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Old 03-10-2012, 03:10 AM   #1
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..............the cooking kind..

What are your favourite shortcuts?

I do occasionally use frozen ready chopped onions, onions are a bugger to chop for me. And I've tried every trick in the book, they kill me. The only thing that works is wearing my sons swimming goggles. I bought onion goggles but they arent as good as the swimming ones but they will do.

I have also been buying ready chopped garlic, ginger, and chillies. Great to have in and they do save time.

For a freezer standby I like frozen mash and frozen colcannon and bubble and squeak. Easy to have in to serve quickly with a good steak.

Do you cheat?


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Old 03-10-2012, 03:14 AM   #2
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Yes I really do wear Onion Goggles by the way.
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Old 03-10-2012, 03:58 AM   #3
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Big believer in cheating. Shredded cheese. Campbells "cream of ..." soups. Frozen vegetables. Stocks and broths. Near East brand couscous and taboule are my very favorite summer stand-bys. I usually take whatever shortcut I'm using and add my own twist to it, so a lot of people who've eaten at my table think I've done it from scratch because it doesn't taste like it tastes straight from the package. If all we did was eat fresh vegetables "local and in season", us in northern climates would only eat fresh vegetables in August and September, period. Wouldn't make for a very nutritional diet.
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Old 03-10-2012, 04:52 AM   #4
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Due to the increase in the cost of our gas and electric rates this past year, shortcuts make a lot of sense. Just because my utilities are included in my rent, does not mean I can be wasteful with a clear conscience. So making a daylong pot of stock is replaced with a packaged one. Do to my age, shelling fresh peas when I don't feel up to par, is replaced with frozen ones. I do have an ice cream maker. But sometimes the ingredients are beyond my purse So I buy it already made. The days of the pioneers are two centuries past. I don't cook out on the trail nor do I own a covered wagon. Nor do I wish to. And being part Indian, I would have to attack my own wagon. Even my own people gave up living in teepees. The 'good ole days' weren't that good.
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Old 03-10-2012, 05:07 AM   #5
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Yes, I cheat. I don't have the space to do everything homemade, but I try to when I can.

The things I use the most are frozen veggies and store-bought broth. I even buy frozen french fries or tater-tots. I still always have fresh veggies and fruit on hand. The price of produce these days is ridiculous. It gets expensive, but I love to have fresh.
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Old 03-10-2012, 08:13 AM   #6
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Frozen veggies, broth, instant mashed potatoes (for thickening soups), canned tomatoes (much better flavor than fresh). After reading Tomatoland, I don't think I can have tomatoes out of season anymore unless they're canned.

Gravy Queen, I wear my onion goggles with my contacts and I have no problems whatsoever. Onion goggles alone, I still have a bit of trouble.
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Old 03-10-2012, 08:25 AM   #7
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I guess I have only two shortcuts. One is making enough for multiple meal nights. I do all the cooking and work 40+ hours, and it's nice to just reheat a portion of the giant batch of gumbo from Sunday. The only other shortcut is through the drivethrough at one of the best barbecue places on Earth, and I don't do that often.

I'm very much on a thing about working from scratch, so my shortcuts are tomato sauce in a can (actually a quality choice in winter) and ketchup in a bottle. The tedious part of cooking is so different from the tedious part of employment work that I enjoy it and don't try to shortcut it. And we otherwise don't have the pressures of kid activities and such to give us a strong motive to save time.
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Old 03-10-2012, 09:01 AM   #8
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I have the frozen chopped onions, peppers and celery in my freezer. If I have the time and the items I'll use fresh but if not, frozen is fine. I also do the Campbell's cream of soup thing along with the canned tomatoes, instant potatoes, and canned broth. I have gravy mixes to fill out if there's not enough drippings for a good amount of gravy. I'll occasionally make my own broth if I have a carcass and occasionally I'll cook 2 chickens just to debone for recipes and make broth but that happens only occasionally. Liquid smoke is another cheat I use to add that smoked flavor to a dish since I don't have a smoker!
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Old 03-10-2012, 09:04 AM   #9
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I use cheats, I also make sure I buy cheats with the least amount of chemical preservatives. There is the occasional purchase of a certain boxed dinner that I must have. But, for the most part I do cook from scratch.

Cheats: Bertolli Marinara, it tastes just as good as I can make. Minced garlic and jars of crushed ginger. Shrek prefers the taste of packet hollandaise to scratch, so why should I make it? Frozen vegetables, canned tomato products for cooking. Progresso soups, for taking to work, when I've run out of ideas or time.

Cheats are a time saver for me.
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Old 03-10-2012, 09:12 AM   #10
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Beef and chicken stock in the enviro pacs. Sometimes I will use canned pasta/tomato sauce for some applications where I can save time, but I find it too salty and smooth, so I add stuff to give it a bit more texture and character.

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