Congratulations to all of us mamas who survived another Winter Break! It was fun and brutal and awesome and tiring over here. I love January because it feels like such a great time for a fresh start, for a renewing. I’m personally working on being more “still” in the New Year (read more about my Word to Live by for the New Year here), and trying to purge and clean now that there is some breathing room from all the fun that is the holidays.
Today’s Friday Favorites are my favorite five tips for making your life easier in the kitchen. In short, my best cooking shortcuts. I have been a stay at home mom for almost a decade now and I do the majority of the cooking. So, it’s safe to say that I know my way around the kitchen after I’ve prepared at least a zillion meals in the last ten years. That’s a rough calculation.
Here are my favorite tips for streamlining your cooking:
- Minced Garlic – buy a big jar of minced garlic. Peeling garlic and mincing or smashing or whatever you do is messy and kind of a pain. Just by the big ole’ jar of minced garlic in olive oil and use that instead.
- Better Than Bouillon – stop buying massive amounts of chicken broth or stock. Get the Better Than Bouillon concentrate that you can keep in the fridge for making chicken broth (or vegetable broth or beef broth). You just add it to hot water and mix. Or if you’re making something in the Crock Pot or Instant Pot you can just dump some in with the liquid and it will do it’s thing while it’s cooking. I like to minimize the amount of bags of groceries I have to drag inside and unpack and this is a great staple to have on hand. (Costco sells the big jar!)
- Herb Pastes – I think we would all agree that fresh herbs are superior to dried. But it sure feels wasteful to buy a bunch of parsley for one recipe and see it go to waste. Gourmet Garden makes fresh stir-in herb pastes that can last up to three months in your refrigerator. This is such a great option for things that you might use regularly but you just need a small amount of.
- Electric Kettle – I bought an electric kettle last year because I drink tea all day long in the winter. I didn’t realize how many other things I would use it for though. I use it to boil water in a hurry for the stove if I need to cook something quickly, or when using my Instant Pot. I also use it for french press coffee or hot chocolate for the kids. It’s great for mixing up chicken broth fast with the Better Than Bouillon concentrate. I even boil up some water to pour into a pan with stubborn stuck on food. It’s a fast track for many things and takes just a few minutes to reach a boil.
- Pre-made Seasoning Mixes – I’ve posted before about my homemade seasoning mixes. The typical seasoning pack mixes have so much junk in them! It’s super easy to whip up a batch of taco seasoning or ranch dressing mix, or try this chili seasoning mix. Super easy to mix together in bulk and then you will always have them on hand. I store mine in mason jars with my other spices and buy the seasonings in bulk at WinCo.
I’d love to hear how you keep things simple and streamlined in the kitchen too. Any ideas for me?
My last piece of advice is to always have a frozen pizza in the freezer. Because Tuesdays are hard.