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Quick Culinary Wins

Save time in the kitchen: 10 Time-Saving Ingredients and Shortcuts

March 25, 2024
Do you ever look at the clock and wonder where the day went, especially when it's time to cook? We get it. That's why we're bringing you 10 smart, savvy kitchen hacks that will get you whipping up tasty meals in no time. With Chefit, it's all about making your time in the kitchen as effortless as it is enjoyable. Embrace the simplicity of delicious cooking with us. Let's make every minute count and every dish a delight!
A person kneads dough on a wooden board dusted with flour, a classic baking scene. Their hands are at the center, pressing into the pale yellow dough, capturing the motion of the kneading process. In the background, blurred kitchen utensils—a rolling pin, whisk, and a jar of flour—complement the scene, along with a carton of eggs, suggesting the preparation of a fresh, homemade baked good. The image evokes a sense of warmth and homeliness associated with baking from scratch.

In the whirlwind of our daily lives, where the minutes seem to sprint and the hours play hide and seek, finding time to cook can sometimes feel like trying to hold onto a handful of sand. Yet, amidst the hustle and bustle, there's a silver lining—a beacon of hope for those of us who cherish a homemade meal but are often short on time.
Let's face it, we all yearn for those moments when we can truly savor the process of creating something delicious, without glancing at the clock every five minutes. In this blog post, we'll explore a treasure trove of ingredients and kitchen hacks designed to streamline your cooking process, giving you back precious time without compromising on taste or quality.
Whether you're a busy parent juggling the demands of family life, a professional with a calendar packed tighter than a jar of pickles, or simply someone who'd rather spend more time enjoying their meal than making it, these tips are for you. We're not about cutting corners in a way that sacrifices flavor. Instead, we're about smart choices that enhance efficiency and elevate your culinary game.
So, pull up a chair, and let's dive into a world where time is on our side, and delicious meals don't require hours to prepare. Here's to cooking with convenience, where every shortcut leads not away from, but closer to, the heart of the home—the kitchen.

1. Quality Canned Tomatoes: A Shortcut to Rich Flavors

Let's face it, we're not all blessed with the luxury of time to simmer a pot of tomatoes down to the perfect consistency for hours on end. But hey, that doesn't mean we have to compromise on flavor or resign ourselves to less-than-stellar meals. Enter the hero of our busy weeknights: quality canned tomatoes.

Why are they such a game-changer, you ask? For starters, these gems are picked and canned at the peak of ripeness, ensuring that you get that rich, deep tomato flavor any time of the year. No more waiting around for tomato season to grace us with its presence. Whether you're whipping up a hearty marinara, a tangy pizza sauce, or a comforting tomato soup, quality canned tomatoes bring a burst of flavor to your dishes without the long hours on the stove.

But not all canned tomatoes are created equal. Here's a tip from the pros: look for cans that boast words like "San Marzano" or "fire-roasted" on the label. These varieties offer a more complex taste that can elevate your dishes from good to "Can I have seconds?" good.

Using quality canned tomatoes is like having a sous chef in your pantry, ready to add depth and character to your meals at a moment's notice. So, the next time you're aiming to impress with your culinary skills but time is of the essence, reach for that can of tomatoes. It's your secret weapon to delivering mouthwatering meals that taste like they took hours to make—your secret's safe with us.

2. Frozen Herbs & Aromatics: Instant Freshness at Your Fingertips

Who hasn't faced the disappointment of reaching for fresh herbs, only to find them wilted or, worse, forgotten in the fridge? That's where frozen herbs and aromatics swoop in to save your dish and your time. These little ice-cubed wonders are a revelation for anyone looking to add a splash of freshness to their cooking without the constant trips to the grocery store.

Frozen herbs and aromatics retain much of their fresh flavor and nutritional value, making them a fantastic alternative to their fresh counterparts. Think about it: garlic, onions, basil, and cilantro, all pre-chopped and ready to toss into your pan. No more peeling, no more chopping, and certainly no more waste. It's about keeping the essence of fresh herbs alive, without the ticking clock of use-by dates.

Incorporating these into your cooking couldn't be simpler. They melt effortlessly into soups, stews, and sauces, imparting vibrant flavors and aromas that seem like you've been prepping in the kitchen for hours. And let's not forget the convenience factor—frozen herbs and aromatics are there when you need them, freeing up your time for the more important parts of cooking, like taste-testing or, perhaps, a little dance to your favorite cooking playlist.

