Cooking and Baking

Food Products That Will Cut Your Prep Time in Half

Dena Gershkovich August 31, 2020

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The Jewish holidays are approaching, and for many, that means the dreaded hours spent in the kitchen are approaching, too. However, if you knew that you could cut your prep time in half, you would probably dread the cooking process a lot less! Scroll through this list to learn about some kosher food products that will help streamline your Yom Tov prep. I use all of these products in my kitchen, and these recommendations come from my own experience!

Spice Blends:

1. Trader Joe’s Onion Salt

This onion salt blend is just as versatile as TJ’s famous Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend, but not as popular. Consider it your best kept secret. Add it to soups, salad dressings and marinades. I especially enjoy adding it to root vegetables – along with olive oil and black pepper – before roasting. This product is an allium blend, which means that it doesn’t just contain onions, but also garlic, green onions, and chives, making it much more flavorful than traditional onion salt.

2. Trader Joe’s Chile Lime Seasoning Blend

This seasoning blend has a strong, slightly zesty flavor that pairs nicely with cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower and broccoli. Instead of spending extra time following a recipe and measuring out individual spices, forget the measuring spoons, sprinkle some of this blend onto your veggies, and toss with olive oil. Bake at 415 degrees Fahrenheit until cooked through and crispy (about 30-40 minutes).

Dressings, Marinades and Sauces:

1. Saladmate Greek Dressing

I’m usually not a fan of pre-packaged dressings, but this Greek dressing by Saladmate tastes pretty close to a homemade vinaigrette. An added bonus is that it has less than 1 gram of sugar per serving. For a super simple salad (we’re talking no cutting board), pour some baby spinach leaves, shredded carrot, cherry tomatoes and olives into a large salad bowl. Top with this Greek dressing, and toss well. Mix in some croutons if you’re feeling fancy. This salad practically assembles itself!

2. Ken’s Steak House Lite Asian Sesame with Ginger & Soy Dressing

What’s great about this Asian-flavored dressing is that it can function as both a marinade and a dressing. Use it to add some flavor to your raw vegetables (it tastes great with carrots!) or as a marinade for chicken or tofu. Top off your protein(s) with sesame seeds for extra flavor.

3. Trader Joe’s Honey Pale Ale Mustard

You won’t be able to go back to traditional mustard after trying this awesome honey mustard from Trader Joe’s. I use it in salad dressings and sauces, but it would also be great with poached salmon or chicken cutlets, as a dip for raw vegetables sticks, baked inside of a deli roll or on a hot dog or hamburger with pickles.

Vegetables and Herbs:

1. Badia Minced Garlic in Olive Oil

I don’t know about you, but if I have to mince garlic myself, I know that I have to add at least 10 minutes to the prep time that the recipe states. Save time and energy by purchasing pre-minced garlic, such as this one by Badia. This particular product has the garlic submerged in olive oil, so you don’t have to worry about your dishes getting watered-down. I prefer buying my pre-minced garlic in olive oil instead of in water for this reason. Jarred garlic will last in the fridge for a while, making it a great product to carry you throughout the holidays.

2. Dorot Gardens Crushed Ginger Tray

Fresh ginger is such a great way to add flavor to your dishes, however, it is often a pain to prepare. As with pre-minced garlic, purchasing some crushed frozen ginger, such as this product by Dorot Gardens, will allow you to enjoy all the flavor without any of the hassle. Dorot Gardens ginger is flash frozen at peak freshness within 90 minutes of harvest, which makes it “fresher than fresh,” according to the company’s website. One cube of ginger is equivalent to 1 teaspoon, which allows for easy measuring. Sauté ginger in some oil to defrost before mixing into stir frys, soups and other dishes.

1. Imagine Organic Low Sodium Vegetable Broth

Cook your grains in Imagine’s vegetable broth to make them way more enjoyable. The low-sodium version of this product is heart-healthy yet still super flavorful, which is why I recommend it. Whether you’re preparing couscous, rice, quinoa, or farro, this vegetable broth is sure to help you out. Add a garnish to your grain – such as fresh dill, parsley, or basil – and it’s ready to serve!

2. Nasoya Egg Roll Wraps

My family goes crazy for these egg roll wraps by Nasoya. They are parve, vegan and incredibly easy to work with. Specifically, we enjoy making cabbage egg rolls with these wraps; we spread duck sauce and sprinkle cabbage on their insides before rolling them up, brushing with egg wash and baking. The wraps crisp up in the oven, and they are especially delicious warm. You can also add some tofu, chicken or chopped meat to make these more filling, though we usually stick to just cabbage and serve as an appetizer.

3. Dunkin Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix

I know I don’t have to convince you that Dunkin Hines brownies are delicious, but have you ever considered making desserts other than classic brownies with this mix? Make your brownies more exciting by dropping some Oreo pieces into this mix just before baking, and/or swirling in some peanut butter. You can also place brownies into small mason jars and layer with frosting and cookie crumbs for individual, COVID-friendly desserts. Another fun option is to use this mix to make cake pops: After brownies cool off, crumble them, mix in a bit of frosting, and form into balls. Place balls on a skewer, and dip into frosting/toppings of choice! Store in the fridge to keep them fresh.

I hope these kosher food products will help you enjoy your time in the kitchen – and your time around the Yom Tov table – a lot more. Chag sameach!