See right now 10 ingredients you should know

You should know cooks who manage to put dinner on the table on a daily basis. Between the planning, shopping, cooking, and cleanup, it’s not an easy task to complete. And, as satisfying as it is to make everything from scratch, there is no shame in taking shortcuts when it comes to preparing meals. I’ve compiled a list of ten of my favorite ingredients to make cooking a little easier.

These are what I consider to be healthy convenience foods (all of which are also reasonably priced), which can help you save time in the kitchen.

1.  Store-Bought Pesto

You should know that a great back-pocket trick for the home cook is to buy pesto in tubs that are sold in the refrigerated section of the supermarket. Make dinner by tossing a few generous spoonfuls into a bowl of hot pasta or farro, along with a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Do you have any other suggestions? Using it as a spread on a sandwich or a substitute for tomato sauce on a pizza, combining a dish of freshly steamed vegetables, or adding it to a pot of brothy soup are all good ideas.

Tip: Place any leftover pesto in an ice cube tray and freeze until solid. Then pop the cubes out and store them in a freezer bag until you’re ready to use them.

2. Rotisserie Chicken

You Should Know

Rotisserie chicken is a strong contender for the title of best shortcut ingredient of all time. It can be used as a building block for a variety of meals, removing the need to prepare chicken from scratch altogether.

Simply use it to make simple tacos or enchiladas, to make chicken sandwiches, and to incorporate it into salads, soups, and casseroles of all types.

Tip: Remove the meat from the bones as soon as you get home from the market and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for later use. When the chicken is still warm, it’s much easier to do the job.

3. Salad Kits

You Should Know

These salad kits, which are available at most supermarkets, make quick work of preparing fresh salads. They are available in a number of different flavor profiles, including Chopped Kale, Asian Cabbage, Southwestern, and Caesar.

If you want to increase the protein content of these salads, you can add leftover chicken or tofu, as well as canned chickpeas or beans.

Recommendation: The dressings in salad kits are typically on the sweet side. Use less than the amount specified and add a splash of vinegar from your pantry to finish it off.

4. Thai Curry Paste

You Should Know

Cooking a delicious Thai-style curry in a very short amount of time is possible with Thai curry paste, which can be found in the Asian food section of your local grocery store or on

Some brands, such as Thai Kitchen, include a recipe right on the jar, which is convenient. To get more ideas, you can also look at our Eggplant Green Curry or our Quick Curry Chicken and Zucchini Noodles recipes.

Make noodle dishes, salad dressings, and cooked vegetables more flavorful by using Thai curry paste instead of regular curry paste.

5. Frozen Vegetables

You Should Know

You should know When you have everything prepped and ready to go in the freezer, there’s no reason to skip the vegetables. From a nutritional standpoint, frozen vegetables are comparable to fresh vegetables and require little preparation on the part of the cook.

Preserve a few bags of vegetables on hand, such as finely chopped onions, spinach, peas, broccoli, and cauliflower, among others.

Embrace the flavor of roasted vegetables in soups and pasta dishes, or blend them into fruit smoothies to boost the nutritional value of the drink (spinach and cauliflower are good bets).

Tip: When roasting frozen vegetables, transfer them directly from the freezer to a sheet pan and roast them in a preheated oven until tender.

6. Canned Beans

You Should Know

Beans are one of the most cost-effective, healthy, and convenient ways to prepare a meal on a tight budget. Make a quick soup by blending them with broth and a few seasonings; use them in vegetarian burritos and tacos; add them to pots of chili; toss them with rice and serve with avocado and salsa; and toss them into salads of all kinds.

This is an excellent source of inspiration for bean recipes.

Tip: Empty the cans of beans into a colander and thoroughly rinse them under running water. According to researchers at the University of Tennessee, you’ll reduce your sodium intake by more than 40% by following this method.

7. Frozen Raw Shrimp

Did you know that nearly all of the shrimp you buy at the grocery store was once frozen before it was sold to you? Why not just keep a stash in your own refrigerator or freezer? Frozen shrimp defrosts quickly, and if you purchase it already peeled and deveined, you’ll save a lot of time in the kitchen.

Stir-fry the shrimp with whatever vegetables you have on hand and serve them alongside a crunchy salad.

Tip: To defrost frozen shrimp, place them in a large bowl and cover with cold tap water. Let them sit for at least 30 minutes. Stirring occasionally will help to break up any frozen clumps, and they should be ready to serve in 20 minutes or less. Easy!

8. Spice Blends

You Should Know

You should know that having a few spice blends in your arsenal is a simple way to dress up your food and make it more appealing.

Old Bay seasoning for shrimp and other seafood dishes, Chinese Five Spice for grilled steak or roasted sweet potatoes, Chili Powder for pinto and black beans, Ras al Hanout for chicken dishes, and Everything Bagel seasoning for scrambled eggs and avocado toast are just a few of the possibilities.

Tip: Keep spices in airtight containers away from heat and light to prolong their shelf life. They will last for a longer period of time.

9. Frozen Rice

You Should Know

You should know that packages of frozen rice that are simple to reheat are a cook’s best friend when you’re working against the clock.

In the frozen food section of the supermarket, both brown and white rice can be found, and they can be used as the base for quick fried rice, as an ingredient in chicken soup, or as a side dish to meat, fish, or chicken.

It is not necessary to defrost frozen grains before adding them to a pot of soup or stew. Simply place them into the container from the package.

10. Braised/Baked Tofu

You can use store-bought braised or baked tofu whether you’re a vegetarian or not because it’s a convenient source of protein that’s already cooked, seasoned, and ready to serve. Make cubes of tofu and use it in Asian-style salads, stir-fries, noodle and grain bowls, or snack on it as a healthy alternative to meat or fish.

Tip: According to the experts at Hodo Foods, a manufacturer of high-quality tofu, leftovers should be submerged in water and stored in the refrigerator, where they will last for up to five days.

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