I really prefer to feed my family home cooked meals, but some days that just isn’t as easy as others. For example, I like to prepare pizza dough ahead of time and keep it in the freezer for future meals, however there are days that the family wants pizza but I completely forget to take the dough out to thaw in time. Here are a few tips and tricks for using grocery store shortcuts to prepare quick homemade meals:
1) Pizza Dough from the Deli
Did you know that most grocery stores have raw pizza dough available for purchase in the deli section? If you don’t see it on display just ask at the counter and they can package it up for you. I ran into the store last night and grabbed some dough quick because the kids decided they were in the mood to help mommy make pizza.
2) Buffalo Chicken Tenders
You can buy already prepared chicken tenders by the pound in the deli section. To make them uniquely your own, buy a bottle of buffalo wing sauce, warm up the tenders when you get home and toss them with the buffalo sauce before serving. For a change of pace, I also like to toss them in a garlic marinade sauce then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese for a quick and delicious meal.
3) Rotisserie Chicken
Of course you can serve a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store as is, but you can also pull the chicken from the bones and use it as the basis for many quick meals. Prepare some quick yellow rice and toss with chicken for a tasty chicken and rice meal, add to pasta dishes, salads, soups or even use for pizza toppings.
What other tips and shortcuts would you like to share?
There is a middle ground, if you have the freezer space! I don’t worry about forgetting to take the dough out in time..I parbake and freeze so all I have to do is top and pop into a hot oven…like a frozen pizza :O) I use my ABM [or use on sale store bought fresh pizza dough] to make multiple batches of pizza crusts. A few doughs get stretched on cookie sheets. Pricked with a fork, and Par baked for 8 minutes in a 425 oven. Cool, wrap securely, and freeze. That’s the base for a frozen store bought pizza, top and cook ar 425 for 15 min or so, to your taste. Other doughs are formed in 8″ cake pans, par baked in the same manner, and frozen in the same manner. Now you have the same base as the frozen deep dish pizza. Add your toppings, pop into a preheated oven, and you are good to go.
Ooo… thanks for those directions…. I’ve stopped buying frozen pizzas lately in favor of making my own, but sometimes I want something faster. I have been wanting to do this for a while now, and you’ve reinspired me.
I have found that batch cooking and stocking up the freezer works best for me, especially since I’ve recently moved to a small town with a small grocery store (no deli, and the closest bigger grocery store is a 30 minute drive). For example, tonight was a little crazy, so I took out a batch of stroganoff to defrost. All we had to do is heat it up, cook the noodles, and whip up a simple salad.
Also, I like to keep some basics on hand in the freezer, like hamburger patties or chicken sausages that can be cooked from frozen in the George Foreman grill. Frozen fish fillets or frozen shrimp are usually very quick to defrost and then to cook. And if you freeze browned hamburger, that is quick and easy to defrost for tacos.