Latin food cheatsIf you can cook from scratch all the time or do everything the hard way then good for you and everyone who gets to eat your phenomenal food. That's awesome, but most of us don't have the time to do everything without using a few shortcuts and, you know what, it's TOTALLY okay. Shortcuts can take the form of dishes being semi-homemade, making some things ahead of time or even just knowing the fastest most efficient way to get something done in the kitchen. I've put together an awesome list of Latin food cheats so that your time in the kitchen is less stressful, but your efforts still yield unbelievably delicious results because shortcuts are good, but not when when they short you on flavor.

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Click through this awesome cheat sheet of Latin food hacks. Use the time you save to rest a minute because you deserve it.

Image via Thinkstock

Empanada Dough 1

Empanada Dough

Image and recipe via Making Life Better

If you make your family some pork picadillo empanadas, like these, they will love them and I promise you not one single person will complain if you use store-bought frozen empanada dough.


Masa 2


Image via IMUSA 

You can totally make your own masa for these coffee rubbed carnitas tamales, but let's say you happen to know of a Mexican food store that sells pre-made masa, then I think no one would be the wiser if you gave the economy a boost and bought it for your tamalada.


Tostadas 3


Image via jeffreyw/flickr

So you could buy tostada shells or fry up your own at home or you can can make tostadas in the microwave that save you calories and time!

Garlic 4


Image via Thinkstock

Some times, like around the holidays, you might want to peel a whole lot of garlic fast. You are going to love this super easy trick to peeling garlic with a teeny tiny bit of help from your microwave. Check it out!


Avocados 5


Image via Corbis Images

I'm sure you know that lemon or lime juice can keep your avocados from turning brown once you cut them, but did you know you could use a red onion to keep your avocados from browing. And no, you don't have to mix the avocado with the red onion. Just watch the video below. This trick is GENIUS!


Roasted Chiles 6

Roasted Chiles

Image via Thinkstock

Did you know that you can freeze your roasted chiles? This is a brilliant time saver. The next time your roast chile, roast a bunch and freeze them for later use. Check out this video to see how!


Chimichurri 7


Image via Irina Gonzalez/flickr

Chimichurri is another one of those staples that you should make in bulk and freeze. We've got a great chimichurri recipe to share with you. You can double it and freeze it in small batches to use later.

Onions 8


Image via Thinkstock

My tía taught me the best technique for cutting onions. In the long run it will save you a lot of time because it's effective and produces an even chop with the least amount of work. You can check out the technique in the video below.


Plantains 9


Image via YouTube

You would think that peeling a plantain would be as easy and fast as peeling a banana, but it's not. Here's a great technique that will speed the process up and make it almost as easy, though.

Beans 10


Image via Corbis Images

Keeping canned beans on hand is a must as far as I'm concerned. Beans take a long time to cook and I rarely have the foresight to set them up ahead of time, but it is very easy to buy canned beans and then season them and prepare them to your liking. Check the label to make sure that they don't have a bunch of gunk in them. The less ingredients, the better, then pour out the liquid they come in and give them a rinse when you are ready to use them. Add your sazón to them and you are set!