Kitchen Cooking Cheats

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.

Cooking Cheats

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.

Use the coupon code OrgJunkie for a 20% discount, bringing the price to just $3.99!

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.

Filed under: Guest Bloggers, Kitchen, Menu Plan Monday


11 Responses to Kitchen Cooking Cheats

  1. 1
    Lori McCleskey says

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing with us.

  2. 4
    Lisa says

    I use the smashed garlic technique when I’m in a hurry. A can does a great job. No garlic press to clean. I also cook large amounts of ground beef garlic/onion when I buy it on sale and put it in the freezer. 2 1/2 cups + 1lb. Either microwave-thaw or just steam it a few minutes before doing anything else.

    • 4.1
      Tiffany says

      Love the smashed garlic method with a can! Great way to get out your aggressions. I like to cook hamburger like that too. Such a time saver.

  3. 5
    Tammy @ Skinny Mom's Kitchen says

    Another cheat is the rice cooker. I love it!! To cheat even more I will cook 8 cups of it and freeze it in 1 cup portions. Reheats beautifully in the microwave.

    Thanks for the coupon for your e-book. I will definetly check it out.

    • 5.1
      Tiffany says

      I’ve been toying with getting a rice cooker for a long time. I may just need to do it!

  4. 6
    Barbara @ Barbara Bakes says

    Great tips. I love the precooked bacon from Costco. I buy extra lemons and always keep lemon zest and lemon juice in the freezer.

  5. 7
    raven says

    A rice cooker is AWESOME. I love doing the pre-seasoned rice mixes in mine too like the mahatma Saffron Rice or Mexican rice – a rice cooker can even handle the red beans and rice mixes. Quick cheat, and my cooker was only $10 on amazon! (It’s a smaller one, Oster I think). Since the element is on the bottom in the middle though and you are NOT supposed to stir it while cooking, you will always end up with a little bit of burned/brown rice on the space – be careful when serving. It’s very little waste for the amount of time you’re saving though, and clean up is a breeze with the nonstick surface – and dishwasher safe too.

    Precooked bacon is a gift from the gods :D It’s gotten so expensive (meat in general has) that I haven’t bought any in months though.

    I also buy the huge family packs of ground beef and precook it. Rinse and drain (so the fat doesn’t freeze together in a lump) and I freeze it in 1/4lb per baggie (enough for 1 box hamburger helper or 1 rotel/velveeta dip) and 1lb per baggie (enough for chili, or spaghetti in the crockpot or for grilled cheeseburger quesadillas for the 5 of us).

    Quick tip – if you are also a “couponer”, and have access to a grocery that triples – you can get the small bags of plain mahatma rice for 9 cents per bag – and each bag is exactly enough for the small rice cooker, no cup measuring necessary. Fill water to the 3.5 cup line after dumping in the bag.


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