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6 Ingredients You Can Prep Now and Use Later

Spend time now, save time later — here are six things you can prep for quicker, tastier meals in your near future.

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Baked Potatoes

Made one too many potatoes for dinner? You should do it more often — precooked potatoes make great shortcuts. Dice and toss them in a mustardy vinaigrette for a quick potato salad, mash them with butter and cream or scoop them back into their skins for the quickest twice-baked potato ever. Cold baked potatoes are also the secret to perfectly crispy fries with fluffy centers.


From Food Network Kitchen

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Photo: Matt Armendariz ©

Instant Pancake Mix

The homemade version of this beloved breakfast treat always tastes better, but hectic weekday mornings are no time to measure and sift. To make everyday indulgence a reality, mix a large batch of the dry ingredients, store it in an airtight container and attach a quick note specifying what wet ingredients to add to each cup.

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Compound Butter

Flavoring your own butter is a neat way to dress up weeknight meals or impress dinner guests. Just mix up your favorite flavor combinations with room-temperature butter (herbs, spices, acids, citrus and sweeteners are all fair game), roll it up into a log with plastic wrap and use within a week or freeze in individual slices. A slice of chipotle-lime butter over corn would be delicious, as would radishes dipped into a dill-scallion-parsley version.

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Vegetables for Stock

Gather the odds and ends of vegetables and herbs into a freezer bag as you prep them throughout the week (carrots, onion, celery, leeks and parsley stems all work well). Once you have a full bag of frozen vegetable scraps, put them in a stockpot, cover with 1 to 2 inches of water, boil and simmer until you like the flavor. A handful of dried mushrooms or a piece of kombu helps add savory, meaty flavor.

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