The Best Kitchen Hacks
Recipe Corner...Recipe Corner...Recipe Corner...Thursday, March 25, 2021
Perhaps your family is on a budget squeeze, or maybe it's just time to control your spending; whatever the reason, a careful examination of ways you can save in the kitchen is always the right call. Jump-start your journey to keeping more money in your pocket and more time on your hands with these kitchen hacks.
Plan your meals
Rule number one for a smart kitchen is planning. Think ahead for meals and the time you'll devote to cooking. Add enough variety to make each week interesting, but lean on the standards you do well and which your family enjoys. Once you have the weekly meal plan and ingredients list, before you go hurtling down the supermarket aisle, check your pantry to determine what you really must purchase and only then go to the store armed with your list, and stick to it.
Right size bulk buying
How many times have you said, “Might as well buy the jumbo size”, and months later, you're throwing out unused food? Bulk buying makes sense only if the quantities match your family's size and consumption habits. If your household does not consume enough to gain any real benefit from bulk buying, partner with a friend to share the benefits.
Prep like a pro
Chop, cut and measure everything before you even turn on the stove. Cooking is a series of chemical reactions, and so by prepping before you start, you can manage each step and therein be able to recreate your dishes flawlessly.
Once meal planning has become a part of your routine, consider another big saver: Cooking in batches, saving both time and money. If you're going to roast a chicken for dinner, figure what else you can also cook in the oven at the same time for meals later in the week. Invest in high-quality freezer-safe containers to preserve your food.
With work-from-home and learn-from-home, both mainstays in our lives, we make the deliberate decision to consider what's for lunch. Don't make it just about leftovers, but accommodate vibrant lunch menus into what you'll be cooking as the main meals for the week.
Eat what you have
Routine grocery shopping can often lead to overbuying, leaving you with an overstock of items. Schedule a clear-the-pantry week in which you skip the supermarket and cook all the staples you have on hand. Supplement the existing stock of poultry and canned foods with fresh produce. Once you have exhausted everything, then you can restock.
Grow what you eat
Save money and enjoy fresh herbs and vegetables with a kitchen garden. If space is limited, try a container garden instead. Scotch bonnet pepper, parsley, scallion, tomatoes and callaloo are all easy to grow, and you can make this a family project to teach young children some do-it-yourself gardening.
Cook what they want to eat
Chicken is one of the most hack-friendly meals you can prepare, delivering big in both cost and nutrition. Explore these new chicken recipes to bring delicious surprise to the table.
The Best Dressed Chicken Pasta Bake
1 pound The Best Dressed Chicken Boneless Breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
12 ounces penne pasta
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt & pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
2 cups tomato sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add 2 large pinches of salt, then add the pasta and cook according to the package, about 10-11 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet with 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium/high heat. Add the chicken and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper, the garlic powder, and dried basil. Cook for about 5 minutes until chicken is just cooked through. Turn off heat and set aside.
Once the pasta is done cooking, drain it, then return the hot pasta to the pot. Add the chicken, tomato sauce, chopped fresh basil, and mix together until the pasta is well coated.
Add half of the pasta mixture back to the skillet that you cooked the chicken in, (or you can use a greased 9×11 baking dish). Sprinkle with 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup parmesan. Add the rest of the pasta, then top with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Garnish with extra fresh basil and serve warm.
The Best Dressed Chicken Kebabs
1 pack The Best Dressed Chicken Boneless Breast
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried thyme or dried rosemary
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 small red onion, quartered into 1-inch pieces
2 plummy tomatoes, quartered
1 red bell pepper, deseeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, deseeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large lemon
Cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces and place in a large Ziploc bag, shallow baking dish, or bowl.
In a separate bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, honey, garlic, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper.
Pour over the chicken and stir to coat (or seal the bag, removing as much air as possible, and “squish” to coat). Place in the refrigerator to marinate for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours (do not let the chicken sit for longer or the vinegar will cause it to break down). If using wooden skewers, place the skewers in water to soak for at least 20 minutes.
When ready to cook turn broiler on high.
To make the kebabs, thread a piece of chicken onto the skewer (shake off the excess marinade when removing it from the bag. Add alternating pieces of onion, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper and tomato until you've reached the end of the skewer, ending with chicken. Repeat with the remaining skewers, then discard the excess chicken marinade.
Broil the kebabs for about 10 to 15 minutes, turning the skewers every few minutes. Transfer to a serving plate and squeeze the lemon over the top. Serve warm with rice.
The Best Dressed Chicken with Root Vegetables
4 pound whole The Best Dressed Chicken
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
4 medium carrots, cut into sticks
2 cups chopped squash or pumpkin
6 medium cloves garlic, left whole
3-4 sprigs fresh herbs, like thyme, rosemary, and sage
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley, optional
Place oven rack in the upper-middle position. Heat oven to 500°F.
Place the chicken spine side up (and breast side down) on a cutting board. Use sharp kitchen shears to cut along each side of the spine and remove it.
Flatten the chicken either by cutting it just a little at the end of the breastbone or by turning it over and flattening it down by pressing firmly in its centre.
In a small bowl mix together the sage, salt, pepper, and baking powder.
Drizzle the olive oil over the skin and then sprinkle with the rub, using your hands to spread the rub evenly over the skin.
Place the chicken on a roasting rack set over a roasting pan or deep sheet pan. Arrange it so that the breast is in the middle of the roasting rack and the legs are near the edge.
Put it in the oven and reduce the heat to 450°F.
Roast for 15 minutes.
While the chicken is roasting peel and slice the vegetables. Then toss them with olive oil and kosher salt.
At the 15-minute mark, take the roasting pan out of the oven and move the roasting rack off of the pan. Add the vegetables to the pan and spread them out. Scatter the sprigs of herbs about.
Replace the chicken over the top and put everything in the oven. Roast for 20-30 minutes more, or until the breast meat is 150°F and the thighs are 175°F.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 5-10 minutes before carving.
The Best Dressed Chicken Wings with Honey Rosemary Glaze
1 pack The Best Dressed Chicken Wings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon rosemary
Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven. Line 2 large shallow baking pans (17 by 11 inches) with foil. Put pans in the oven and preheat oven to 500°F.
Cut wings into drumettes and flats, saving the tips for the next time you make chicken stock. Pat wings dry, then toss with oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and divide between preheated pans, spreading wings in 1 layer. Roast, without turning, until golden and tender, about 35 minutes.
While wings roast, simmer honey, soy sauce and rosemary, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted. Remove roasted wings from oven and let stand in pans 1 minute (to make wings easier to remove from foil), then transfer with tongs to a clean large bowl.
Pour honey mixture over wings and toss to coat well. Let stand 5 minutes, then toss again.
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