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Take A Cooking Shortcut

They can be your best friends in the kitchen. We’re talking about the grocery products that will help you save prep time, so you can have that ever-elusive spare moment to yourself every once in awhile. Here’s what we suggest you have on hand.


  • Pre-cooked beef roast, roasted whole chicken, fried chicken pieces and smoked salmon
  • Canned salmon, clams, tuna and shrimp
  • Frozen meatballs, chicken nuggets, fish fillets, minute steaks and pre-formed hamburger patties (meat and freezer aisles)
  • Skinless, boneless chicken breasts and thinly cut beef and pork for stir-fry (meat aisle)
  • Pre-cooked shrimp (seafood case)
  • Thick-sliced deli ham, turkey and roast beef (deli aisle)

Try: Impossibly Easy Ham and Cheddar Pie

Alternatives to meat

  • Frozen meat substitutes, including some that are like ham, steak, lamb, chicken breasts and nuggets, hot dogs, turkey, pork chops, BBQ ribs, bacon, sausages, beef chunks, ground beef and egg-less fried eggs
  • Frozen seafood, including salmon, tuna, crabs and shrimp
  • Tofu and tempeh (soy-based)
  • Shelf-stable meat substitutes, including vegetarian turkey and chicken (soy-based)

Try: Asian Soup Bowl with Chicken


  • Pre-cut vegetables and stir-fry vegetable packages from Green Giant
  • Minced garlic in a jar
  • Bagged salads and lettuce
  • Canned, seasoned tomatoes (diced, stewed, and whole)

Try: Linguine with Vegetables & Cheese.

Sauce & seasoning

  • Dry packets of seasonings, such as Old El Paso taco seasoning, sauces and salad dressing mixes
  • Bottled sauces, marinades and salad dressings
  • Tomato sauces

Try: Taco Seasoned Chicken


  • Pre-shredded cheeses
  • Pasteurized eggs

Try: Bean and cheese quesadillas.

Bread & pasta

  • Quick-cooking meat- and cheese-filled pasta in dairy aisle
  • Old El Paso tortillas for fast meat and veggie wraps (can be frozen)
  • Pocket pita bread and submarine sandwich rolls (can be frozen)
  • Instant rice, Betty Crocker potatoes, couscous and Hamburger Helper mixes

Try: Party mashed potatoes.