Here are some great cooking tips to save you time, money, and to make your life just a bit easier! I've gathered these tips through the years, tested them and wanted to share the best of them with you. Here ya go!
Add one cup of water to the bottom portion of the broiling pan before putting it in the oven. The water will absorb the smoke and grease and make the food more tender.
Self Cleaning Cooking Sheets!
Connie from Las Vegas, NV writes; "My mother-in-law told me about using aluminum foil to cover baking sheets or dishes when cooking in the oven. It saves tons of clean-up time, all you have to do is throw
away the foil and wah-la, a clean pan." Thanks for the super timesaving cooking tip Connie! I like to use the new non-stick aluminum foil that came out this year. It is amazing!
Here are a few tips to soften cabbage leaves for making cabbage rolls. Put the head of cabbage in the freezer any where from one hour to two days then defrost. Cut out the core and rinse. The leaves will be soft enough to remove, fill and roll. The "old fashion method works great also. Just cut out the core and place the cabbage in a large pot of boiling water. Then with a long fork, turn the cabbage and remove the leaves. Rinse, fill and roll!
If you run out of flour or just want your chocolate cake to not have that "white dust" on it, use cocoa to dust the bottom of your cake pan. To test the doneness of your cake, use a raw piece of spaghetti. If a cake sticks to the pan after baking, simply set the pan over a pot of boiling water for a minute or two. It will pop out of the pan nice and neat!
Wrap celery in aluminum foil when storing in your fridge. It will keep weeks longer!
Get yourself a bunch of fresh cilantro, wash and trim of the stems. Dry on paper towels then put in individual freezer snack bags. Freeze. When you need some fresh cilantro for salsa, soup or dips, just get a pack from the freezer, crush or chop and add to your recipe. Fresh cilantro! Wa-La!
To make delicious warm toasty croutons, cut up leftover bread into cubes. Fry them in olive oil and spices. My trick is to use olive oil cooking spray to cut down on the calories. Then I add garlic powder (not garlic salt!), a little season-all, parsley, and a tad of parmesan cheese. Just fry until brown. These tasty morsels freeze well too!
To make better French fries just soak fresh-cut potatoes in water for five minutes, drain and pat dry before cooking to remove the excess starch that causes them to clump together (and from keeping them from sticking to the pan while cooking). For extra crispy fries just dust them lightly with flour before you fry. (restaurants use this great tip!)
To test to see if an egg is fresh, immerse it in a pan of cool, salted water. If it sinks, it's fresh. If it floats, throw it away!!
EGG SUBSTITUTION FOR PANCAKES
Quincy Vagell from Woodstock, CT writes; "Want to make Pancakes without added cholesterol and fat? For each egg, take a teaspoon of sugar, mixed with a teaspoon of flour. Mix the two and add a few drops of water. The mixture will make a creamy paste, which is similar to that of a scrambled egg. Add this mixture into pancake mixture and your pancakes will come out tasting great, and just a little bit healthier!" Thanks Quincy! This recipe is not only healthy, but oh so yummy!
GREAT EGG TIPS!
Dennis Judd from Powder Springs, Georgia writes; "I learned from a cookware salesman that if you boil eggs in an aluminum pan, your eggs will "begin to turn black" (or green). This is caused by a reaction between the aluminum and the sulfer in the egg yolk. However, if you boil the eggs in glass or stainless steel, they will not have the discoloration." Thanks for the tip Dennis! This next egg tip was sent in by Bill Evans; "To hard boil eggs without the "yellow" starting to turn black, poke a tiny hole in the small end to let the air escape, then place in warm water, bring to a rolling boil, cover and remove the pot from the heat! For one or two eggs, let stand for 10 minutes. For each additional egg allow 1 minute. This also makes the egg shell peel off with ease." Thanks Bill! Nancy Patrick from Corning, NY sent in this easy method of cooking hard boiled eggs; "Put any number of eggs in the pan, cover with water and bring to a good rolling boil. While still boiling, cover the pan (to trap the heat and steam) and turn off the heat. Set a timer for 10 minutes. When it goes off, pour off the hot water and cover with cold water and let sit. I change the water several times until it stays cool. No black rings around the yolks." Thanks Nancy!
Zap garlic cloves in the microwave for 15 seconds and the skins will slip right off!
