We all little short cuts and secrets that we use to make our lives in the kitchen easier and our foods tastier. I have a couple that are so simple.
When making rice, I use 'Quick Rice' and it comes out perfect every time. This is not the same as Minute Rice which is a name brand and different process. I use store brand 'quick rice' and it looks and tastes just as good as rice that takes longer to cook.
I keep instant potatoes in my fridge and use to thicken soups, stews and gravies. It works wonderfully well.