7 Delicious Recipes That Use Pre-Made Ingredients to Save Time

Not to get too Sandra Lee on you, but semi-homemade recipes can be one of the most useful tools in your kitchen. Frozen ingredients, pre-made sauces, ready-to-roll doughs and any other ingredient that you don’t have to make will create ease when you need dinner or breakfast ASAP. Skipping a few steps doesn’t come at the cost of a creative or flavorful dish. To make the most of your frozen doughs, sauces, and more, check out these seven recipes.

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1. Phyllo-Wrapped Halibut

You won’t feel like you cut any corners when you bake AllRecipes.com’s halibut and serve it with the lemon scallion sauce. A mild and sweet white fish, FishWatch says you’ll be able to get fresh Pacific halibut from March to November, and frozen year-round. This recipe yields 2 servings.


  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 4 sheets phyllo dough
  • 2 (5-ounce) halibut fillets
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly butter 1 sheet of phyllo dough. Lay another sheet directly on top of the first sheet and lightly butter it. Repeat with remaining 2 sheets of phyllo. Cut sheets in half. Season halibut fillets with salt and pepper. Place a fillet near the bottom edge of one of the halved sheets of phyllo. Sprinkle with dill. Fold in the sides of the phyllo, then roll the fillet.

Place on a baking sheet and lightly brush with butter. Repeat with remaining fillet. Bake in a preheated oven until pastry is puffed and golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, bring lemon juice to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Boil until almost evaporated. Reduce heat to medium and stir in cream. Simmer until the cream thickens somewhat. Stir in green onions and season with salt and pepper. Serve halibut on a pool of sauce.

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2. Spinach and Kale Turnovers

You won’t have any shortage of vitamin K in your diet the day you make Cooking Light’s spinach and kale turnovers. You can easily pack them for lunch, and they can be reheated in a microwave if you’d like to take one of your 8 turnovers to work.


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 3 cups chopped kale (about 1 small bunch)
  • 1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¾ cup (3 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 (11.3-ounce) can refrigerated dinner roll dough
  • Cooking spray
  • 2½ tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 10 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Add garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add kale and spinach; sauté 8 minutes or until kale is tender. Stir in pepper, salt, and nutmeg. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Stir in feta.

Separate dough into 8 pieces. Roll each dough piece into a 5-inch circle. Spoon about ⅓ cup kale mixture on half of each circle, leaving a ½-inch border. Fold dough over kale mixture until edges almost meet. Bring bottom edge of dough over top edge; crimp edges of dough with fingers to form a rim.

Place turnovers on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Lightly coat turnovers with cooking spray; sprinkle each turnover with about 1 teaspoon Parmesan. Bake for 18 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving; serve warm or at room temperature.

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3. Fillet of Beef in Puff Pastry

Go gourmet at dinner with fillets, pre-made puff pastry, Wolfgang Puck, and the Food Network. Tournedos are small, round slices of beef, often cut from the tenderloin. The fillet puff pastries serve 6 and are topped with a Madeira wine sauce, the recipe for which yields about a cup.


  • 6 tournedos, 6 ounces each (fillet steaks, 1½ inches thick)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 pound mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds puff pastry
  • 1 egg with 1 tablespoon of water, lightly beaten, for egg wash
  • Sauce Madeira, recipe follows
  • Watercress, for garnish

Sauce Madeira

  • 1 cup Madeira
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon minced thyme leaves
  • 1 cup veal stock
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper

Directions: In a large skillet, over high heat, sauté tournedos in 3 tablespoons butter for 30 seconds on each side. Set aside to cool completely. In the same skillet, with the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, cook shallots and mushrooms until all liquid evaporates. Add cream, salt, and pepper. Reduce over moderate heat to a thick puree. Cool.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Divide pastry into 6 equal portions. On a lightly floured board, roll out each portion to a rectangle approximately 6 by 12 inches and ¼-inch thick. Place tournedos on one side of a pastry rectangle, leaving enough room to fold over. Top each with mushroom puree.

Brush edges of the pastry with egg wash and then fold it over and shape it to the contours of the meat. Cut away excess pastry and decorate as desired. Glaze the tops of the pastry with egg wash. Bake the tournedos 15 to 20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Arrange tournedos on a heated plate and garnish with watercress. Spoon the sauce Madeira around the tournedos.

To make the sauce Madeira, in a saucepan, bring Madeira, shallots, and thyme to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until only ⅓ cup remains. Add the stock; continue to reduce, over medium heat, until slightly thickened. Whisk in the butter. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

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4. Pizza Bagels

A “pizza” lunch or snack for the kids is only a few bagels away. Instead of pizza dough, or any dough for that matter, you can use the bagel of your choosing and ready-to-go pizza sauce to make your own pizza bagels. Plus, with Food.com’s recipe, you’ll never pick up Bagel Bites at the grocery store again.


  • 3 bagels, cut in half
  • 1 (213-milliliter) can pizza sauce, or to taste
  • 6 slices pepperoni or salami, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated

Directions: Cut the bagels in half and lay on a baking sheet. On top of each bagel, spread on pizza sauce, making sure to cover all spots. Top with pepperoni and cheese. Put in oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit and bake approximately 10 minutes or until cheese and meat are bubbly.

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5. Crescent Cinnamon Rolls

No one wants to wait hours for dough to rise and cinnamon rolls to bake. These cinnamon rolls made with crescent rolls from Pillsbury will only take about 40 minutes, ideal for a weekend breakfast.



  • ⅔ cup finely chopped pecans
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup butter or margarine, softened

Rolls and glaze

  • 2 (8-ounce) cans refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk

Directions: Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 13-by-9-inch pan. In small bowl, mix filling ingredients. Unroll 1 can of the dough into 1 large rectangle; press into 13-by-7-inch rectangle, firmly pressing perforations to seal. Spread filling over rectangle.

Unroll second can of dough; press into 13-by-7-inch rectangle, firmly pressing perforations to seal. Place over filling; press dough onto filling. Cut stacked dough into 8 (13-inch) strips. Twist each strip 5 or 6 times, pressing extra filling into rolls.

Shape each into a coil; place in pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from pan; place on cooling rack. In small bowl, stir glaze ingredients, adding enough milk for desired drizzling consistency; drizzle over warm rolls. Serve.

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6. Chocolate and Banana Waffle Panini

Wafflewiches, or waffle sandwiches, like Real Simple’s panini, give your regular old frozen waffles a little something extra. Unless you really like your breakfasts on the sweet side, you may want to hold off on this banana-and-chocolate combination until later in the day.


  • 2 frozen waffles
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 ounce chocolate, chopped
  • ½ banana, sliced

Directions: Spread butter on one side of each frozen waffle. Form a sandwich (buttered-sides out) with the chocolate and banana. Cook in a skillet over medium heat, covered, until the chocolate melts and the waffles are golden and crisp, about 2 minutes per side.

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7. Cream Cheese Cookie Cups

Garnish your tiny, tasty cookie cups from Taste of Home with a bit of fresh fruit or a drizzling of chocolate or caramel sauce for a mini-dessert that finds a new way to use refrigerated cookie dough. You’ll need a mini muffin pan, or you could experiment with a larger serving size, adjusting the portions and bake time for a standard-size muffin tin.


  • 1 (18-ounce) tube refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cups confectioners’ sugar

Directions: Cut cookie dough in half (save one portion for another use). With floured hands, press about 1 tablespoon of dough onto the bottom and up the sides of 12 un-greased miniature muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Using the end of a wooden spoon handle, reshape the puffed cookie cups. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar. Spoon into cookie cups. Store in the refrigerator.

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