Mar 15 11
by cara
at 9:26 PM
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Three Kitchen Shortcuts I Can’t Live Without

As much as I love to cook, there are some culinary tasks that I just really dislike.  Luckily, I’ve found some amazing shortcuts for each that you should know about (if you don’t already):

1.  Frozen Chopped Onions

Chopping onions is at the top of my list of hated kitchen tasks.  I’ve tried every trick in the book to keep from crying while I chop, but none of them work.  I remember one particular time I made Crockpot Beef with Onions, a recipe that called for about 6 or 7 sliced onions.  My eyes burned for HOURS after I finished slicing those onions.

So what’s a girl to do?  A younger onion hating version of myself would have simply left the onions out.  I used to do that regularly.  But I now believe strongly in the flavor a little bit of onion can add to a dish.

Enter Frozen Chopped Onions.  What a lifesaver!   Less than a dollar for a 12 ounce bag (maybe around $.80?), and worth every penny in my opinion!

2. Minced Garlic

I also really dislike mincing garlic.  It gets all sticky and leaves my hands smelling for hours.  (Yes, I know there are tricks for that too, like rubbing your hands with coffee grounds.  But then your hands smell like coffee.)  I know there is something to be said for freshly minced garlic, but that big jar of already minced garlic is a great substitute!  You can find it in the produce section.  Note of caution: I’ve also seen some teeny tiny jars of minced garlic on the Italian foods isle…that cost way more money for way less garlic.

3.  Ginger in a Tube

I LOVE using fresh ginger, but trying to peel it and grate it or mince it can be tricky.  And supposedly you can freeze whatever you have left, but I always forget when I’ve done that and buy more anyway.  I’ve found this pre-minced ginger in a tube that I think is fantastic!  You just squeeze out a tablespoon or however much you need.  Done and done.  This does have an expiration date, but I typically go through it faster than it expires.  I find this in the produce section in my grocery store.

Do you have any kitchen shortcuts that you can’t live without?

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  1. Courtney permalink

    I do my own frozen onions when they are in season and its super duper cheap and usually organic. I just chop them away one time and than flash freeze them and put them in individual bags.

    On the ginger I do the frozen kind and when I need some I get out my hand grater and it works amazingly.

    hmm I dont know if I have any else, I freeze bell peppers the same way as above and blueberries.

  2. Anonymous permalink


    That’s a great tip for those willing to chop their own onions! Get it all done at once! I do wish I could find some pre-chopped onions that were organic. That’s definitely a drawback to what I’m doing.

    I also love to freeze blueberries when they are in season. I’m still working through a big bag from last summer. They are just perfect for smoothies (which we have almost daily) and baked goods. My son also likes to eat them straight from the freezer.

  3. Djkoll permalink

    I love the frozen onions! I’ve also found that when I need fresh onions for something (because it is something cold where frozen would be mushy or just for that fresh taste) there is always more than I need so I freeze my own. Best of both worlds 🙂
    I’ve never thought about the ginger before – I just leave it out because it is such a hassel to work with – next time I’ll try the paste.

  4. Cassie permalink

    I use minced garlic in a jar, too. Same with pesto and roasted red peppers — I just don’t have the time to make either of those from scratch. The only way I’m able to chop onions is because I wear contacts, and contact lenses shield your eyes from the onion fumes. Otherwise, I’d be using the frozen ones too!

  5. I’m also a big fan of the minced garlic. The ginger is genius; I’m going to buy some of that today. I love using fresh ginger, but I almost never buy it because I use it once and then forget that I have it. It’s also such a pain to grate it. I’m excited about the tube ginger, though – thanks for sharing.

  6. Katy Livingston permalink

    Love these. I only use actual minced garlic when my husband will do it for me. We do use the cilantro paste in the tube a lot, because I hate having any fresh cilantro go bad in my refrigerator before I can use it all…

  7. Anonymous permalink

    Fresh ginger (even the tubed kind) has such AMAZING flavor! Definitely get some to include next time. Your recipes will reach a whole new level of deliciousness. 🙂

  8. Anonymous permalink

    I didn’t know that contacts would help. My husband wears contacts….maybe I’ll have to make him the official onion chopper from now on.

    I do make pesto occasionally (with basil grown in my garden), but I love using jarred roasted red peppers too. Yum!

  9. Anonymous permalink

    I LOVE fresh ginger too, and now that I’ve discovered the tube ginger, I find myself looking for new recipes just so I can use more of it. Delicious!

  10. Anonymous permalink

    How great to have a husband to chop garlic for you! What a nice guy!

    I love cilantro and use it frequently, so I typically buy it fresh. But for people who use it less frequently, those tubes are the way to go!

  11. Stephanie permalink

    I buy that same minced garlic jar at Coscto! So easy!

    I never thought to buy chopped onions – that’s brilliant!

    Do you cook with ginger often?

  12. Anonymous permalink

    I use ginger 3 or 4 times a month, typically in stir fry or baking. I LOVE ginger!

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