Even though any budget-savvy cook will tell you it's cheaper to buy whole ingredients - such as bell peppers and onion - and chop or slice them yourself, this is still one of my most beloved kitchen shortcuts. It might save just a few minutes, but on busy weeknights when my daughter needs to both eat and get some much-needed mommy time while I'm cooking dinner, those few minutes mean a lot! Plus, there's nothing like pulling out that carton of chopped onion or peppers and just measuring out how much I need, instead of pulling out the cutting board, finding the right knife, and chopping away.

Last night I made Cooking Light's Champion Chicken Parmesan, and using prechopped onion made the prep work go just that much faster. Even though I still had to chop the sun-dried tomatoes and red bell pepper (couldn't find any of that prechopped at the store), those extra few minutes let me dance with my daughter in the kitchen instead of tearing up over a cutting board piled high with onion! To me, that's totally worth the extra money.