Open thread on favorite food shortcuts

It’s been too long since I posted a food diary. A while back I wrote about my favorite food substitutions. Now I would like your input on favorite shortcuts in the kitchen.

I’m not talking about picking up take-out or eating a peanut-butter sandwich instead of a hot meal. For the purposes of this thread, I am seeking ideas that save preparation time or cooking time when you are making the meal.

After the jump I’ve posted my chili recipe, which incorporates three shortcuts. This won’t win you a prize at the chili cookoff, but it is tasty and highly adaptable to your own preferences or what you have in your kitchen. I’m all for cooking with what you have rather than slavishly following recipes.

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