it in the foil, and add an extra 15 to 30 minutes to the bake time.
Save Time and Energy
When making a pasta dish that also includes cooking frozen vegetables, add the vegetables to the boiling pasta during the several last minutes of cooking for crisp-tender vegetables. Drain pasta and vegetables in a colander, and continue with the recipe.
For convenient preparation, chop onions, bell peppers, celery and carrots ahead of time. Place desired amounts in resealable freezer bags or containers with lids, then label and date the bags. Freeze up to one month. To use, add unthawed vegetables directly to the dish being cooked. To sauté, thaw slightly just to break pieces apart. These vegetables also are quick and easy for using in soups and stews.
Shred to Soften
Want to soften butter or margarine in a hurry and avoid “microwave meltdown?” Try grating the stick of butter or margarine against the large holes of a cheese grater. Keep rolling up the paper or foil on the stick as you grate to avoid getting greasy hands.
Ditch the Dishes
Marinate meats, poultry, fish and vegetables in resealable plastic or glass dishes. The bags are quick to use and convenient for turning the food while marinating. Best of all, there’s no clean-up—just throw the bag away!
Try these quick coatings for chicken or fish. Dip chicken or fish in melted margarine, salad dressing, mayonnaise or mustard, then coat with desired crumbs suggested below and bake or cook in a skillet.
* Bread crumbs mixed with dry salad dressing mix
* Bread crumbs mixed with grated Parmesan cheese
* Cornmeal mixed with chili powder or Cajun seasoning
* Crushed crackers, tortilla chips or corn chips