Please welcome my guest today, Tiffany from the delicious food blog, Eat at Home.
Laura recently shared some of her favorite supper cheats in a Menu Plan Monday post. I love a good cooking cheat! So I asked Laura if I could share some of my favorites with you.
Before we get to the list, let me just say that cooking cheats are very personal. What one person considers a perfectly acceptable short cut, another considers a cooking sin. I was shocked when a someone told me they hate that “yucky” shredded cheese! That’s one of my most used time savers and I don’t think it’s yucky at all.
Do what works for you and your family! We all have different tastes, time and abilities. Take what works for you and leave the rest.
Kitchen Tools for Cheating
Slow Cooker – Everyone knows this is essential, but it’s also helpful to have the right size. If you’re cooking for a larger family, get a 6 quart slow cooker so you can fill it up!
Garlic Press – I used to use jarred garlic. Then I finally bought a decent garlic press. Mine is from Pampered Chef. No chopping, no peeling. It’s as easy as using the jarred kind, but adds so much good flavor.
Sharp Knife – One basic knife is enough. More are useful. If you’ve got a sharp knife, it takes less than a minute to chop an onion or other veggies.
Cook food from frozen (even meat) – I don’t always bother to thaw things. Frozen chicken breasts and hamburgers can be put right on the grill. Frozen roasts, chicken, pork chops etc can be popped into the slow cooker. I know some folks don’t like to do this. Here’s a statement from the USDA on the topic. You’ll have to make your own decision.
Cooking Frozen Foods
Raw or cooked meat, poultry or casseroles can be cooked or reheated from the frozen state. However, it will take approximately one and a half times as long to cook. Remember to discard any wrapping or absorbent paper from meat or poultry.
When cooking whole frozen poultry, remove the giblet pack from the cavity as soon as you can loosen it. Cook the giblets separately. Read the label on USDA-inspected frozen meat and poultry products. Some, such as pre-stuffed whole birds, MUST be cooked from the frozen state to ensure a safely cooked product.
Prepared frozen foods – Frozen meatballs, popcorn chicken, and ravioli are some of my favorite cheats. There are endless possibilities. Combine with a few fresh veggies and a sauce of your choice for a super quick meal.
Bags of shredded cheese – Why shred, if you don’t have to?
Baker’s Joy Cooking Spray – They put the flour in the spray so a quick spray equals greasing and flouring pans.
Skip the measuring – For herbs and seasonings, you can just eyeball the ingredients. Don’t pull out the measuring spoons. Go by look and taste. Trust yourself!
If you really like to cheat (and have dinner taste like you didn’t) check out my eBook, Feast in 15, Speed Cooking Weeknight Dinners.
Tiffany King helps families put dinner on the table by sharing recipes, menus with complete grocery lists and cooking tips on her blog Eat at Home. Her husband and 4 kid are her best taste-testers. She is also the author of Feast in 15.