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jca2's avatar

When cooking, do you do anything "semi-homemade" or have any shortcuts that work for you?

Asked by jca2 (12695points) November 25th, 2020

I’m in a few cooking groups on social media and there were some recent questions about shortcuts and semi-homemade tips that people do to make their cooking easier.

Some things that were common were using boxed mash potatoes (potato flakes) to add to thicken gravy and in conjunction with real mashed potatoes, to stretch them. Also a lot talked about frozen ginger to add to foods.

I keep chopped frozen onions and peppers on hand to throw a handful into things like a pot of rice or scrambled eggs. The frozen onions are good for soup, too, so I don’t have to chop and cry.

Sometimes I put liquor into baked goods. I have been doing that for years but recently saw something on Epicurious where they talked about kicking up quick breads, cakes and puddings with rum and liquors like Cointreau. The alcohol evaporates with the heat but the flavors remain.

How about you? Any hacks or semi-homemade tips that you use in the kitchen?

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6 Answers

Love_my_doggie's avatar

Every few weeks or so, I use my stockpot to make a huge batch of vegan broth. I freeze the broth in containers of various sizes and then use it for soups and sauces.

canidmajor's avatar

Years ago, I made a cranberry conserve with oranges, peeled, then each segment peeled, then shredded. It took forever and was really annoying. My mom suggested I use commercial orange marmalade instead, and adjust the sugar to taste. It was great, much easier, and with a better texture.

JLeslie's avatar

Constantly. I am the semi-homemade queen.

My gravy tomorrow will be made with a packet of gravy power and I’ll add some drippings from roasted chicken thighs (my husband wants chicken for thanksgiving and it’s just us two) sliced mushrooms and white wine to spruce it up.

I stretch mashed potatoes with instant potatoes all the time. I use less fat then.

I make meals that are half frozen dinner half from scratch like frozen chicken a la king and add additional veggies on the side. Or, frozen Chinese dumplings with homemade veggie fried rice from leftovers.

I buy the Asian salads in the salad section at the grocery store and quickly heat it up with the Asian dressing and almonds and crunchies it comes with and add cranberries. It cooks for a minute or two, just warning it up. Then I serve it with fish either from scratch or frozen like Parmesan crusted fish.

Dutchess_III's avatar

We make pumpkin pie using canned pumpkin.

JLeslie's avatar

Sandra Lee had a TV show about semi homemade recipes. I only watched it a few times. I don’t watch many food shows.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Today virtually nothing comes completely from scratch. Pecan pie…you buy Karo syrup. You don’t make your own. You buy a sack of pecans from the store….you don’t harvest and shell them yourself.

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