Top 10 Busy Cooks Kitchen Hacks

  • 01 of 10

    Use Your Slow Cooker to Make Chicken in Quantity

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    If you need a large amount of cooked chicken breasts, for recipes, once a month cooking, or for sandwiches or salads, cook them in the slow cooker. This method works well, especially if you use frozen chicken breasts. In fact, it's the only way I cook frozen breasts; the moist and low heat renders them tender and velvety. Put the breasts in the slow cooker, add some water or chicken broth, and cook on low for 5 to 8 hours. When the meat is 160°F, remove it from the crockpot and refrigerate.

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  • 02 of 10

    Cook From Your Pantry

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    With a well-stocked pantry, you can make many wonderful meals without having to go to the grocery store. The trick is to find some recipes you know everyone likes that you can make easily, then stock those ingredients in your pantry, fridge, and freezer. These 22 recipes range from skillet meals to grilled sandwiches, risotto, and soups.

    Pantry Meals

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  • 03 of 10

    Use Your Slow Cooker to Make Salads and Sandwiches

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    You can use your slow cooker to make more than just soups, stews, and the best pot roast around. Use it to make the fillings for sandwiches and for the fixings for main dish salads. I especially love these sandwich recipes, because they are perfect for families which eat in shifts. Keep the food on warm (no longer than two hours), and make sure everyone knows where the breads and rolls are. Everyone can eat when they get home.

    Crockpot Sandwich Recipes

    Crockpot Orange Chicken Salad

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  • 04 of 10

    Bake Hard Cooked Eggs

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    Did you know that you can bake eggs in the shell for perfectly done hard cooked eggs? This trick is great, especially when you need a quantity of eggs for Easter or a recipe.

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  • 05 of 10

    Memorize Some Five, Four, Three, and Two Ingredient Recipes

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    Memorizing some recipes that you know your family likes and that you know you can easily make is one of the best kitchen hacks. Keep the ingredients for those recipes on hand and you'll never have to order pizza or drive to a fast food joint again.

    Five Ingredient Recipes 

    Four Ingredient Recipes

    Three Ingredient Recipes 

    Two Ingredient Recipes 

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  • 06 of 10

    Memorize Five and Ten Minute Recipes

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    Recipes that are ready to eat, or ready for the oven, in five or ten minutes are perfect for busy weeknights. Memorize some of these recipes and, again, stock the ingredients to make them. Building your repertoire of simple meals is one of the best hacks. 

    Recipes with Five Minute Prep Time

    Five Minute Recipes

    Crockpot Recipes with Five Minute Prep Time

    Quick Recipes with Ten Minute Prep Time

    Ten Minute Recipes

    Crockpot Recipes with Ten Minute Prep Time

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  • 07 of 10

    Start with One Ingredient

    Chocolate-Toffee-Angel-Food.jpg
    Chocolate Toffee Angel Food. Linda Larsen

    Finally, my Start With ... series will help you make a meal out of just about anything you have in the house! These easy recipes start with everything from bread to salad mix to ground beef or chicken. Best of all, they will most likely inspire you to create your own go-to meals!

    Start With ...

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  • 08 of 10

    Cook Pasta Right in the Sauce

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    Kitchen hacks are tips and tricks that will help you save time in the kitchen and making cooking and baking more fun. These hacks range from simple tips to techniques that may change the way you cook!

    One of the biggest breakthroughs of my time in the kitchen was realizing that pasta did not have to be cooked in huge pots of boiling water. In fact, when pasta is cooked in the sauce, whether it's in the oven, on the stovetop, or in the crockpot, the pasta has more flavor and a better texture....MORE Try this the next time you want to make pasta.

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  • 09 of 10

    Breakfast Straight From the Freezer

    Freezer French Toast
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    Having breakfast ready and waiting for you in the freezer is one of the best hacks of all time. These delicious recipes heat up quickly in the microwave and toaster oven so you can head off to work or school satisfied and ready for the day.

    Make Ahead Frozen Breakfast Recipes

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  • 10 of 10

    Make Individual Servings in a Muffin Tin

    Mini Turkey Meatloaves
    Jodi Pudge/Radius Images/Getty Images

    When you want to make foods that kids love to eat, one of the keys is to make small servings. Children love tiny portions and self-contained foods. Use your muffin tin! Make meatloaf in the muffin tin (top with a scoop of mashed potatoes before serving), use the tin to make tiny servings of mac and cheese (just put any mac and cheese recipe in the tins, top with breadcrumbs, and bake until bubbly), or bake leftover risotto in the tins. In fact, you can even serve an entire meal in a muffin tin!...MORE Just put each "course" into each cup.