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Volume III
May 24, 2013

Weekly Home / Cook'n & Eat'n

Best Timesaving Kitchen Tips

By Alice Osborne

In business, we call them "Best Practices". This label pretty much applies to life, but for my purpose here, let's talk kitchen work. I found these great ideas in Mother Earth News -- tips sent in from readers. Skim through to see if there's something you aren't already doing. I found a bunch!

For recipes that she uses time and time again, Jeanette Romine of Libory, Neb., measures out the required spices and dry ingredients and stores them in labeled packets for later use.

Frankie Odom of Middleburg, Fla., learned a trick working in restaurants. Put a roast in the oven before bed (at 200 degrees Fahrenheit), then pop it into the fridge in the morning. An hour before dinner, put it back in the oven (350 degrees) and add potatoes and onions. She says the roast ends up wonderfully tender, with the extra perk of heating up the house in winter and preventing it from getting too hot during the daytime in summer. [Alice talking] I do the same thing with my slow cooker on LOW overnight.

Whenever Lindsay Koehler of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., sees an opportunity to do advance prep, she seizes it -- with the help of the freezer. When she opens a can of chipotle peppers or chops ginger, for example, extras get divvied up by the tablespoonful, and into a freezer bag they go. Past-their-prime bananas accumulate in the freezer until there are enough to bake muffins. Pesto gets frozen in a log, then sliced off with a sharp knife to use as needed.

Anytime she cooks a turkey or other large roast, Elizabethe Walton in Palmyra, N.Y., puts the extra meat into jars covered with the drippings, so she can pressure-can it after dinner. The job is usually done by bedtime, and the family then has the main ingredient for several wraps, sandwiches and rice or pasta dishes ready to go, with no need to defrost.

Jill Nussinow of Santa Rosa, Calif., thinks pressure cookers are "fast and easy and can change your life." She says without one, you're missing out on "the best timesaving kitchen appliance available." [Alice talking] And does Cook'n agree to that! We have a terrific cookbook you'll want to get if this idea interests you, Cook'n Under Pressure. I LOVE this!

Breakfast is a snap at Kate Thompson's house in Dyersburg, Tenn. When she buys sausage, she patties half of it up, then crumbles and cooks the other half. Both portions go into the freezer until needed for a recipe. When she buys bacon, she cooks the whole package in a broiler pan in the oven and freezes it, too. She says reheating the meat in a pan is quick and "makes the whole bacon-egg breakfast thing really fast."

Heather Franklin keeps a large container of diced onions in her refrigerator in Houston pretty much all the time, because she uses them in virtually every dish.

Laura Simons of Aurora, Colo., cooks her carbs early in the week so she'll have gallon-sized bags at the ready of brown rice, pasta, potatoes, quinoa and more. That way she can make about any dish in the spur of the moment.

And emailer, Sharong, says: On my day off, I boil a dozen eggs, make rice in the rice cooker, this always gets used in some way. I use a lot of beans so usually I soak a huge amount overnight, drain, and put in freezer bags and freeze without cooking. When ready for a meal, I take out the amount I want and cook them. The freezing does not detract from the taste/texture at all and they keep a long time in the freezer.


Alice Osborne
Weekly Newsletter Contributer since 2006

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