I'm going to start doing blog posts about the tools / main ingredients I use the most in my kitchen. Some of them will be common sense but some are things that I have come to realize through cooking that I should just always have on hand.
When I first started cooking, I did everything by the book. If the recipe called for 3 garlic cloves minced finely, you better believe that I was in the kitchen chopping it up later that night. I love garlic. Italian food just wouldn't be the same without it. However, I HATE chopping/mincing garlic. It is sticky and takes forever. (I'm still an amateur after all.) Unless you have a food processor, the second best thing to fresh garlic comes in a bottle. This brand is less than $5.00 and it lasts forever. Go out and treat yourself to this lovely time saving ingredient. You'll thank me later. :)