This tip was sent in by Chris from Greensburg, PA. She's my Mom and she knows her stuff! To keep herbs fresh longer, loosely wrap them in a damp paper towel, place in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Thanks for the tip Mom!
To get the walnut meat out whole, soak over night in salt water then crack gently.
To get the most juice out of a lemon, bring to room temperature and roll them under your palm on your counter a few times before squeezing.
ONIONS WITHOUT TEARS
Light a match and blow it out. Put the non burnt end between your teeth while you cut your onion. The sulfer will absorb the fumes. Always cut the root end of the onion off last. Nicole sent in this great tip to keep the tears out of your eyes when you cut your onions; "A good way to cut onions without tears is to cut them near water. Running water works best. Or put them in the freezer for about 5 to 10 minutes before cutting them. It works every time." Thanks for the tip Nicole!
ONION ODOR ON HANDS
Shirley from Central Oklahoma writes; "If you are cutting onions and get the smell on your hands and no amount of washing seems to help, try this tip: The easy way to remove the onion odor is to rub your hands on your stainless steel sink. Then wash them. No more onion odor!" Thanks so much for sharing Shirley! And... for those of you who don't have a stainless steel sink, try using a stainless steel butter knife! Bye bye stinky hands!
EASY TO PEEL ORANGES!
Need to peel a bunch of oranges for a salad? Just soak the oranges in boiling water for five minutes then peel as usual. As a bonus, the "white" part of the peel will come off along with the peel to give a beautiful presentation! FYI: The bigger the naval, the sweeter the orange!
Use a meat baster to squeeze your pancake batter onto the hot griddle.
Beat an egg white and brush over your pie crust before baking for a beautiful glossy finish.
Add a lump of butter or a few teaspoons of oil to the water. Spaghetti will not boil over or stick together.
RIPEN TOMATOES AND BANANAS
Wrap green tomatoes or bananas in a wet dish towel and place them in a brown paper sack. (bag!) They will ripen in a day or so. Don't forget to check them!
For soup and stews, add cut raw potatoes and discard once they have cooked and absorbed the salt.
Rinse the mold pan with cold water and then coat with oil or pam.
SALAD DRESSING TIP
This is a great tip to keep your oil-based salad dressings from pooling at the bottom of the bowl and keeping it on your greens! Take your dressing and heat it in the microwave for ten seconds before using. That's it!
When a recipe calls for scalded milk, add (but don't stir in!) a teaspoon of sugar before turning on the heat. The sugar will prevent hot milk from scorching the bottom of your saucepans.
Ruthie from Belton, Mo.writes; "When I make spaghetti sauce, I add a spoonful of grape jelly to take the acidity out. It adds a slightly different flavor and darkens it a little." Thanks for the yummy tip Ruthie! Another way to absorb the acidic taste that you get with tomato sauce, it to drop a whole carrot into the sauce while it simmers. Just remove the carrot before serving the sauce!
SPLATTERING AND STICKING
When pan frying or sauteing, always heat your pan before adding the butter or oil. Not even eggs stick when you use this great tip! Another good tip to keep hot oil from splattering is to sprinkle a little salt in the pan before frying.
SOGGY MASHED POTATOES
Sprinkle with dry powdered milk for the fluffiest mashed potatoes ever!
QUICK BAKED POTATOES
Microwave them on high for 4-minutes on each side, then bake them for about 20-minutes at 450 degrees until skin is crispy. Or you can boil in salt water for 10-minutes before putting them into a preheated 450-degree oven.
QUICKER INSTANT TEA
Fill your pitcher one quarter full with hot water and add the instant ice tea mix and stir. Then add the cold water and ice. No more having to stir forever waiting for it to dissolve!
UNSWEETENED BAKING CHOCOLATE SUBSTITUTE
Run out of unsweetened baking chocolate? Try this substitute: Combine 3 Tbs. of unsweetened cocoa powder with 1 Tbs. of vegetable shortening to equal one ounce of chocolate. Wa La!
Sweeten your whipped cream with confectioners sugar instead of granulated sugar. Oh so fluffy! Bonus-it holds its shape better!
I know that this is just a tease, but I promise to have more cooking tips added in the near future. Please come back, you won't be disappointed! Also, if you have a great cooking tip that you would like to share, just e-mail me and I will be happy to add it.