minutes per mile blog

in protest: 5 kitchen non-hacks

I know that time-saving “life hacks” are the hot thing right now because everyone is apparently stressed out with no time to do anything the right way. For example, I feel like my Redbook magazine covers are always about “shortcuts” to save time and look skinny:_DSC0091In protest, today I’m offering a bunch of kitchen tips that are NOT shortcuts. And most of them involve lots of olive oil.

They’re all from-scratch recipes that significantly more time than buying store-bought items. BUT: They taste better than store-bought items (and will save you money!). And I personally think they’re kind of therapeutic to make.

Pesto! Time required: 40 minutes. Recommended appliance: Food processor. I made this at the end of the summer when our basil plant was on its last leg stem. Take any basic pesto recipe (I like The Kitchn’s) and freeze in cubes when finished.homemade_frozen_pesto_cubes_DSC0088 Use for the rest of the winter in pasta or on sandwiches!1-_DSC0044cooksmarts pesto zucchini pata

2: Hummus! Time required: 30 minutes. Recommended appliance: Food processor.
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Combine your basic hummus ingredients (chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, water, salt) in a food processor. Add other flavors/herbs as you wish. I like garlic + lemon. The key is to roast the garlic for a few minutes before blending!
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So smooth._DSC0012Serve with veggies (another non-time-saving trick: real carrots. Way better than baby carrots and worth the effort to peel and chop!)_DSC00173. Miso soup! Time required: 15 minutes. Recommended appliance: none. I recently discovered how incredibly easy this is to make. The most time you’ll spend on this recipe is making a special stop at an Asian grocery store to buy a tub of white miso.

Then, all you do is boil it in water and add whatever toppings — green onions, mushrooms, tofu — you want!tofu_lettuce_wraps_miso_soup_DSC0047We served our soup with tofu/veggie lettuce wraps the other night. Yum.tofu_lettuce_wraps_miso_soup_DSC00404. Beans! Time required: 6-8 hours. Recommended appliance: Slow cooker. I know canned beans are pretty cheap, but if you really want to be thrifty go for the dry ones. Other perks of dried beans: they save pantry space and are lighter to carry (for my DC readers who walk with their groceries!).

I’ve made dried black beans and dried chickpeas over the past few weeks and both turned out great. The chickpeas were used in the hummus shown above; the black beans were buried in homemade burrito bowls!_DSC1280Just make sure to give the beans a good rinse before you toss them in the slow cooker. No need to soak overnight if you are using the slow cooker!_DSC12785. Bread! Time required: 3:40 minutes. Recommended appliance: bread machine. This one is a no-brainer — homemade bread is the best.braided_seed_bread_DSC0207 Buy a bread machine and let loose! I recommend getting one with a timer so that you can come home or wake up to a fresh loaf and not have to worry about babysitting your bread machine. I have a whole page of loaves that I love.homemade breadHere are the appliances I use, by the way: bread machine | slow cooker | food processor. Now go find an extra hour or two of time and get cookin’! :)

  • What are some non-hacks you stick to?
  • How much time do you spend in the kitchen on a typical weekday?
  • Other foods that are way tastier made from scratch than store-bought?

7 thoughts on “in protest: 5 kitchen non-hacks

  1. Long time no chat : )

    I save veggie scraps in a large bag in the freezer and will use them to make stock! If I make whole birds I will make poultry stocks as well! I always buy the full veggies to chop and prep out for easy grab and go snacks / lunch add-ons. AND the biggie… Always make left overs from dinner so we can have homemade lunches every day!

  2. I am so NOT a cook … Like even a little bit. But I’ve been wanting to get a bread maker for a while! I eat toast and peanut butter pretty much everyday so I feel like this would be a good investment ! Thanks for the tips!!

  3. I need make beans more often, but alas! I’m a failure at planning. Totally agreed on the humus and pesto.

    For me, the things I always keep simple syrup on hand. It’s pretty fool proof and makes hot and cold tea, coffee, and mixed drinks much easier. I also encourage making pizza dough, pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, and ricotta for easy staples that store well.