Shortcuts that don’t shortchange

Peas with mint

Kitchen shortcuts are a lifesaver for busy cooks. Some of them can leave you with less than desired results, but some can save you a lot of time and effort without much reduction in flavor, as indexed blog Serious Eats explains with top tips from their staff.

Using the freezer was one favorite resource. Says Maggie Hoffman, “I know it’s easy to cook rice, but I usually take about five minutes for a lunch break, and having brown rice ready to go in the freezer is so, so handy. Brown rice + leftovers = lunch. Brown rice + kimchi + egg = lunch.” Frozen peas are also a favorite.

The microwave, often maligned by cooks, can also be a lifesaver. J. Kenji Lopez-Alt notes that for “reheating liquids, there’s nothing faster. In fact, if you want a pot of water to come to a boil faster, fill it half way with water and set it on the stovetop. Microwave the other half for a couple minutes then add them together. It’ll come to a boil in about half the time as pure stovetop cooking.”

The Serious Eats staff even cops to occasionally buying a quality brand of a product they would normally make from scratch. Sometimes they embellish the product, as Niki Achitoff-Gray does with chicken stock. “I’ll take store-bought stock and throw in chopped vegetables and some cheap chicken parts (feet are best) and simmer them for a while to give it a little more balance and body,” Niki says.

What’s your favorite kitchen shortcut?

Photo of Peas with mint (Dinner Tonight)  from Serious Eats

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