Kitchen secrets of a major foodie and cooking enthusiast
While I'm waiting for dinner to cook (Bourbon street chicken, YUM!), I thought I'd share my kitchen secrets with all of you! Just a few tips on how to have a well stocked kitchen and minimize cooking and grocery shopping stress.
1) Stock your kitchen with spices. Lots and lots of spices! I just counted my spices, and I currently have 60 spices stocked. Believe me, keeping spices stocked saves a lot of frustration, like when you're ONE spice short for a great recipe.
2) Stock your kitchen with various oils. Canola oil, EVOO, peanut oil, Sesame oil, veggie oil, etc.. You never know what kind of oil a recipe will call for.
3) Stock your kitchen with various cooking wines and vinegars. This is a lifesaver. I currently have 8 different cooking wines, and 5 different vinegars. And, I use them a LOT.
4) Personally, I never use fresh garlic. The little cloves piss me off. I always keep a big jar of minced garlic, as well as various tubes of different crushed garlic (LOVE the crushed roasted garlic) to use in recipes. TIP: Get an ice tray, fill it up with olive oil and put the equivalent of one garlic clove in each cube. Freeze it, and then pop them out into a zip lock baggie and put them back into the freezer. You can also add fresh herbs!
5) Shop case lot sales! Clear off some shelf space in your garage, and store cases of non-perishables, that way you have them on hand when you run out in the house. Plus, you save money in the long run by buying in bulk.
6) Always have plenty of chicken and beef stock, chicken and beef broth and bullion cubes stocked.
7) Keep veggies frozen in your freezer. Whether you buy them frozen or cut up and freeze your own, this is important and a HUGE time saver.
8) Always stock various rices and pastas. Personally, I always have on hand: white rice, brown rice, risotto and orzo for rices, and I've always got tons of different pastas for quick, throw together meals.
Here's a list of other things that I feel are absolutely necessary to keep stocked at all times (of course, you can tweak the list to fit your food style):
Baking powder and soda, corn meal, flour, brown sugar, sugar, oats, bread crumbs, beans, heavy whipping cream, various canned and jarred items that are called for in a lot of recipes (olives, soy sauce, worchestershire sauce, lemon and lime juice, etc..).
9) I would also HIGHLY reccommend splurging a little money on a membership to a website like BigOven.com, that has a mobile app, also. I can find the recipes that I want to make during the week, and create a grocery checklist on my iPhone straight from each recipe. But, since I always have the above mentioned things in stock at home, my grocery list is cut down majorly for most recipes! Plus, you can search for recipes that only include ingredients that you have on hand!
10) If you are super busy with kids and work, and you don't have a crock pot, invest in one NOW. Like, right now. Crockpot meals are generally healthy and super convenient for a busy parent. You can cook breakfast overnight and have it ready when your kids get up, and you can have a hot meal waiting on you when you all get home!
So, anyways, these are just some of my tips and advice for having a great kitchen. You'd seriously be surprised the combination of amazing, healthy meals you can come up with just by having these things on hand in your kitchen! Just like the Bourbon Street Chicken that I cooked tonight, and paired with caesar salad, which is delicious, by the way!
Here's the recipe for the Bourbon Street Chicken:
Bourbon Street Chicken Preparation
Heat oil in a large skillet.
Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned.
Add remaining ingredients, heating over medium heat until well blended and dissolved.
Add chicken and bring to a hard boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes uncovered.
Serve over hot rice.