From-scratch cooking has been making a comeback, and some homemade food is totally worth the effort. But there are some things that you don’t have to stress out about making when you’re in a rush.
When you’re pressed for time, keeping a few staple shortcuts in the kitchen can save the day. Keep some puff pastry and pizza dough in the freezer for emergency baking needs (for some reason, school bake sales always sneak up on you).
Some things are a toss-up. If happen to have the time, equipment, and a boatload of fresh fruit, DIY jam or preserves are delicious and will provide you with a winter’s worth of homemade happiness. If you don’t, then a nice jar of store-bought is cheaper than buying all of the ingredients and equipment. Doughnuts fall into the same category: homemade doughnuts are fun to make and even more fun to eat, but after a day-long process of proofing the dough several times and using close to a gallon of oil for frying, it can seem a little wasteful.
There are also some products that just taste better from scratch, and this varies from person to person and family to family. Some swear by homemade tomato sauce for pasta and others think the canned stuff is just fine.
The important thing to remember if you’re planning to buy these items instead of making from scratch is to check the labels to make sure you’re only getting what you want. Try to stick to products with as few ingredients and preservatives as possible.
This is by no means a definitive guide, and if you have the time and money, making complicated dishes is a fun way to get your whole family in the kitchen. These are just a few ways to make your life a little bit easier, one semi-homemade pizza at a time.
Frozen puff pastry can help you make fun and quick appetizers, whereas the real thing requires about a pound of butter, lots of resting time in the fridge, and plenty of patience.
Most pancake mixes include the same ingredients you’d put together from scratch for this breakfast. It’ll save you prep time and tastes about the same as the stuff you mix from scratch. Check the labels, though, and make sure you’re only getting the ingredients you need in there.
Julie Ruggirello is the Recipe Editor at the Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @TDMRecipeEditor.