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?Print
cook once eat twice: roasted carrots
For the Roasted Carrots
- 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
For the Carrot Soup
- drizzle of olive oil
- 1 onion, diced into 1/2-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.
I love your idea of utilizing veggies in different ways this trick is quite good. I have used this trick last year with pumpkin, carrots and other veggies when I introduced solid food to my little one (roasted/steamed food for us and pureed and mashed for him). Also price factor is very important if you are planning ahead. But unfortunately price factor doesn’t work for us as it’s quite variable because we get local produce only in summer.
roasted carrots are one of my favorites! I usually just use olive oil and pepper but the orange and thyme sounds like it would be a nice change! thank you :-D
I’ve just picked up some heirloom carrots too! I love the mix of citrus and the cook once eat twice! Ah love that idea.
Lois Griffith says
I love having recipes like this! It makes cooking during the week a little easier and if we meal prep on sundays this is great too, one less thing we have to cook! Thanks for sharing :)
So so glad, a break is definitely a nice thing my dear.
I agree with what you said, cooking food doesn’t require any of those things. Just small shortcuts like this. I absolutely love this idea. I love making 2 meals out of one. With boys and friends of boys all the time at home, leftovers are a rare sight…hahah.
great one as usual my dear.
Jessie Snyder | Faring Well says
I always love your inspiring tips like this Emilie! Thank you for using your brain and helping us with tired brains feed ourselves. This is a wonderful, simple tip I don’t utilize enough. Hope you are enjoying the sunshine this week! Happy Wednesday – XO
Traci | Vanilla And Bean says
So happy you’re feeling better… and that you took a break! These recipes are soooo good. I forget about roasting carrots and often eat them raw. And while that’s good, they are so fabulous roasted. I’ve not tried roasting them with citrus and thyme however, nor have I wipped up a soup with them. So clever and delicious! I’ll be giving this a go! Thank you Emilie!
This is a great hack! I especially love how you’ve included the cost of these recipes. I’ve long wanted to do that on my blog (but keep forgetting)!
Hello Alison! Thank you! I too find it useful when the cost is mentioned. Isn’t interesting to see what can be made from practically nothing? Maybe we’ll get rich this way ;)
I have to admit, I’m terrible at making enough so that there are leftovers but I really do think that big batch cooking is so smart, or repurposing leftovers into new meals that can be thrown together on the fly. I really like your idea of making a blended soup from leftover roasted veggies, that looks lovely :)
Thank you Christine! I know, repurposing leftovers can be tricky sometimes… This method is pretty easy to remember and you can play around with roasting a combination of your favorite veggies. There are no rules, really. I always add potato, or sweet potato, to give the soup a touch of creaminess.
Jennifer Emilson says
Hi Emilie! Sorry you were under the weather. But happy to know you’re bouncing back. And this is a brilliant way to do it! What a great recipe combo! Will definitely be trying it. Have a great day ;)
Hello Jen! So happy to see you here! Thank you by the way, I appreciate that. I haven’t been that sick in years. It was nice to stay in bed (minus the mountain of laundry that was building up next to me!). xo
danielle | rooting the sun says
Emilie, how incredibly gorgeous are these carrots! Orange and thyme are the most poetic compliments in flavor. Admittedly, I will always have carrots around- they are perhaps my favorite vegetable. Such a delicious idea in soup form, as well. xo
Hello my sweet friend! The combination of orange and thyme is quite special, isn’t? I use the combo often, especially with clementines. I jus love how the oranges get all sweet and juicy in the oven… xo
Fantastic tips, Emilie — and I absolutely love both of these recipes! The soup looks so velvety! I’m definitely adding this to my kitchen arsenal.
Hello Nancy! Thank you! It’s such a useful trick that’s easy & realistic to remember :)
Hello Sally, thank you! I’m feeling much better now. I haven’t been that sick in YEARS! But all is good. My body needed rest :)
I’ve heard of raw rice in soups as a thickener. In fact, I saw Jamie Oliver do this on one of his shows. I think he was making some kind of cream of mushroom soup. It sounds like a great tip! Thanks for sharing! x
Lovely post! Hope you are feeling better, by the way…
one of my favorite soups which I haven’t made in a decade or longer, was a simple carrot soup that got thickened by a very small amount of rice – yes, rice, raw – it simmered with the soup for 20 minutes, enough to cook it, then you simply use a blender
I don’t even remember the source of that recipe anymore, I used to make it all the time from memory after a while. I must find it!
YES! I hear the same things and totally agree with you about shortcuts. This recipe is so simple and beautiful, and it would make anyone feel like a pro!
Hello Erin! Thank you! It’s nice that you can utilize this method with other vegetables too- I happen to love carrots, potatoes and roasted red bell pepper :)