Even people who enjoy spending time in the kitchen value a clever shortcut--especially on busy days when they're craving the
comfort of a home-cooked meal or needing an impressive menu for last-minute entertaining. Southern Living Test Kitchens professionals are no exception. These top-rated recipes combine the ease of our favorite convenience products
with fresh ingredients to deliver a great-tasting meal in a matter of minutes.
The Hot List of Time-Saving Tips
- Rotisserie chicken: It's terrific when you need chopped cooked chicken for a recipe. Remove the meat from the bones when still warm, and freeze
in a zip-top freezer bag. One chicken will yield about 3 cups of chopped meat.
- 911 Pot Roast: Purchase sliced beef brisket by the pound from your favorite barbecue restaurant. Arrange in a baking dish, and cover with
equal parts barbecue sauce and beef broth. Bake, covered, at 350° for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
- Frozen mashed potatoes: You might be skeptical at first, but these are absolutely delicious. Prepare 1 (22-ounce) bag according to package directions,
and then stir in 4 ounces of softened cream cheese, ½ teaspoon seasoned pepper, and ¼ teaspoon salt. It's as simple as that.
The trick is in the cream cheese, and 1/3-less-fat works as well as regular--you don't even need to add butter.
- Refrigerated pasta: It comes in a wide variety of shapes and flavors and cooks in boiling water in only 2 to 3 minutes.
- Spice blends: Instead of purchasing separate jars of dried herbs and spices, invest in a few versatile seasoning blends. A word of caution:
Flavor profiles and salt content can vary dramatically according to brand, so read the label. Ingredients are always listed
in descending order according to weight.