13 Convenience Products That Make Dinner Faster and Tastier
Great meals don't always have to come from dishes made completely from scratch, sometimes it's ok to use products that help speed the process while still adding depth to your meals.
Here are 13 great products our staff loves that are versatile and create great flavor:
Rao's Marinara Tomato Sauce
Jarred tomato sauces have had a bad rap over the years since they never quite taste like homemade. That is, until Rao's entered the market. This tomato sauce, from one of New York's famous Italian restaurants, is slow simmered just like homemade and contains no additives. It's the perfect sauce to use in lasagna, spaghetti, mini meatball subs, slow cooker meatballs , or wherever you'd normally use tomato sauce.
The health benefits of bone broth have been touted widely and it's a great sipper on its own, but it is also a great tool in cooking. You can substitute it in for any recipe that normally uses chicken/beef broth for an added depth of flavor. Use bone broth instead of beef broth in this Italian sausage soup or chicken bone broth in place of chicken stock in this chicken tortilla soup. It can be utilized to add more oomph to this gourmet mushroom risotto or even sub in bone broth instead of water when cooking grains like rice or quinoa.
Frozen Chopped Spinach
Fresh vegetables are always great to have around, but keeping your freezer stocked with a few frozen options can help out in a pinch. Frozen chopped spinach is one of the best and most versatile to have on hand because it can be used in so many different dishes. It's perfect in spinach quiche, spinach artichoke dip, spinach tortellini soup, and spinach and cheese manicotti.
Peeling and shredding potatoes is time consuming and can be a real pain. Simply Potatoes is a great substitute for dishes that need shredded potatoes. They are bags of refrigerated shredded potatoes with no added sugars or salts like other brands, so you can season to taste on your own. Simply Potatoes are perfect for when you are making dishes like potato latkes, potato casserole, and cheesy hash browns.
Who doesn't love homemade pizza? But making pizza dough from scratch isn't always easy and it also takes quite a bit of time. Grabbing pre-made refrigerated dough from the grocery store is a great option. It's often found in the refrigerated bakery section of most well-stocked grocery stores. You can still shape your dough (unlike some of the frozen brands) before you top it. Try it with this four cheese margherita pizza or this BBQ chicken calzone.
Having plain FAGE Greek yogurt on hand can be a lifesaver in so many different dishes. It can be a substitute for sour cream or buttermilk in recipes, act as the perfect tool to make smoothies creamy, and be the perfect base in a dip. You can even use it to make pancakes, biscuits, and tzatziki sauce.
Having any canned beans around is a good idea (for their myriad of uses and shelf stable qualities) but we are partial to chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, due to their versatility. You can use them to make hummus, blend into baked goods, roast as a snack, mash into falafel, stir in soups, and more.
Frozen Riced Cauliflower
With the rise of cauliflower as a great low-carb swap in many dishes, it's nice to have some frozen riced cauliflower on hand. You may not always have a food processor handy to rice cauliflower on your own, so pre-riced cauliflower makes it quick and easy to prepare dishes like cauliflower fried rice, cauliflower pizza crust, cauliflower risotto, and baked cauliflower fries.
This vinaigrette and marinade, Garlic Expressions, is the perfect bottle to have on hand for its many different uses. The product is made with fresh garlic cloves, cider vinegar, and canola oil, so it can easily be used as a marinade for any protein, salad dressing, or dipping sauce for roasted veggies. Try it instead of Italian dressing in this pasta salad recipe or substitute for your next marinade.
When you are looking to bring the heat in a dish, much beloved sriracha should be your go-to. It works equally great on chicken wings or salmon. Sriracha can spice up popcorn or vegetables, and there's no better way to kick up mayonnaise or even butter.
Onion Soup Mix
It's nice to keep a box of Lipton onion soup mix on hand, not just for soup itself, but to add bold flavor to other dishes. It's hard to resist a good onion dip (just add the mix to sour cream) and it's even great to mix with ground beef for sliders, stir into coating for chicken, or added to the basting liquid for pork tenderloin.
Flavored Olive Oil
Olive oil is certainly a pantry staple, but it's also nice to have a flavored olive oil on hand, such as the kind made by Enzo. We'd suggest ones that can be used in a variety of ways, such as garlic or lemon flavored. That way if you don't have garlic or citrus on hand, you can add a little drizzle of these oils into your pasta sauces, salad dressings or marinades to boost the taste.
Just like tomato sauce, there are many subpar versions of jarred salsas. The Frontera brand makes great ones created with all-natural ingredients and packed with fresh taste. The tomatillo salsa is tangy with a hint of spice, making it perfect as a sauce in enchiladas, al pastor tacos, or pork stew.