What kind of cook are you? Do you prefer to get up early to prep the evening meal? Are you simply too crazed to even think about dinner until after work? Or are you one of those who are able to find a balance in between?
These are some of the questions I ask in “Kitchen Life,” my new book in which I quiz readers to help them determine what kind of cooks they are. I’ve developed recipes and techniques that go along with an individual’s cooking and kitchen management style.
The quiz results show me that lack of time is the biggest barrier in the kitchen. The right tools, though, can help with that.
Among my top five time-saving kitchen essentials is a vacuum-packaging appliance. My favorite is made by FoodSaver. Whether you’re trying to preserve meals you’ve prepared in advance or maintain the fresh-cooked flavors and textures of leftovers, this appliance is an easy way to get more out of your time in the kitchen.
As you plan your meals, you can save a lot of time if you look for recipes that allow you to use your leftovers. I call these recipes “kitchen workhorses” because one batch can yield several different meals.
When preparing a recipe to eat now and use later, the key is vacuum-sealing the leftovers to maintain freshness and prevent freezer burn. Take my Chili Shepherd’s Pie with Buttermilk Potato Topping, for example. I start with my Kitchen Workhorse Chunky Beef Chili. The chili is great as a stand-alone, but it’s also a key ingredient in several spin-off recipes.