Get Out of the Kitchen Faster!

Try this smart kitchen timesaver: Prep one ingredient to make two different meals.
Published November 5, 2015

What? More cooking, especially at this time of year? Are we nuts?

Nope! These recipe ideas will help keep you on plan and contain short ingredient lists. Best of all, most contain pantry staples and some easy-to-find, healthy convenience foods. The goal: To help you prepare home-cooked meals in less time.

We asked Food Network star Sandra Lee what we could make with some popular Thanksgiving Day ingredients. She gave us six fabulous ideas based on recipes from Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade The Complete Cookbook.

While you’re prepping: Potatoes
Whip up: An entrée potato salad

Use extra potatoes to toss together a quick, creamy salad like my Creamy Red Potato Salad with Green Olives and Capers. Dice up potatoes, and combine with chopped up hard-boiled eggs, celery, parsley and red onion. For extra flavour, you can add in sliced green olives and capers. Add a dash of lemon and herb seasoning, plus a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar for dressing.

While you’re prepping: Winter squash
Whip up: Veggie chili
Mediterranean Chili is a hot, delicious meal that always hits the spot. For a simplified version, combine chopped squash, zucchini, onions and tomatoes. Stir in vegetable broth, and a little bit of red wine vinegar, taco seasoning and hot pepper sauce to taste.

While you’re prepping: Sweet potatoes
Whip up: Baked sweet potato fries
Sweet Potato Fries are a not-so-guilty pleasure of mine. They're easy and make a tasty snack or side dish. Use my recipe: cut sweet potatoes into half-inch-thick fries, and toss with pumpkin pie spice, low-sodium chili seasoning and oil. Bake them for about half an hour and turn once to ensure even cooking. Munch on them alone or serve with dipping sauces like fat-free sour cream or reduced-sodium ketchup.

While you’re prepping: Sausage (for stuffing)
Whip up: Sausage pizza
For a quick and nutritious lunch, use pre-made pizza crust to make your own pizza. Here's a healthier take on my Canadian Bacon, Sweet Onion and Apple Pizza: chop up turkey sausage, a sweet onion, and an apple. Top the pizza crust with light blue cheese salad dressing, shredded fat-free mozzarella cheeses, sausage, onion and apple. Bake until crust is golden brown.

While you’re prepping: Pumpkin pie
Whip up: Pumpkin oatmeal
I love waking up to a hot, hearty breakfast like my Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal. Start by boiling pumpkin pie filling and evaporated milk. Add quick-cooking oats and stir in some chopped pecans. Pumpkins are a great source of beta-carotene, and oatmeal might help lower cholesterol and is high in fibre.

While you’re prepping: Homemade cranberry sauce
Whip up: Fresh chutney
Use fresh cranberries to make a flavourful chutney that turns a dull dish brilliant. Cranberry-Pine Nut Chutney is a great complement to a pork roast. Make homemade cranberry sauce and combine with pine nuts, lemon juice, herbes de Provence, and crushed garlic. Serve over pork roast or turkey cutlets.

For more ideas from Sandra Lee, visit