November 1, 2013

Weekly Obsessions 11.01.13

Cauliflower Burgers

Cauliflower Burgers

On most days, I’m  the kind of person that makes mini cauliflower-stuffed burgers from scratch (yes, these are a thing). And slow-stewed ragu. And even pasta by hand.

But I’m also the kind of person that buys pre-peeled garlic. And canned no-salt-added tomato sauce. And pre-cut fruit. And pre-washed lettuce. And pretty much anything that makes low-sodium cooking a little easier.

Point being: it’s OKAY to take cooking short cuts. Especially when you cook most of your food at home, not from cans, but from scratch. So don’t be ashamed of that pre-peeled garlic. Own it. It’s a smart move in making your low-sodium adventures more enjoyable.

On Wednesday I had the honor of sitting on a wonderful panel as a part of Stanford University’s Food Summit. Jesse Cool, Anna Racokzy from Homemade, Drew Taylor from Citizen Chef, and I talked all about cooking and mainly what gets in people’s way from taking the plunge and getting their hands dirty. And you know what kept coming up…time.

People worry that cooking will take too much time. Prep, work, clean up. Recipes, roasting, and boiling. It all requires time.

But even microwaving macaroni and cheese and ordering a pizza takes time. And watched pots definitely never boil. So let’s first of all get over this whole time thing. Because cooking mouth-watering food simply requires it. Whether it is a fifteen minute one-pot dish or a three-hour roasted leg of lamb.

Instead, let’s focus on what we can change. And that’s where  short cuts come in .

If peeling garlic sounds like a nightmare, then buy the pre-peeled stuff. Or take a moment on a lazy Sunday to fill a jar with oil and peeled cloves. If you don’t want to dice tomatoes, buy a can of the no-salt-added stuff and then add your own spices and herbs and browned meat. Cut corners where you can and then enjoy the rest of the process, using those extra a few minutes for extra moments of creativity.

Which brings me to this week’s roundup of time saving tips and tricks. Because I’m also the kind of person who decides to host three dinner parties three days in a row. And these time savers are essential for keeping you sane; keeping you cooking; and keeping your house from burning down.

Cook on.

SOUS CHEF: Too busy to cook? Slow cooker has you covered. Use these for inspiration. Use these to make any dish slow-cooker capable.

GET ER DONE: Fourteen ideas for easy make ahead meals. Enough said.

PREP PEP TALK: Tackling an intense recipe? Cut, dice, and slice ahead of time. Then Instagram it and get some social love for all that chopping.

LEFTOVER MAKEOVER: Got quinoa? Got vegetables? Mix them together with some egg and spices and a hot pan (skip the salty stuff). And voila dinner. Or a not so sad desk lunch for the next day.

REQUIRED VIEWING: America’s Test Kitchen does the work so you don’t have to. Learn how to quickly cut kale and then microwave them into chips. 

GOOD THING: Martha does it again. One pan pasta. Skip the salt and cheese, add salt-free garlic powder and a few extra minutes to your day.

Allie November 4, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Great post. Time is certainly something I must contend with. I couldn’t make it without a slow-cooker. Thanks for the link.

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