Kitchen Time Savers

There are products and procedures that we all use to make our daily lives easier.  And nowhere are we more inclined toward efficiency than in the kitchen.  For centuries we spend nearly the entire day picking, preparing, processing, and preserving our daily bread.  In today's hectic and convenience oriented atmosphere, much of the food we eat is stylized for the purposes of marketing, convenience, taste, visual appeal, easy preparation, and stability. On the surface this sounds great, right?  However, few would argue that these food are equally nutritious as whole, fresh foods prepared at home.  Here are a few ideas and recipe that will same you time and effort in the kitchen while preserving that wholesome meal you want to eat.

  • Even if you love your charcoal grill for the week-end, a gas grill is lit and hot in seconds.  And you can add wood chips (see manufacturers recommendations) for flavor, too.
  • Steamed and grilled vegetables help us achieve our five a day with clean and delicious flavor.  We marinate frozen asparagus and grill for a few minutes for an indulgent treat.
  • I generally use a large fresh onion, but I dice the left overs and store the pre-chopped onion in a bag in the freezer.  When I'm rushed (or out of onions), I grab those and save myself a few minutes. Many produce departments sell fresh chopped vegetables of every sort.
  • Make kabobs a day or two ahead.  Store them in the refrigerator and pop them on the grill a few minutes before dinner.  Serve with a made-ahead pasta salad and make your own ice cream sundaes.
  • Easy breakfasts and lunches help me save my culinary skills and kitchen patience (and clean up) for nicer dinners.  It saves on dish washing, too. 
  • Buy desserts (or whatever course you like) from a local market.  Look for the culinary details you need (organic, sugar free, vegetarian, gluten free, local, etc.), and no matter who owns the market you are supporting your local economy through the cashier's paycheck.
  • Thin cuts of meat marinate and cook quickly.  Skewers can add a fancy twist and make the meat easier to deal with.
  • Smaller pasta (angel hair) and fresh pasta (in the refrigerated section at your grocery store) cook in a couple of minutes.
  • Quick cooking whole grains and legumes (beans) offer nutrition, fiber, protein and flavor. Try quinoa (keen-wah), instant brown rice, lentils, split peas, and fresh beans for a quick and nutritious side.
  • Boiling eggs ahead leaves them ready when you need them in salads.  They can be stored up to a week in the refrigerator.
What do you do to keep things quick and nutritious in your kitchen?

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