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Kitchen Secrets: Readers share the shortcuts that always save them time when cooking

Get food on the table faster with these kitchen cheats from our home cooks panel.

Image: Shutterstock

EVERY HOME COOK has their own kitchen hacks, cheats and traditions, and we want to know yours.

Each week as part of our Kitchen Secrets series, we ask readers to share their cooking tips and go-to-food and drink ideas. From the secret to quick-and-easy dinners, to the best way to scramble an egg, we set a new question every seven days.

Home cooking isn’t the worst chore around, but it can be a timesuck. Between chopping, slicing, rooting through the cupboards for the right ingredient, waiting for everything to cook and – of course – cleaning, that 20-minute dinner can end up taking far longer than planned. 

This week, we asked our panel of home cooks for the hacks and cheats that help them get food on the table faster.

What’s one shortcut that saves you time when prepping meals?

Do you DIY your pepper sauce, or whizz up your own marinara? Next week, we’ll be asking  readers to share their easy (and tasty) homemade versions of packet or jarred sauces. Email us on food@thejournal.ie – and you could see your own kitchen secret in the magazine!

Throw it all in a tray: Tray bakes are so handy. Try peppers, onions, courgettes, aubergines, garlic, olive oil, thyme, topped with chicken thighs and popped into the oven for 50 minutes. Prep your veggies in advance to make everything even quicker.

- Fiona Staunton

Have some parts of the meal ready to go in the fridge/freezer: I usually have pre-prepared food in the freezer. If I’m making bolognese or lasagne, I have tomato sauce frozen that I batch cook. It’s great for homemade pizzas, or just over some pasta. 

- Olly Keegan

Lay it out: Have everything ready to rock in advance – all of your required ingredients on the kitchen counter so there’s no nasty surprises when it comes to adding to your recipe Nothing worse than opening the kitchen cupboards halfway through cooking and discovering no tins of tomatoes! I would also strongly recommend a good sous chef – my husband is a pro at dicing, slicing and general prep so this can literally halve the prep time. If you’re cooking by yourself, then grab yourself a good food processor – it won’t talk back either.

- Donna Connolly 

Love your leftovers: Double up with your food. Make twice the amount one day when you have the time and then serve it up two nights later in another dish. With bolognese, you can eat spaghetti bolognese one day and beef tacos another, using the same mix. I often make a quinoa salad one day and then have it the following days in different ways: with tuna, leftover roast chicken or with a hard boiled egg.

- Fiona Staunton 

Kitchen Secrets: Readers share their best sandwich combos for summer picnics>

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