Just like you, I'm always looking for ways to save time in the kitchen. Here are some speedy tips:
* When preparing biscuits, roll out dough all at once and cut into squares instead of using a round cutter. There will be no rerolling and less waste.
* Prepare ingredients for several recipes at one time. For example, shred cheese, toast nuts, peel and cut up vegetables. Seal them in separate plastic bags, then label and store until needed.
* Make bread crumbs in your blender in batches, then store in tightly covered container in freezer. To measure: stir with spoon and press lightly into measuring cup.
* Purchase ingredients in the form you need for a recipe. For example, buy cut-up chicken, chopped nuts and prepared pie crusts. Some of these foods may cost a few more pennies but could be worth the time you save.
Other examples: dried onion, garlic, celery, tomato, or bell pepper; bottled ginger and garlic; canned soups and sauces; refrigerated doughs.
* Except for cakes, breads, cookies and souffles, omit the step of preheating oven.
* Avoid using extra dishes whenever possible. For example, mix milk, egg and oil for muffins in cup used for measuring milk, or carefully mix a casserole in its baking dish. Use a saucepan as mixing bowl and for cooking.
* To separate frozen vegetables quickly, place in colander and run hot water over them. Add partially thawed vegetables to casseroles or rangetop dishes to finish cooking.
* Use your microwave oven for small tasks, such as melting butter or chocolate, softening fruit, cooking bacon, toasting nuts, precooking vegetables and heating sauces. Not only do these foods heat faster, but you'll also save on cleanup time because the food doesn't stick to the pan.