5 Cooking Short-Cuts

I know you are all leery about taking cooking tips from me.  I mean, I can’t even blame you.  I did show you a picture of my upside-down-chicken, and I admitted to baking whole cloves into a loaf of bread.

The truth is I’m really not to be trusted in the kitchen, not alone anyway, but here’s the thing, I have been cooking for about fifteen years and I have learned things the hard way.  Believe me, the really hard way.

It’s not surprising I have picked up a few tips on this long journey to feed my family.  You can only start so many kitchen fires without learning where the fire extinguisher is how to cook without burning down the house.

My point is, I have learned how to pretend I can cook.  These five tips save me time and make the people sitting at my table happy.  I’ve been using these shortcuts for years, so they are tried and true.  No worries.

Although you should never trust anyone who says “No worries”, here goes…


One: Quick “From Scratch” Cake

Polka Dot Christmas Cake

To bake a cake from a box mix that tastes like it’s from scratch, use softened butter in place of oil and whole milk in place of water. It’s better than a bakery cake and just like “from scratch”.  I’ve had people argue with me that my cake was from scratch.  Nope.  *cough loudly*  I mean, yes, thank you very much.

Two: Pancakes with Panache

To give pancakes panache (yes, your pancakes can have panache, especially if you add chocolate chips), add vanilla extract (preferably Fringe Vanilla, 100% pure vanilla extract) to your batter.  Works just as well in waffle mix.

Three:  Pot-Luck Crowd Pleaser

To please a crowd (Need a potluck recipe anyone?), buy an extra-large bag of small Italian meatballs (available in the freezer section of your supermarket), put them in a crockpot with a jar (or two) of your favorite spaghetti sauce, and cook on low, 4-6 hours or until heated through.  Pick up a few bags of rolls and a jar of Parmesan cheese and everyone is happy, especially the men.

Four:  Egg Sandwiches On The Go

baked eggs frozen on the go breakfast

To make mornings easy (Who am I kidding?  Mornings are never easy!), bake a dozen eggs in a muffin tin (350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.  Be sure to spray tin with non-stick cooking spray.).  Cook up twelve round sausage patties, and toast a package of English muffins.  Add cheese.  Assemble, wrap in foil, and freeze.  Pop in the microwave or oven as needed.  It’s a great on-the-go breakfast.

Five:  It’s A Wrap

To turn boring leftovers into a fun build-your-own meal kind of dish, always have a package of wraps on hand.  They come in so many varieties, from spiced to high fiber.  Pick your favorite and keep it in stock.  Almost anything tastes great in a wrap especially when sprinkled with cheese.  Use leftover chicken, beef, rice, beans (any kind), mashed potatoes, eggs, and even venison (for you hunter/gatherer types).  Add fresh greens and a sprinkle of cheese.  Kids love it.  It’s easy, quick, and a sure-fire way of making sure those leftovers do not go to waste.

So what about you?

Do you have a favorite cooking tip?

Please share!


3 thoughts on “5 Cooking Short-Cuts

  1. Pingback: On Life, Squatters, and Chocolate « the domestic fringe

  2. ladyofthemanse

    Those tips look awesome and easy. I’ll have to try to remember the cake one for the next time I bake. Do you use the same amount of butter as you would oil?

    Your cake looks great!

  3. debbie york

    I try to keep ingredients down to 5 or less in any given recipe, but being from the South…butter and cream of any soup doesn’t count. Those are just the flavor we throw into a pot! You know…like salt and pepper.
    For a different take on the meatballs, put in a crockpot with a jar of grape jelly and a bottle of Heinz chili sauce. Makes even the cheapest of frozen meatballs yum…or try a can of beer and a bottle of Heinz ketchup. These are both good for Lil Smokies too.
    My personal secret tip is…ssshhh…don’t tell. Call ahead for takeout. Saves time waiting in line!
    I sure could go for a slice of your cake right about now!


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