I've mentioned before that when I come home from grocery shopping, I brown up several pounds of ground beef, drain it, and package it in meal-size portions, then freeze. This makes dinner so much easier. Rather than frying it, I boil it, which helps to reduce the fat content.
Anything that you can make up, measure, mix up, or otherwise partly prepare ahead of time is a time-saver somewhere down the road. Rachel Ray suggests preparing herbs and veggies when you come home from the grocery store. Wash herbs, slice veggies, and bag up for later use.
I rarely buy celery, but when I do, I cut off the tops and freeze to use in stock-making, or dry for use like parsley flakes. My husband enjoys celery sticks with peanut butter, so I wash and cut some up for him, and stash in the refrigerator. After I use more of the celery in whatever recipe I planned to use it in, I chop the rest and freeze to use later in a stir-fry or other dish, and the ends of the stalks are also frozen for soupmaking. (I keep large zipper-top freezer bags with vegetable scraps and chicken bones, etc., to use in stock and soupmaking.)
Here is another seasoning mix that I make up ahead of time:
Taco Seasoning Mix
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tsp minced onion
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
This equals one package of taco seasoning. Add to browned, drained ground beef with 1/4 cup of water, simmer for a few minutes, then serve.
Convenience Food series index
Please leave a comment about your favorite convenience foods!