Favorite cooking shortcuts

I was watching a video this morning by a favorite YouTube cook. I’ll share it here; it’s for Rotel Mexican red rice.

One of the points Glen makes is that professional chefs often take shortcuts when cooking at home for their families.

By the way, I don’t own a rice cooker, but I do now own an Instant Pot, which can be used to cook rice. I have also used it to make yogurt several times, and I hear it is great for quick cooking dried beans.

This morning I used a favorite shortcut to make a pot of chicken and rice soup. I ran across this soup mix earlier this year during the pandemic, and used my last packet today. Since I have enjoyed it so much, I ordered another box of six for my pantry.

I diced and sauteed some onion, celery, carrot and mushrooms in a large pot, and added one chopped up cooked chicken thigh. When those were cooked, I added eight cups of water and brought it to a boil, then poured in the soup packet and cooked it for ten minutes. Lunch was served! This will feed me for several meals and was so easy to prepare. I’m sure it has more sodium than is probably good for me, but it is so tasty and convenient that I use it every so often.

What are your favorite shortcuts and convenience foods? Also, what is  your favorite kitchen gadget or small appliance (like the Instant Pot)?

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17 Responses to Favorite cooking shortcuts

  1. Menagerie says:

    I pride myself on my soup recipes and potato soup has always been a favorite of mine. Years ago my husband’s elderly aunt served us potato soup that was delicious, and I loved it. That was my introduction to Bear Creek soups.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. czarina33 says:

    Czar purees a can of the same kind of beans he is cooking and pours it into his cooked beans to make them creamy. Adjust seasonings after adding them.


  3. czarina33 says:

    Here’s s quick French onion soup. Put 1 can each of chicken broth and best broth in a pan, add a cup of white wine and 1 can of water. Heat. Saute a cut up onion or two (to your preference) in butter and stir into the broths. Divide into bowls, cover with toasted bread and a slice of Gruyere or Swiss cheese. Broil to melt.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sharon says:

    I’ve used the Bear Creek soups before and like them very much. Haven’t had any for awhile, so will have to snoop around and see who carries them –


  5. czarowniczy says:

    Chefs cook in restaurants for presentation and cachet, so you’re not going to charge $150 for a meal that has a can or two of tomato soup as a base. At home they’re cooking for taste and comfort.

    The recipe above looks just like the base recipe for Mexican rice I make: https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-mexican-rice-recipes-from-the-kitchn-198867

    I also add shrimp, ham, andouille or chicken to the Mexican rice and then it’s MY rice. I don’t think you’d find that on too many restaurant menus but then there’s never much left over at the end of dinner.

    That sausage sautee he was making is also something I’ve made for decades, it’s quick, tasty and filling. I usually use Italian sausage I skin and cut into chunks, satuee it with onions, red bell peppers, and garlic, usually in a combination of butter, olive oil and a few sardines. I start by sauteeing Italian seasoning in the hot oil/butter for a minute or two to increase the fragrance, then toss in the sausage, brown it, then sweat the onions and jarred garlic (stronger taste) and add red bells just long enough to soften them without melting them.

    You can put some prepared red sauce in if you want and serve it on Italian bread like a stromboli, over pasta with or without the red sauce and top with an Italian cheese mix. I’ll put Parmesan/Romano mix with provolone and or mozzarella on the top (both stromboli and pasta virgins) and melt under a broiler. Now I’m going to try it with the red/Mexican rice as a side by itself…maybe with some cheese…


    • czarowniczy says:

      , if you’re going to use white rice with a meat broth I’d suggest washing the white rice until the water runs clear as the loose starch on the rice tends to get mixed with the stuff in the broth and the rice can get sticky. It will still be a bit sticky after washing/cooking but not as much. BTW 2,0, leftover rice that’s gotten sticky can be made into patties and fried, great side with an appropriate sauce/gravy.

      Liked by 2 people

    • stella says:

      I think the sausage he used is one he made recently, Texas hot guts sausage. Glen also recently made homemade Chorizo. He does a lot of varied and interesting dishes.

      Liked by 2 people

      • czarowniczy says:

        My stomach’s rebelling from decades of abuse so I have to cut back on the ‘hot’ and go for other tastes. Czarina also isn’t much for hot though she’s getting to recognize the peppers from where the heat lies in your mouth from the different ones.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. stella says:

    Here is Glen’s sausage and peppers recipe:


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