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Home : Tips & Techniques : Cut Down On Prep Time

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Cut Down On Prep Time

Contributed by: News Canada

(NC) - Wondering what to make for dinner at the end of a long work day? Canadian home economist Mairlyn Smith suggests keeping your pantry stocked with a variety of canned soups to help create easy and satisfying family meals. For example, try substituting chicken broth for butter or oil in stirfrys, or create a tasty Alfredo sauce using Campbell's Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup. Smith suggests these additional tips to help you get out of the kitchen sooner.

Rice is nice

Rice can be frozen in 1-cup portions and kept in freezer-proof bags in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat rice, warm it in a covered saucepan with a few tablespoons of liquid, or microwave it for 2 minutes per cup of rice.

Chop chop

Keep your time-saving appliances like your food processor within easy reach. Use your processor to chop vegetables and blend sauces in an instant. It's a good idea to chop the dry ingredients (like breadcrumbs) first, then the moist ingredients (like onions) to save washing and drying the bowl between ingredients.

Snip snip

Always keep a pair of scissors in the kitchen. They're handy for opening packages quickly and easily, and cutting up fine foods like herbs, chives and green onions neatly.

Easy freezing

When freezing ground beef, lay it out in a 1-inch layer on a baking sheet, double-wrap it and freeze. This will freeze the beef more quickly and will also cut down on defrosting time. Individually wrapped chicken breasts make portion sizing simple and can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Freeze cheese

Grate leftover cheese and store it in airtight containers in the freezer. Use the grated cheese to top pasta dishes, soups, cooked vegetables and more. This works great for breadcrumbs, too.

Easy onions And peppers too!

Peel a week's worth of onions and peppers at one time. Store them in an airtight bag in the refrigerator the onions won't lose their flavor and if you chop them when they're cold, there will be no more tears! Bags of chopped onions and peppers will also keep in the freezer for up to 3 months and can be tossed into a stir fry when needed.

Bag a salad

Wash all the greens at one time, then spin dry. Wrap greens in a paper towel and place in a plastic bag. In the fridge, the greens will stay crisp for 3-5 days and you'll loose no time in pulling a couple of leaves for a quick sandwich or fresh salad.

Get a shelf life

Keep a well-stocked and well-organized pantry. Getting your pantry in line only takes a few minutes and will save you many more when you're cooking in a hurry. Keep all the dried foods (pasta, rice, beans) in one area and the canned goods (vegetables, soups, sauces) in another.


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