I may be a healthy cook, but I am by far the most unorganized chickpea you ever did see.
If you've ever been in the tornado of a kitchen while I'm making the magic happen, you know it ain't pretty. Half the cinnamon bottle fell in the coconut oil. I can't find the smoked paprika because my hands are covered in muffin batter. There are green beans in my bra. I'm searching for the cooking spray for ten minutes while the cookie dough sitting next to me is anxiously waiting to be baked.
Mise en place my ass.
I may be unorganized, but I do my best to be efficient with the ingredients I use. I keep it fresh, but I also keep it convenient. I don't want to stand around peeling the knobby ginger. I don't always feel having garlic fingers for three days. And I pretty much never want to wait around for 45 minutes while the brown rice cooks. Sometimes I want easy. Sometimes I need convenient. And that's totally ok! Lettuce chat about a couple ways I keep my sanity in the kitchen.
I grabbed this on a whim one day at Whole Foods...best decision ever. I love making curries and stir fries, which nearly always call for fresh minced ginger. Dried ginger just doesn't cut it, but I never use up the whole knob of fresh ginger and I'm too lazy to peel it and mince it. This is the stuff of dreams! It does have some sugar in it, but who cares. I'll take a little sugar over mincing ginger any day. I've had the same bottle in the fridge for over a year and it's not even expensive! DO IT.
2) Frozen brown rice
...and any other grain! I know it's WAY more economical to cook dried grains, but sometimes we pay for convenience and it kind of rocks. I do cook dry brown rice from time to time, but the frozen kind is so amazing in a pinch. Sometimes I'm craving eggs with brown rice and broccoli, and lord knows I'm not gonna wait 45 minutes for it. Since quinoa only takes 15 minutes to cook, I don't buy that frozen. I've found the cheapest brown rice at Trader Joe's.
3) Bottled lemon juice
How many time have you squeezed half a lemon and put the other half in the fridge only to rediscover it as a moldy mess a week later? Obviously fresh squeezed lemon juice has a time and a place, but this stuff is awesome to have on hand in a pinch. Make sure to get the kind that's not from concentrate for the best taste.
4) Packaged enchilada sauce
Let me begin by saying that most pre-packaged enchilada sauces are full of disgusting crap so ALWAYS read the ingredient list. I don't even like the Trader Joe's kind! I pretty much only buy the Frontera brand. I know, I know...it's way cheaper to make your own. Well I make my vegan pinto bean and chard enchiladas all the time and it cuts way down on the prep work not having to make enchilada sauce from scratch. I'm addicted to this stuff. It's a staple in my pantry. Combine one of these sauces with a can of beans, some frozen brown rice and veggies and BOOM--dinner is served!
5) Canned wild salmon
I only eat fish once or twice a month, but that stuff ain't cheap! Canned wild salmon makes whipping up a batch of my goat cheese and spinach salmon burgers or Mediterranean salmon burgers a breeze. It's also good for tossing it salads and eggs. I know canned fish weirds people out, but easier and cheaper than fresh wild salmon--that's for darn sure!