In The Kitchen Cooking Tips & Techniques

5 Kitchen Shortcuts to Make Dinner Prep a Breeze

Getting smart in the kitchen means finding small shortcuts that make a big impact! And we're excited to share all our best tips today, guaranteed to buy you more time (and sanity) in getting dinner on the table this week.

This post is written in partnership with Perdue.

You'd think after all this time, our team would have the weeknight dinner thing figured out. But while we all talk about food all day, the struggle is still real.

Whether you have kids or not, the truth is that planning meals, shopping for ingredients, and cooking dinner each night of the week is a pretty major feat. Our new motto that's proven to make life so much easier: Assembly versus cooking. Try it on for size. We think you'll like it.

Take Help Where You Can

There's no shame in the shortcut game. Store bought pesto may not taste quite as fresh as homemade, but it's accessible and delicious, and it helps get a pasta dinner on the table fast.

Likewise, bottled salad dressing can be a total lifesaver, as can PERDUE® SHORT CUTS®, convenient packages of fully-cooked and sliced chicken breasts that make for an easy addition of protein to your favorite meal.

Do Ahead: Roast a Pan of Veggies

It's no secret that doing your meal prep in advance saves tons of time as the dinner hour nears. This, too, takes planning of course.

But there's no need to break out a cookbook or consult the internet here: simply grab the seasonal veggies you have in the fridge and roast up a big pan for the week ahead.

Once cooked and cooled, simply add PERDUE® SHORT CUTS® for an easy sheet-pan meal. Alternatively, refrigerate the chicken and veggies in a covered container and use them throughout the week in your favorite grain bowls, pastas, quesadillas, or your favorite lunch salad.

Potatoes and Asparagus Recipe roast the potatoes and asparagus

Condiments and Sauces are Key

When you're assembling a meal, condiments are key. If you've got a good pesto or green sauce, a good basic dressing, and maybe a few dips (hummus and edamame avocado dip are favorites on our team), meals can come together quickly.

Here's the game plan: break out your leftover rice or pasta, warm your PERDUE® SHORT CUTS® and grab your favorite sauce and a meal is made. Just think of all the possibilities: burrito bowls, saucy chicken pasta bakes, warm grain salads – the opportunities are endless!

Parsley Mint Pesto - just mixed pesto in a food processor

Wash and Prep Your Veggies (Now)

We know, we know. When you get home from the store the last thing you feel like doing is washing and prepping your veggies.

But truth be told, your week will be infinitely easier if you take the time to do it straightaway. Just think: with pre-prepped veggies and PERDUE® SHORT CUTS® on hand, your next assembly meal practically makes itself. Talk about timesaving!

Batch Cooking (and Freezing) is Your Friend

If you're actually taking the time to cook dinner for your family, you might as well double and freeze the other half for a lazy weekday in your future.

A well stocked freezer is, indeed, the busy cook's secret (and savior). Make a big batch of quesadillas to freeze using PERDUE® SHORT CUTS® or double up on soups, chilis or curries. Your future self will thank you.

Overhead view of three ziplock freezer bags with simple breakfast quesadilla triangles inside. Each bag is labeled "Quesadillas 1/20" with green painter tape. The ziplocks are on a white tray on a marble countertop.

A Few Recipes for Inspiration