Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

The Value Guru Rewards the Shortcut Chef

By Susannah Simone, October 28, 2009  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Susannah Simone
Your "Buy-Some-Make-Some" Ideas Could Make you a Winner RotisserieChicken I truly enjoy cooking and I get a decent meal on the table pretty quickly most nights of the week, but I'm not too proud to take shortcuts when my time is especially valuable. And, while going the buy-some/make-some route usually-not always!-costs a bit more than completely homemade, it is still a money saver compared to dining out. So, there are plenty of times when I pick up a rotisserie chicken or pre-cut veggies from the salad bar to help me save time in the kitchen by omitting a few steps in a recipe. What about you? Tell us your tip for using an item from our Prepared Foods department to cut your cooking time and get a meal on the table PDQ. You might win a $100 Whole Foods Market® gift card just in time to help make your holiday meals a little easier, whether you order a complete prepared feast or buy-some/make-some-perhaps starting with a cooked turkey. We'll draw a winner at random from all the tips we receive by the deadline of November 3rd. Remember, if you haven't already, sign up for The Whole Deal e-newsletter. You'll hear from us a few times each month about in-store specials and money-saving tips…and future contests, too. Hope you enjoyed "value contest month" on our blog during October. Tune in to our Facebook and Twitter feeds for more weekly contests throughout the holidays.
Category: Value - Whole Deal




