Facebook Twitter Google+ Print

Busy? Try Shortcuts to Great Meals

Work schedules, holiday seasons, appointments and more things to do often mean less time to cook. If you're short on time but big on nutrition and flavor, these cooking shortcuts from Giant Eagle® help make your meal ready in no time.
Article Photo
Slow-cooked meals are so hearty that they require little else beyond the main course.

Use Frozen Staples

Frozen foods meats and vegetables offer great value, especially if you purchase Giant Eagle or Valu Time® brand items. Frozen vegetables come precut and prewashed — just cook or microwave. And most frozen meats only require a bit of defrosting time before cooking.

When time permits, pick up plenty of fresh vegetables from Giant Eagle and freeze them for later. Check out our tips on freezing and canning safely for best results.

Use Your Slow Cooker

If you prepare your ingredients — such as stew meats, vegetables, broths and potatoes — ahead of time, the slow cooker works its magic while you do other things. Slow-cooked meals are so hearty that they require little else beyond the main course. Serve with bread and a green salad, and you have a nutritious, no-fuss meal.

Make Sandwiches and Salads

Sandwiches and salads are endlessly customizable and take just minutes to make. Plus, you can buy prepackaged ingredients for ultra-fast prep time.

Bonus: Fresh produce, calcium-rich cheese, lean meats, and low-fat toppings on sandwiches and salads provide excellent nutrition for the whole family. Chicken Caesar salad and grilled cheese with tomato, with a side of fruit or vegetables, make a simple and complete meal.

Bookmark Speedy Recipes

Speed up your cooking by first checking recipe prep times. If a recipe seems complex, requires additional tasks or needs ingredients that demand finesse in the kitchen, they're best skipped on busy weeknights.

Look for recipes that take 30 minutes or less of prep time. Make a meal of quick but good-for-you foods like assorted bruschetta or antipasti.

Make Enough for Leftovers

Heat-and-eat meals save you lots of time and money! Make your own by cooking double batches of your favorite meals, and then freezing or refrigerating the leftovers for a second (or even third) meal.

Bonus: Since your main course is already made, you'll have more time to try new sides, salads or desserts.

Use Mixes and Other Shortcuts

Count on mixes for making bread, cake, casseroles or biscuits. They eliminate prep work, so you spend significantly less time in the kitchen. Many mixes offer nutritional profiles equivalent to made-from-scratch dishes. Giant Eagle and many national brands make dinner prep quick and easy!

  • Add chopped ham or cooked chicken to packaged au gratin potatoes for a one-dish meal. Serve a vegetable and some hot rolls for a complete meal.
  • Top a mixture of ground beef browned with chopped onions, mixed vegetables and canned tomatoes, tomato soup or ketchup with instant mashed potatoes for an almost-instant Shepherd’s Pie.
  • Fill unbaked crescent rolls with browned ground beef or strips of minute steaks and onions and peppers, then pop them in the oven. Add a southwest flair with cheese or chili powder. A touch of salsa in the vegetables on the side completes the meal.

Complement Meals with Premade Foods

If you're too busy to bake, stop by the Giant Eagle Bakery to pick up a fresh loaf of bread or a scrumptious dessert. Bagged salads, precut vegetables and fruit and ready-made sides from Giant Eagle complement your meal without extra work.