Embrace the ease and efficiency of frozen herbs and aromatics. They're your culinary allies, ensuring that you're always just a freezer door away from elevating your dishes with the taste of fresh herbs, any day of the week.

3. Flavor-Infused Oils: Quick Aromatic Accents

Imagine being able to infuse a dish with the essence of truffle, basil, or even chili with just a drizzle. Flavor-infused oils are like your culinary magic wand, ready to cast a spell of aromatics over even the simplest of dishes. These oils pack a punch, offering a quick and easy way to add depth and character to your cooking, without the hassle of sourcing and preparing fresh ingredients.

The beauty of flavor-infused oils lies in their versatility. A drizzle over a finished dish can elevate it from everyday to gourmet in seconds. Whether it's adding a spicy kick to your pasta, a hint of herbaceousness to your salad, or a whisper of garlic to your roasted vegetables, these oils are your ticket to instant flavor gratification.

Not only do they save time, but they also inspire creativity in the kitchen. Experiment with different oils to discover new taste profiles and culinary possibilities. The rule of thumb? Let your taste buds lead the way, and don't be afraid to mix and match.

In the hustle and bustle of daily life, flavor-infused oils stand out as a swift solution to the common dilemma of adding flavor without adding time. They're proof that shortcuts in the kitchen can lead to deliciously aromatic destinations.

4. Deluxe Spice Mixes: Instant Depth and Dimension

Gone are the days of rummaging through your spice cabinet, measuring out pinches of this and dashes of that. Deluxe spice mixes are here to streamline your seasoning process, offering a blend of flavors and aromas tailored to specific dishes or cuisines. With these mixes, you can introduce complexity and authenticity to your meals with just a single spoonful.

Whether you're aiming for the perfect taco seasoning, a flawless curry blend, or a rub that makes every bite of your barbecue unforgettable, there's a spice mix for that. These expertly crafted combinations ensure consistency in flavor, taking the guesswork out of seasoning and reducing your prep time significantly.

But the convenience doesn't end there. Deluxe spice mixes also invite you to explore cuisines from around the globe, right from the comfort of your kitchen. They're a gateway to culinary adventure, minus the lengthy ingredient lists and the trial-and-error of finding the right spice balance.

Investing in a selection of deluxe spice mixes means always being a few shakes away from a meal that's bursting with flavor. They're a testament to the idea that saving time in the kitchen doesn't have to mean sacrificing depth and dimension in your cooking.

5. Savory Store-Bought Stock: Elevate Your Dishes with Convenience

The foundation of countless recipes, a good stock, can be the difference between a dish that's flat and one that's full of depth. Yet, the thought of simmering bones and vegetables for hours is daunting for most home cooks. This is where savory store-bought stock steps in, offering a shortcut to rich, complex flavors without the all-day commitment.

High-quality store-bought stocks and broths provide a consistent base for soups, stews, risottos, and sauces. They're a practical solution for busy cooks who don't want to compromise on taste. Look for options that are low in sodium and free from artificial additives to ensure that your dishes are not only delicious but also wholesome.

Using store-bought stock doesn't just save time; it also opens up a world of culinary possibilities. Whether you're looking to add a velvety texture to your gravy or a flavorful base for your vegetable soup, these stocks have you covered. They're the unsung heroes of the kitchen, quietly elevating your dishes with their rich layers of flavor.

6. Fresh Flash-Frozen Seafood: Freshness Locked in at a Moment's Notice

Seafood is a staple in many diets, appreciated for its flavor and nutritional benefits. However, sourcing fresh seafood can be a challenge, especially if you live far from coastal areas. Enter fresh flash-frozen seafood: a time-saving, quality-assured way to enjoy your favorite oceanic flavors.

Flash freezing seafood right after it's caught locks in the freshness, texture, and nutrients, making it almost indistinguishable from fresh once cooked. This method allows you to keep a variety of seafood on hand, ready to be transformed into a gourmet meal at a moment's notice. From salmon fillets to shrimp and beyond, the convenience of flash-frozen seafood is unmatched.

Incorporating flash-frozen seafood into your meals not only saves time but also helps you maintain a balanced diet. It's perfect for quick weeknight dinners or impressive, last-minute guest meals, ensuring that you're always just a defrost away from a delicious, seafood-based dish.

