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Quick Dinner Ideas and Kitchen Shortcuts

Easy shortcut recipes, expert cooking tricks, and more ways to save time in the kitchen.

Tastes Like Homemade

Fake It, Don't Make It: 25 Recipes
Delicious dishes that rely on pre-made, store-bought ingredients―but taste like homemade.

Fake It, Don‛t Make It Desserts
Our eight favorite recipes for quick and easy sweet treats.

Beef and Mushroom Ragù With Pappardelle

A Stress-Free Month of Dinners

In a dinner rut? Try this ready-made menu of delicious weeknight meals for an entire month.
Photo: José Picayo

Three Easy Kitchen Shortcuts

A trio of smart tip-saving ideas.
Photo: John Lawton

Upgrade Your Frozen Cheese Pizza

Take your frozen pie to the next level with these easy, upscale topping ideas.
Photo: James Wojcik

11 Items to Keep Handy in Your Freezer

Stow these 11 foods in your freezer and you can have 6 dinners on the table in less than an hour.
Photo: Con Poulos
Beef and Mushroom Ragù With Pappardelle
Ground beef divided into square sections in a plastic ziploc bag
Broccoli and Goat Cheese Pizza
Frozen food

Fast Prep Tips

Making meatballs illo

Kitchen Tricks and Tips From Our Expert Cooks
Simplifying strategies, tips, and techniques—from the Real Simple test kitchen to yours.

Sliced cucumber

Chopping Cheat Sheet
Don’t know a mince from a dice? Consult this handy guide.

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Canned tomatoes

Essential Shortcut Foods Checklist

Stock your kitchen with these ingredients for quick weeknight meals.

  • Rotisserie chicken. Swing by the grocery store and pick up a freshly-cooked chicken, then use the meat in a wide variety of meals—salads, pastas, sandwiches, and more.

    Related: 10 Recipe Ideas for Rotisserie Chicken

  • Couscous. This grain is incredibly quick and easy to prepare—stir into hot or boiling water and let steam for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork before serving. You can easily dress it up by stirring in chopped scallions, lemon zest, or various spices.

    Related: 12 Simple Couscous Dishes

  • Canned tomatoes. Whether whole, crushed, or chopped, canned tomatoes are an instant way to create pasta sauces and soups and provide a great base for chilies and stews.

    Related: The Best Ways to Use Canned Tomatoes 

View The Entire Checklist

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