Simple solutions.  That’s what I’m all about.  Especially when it comes to the kitchen.  And I’ll just be honest. On my own, I’m a mediocre cook at best.  But with the right cookbook and a few amazingly wonderful hacks, I’m practically a kitchen boss!  Here are my 5 favorite simple chef shortcuts, plus a few simple but awesome recipes at the end.  You’ll thank me.  I promise.

 

   Ok so, we’ve all gone to grab a way-too-hot dish or tried to use bulky towels or oven mitts to pass a scorching hot dish mashed potatoes?  Well those days are over, friend.  Just look at this wonderful item. (insert Trivet video or photos)  It’s a super cute Blossom Trivet that can also bend and stretch into a dish holder that protects your fragile phalanges and frees you up to pass the potatoes, please!  AND it’s just so pretty.  It comes in Classic Black, Classic Red, Flame Orange, Kiwi Green, Solar Power Yellow, Translucent Green, Translucent Purple, Translucent Red, and Translucent Yellow.  You can use them individually or combine them together to make your own unique kitchen art!  Mix red and green for Christmas!  Purple and yellow for Easter.  Wrap it around a vase of flowers or place it under a bowl of fruit for instant trendy decor.  Simply mod.

 

 

   Next up, meet The Garlic Chopper.  Oh my goodness, am I glad I met this gadget!  It was love at first sight.  I make a lot of Mexican and Italian food and as a result I have spent way too much of my precious time chopping garlic.  No mas!  Check it out!  Now I can have delicious enchiladas, lasagna, or my amazing Migas (see recipe below if you want to impress all your friends) without getting a full upper body workout.  Those brainiacs over at Koopeh Designs have literally added years to my life with this one.  Just insert garlic clove... twist, twist, twist... and you’re on your way to scrumptiousness.  Not just a boring kitchen gadget, it also looks great and can be used to spruce up your kitchen.  Group it with other items, display it alone, or in a bowl of garlic!  With it’s ridged, modern design, it looks just fabulous wherever you place it.  

 

                

 

   Here’s another great kitchen hack that has saved me on too many occasions to count.  The Trader Joe’s Cookbook.  It’s one stop cooking.  IF you can even call it cooking.  It’s so easy.  These recipes practically cook themselves!  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m no gourmet chef.  I am, however, a foodie.  If it isn’t delicious, I just won’t eat it.  One of my favorite foodie tricks is this amazing cookbook.  You’ve noticed that everything at Trader Joe’s is a little bit more delicious than average?  Well imagine what happens when you put multiple Trader Joe’s products together.  Mondo delicious.  Compiled by Deanna Gunn and Wona Miniati.  They are two moms who have no time for running around to a bunch of different stores and no time for hours of food prep.  This book capitalizes on Trader Joe’s pre-prepped ingredients and on using simple shortcuts.  From 15 minute Macadamia-Crusted Mahi-Mahi to 20 minute Yin Yang Shrimp and Grits you will fool everyone into thinking you are Jacques Pepin.  So go ahead and start “cooking.”  It’ll be our little secret.

 

   What a wonderful idea this next kitchen gadget is!  It’s a Salad Dressing Mixing Bottle with 8 popular salad dressing recipes printed right on the 12 oz glass container.  Choose from Asian, Caesar, French, Greek, Italian, Vinaigrette, Balsamic Vinaigrette and Honey Mustard.  So nifty - you can concoct homemade, healthy and delicious dressings right in the container.  No mess!  And it’s dishwasher safe.

 

   And finally, let me introduce you to your new bestie.  Drumroll, please… The Avocado Fresh Pod.  Yup.  That’s right.  I know you have a half an avocado dying in your fridge as we speak.  When I make my famous guacamole (it’s a sure fire crowd pleaser, see recipe below) obviously, I use the whole thing.  Sometimes, however, I just want to add a little avocado to a turkey sammy or a salad and more often than not, I wind up with half an avocado wilting away, alone and forgotten.  Well, bye bye brown avocado half!  (insert video or photos of Avocado Fresh Pod).  Just place the leftover half into The Avocado Fresh Pod and seal it up for later!  An addition trick is to squeeze a little lemon or lime for an even longer lasting avocado, but’s it’s totally optional.  Wow, that is so fresh.

   And since you asked, here are the recipes that I’ve been bragging about.  I know they look simple, but just like with kitchen hacks, sometimes the simpler the better!

 

My Super Simple Awesome Guacamole (this recipe has made me more friends than I can count)

3 avocados (mashed into chunks)

1 small onion (finely chopped)

1 tomato (diced)

1 lemon (squeezed)

salt to taste

Mix everything together and just you try not to enjoy it!  Place any avocado halves into your handy Avocado Fresh Pod and make more guacamole tomorrow!

 

Migas (pair with Mimosas for THE perfect brunch)

3 tbsp. olive oil - heat in skillet and add

3 corn tortillas cut into stips - stir fry then add

1 chopped onion - stir fry then add

1 garlic clove diced with The Garlic Chopper, of course!  Then add

3 diced tomatoes - stir fry and then add

6 eggs

Scramble it all together and add shredded cheddar and salsa to taste!

 

Italian Dressing (make in Salad Dressing Mixing Bottle)

Red Wine Vinegar - pour to line on bottle, then add

1 tsp. sugar

¼ tsp. salt

½ tsp. dried basil

½ tsp. dry mustard

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. dried oregano

¼ tsp. black pepper

1 pressed garlic clove

Vegetable or Olive Oil - pour to line on bottle, then add

Water - pour to line on bottle

And there you have it!  Easy.  Delicious.  Healthy.