Tasty Meals Like Mom Made, Only Quicker
We love to tuck into a homemade meal or dessert just like the ones Mom used to make—but not many of us have that kind of time in the kitchen anymore. You’re in luck, though, because we know how to make the delicious meals you crave without all the hassle. Want in?
By using a few time-saving tips and tricks, you can whip up these comfort-food favorites in no time. Check out our ideas for swaps, substitutions and shortcuts, then sit down and savor!
EASY ON THE PIES
From the outside in, consider these quick alternatives:
- Unroll refrigerated pie crusts for pot pies
- Top other meat pies with a cornbread mix before baking
- Put down the peeler and scoop up refrigerated mashed potatoes for shepherd’s pie
GO SQUARE TO PARE DOWN
Cook the noodles, brown the meat, make the sauce, mix the cheeses and THEN layer them all? Whew, that’s a lot of work—no wonder it’s a rarity to have homemade lasagna these days! Skip ahead by simply substituting frozen filled ravioli for the noodles and meat, and use your favorite pasta sauce from a jar.
MEAT LOAF MAGIC
For a simple one-dish meal, there are a whole lot of ingredients to measure, mix and massage when making meat loaf. Time-savers to the rescue!
- Jump ahead a few spaces in the dinner prep game by combining ground meat with some dry soup mix (or dry salad dressing mix) instead.
- Save time by preparing your favorite meat loaf recipe on the weekend while you’re making that night’s meal. If you’re already chopping onions for that night’s dinner, for example, just chop a few more for meat loaf. After you’ve mixed and shaped the loaf, cover and refrigerate it up to 2 days before baking.
SPAGHETTI & MEATBALLS, PRESTO!
Making homemade meatballs and sauce slurps up a lot of time. Get twirling more quickly by:
- Instead of rolling them yourself, try using frozen seasoned meatballs from your supermarket.
- Make your own sauce by doctoring up a ready-made sauce with dried or fresh herbs, or combine two jarred sauces to create a unique “special recipe.”
TIP: Heat the meatballs right in the sauce and save on cleanup, too!
Get a speedier sweet-tooth fix with just three ingredients: Refrigerated biscuits, frozen (thawed) fruit in syrup and frozen (thawed) whipped topping. Bake biscuits. Assemble. Dessert is done!
FASTER FRUIT CRISPS & COBBLERS
Trim the time (but not the taste) from these scrumptious desserts. Here’s how:
- Instead of chopping fresh fruit, try canned pie filling or canned or frozen fruit.
- Quickly top crisps with a mix of granola, brown sugar and butter. (For every 1 cup of granola, use 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter, cut into small pieces.)
- Cover cobblers, like our delish Blueberry-Pear Cobbler, with refrigerated biscuits.
Time to invite Mom over for dinner! And if she takes issue with the corners you cut, let her treat you to the real thing next time around. It’ll be fun to compare, and a win-win for all…
YOUR TURN:What are your most effective shortcuts to creating a family-favorite meal?