Joseph Hayes says ...
I always find I can spend more time focusing on the main dinner item when I can rely on Whole Foods to supply the side dish. A quick addition of rice salad or hummus as a base for a fabulous grilled fish, or edamame salad under spicy shrimp, saves more timer and trouble than it takes to drive to the store.
10/28/2009 9:02:17 AM CDT
Carissa says ...
When I have some extra time (which is not too often), I stock up on fruits & veggies that are on sale and then wash and chop them to be frozen for later use, when I'm short on time. Otherwise, I spend a bit more to buy pre-chopped fruits & veggies at Whole Foods. For a long time I refused to spend anything extra for someone else to do the chopping that I was capable of doing, but then I realized that it was worth my sanity! Plus, I don't ever throw out unchopped/unused produce now! For that reason, I think buying the pre-chopped goodies actually saves me money!
10/28/2009 9:36:12 AM CDT
Brenda R says ...
I love the fresh bread from Whole Foods so I pickup a fresh sourdough roll and gut the inside. I get some fresh spiniach dip and presto - all ready for dip for my guest.
10/28/2009 9:37:31 AM CDT
Eleanor says ...
I have been known to hit the salad bar to put together a quick yummy salad instead of individually purchasing the vegetables. It saves me the time of washing, cutting and chopping!
10/28/2009 9:38:03 AM CDT
Leigh Ann says ...
The prepared foods dept can save MAJOR time with hard-to-deal-with veggies like acorn and butternut squash and fruits like pineapple. If you're like me, and are short on time but love the taste, the extra investment is more than worth it.
10/28/2009 9:40:03 AM CDT
sara says ...
I love to use your prepared foods to augment my meals! I buy a few of your items and then make the rest.
10/28/2009 9:40:30 AM CDT
Anne says ...
On weekends we pick, blanch then freeze the veggies from our garden and store in meal-sized portions to use for recipes during the week. Also whenever we buy meat at the store, we'll separate into meal-sized portions & freeze, usually after marinating for a bit to save time. Then we just put the meat in the fridge the day before we plan to cook it & it's ready to go!
10/28/2009 9:41:31 AM CDT
Carolyn Cummins says ...
I don't cook a lot but when I do I organize my meal planning based on what needs to be cooked first, or prepared first. If there are ingredients in two dishes I prepare those at the same time. Also, I make a lot of my own green juice and to save time I precut a lot of the veggies and fruit and store them in plastic containers. That way it is quick and easy to pop them in the blender.
10/28/2009 9:42:15 AM CDT
Lisa says ...
I like to prep in advance, especially at Thanksgiving. I'll chop all my veggies the day before and store them in the fridge in quart containers. Even the potatoes will be chopped and covered in cold water and the whole thing goes into the fridge so the morning of, I'm ready to go!
10/28/2009 9:43:53 AM CDT
kim says ...
I buy a bunch of hamburger at once and then split it up into 1 pound chunks, put them in individual baggies, and then put them in the deep freeze for later. It is great because I just have to grab one bag for most recipes and it takes less time to thaw. Another way to cut time is to cook the meat before freezing it.
10/28/2009 9:44:30 AM CDT
Lindsay Muldoe says ...
I usually hit the prepared sides/pasta salads for short cuts. They are super tasty, and go well with any meat so easy to have people over for an impromptu dinner :)
10/28/2009 9:44:40 AM CDT
Judy H says ...
I always put extra chicken parts (legs, thighs, wings ) with minimal seasoning (Kosher salt, pepper, rosemary) in the oven when I'm roasting something. Now I have a head start and when there are left over vegetables from another meal, I can just have a heat and eat dinner.
10/28/2009 9:45:02 AM CDT
marla hoffman says ...
I have a great chicken enchallada recipe. To save time, I started using the Whole Food's rotisserie chicken which I shred by hand. I mix it with sour cream and shredded cheese, then I roll them up in whole wheat tortillas, and cover the entire thing with premade fresh salsa and more shredded cheese. My husband loves it and I don't have to spend the day cooking chicken and dicing up onions, herbs and tomatoes!
10/28/2009 9:45:09 AM CDT
lucy s. says ...
I love buying your grilled chicken breasts in the winter. I slice them down the middle and stuff with toasted pecans, dried cranberries and goat cheese, then warm in the oven for 10 minutes.
10/28/2009 9:45:10 AM CDT
James says ...
I go to the Whole Foods, stir fry and shi ka bobs section, to buy pre-cut up squash, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc.. I am also a big fan of the "pre made" packs, which can have anything from veggie mix, to fajitas etc.. I also love the salad bar, hot food bar, and precut cheese you have to offer. I can almost always find what I am looking for already prepped at whole foods. Top that with a trash bowl, and getting everything out before I start, and I can cut my prep time in thirds.
10/28/2009 9:45:32 AM CDT
greenbean says ...
the naked rotisserie chickens are the best! i use it to make stock, soups, salads, sandwiches and also add it to pasta. i also save time in the kitchen by prepping my food and doing most of my cooking in the AM while i'm already in there making lunch and breakfast. this helps me always have something to pack for lunch and ensures that i won't have to cook in the evening.
10/28/2009 9:45:37 AM CDT
Lisa says ...
I love buying your premade soups off of the soup bar and then adding pieces of leftover cooked chicken breast or shrimp to it. It makes the soup a heartier meal and I don't throw out my leftovers. Add a baguette and a little bit of salad greens from the salad bar and we have a wonderful, healthy dinner in no time flat.
10/28/2009 9:45:51 AM CDT
Becky says ...
Buy chicken breasts in bulk/on sale and cook with just olive oil, salt & pepper. Let them cool, remove from bone. I now have cooked chicken ready for soups, tacos, sandwiches, salads, whatever. Or I just freeze it and use as needed
10/28/2009 9:49:20 AM CDT
Kim says ...
Rotisserie chicken makes a quick dinner with a salad and steamed broccoli. also leftover chicken is turned into chicken salad or chicken ceasar for lunch the next day. also, LOVE the roasted root veggies or cilantro lime rice for a side with grilled fish
10/28/2009 9:49:49 AM CDT
Leandra sanchez says ...
My family & I are usually always busy running around from school to work and various places. We never stop. But dinner is a time when we actually get to take a break and sit together for a nice meal. Because my parents are busy, preparing an entirely homemade meal is just not possible if we want to eat by 5:00/6:00. So to help make the meal a little easier, my mom or dad, or whoever is free, will drop by whole foods and pick up something for a main dish. This isn't something we do every night, but it's something we do often. We've had pizza, chicken, lasagna, tamales, sandwiches, burritos, and so many other things. With this, we usually end up getting a side if we don't already have it to prepare at home. Not only is this the perfect way to get a meal prepared in half the time or less, but were all able to spend less time preparing and with one another, to then continue on in our busy lives and have been able to spend valuable time together as well as enjoying our meal.
10/28/2009 9:50:49 AM CDT
Shonda says ...
I used A LOT of onion and garlic in a week, so I tend to buy quite a few onions at a time and I chop them up and keep in the fridge, sometime pre-measured out in 1 cup and 1/2 cup servings. I have also been known to buy the pre-minced garlic in the glass jars, but I always feel guilty about doing this and, honestly, it just doesn't taste as good as fresh garlic.
10/28/2009 9:50:55 AM CDT
Lauren says ...
If I have time on a Saturday or Sunday I will meal plan for the week. I may even cook some of my meals to start the week off. I will also chop up ingredients I will need for the week, so when the time comes I have it already prepped and save time the day of. Also, if we are going somewhere and I bring a veggie tray, I usually get all my veggies, already chopped and washed from the salad bar. I can customize my tray and I am good to go. Although it costs a little more to do then making myself, it saves a ton of time, plus it's still less expensive than buying a pre-made veggie tray.
10/28/2009 9:51:39 AM CDT
Jess says ...
I chop veggies as soon as I come home from the grocery store so they're already prepped and ready to go when I am. Makes it really easy to grab a healthy snack of carrots or broccoli. I know a lot of people dont' have time to do that, but since I know I do, it's something easy I can do to save some money - pre-chopped veggies are expensive! But, I have been known to pick them up when I'm short on time too.
10/28/2009 9:51:52 AM CDT
Alicia Pearlman says ...
One way that I save time when cooking is by cleaning up as I go.
10/28/2009 9:53:10 AM CDT
Kathi says ...
I stumbled upon a tip when Hatch peppers were in season to coursley chop them and put them into ice cube trays! Eureka! However, the only trays I could come upon were for water bottles...long thin cubes. THEY ARE PERFECT for freezing stuff because you can break it in half easily! Trader Joes sells little tsp containers of garlic and basil. WOO HOO!! I now either buy garlic in bulk and crush in the food processor then put in my bottle cube trays! WHAT a time saver and my garlic is always 'good'!! I use more too! And THAT'S not a bad thing! : )
10/28/2009 9:53:49 AM CDT