Nine out of ten people tell me they can’t cook.
They’re either too busy, unmotivated, or think they need training from the culinary gods.
I totally get it.
As much as I love to cook and talk about food, there are days when the simple task of straining pasta is enough to push me over the edge (don’t judge, ok?).
But here’s the thing: the secret to being a great cook has nothing to do with time, motivation, or professional training.
It has everything to do with shortcuts.
Because anyone can master a shortcut.
Here you will learn one of my FAVORITE cooking hacks.
And when done correctly, you’ll save time, money (and sanity) during a busy week. It’s so effortless, you won’t even break a sweat!
And the best part?
You’ll get TWO delicious recipes for under $5!
Cook Once, Eat Twice
Roasted carrots serve as the base for 2 separate recipes.
To begin, I took a 2 lb bag of heirloom rainbow carrots (I got them from Trader Joe’s- any carrots will do) and sliced them in half lengthwise.
They were tossed with olive oil, orange slices, fresh thyme and roasted until golden and caramelized. The oranges get all sticky and jammy in the oven- heaven! You’ve got to try it.
Simply serve as a side dish or as a vegetarian main with avocado slices and a green salad. That’s it.
- Carrots: $1.99
- Oranges: $.25
- Thyme: $.15
But don’t forget!
Save half of the roasted carrots to create your second recipe…
What I did here, was simmer the leftover roasted carrots with sautéed onions and stock to create a creamy soup.
I also threw in some leftover mashed potatoes to give the soup body.
Realistically, you probably don’t have mashed potatoes lying around. As an alternative, simmer 1 peeled and cubed potato for similar results (and it doesn’t take long at all).
To finish, each bowl was topped with flaked almonds and a drizzle of olive oil, which is optional.
- Roasted carrots: (free!)
- 1 onion: $.40
- Mashed potatoes: (leftovers- free!)
- Stock: (homemade- free!)
*Note: even if you don’t have mashed potatoes or stock on hand, the total cost (with the addition of 1 potato + store bought stock) would be roughly: $1.25.
So there you have it; a simple cooking shortcut that’s a 2-for-1 investment of your time.
All you need is a sheet pan, carrots and a few simple ingredients.
By the way, you can do this with other vegetables too, including sweet potatoes, red bell pepper, zucchini, cauliflower, and the list goes on…
What are some of your favorite cooking shortcuts?
- 2 lbs heirloom rainbow carrots, trimmed and cut lengthwise
- drizzle of olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 1 large orange, cut into slices
- a few thyme sprigs
- drizzle of olive oil
- 1 onion, diced into ½-inch pieces
- leftover roasted carrots (about half of the original amount)
- dollop of mashed potatoes OR 1 peeled and cubed potato
- chicken or vegetable stock (enough to cover)
- For the roasted carrots: preheat your oven to 400 F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Arrange the carrots onto the sheet pan and toss with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Scatter the orange slices and thyme sprigs over the top.
- Roast until golden and tender, about 35-45 minutes.
- Serve warm as a side dish or vegetarian main. *Reserve half of the carrots to make the soup.
- To make the carrot soup: warm the olive oil in a medium pot. Add the onion and sauté until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, roughly chop the roasted carrots.
- Add the carrots and mashed potatoes (or cubed potato) to the pot. Pour in enough stock to cover the vegetables. Bring to a simmer and cook until the carrots are tender enough to puree, about 10 minutes.
- Working in batches puree the soup using a blender. Pour back into the pot. Taste and adjust seasoning with extra salt and pepper.
- To serve, portion the soup into bowls and enjoy right away.