6 Smart Time-Saving Kitchen Tips

Pressed for time? Make mealtime prep go more smoothly with these simple strategies. And check out our quick and easy recipe suggestions as well.

Freshen your greens. If your greens or herbs are limp, don’t toss them out and then spend time running out to the store to buy more. Instead, refresh them by soaking in ice cold water to cover for about 15 minutes, then drain, spin dry, and refrigerate for an hour or so while you prepare the rest of the meal. Toss romaine lettuce with sliced cucumber, chopped tomato, sliced red onion, and crumbled feta cheese in this 10-minute Greek Salad. Add fresh herbs of your choice, if desired.

An appealing peeling tip. Love carrots but hate cleaning up the peels? To save time, put a paper towel in your sink and peel over the sink. Then just wrap up the towel and discard. Try carrots in our 20-minute Seven-Vegetable Salad. Here peeled carrots are shredded in a food processor and combined with six other healthy veggies.

Slice with ease. To make slicing steak (or chicken) for stir-fries easier, freeze it for 20 minutes, just so it gets firm enough to cut. We use sliced boneless beef round steak in this flavorful, quick to make Ginger Beef and Edamame Stir-Fry, which contains edamame, fresh ginger, scallions, and slices of orange bell pepper.

Buttermilk backup. If you don’t have the buttermilk you need for pancakes, waffles, or muffins, use sour milk as a substitute. Combine 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar in a cup of fat-free milk and let it stand for 5 minutes. Stir some into the batter for these tender, delectable Buttermilk Waffles with Jam, which you can prepare in just 10 minutes.

Microwave lemons and limes. A lemon or lime taken straight from the refrigerator takes more time to juice than one that's warmed slightly. To get the most juice, microwave citrus fruits for 20 to 30 seconds. Let cool for a minute, then juice, using a citrus reamer.

Simplify garlic prep. The easiest way to prep garlic is to first separate the cloves from the head. Then, using the flat side of a large chef’s knife, carefully smash the cloves flat. This loosens the papery skin and lets you peel it off easily. Unpeeled and stored in a cool, dry place, garlic will last for a month. You’ll love the taste of fresh garlic in our exotic Indian-Spiced Lentils, a warming, perfectly seasoned dish that’s ready in half an hour.

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