7. Tangy Marinated Grilled Vegetables: Bursting with Flavor, Ready in No Time

Vegetables are the backbone of a balanced diet, but let's be honest, prepping and cooking them can be time-consuming. That's where tangy marinated grilled vegetables come in, offering a flavorful and convenient solution. These veggies are pre-marinated and grilled, ready to be heated and served, saving you the hassle of lengthy prep work and marination times.

These vegetables are not just time-savers; they're also packed with flavor. The marination process infuses them with a depth of taste that can elevate any meal, from salads and wraps to hearty mains. They're a testament to the fact that convenient food can and should be delicious and nutritious.

Adding tangy marinated grilled vegetables to your pantry is like having a secret weapon for quick, flavorful meals. They're perfect for those days when you need a veggie boost without the extra work, proving that eating well doesn't have to be time-consuming or complicated.

8. Authentic Artisanal Pasta: Handcrafted Excellence in Every Bite

Pasta is a universal comfort food, but not all pasta is created equal. Authentic artisanal pasta stands out from its mass-produced counterparts with superior texture and flavor, turning a simple meal into an extraordinary experience. These pastas are often made using traditional methods and high-quality ingredients, offering a taste of the artisan's passion in every bite.

While making pasta from scratch is a noble and delicious endeavor, it's not always feasible on a busy weeknight. This is where artisanal pasta comes into play, providing a gourmet base for your dishes without the time commitment of homemade pasta. Simply boil, toss with your favorite sauce, and you've got a meal that tastes like it took hours to make.

Choosing authentic artisanal pasta means elevating your pasta dishes effortlessly. It's a simple swap that brings a touch of handcrafted excellence to your table, proving that great ingredients make all the difference in your culinary creations.

9. Convenient Pre-Made Dough or Pastry Sheets: Simplifying Your Baking Game

Baking from scratch is a rewarding but often time-consuming process. For those moments when the craving for freshly baked goods strikes but time is of the essence, pre-made dough or pastry sheets are a godsend. These products simplify the baking process, allowing you to focus on the fun parts of baking—filling, shaping, and of course, eating.

Whether you're looking to whip up some quick croissants for breakfast, a savory quiche for lunch, or sweet turnovers for dessert, pre-made dough and pastry sheets cut your prep time significantly. They offer a versatile base for a variety of recipes, ensuring that your baking adventures are limited only by your imagination.

Embracing the convenience of pre-made dough and pastry sheets doesn't mean sacrificing quality. Many options are made with high-quality ingredients and offer a homemade taste that can fool even the most discerning palates. They're a testament to the fact that baking doesn't have to be an all-day affair to be delicious and satisfying.

10. Versatile Jarred Sauces and Condiments: Flavor Enhancers at Your Beck and Call

The right sauce or condiment can transform a dish from ordinary to extraordinary, but creating complex sauces from scratch is often a time-intensive process. That's where jarred sauces and condiments come in, offering a myriad of flavors at your fingertips. From pesto and tapenade to gourmet mustards and chutneys, these jarred wonders are your quick fix to flavor-packed dishes.

Jarred sauces and condiments are not just about convenience; they're about adding a burst of flavor to your meals without the added prep time. They can serve as the base for a sauce, a marinade for meats, or a simple spread to elevate your sandwiches and wraps.

Investing in a variety of jarred sauces and condiments is like having a flavor library at your disposal. They encourage culinary experimentation and can inspire new dishes based on the flavors within each jar. It's a simple way to ensure that your meals are always exciting, flavorful, and most importantly, quick to prepare.


So, we've walked through these ten kitchen lifesavers that promise to keep our cooking game strong, even when time isn't on our side. From those trusty canned tomatoes that bring a burst of flavor to any dish, to the handy pre-made dough that gets pastries on the table without the extra work, each shortcut is like a little high-five for our culinary skills.

Now, even with these clever hacks up our sleeve, planning what to make can sometimes feel like the biggest hurdle of all. That's where a friendly nudge from Chefit could make a world of difference. It's pretty straightforward—Chefit offers up meal plans and a smart grocery list that feels like having a knowledgeable assistant in the kitchen. At Chefit we’re not about overcomplicating things or making cooking feel out of reach. Instead, we're here to help you figure out what to cook next, ensuring you've got all you need without making a fuss about it.

It's kind of comforting, isn't it? To know that amidst your busy live, there's a helping hand to make mealtime something to look forward to, not dread. With Chefit, it's about keeping things simple, enjoyable, and, most importantly, delicious. So, here's to embracing those shortcuts and a little bit of guidance, making every meal an opportunity to relax and enjoy, no stress attached. Cheers to that!

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