Favorite Shortcuts [NOT 3/3/21]

sarcastic mom from That Seventies Show pouring alcohol into a blender with text "it's only Wednesday"
feeling this today

Hi, friends! I’ve been on the struggle bus lately with food, so I am interested in your favorite shortcuts.

Things that make prep or cleanup easier, etc.

My 2 favorite shortcuts are (1) buying a rotisserie chicken and (2) that frozen brown rice from Trader Joe’s.

I did a sheet pan port tenderloin on Sunday and that was super fucking easy and convenient, so highly recommend that if you haven’t done one before.



  1. Make a giant mess, at clean up, burn it all down & move on.

    • I don’t think my homeowner’s insurance covers arson though, so this is a less than optimal plan

  2. I love frozen brown rice! I usually only bother making it myself when I’ve got a one pot meal situation. 
    Frozen chopped veggies (including onions!). Huge time saver. Chopping stuff is tedious prep work that I have trouble mustering the energy for. 

  3. I often find the whole prepping, cooking, and eating of food  too exhausting. I drink a lot of protein shakes instead. 

    • Ohh good point! I haven’t bought protein powder in a while and that was my fallback, especially for breakfast. 

    • I kinda wish I didn’t hate protein shakes, because they are convenient. When I’m low on energy, I can usually still manage to throw a box of pasta in boiling water, or throw cheese and beans in a tortilla, but on the really bad nights I just eat cereal. I always have to make something for Lil though (even if just a PBJ), so I never get to fully cop out the way I used to years ago.
      Once my husband gets his second vaccine shot in a couple weeks, we’ll probably start doing some takeout again and I’m so looking forward to it. 

      • There are some terrible protein shakes out there. They’re big with the body building crowd and not necessarily healthy, full of artificial stuff. I’ve gone through a bunch to find a couple I’m happy with. But yes, with a little one in the house you have to cook anyway. At least you’re teaching him to eat real foods instead of processed junk. 

      • When my kids were little, tired mommy = snack plate dinners. Cheese chunks or sticks, sausage pieces or lunchmeat rollups, maybe a handful of nuts or some peanut  butter, crackers or toast sticks, fresh or dried fruit, and a veggie, usually carrot sticks or bell pepper chunks. I figured as long as the plate had something from several food groups, we were doing fine. So, for instance, a handful of raisins, a couple pieces of cheese, some crackers, baby carrots, and a spoonful of peanut butter. Or a handful of cashews, microwaved frozen mixed veg, apple slices, and tortilla chips. I had divided plates and used former single-serve applesauce cups for dipping sauces. My kids LOVED those nights.

        • Totally! Actually regardless of my energy level, this is what I do for him most nights because he’s picky and it seems to be a way to get him to eat some variety. I was discussing that recently – making him rainbow plates (of mostly veggies and chickpeas, often with toast on the side) has been a solid strategy. 

  4. I don’t really have any shortcuts.  I’m all about the process.  But, I do enjoy machinery to make things easier.  My Kitchen Aid mixer also has a food grinder and a sifter attachment. 

  5. when I do roast vegetables, I buy those tiny potatoes, and bags of baby carrots, so that I don’t have to cut them up.  I am super lazy.  Actually, I’m so lazy, most of the time I can’t be arsed with cooking, so I just get takeout.
    Also:  I just got a promotion at work.  And it’s going to be backdated to November.  🙂  I heard rumor of this recently, and got an anomalous paycheck this weekend, but just got the official email yesterday.  I was doing pretty bad in 2019, and was about a month from homelessness when I got the offer for this job.  Like, I had run out of time to apply to further jobs, and was beginning the process of winnowing my possessions.  Started January 2020, and last year was pretty much the first time in my life I wasn’t financially struggling.  I think this promotion might even put me over the national median salary (though nowhere near what the local median is, ha…)  It’s such a huge relief, and the promotion is really validating. 

    • Congratulations!!! That’s such a relief and so well-deserved!

      I remember a few years back when I finally had enough of a paycheck that an unexpected $350 car expense didn’t send me into a mental tailspin and I was like wow I’ve made it in the world! (I was making like 34k/yr at the time, but that was the first time I had made more than 26k so damn if I wasn’t feeling some relief with that salary!)

      • thanks!
        I mean, I’m not rich or anything, but yeah, I don’t think I have to worry about some unexpected random <1K expense sending me into a debt spiral.
        Hopefully, this will also make it easier to address my packrat/protohoarder tendencies…

    • Congrats! That’s huge! Sorry you went through such a struggle, but I’m glad things are looking up for you now. 

      • thanks!  It’s such a turn around in a relatively short amount of time, I got really lucky.

        • Congrats and continued good luck and success to you!! 

          • thanks!

    • @lochaber That’s great news, I’m so happy for you! 

      • thanks!  It really makes a lot of life so much less stressful, it’s going to take some getting used to…

      • thanks!

  6. When I do roast vegetables, I don’t do one tray. I do 3, maybe, of the following: asparagus, cauliflower, squash, eggplant, potatoes, carrots. Stuff that cooks faster goes on top, I pull it when it’s done, and then leave the others in there for longer.
    I mean, the oven’s big enough, so use all of it. You get enough roasted veg. for a week or two.

  7. I wash, spin dry and cut up lettuce as soon as I get home from the store or my shipment from Misfits Market. It stays crisp longer and salad making is a breeze.
    When you do cook it’s nice to make 1 portion for the freezer, that way on lazy days there’s always something to eat. For people who live alone, instead of 1 meatloaf, make a bunch of small ones and freeze. 

  8. sometimes i just poke a hole in the avocado with my thumb to squeeze and suck it into my mouth.

    • Of course you do. There should never be any doubt of these sorts of antics from you.

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