I love to cook and I do believe that homemade items will always be better for you, less expensive and tastier. However, there is that never-ending battle of time vs. money. And when you need it there really are some wonderful quality products that are readily available to make delicious meals at home that much easier. Here are a few of the go-to items I look to when I am in a pinch.
6. Dip, spread and slather
There are a variety of pre made dips, cheese spreads, hummus varieties and pureed vegetable spreads like roasted red pepper spreads and Baba Ganoush (roasted eggplant). These are perfect to put out with fresh vegetables and crackers for snacks or appetizers or spread over a sandwich or thin them down and make them into a sauce for an entrée. Options are tasty and have almost endless possibilities. There are even sweet spreads like pumpkin butter, apple butter and lemon curd perfect for breakfast and dessert applications.
5. Cured Sausages
Cured or smoked sausage are items I always have in my house not only because I am married to a Polish man, but mainly because they have so much versatility. Cured sausages can be eaten cold, which is a big plus when time is of the essence and stomachs are growling. Slice and serve for snacks, pair with cheeses for a simple cheese plate or cut into chunks and skewer for appetizers. You can cook them crisp and serve for breakfast with eggs. Add them to pasta, rice or sauté them and put sausages over creamy polenta even add them to soups and stew for a extra hearty rich flavor. Cured meats keep for longer periods than fresh meats so you and keep them on hand as a backup anytime.
4. The olive bar
I am in love with the olive bar at the grocery store. There is great variety of not just olives but also peppers, garlic, marinated beans, and artichoke heats. These are perfect for snacks, appetizers and quick additions to salads.
From cookie dough and brownies to pancakes and crescent rolls, yes, even pretzels – the Immaculate Baking Company is producing high quality dough and baking mixes perfect for quick breakfast accompaniment of cinnamon rolls, appetizers made with crescent rolls, piecrusts for sweet and savory applications. You can do a lot and solve many problems with these Non-GMO and even some gluten-free options as well.
2. Rotisserie chicken
It continually surprises me that in many stores you can pick up a fully cooked perfectly seasoned rotisserie chicken for almost the same price as a raw one. This is the quickest dinner fix! Slice and serve with sides, but I also love using this in recipes shredding the chicken for salads, making a filling for chicken pot pies, using the meat in soups or even using it as a pizza topping. The pre-cooked chicken is a quick delicious time-saver and it’s wildly versatile.
1. Shop the salad bar
This is the ultimate time-saver when it comes to quick prep and also if you know you need a little bit of particular items. For me I use this trick a lot with roasted beets. I love them and like adding them to salads, soups, and purring them. But peeling and roasting can be messy and time-consuming so I love going to the salad bar and picking up the exact amount I need of already tender-roasted prepared beets. You can do this with any of the ingredients like cut peppers and hard-boiled eggs, sliced fresh or dried fruits, etc. Take a look next time you are at the store – shopping the salad bar may just be your time-saving key to success.
Do you have a cooking or entertaining dilemma? I will work up the perfect solution to your biggest problems just let me know.
Pick up your copy of The Pretty Plate for more simple techniques and recipes, and learn about the five elements to make your everyday meals magnificent.