Favorite cheats or short cuts
Let me start with mine:
1. Dona Maria mole sauce. I add a little heat (jalapenos, chili pepper, whatever), some agave, and peanut butter. Voila, a great mole sauce in 15 minutes.
2. Lunds Swedish pancake mix- I prefer making them from scratch, but if I'm too busy, this is the one mix that is good. I use a bit less milk than they recomend.
3. Pillsbuy cresent rolls - I roll them out and make cheese knishes with them. As good as homemade.
4. San J japanese steak marinade - yes, I often make my own marinade but this is suprisingly subtle.
5. Some of the William Sonoma slow cooking sauces. Expensive but good and easy.
Any other unusual shortcuts that people use? Please don't include canned cream soups because that is probably the original short cut.
I use pop and fresh dough for steamed buns. I was talking to the owner of my favorite Thai place about how much my son loved them at dim sum. His mom is from China (I forget where exactly) and he told me that was her shortcut so I tried it and they came out great. I use a bamboo steamer lined with cabbage and they are as good as any we have had out. They are now in our weekly breakfast rotation.
I will never make my own phyllo when I can buy frozen and the grocery store brand is just as good as Pepperidge farm.
Wholly Guacamole is fine when you cant find ripe avocados.
Arrow mills pancake mix tastes as good as homemade especially when you add an extra egg, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg
In a pinch the pizza dough from Bertrucci's makes amazing dinner rolls.
Recently bought myself a pressure cooker- rather than spend 2-3 hours to get fork-tender tough-cut meat, it takes 30 minutes. Wonderful shortcut and useful tool!