Who doesn’t love tips for preparing easy and tasty meals? A homemade meal can include some food items that aren’t made from scratch. Producing great tasting food is the goal of most cooks, not spending extra time in the kitchen. Here are a few short cuts that can speed up meal preparation.
Use deli cooked rotisserie chickens for faster casseroles
There are hundreds of recipes that include chopped, cubed, diced, or sliced chicken. Many of the recipes require chicken breast pieces. Save time in the kitchen by using a deli cooked rotisserie chicken. The meat from the drumsticks, thighs, and wings can be used in the casserole, or those pieces of chicken can be refrigerated for eating later.
Add ingredients to pre-packaged pasta or rice mixes
Macaroni and cheese, Rice A Roni, Pasta Roni, and other shelf-stable pasta and rice mixes can be made into main dishes by adding a few fresh ingredients. Adding fresh or frozen vegetables to pasta and rice mixes can make them a little healthier. Adding vegetables and diced (cooked) meat turns them into a semi-homemade casserole.
Use cake mix as cookie dough
Baking cookies is a fun way to spend time together in the kitchen. There are dozens of cookie mixes on the market. But the price of cookie mix is often higher than the price of cake mix. A box of cake mix and four other ingredients can be mixed together to make delicious semi-homemade cookies. Variations in baking chips (chocolate, peanut butter, butterscotch, etc.), dried fruit, and nuts provide endless cookie possibilities. With dozens of cake mix flavors available, creative bakers can make cookies to suit almost any taste buds.
Use flour tortillas as a lower carb substitute for pizza dough
Flour tortilla shells are a perfect substitute for higher carbohydrate pizza dough. Most tortilla shells are shelf stable so they can be purchased ahead to have on hand. The shells come in a few different sizes. The smaller tortilla can be used for snack or horderve pizzas. The larger shells can be used to make dinner sized pizzas. Tortilla pizzas are great for families because each pizza can be customized, then they can all be baked at once.
Use muffin or cupcake tins for making individual portions
Individual portions of casseroles, quiches, and other baked foods are easier to serve. Use muffin or cupcake pans to make perfect individual servings. Perfectly round, single servings of any main dish are a hit with young children. Baking casseroles and quiches in muffin pans turns them into perfect entertainment food.
Pre-mixed spices and seasoning blends
Seasoning with a variety of spices is a good way to make beef, chicken, and fish taste good. But less experienced cooks aren’t always sure of how to use equal amounts of each spice when seasoning meat. New cooks can feel a little more confident and save some sprinkling time by creating basic seasoning blends at home. First, purchase a variety of spices in the same sized bottles. Next, mix equal amounts of each spice together in a bowl or zip lock bag. Then, return the spice mix to the empty bottles. There will be several bottles of the homemade spice blend. The following basic spices can be used on almost any meat.
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Black Pepper
- Table Salt or Seasoned Salt (if there are no diet restrictions)
- Paprika (for flavor and color)