Pre-shredded chicken – You can put frozen chicken breasts in crockpot and cook on low all day, then shred when cool and store in fridge for about 5 days. You can do this with a whole chicken as well. It is useful for chicken tacos, quesadillas, wraps, etc. The chicken can also be frozen in air proof containers or bags for several months. Another option is cooking the chicken with the taco seasonings.
Bacon Bits – Real Bacon Bits (buy a bag of real bacon bits so you always have bacon on hand)
Breadcrumbs – If you are out of breadcrumbs, make them by toasting bread with a little seasonings and then once cooled you can put in food processor to make into crumbs.
Cabbage – Buy a bag of cole slaw mix to avoid having to cut cabbage
Garlic – Minced garlic in a jar is a great substitute when you do not have fresh garlic. I also love to roast garlic and keep that on hand.
Herbs and Spices – Many herbs and spices also come in a paste that is convenient. You can get them in the produce department, and they have to be refrigerated after opening.
Buttermilk – Add 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar or lemon juice to 8 ounces of milk, let set for about 15 minutes and you have buttermilk.
Parchment Paper – Parchment paper is one of the greatest creations ever! It’s great to line cookie sheets for easy clean up. It is great to use on countertops as a surface for kneading bread or rolling out dough.
Sweating Eggplant – Personally, I like to ‘sweat’ my eggplant, but a lot of people don’t. If you have the time, and choose to, here is how you do it:
Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of Kosher salt over all of the slices of eggplant, being sure to salt both sides. Set the salted, sliced eggplant into a colander and let it rest for about 30 minutes. Rinse the eggplant very well and pat dry, then proceed with recipe.
Self Rising Flour – It’s easy peasy to turn all-purpose flour into self-rising flour if you find a recipe that calls for it. For each cup of flour you need, add 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt to one cup of all purpose flour. Voila! Self-rising flour.
Toasting Coconut – stove top – put coconut flakes into a dry skillet, cook on low/medium heat until slightly browned
How to do a port wine reduction – Starting with 2 cups of port wine – Pour the port into a small saucepan. Cook on medium high heat and boil until reduced to a thick syrup with a volume of about 1/4 cup. Towards the end, watch it carefully. As the sugar content gets more concentrated, the chances of it burning increase.
Soaking dried beans – rinse beans under running water in a colander. Pick out any damaged beans or small rocks. Add beans to large sauce pan, with a tablespoon of salt and enough water to cover about an inch above the beans. Bring to a rolling boil, cover, then let sit untouched for an hour. Add back to colander and rinse until beans are cool. At this time you can put in bag or container in fridge for up to five days before you use them.