1. It’s all about the Seasoning
Salt really brings out the natural flavors of foods. Simple meals pop when adding a little something extra like lemon and pepper to a chicken or a sprinkle a little basil and olive oil on a roasted tomatoes.
2. Shop Specialty Markets
I find interesting marinades and sauces at my local Cost Plus store. What could be easier than pouring an already made marinade on chicken. Let the flavors sink into the meat before cooking and everyone will think you’re a culinary genius. Specialty shops will have a nice selectin of herbs and spices.
3. Shop the Cold and Hot Foods Bar.
I frequent the olive bar at my local grocery store for small amounts of roasted or marinated garlic cloves, and of course, olives.
4. Cook Extra
As long as you are cooking, might as well cook up a little extra for the freezer or brown bag lunches. The cook once eat twice method is a real time saver.
5. Weekend Cooking
This is my favorite time-saver, I love to cook but don’t always have the time. On Wednesday or Thursday I make a menu plan and shopping list. On Friday after work or during my lunch I shop for the ingredients I’ll need. I have a small fridge in my office to store any perishables. On Saturday morning I make a nice breakfast, plan out my strategy and tune in HGTV then start cooking.
6. Use Your Freezer
I freeze left over vegetable, soup stock, herbs to use for flavoring stews and soups. Also I always have frozen crushed garlic and basil which I buy from my local Trader Joes. Another time saver are fresh frozen berries and vanilla ice cream for a quick and easy dessert. Tubes of tomato paste and jars of “Better Than Stock” in vegetable and chicken flavors come in handy.
7. Stock a Few Pantry Meals
Keep canned tuna and salmon, rice, pasta, jarred bruschetta and a few cans of diced tomatoes in the pantry and a variety of fresh frozen vegetable and fish or chicken in the freezer and you will always have a quick meal at your fingertips.
8. Don’t Forget the Slow Cooker
Toss the ingredients in the slow cooker before heading out for the day and you will come home to the aroma of a fresh cooked meal just like Mom made.