Kitchen Secrets: My Best Tip - The Kitchen Garden: Fresh Herbs and Flavorings Blog at Allrecipes.com - 216920

The Kitchen Garden: Fresh Herbs and Flavorings

Kitchen Secrets: My Best Tip 
 
Jan. 13, 2011 9:08 am 
Updated: Jul. 6, 2011 8:13 am
As a "vintage" cook, I've been taught, read about or discovered on my own some tricks of the trade which make cooking easier, more delicious and more fun.  Let's share some of our best tips with the AR cooks out there to make 2011 a great year in the kitchen!

My First Tip:  Reserve the avocado pit when making guacamole and put the pit back in the dip until you serve it.  It will keep the dip from turning brown... without using messy cling film.

OK, it's up to you now.  We old dogs are eager to learn some new tricks!


All the best

PS Got a good idea from LZ.  If I get enough tips, I'll start organizing them into categories so they're easy to look up.  Plus I'll delete my "thanks" and other comments after a couple hours to keep this shorter.
Marvel's Kitchen
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Comments
Carrie 
Jan. 13, 2011 9:39 am
Hi Marvel! Good idea for a blog! My first tip would be to wash and trim your green onions and parsley as soon as you get them home. You can pre-chop if you like or not. Once they are all clean and ready for use, put in a tight sealing container (like a tupperware) with a piece of folded papertowel in the bottom. Last 3 times as long at least and makes putting a dish together super easy!
 
Jan. 13, 2011 9:47 am
Quick and easy roasted garlic- Put unpeeled cloves in your George Foreman or panini press (I have even used an old waffle iron) until they are golden and soft. Then just cut the end and squeeze the garlic out. I like to mash some up with olive oil and spread on my paninis.
 
Jan. 13, 2011 10:36 am
Found it

http://allrecipes.com/Cook/13440943/BlogEntry.aspx?postid=188618
 
Keri 
Jan. 13, 2011 10:39 am
To remove caked-on, burnt-on crud from pots and pans, fill with water so the food remnants are covered, add a couple drops of dish soap, and then bring to a boil on the stove. Let boil about 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and let it sit until the water has cooled just enough that you can stand to put your hands in in. Transfer the pot to the sink and wash as usual. The caked on crud will come right off. You can also do this with baking dishes (just heat them up in the oven instead of on the stovetop) and crock pots (start with hot water and a couple drops of soap and heat on high for half an hour, then turn off and let cool).
 
Keri 
Jan. 13, 2011 10:40 am
To get all (or at least most) of the tomato paste out of the can, use the can opener to open the top. Remove the top and discard it. Then turn the can over and use the can opener to open the bottom. Use the bottom disk of metal to push the tomato paste through the opening in the top. This works with other semi-solid canned foods, like refried beans and cranberry sauce, too!
 
Jan. 13, 2011 10:50 am
Not a new tip, but one of my favorites: if you need to juice a lemon (or any citrus fruit), always zest it first. Store the zest in the freezer (I use those tiny plastic containers and just add more as I get it). Then, when you need a tsp. of zest in a recipe, it's waiting for you! Great blog - I'm adding you to my list!
 
Jan. 13, 2011 12:19 pm
Some years back, i had cooked a roast beef and when I went to make the gravy, it was not brown enogh for me. So, I took a couple of spoonsful from the brewed coffee we had that morning and added it to the roux I was making on the stove and VIOLA! I had a nice, dark gravy without a trace of coffee taste. This is my 'go-to' every time I make brown gravy and it works out well every time. Try it!
 
Jena 
Jan. 13, 2011 12:44 pm
Hi from someone still in Sioux City, Marvel! My microwave sure does get dirty, to make cleaning it easy I put a bowl of water into the microwave, adding some sliced lemons to the water, and put it on a medium setting for a few minutes. The crud softens up and clean up is as easy as wiping a cloth around the inside and the lemons make it smell terrific.
 
Mangel 
Jan. 13, 2011 2:44 pm
Marvel, what a great blog idea! I buy ground beef in bulk (on sale)and immediately make small meat loaves, hamburger patties, and then I cook the rest, drain, and freeze it all. I now have ground beef in three different recipe formats for use whenever I need/want it! @hazelnut: I love this idea! I don't know what I'd do w/o my "George". @Keri: Loving the zest freezing concept!
 
EAKE 
Jan. 13, 2011 3:50 pm
Cool blog, Marvel...couple of tips for making crusty, rustic, old world breads...true old world breads were made with very limited ingredients, many were just flour, water, yeast (starter) and salt, so choose a recipe that is not CRAZY full of ingredients...Knead bread by hand, KA mixers take a lot of the work out, but they break the gluten fibers, making for an inferior, rustic bread...the pull and crumb are NOT the same...For crustier bread, get rough with the dough! Stretch, punch, slap that bad boy!!!...and knead for at least 10 minutes...A baking stone is great for baking a crusty loaf but not a "must have", a cookie sheet dusted with cornmeal will suffice...Cook books will tell you to spray the oven with cold water right before putting the bread in and then a couple of times during baking, here's a little trick that I came up with that works just as well...just before you put in the bread, toss an ice cube on the floor of the oven, close door quickly, count to 5, put bread dough in...toss in another ice cube halfway through baking...the steam is going to crust that bread nicely...Now, for a truly authentic old world bread, a sourdough starter is the way to go, soooo, if you want to expand your bread baking, you might want to start experimenting in that direction...Just remember to have FUN :o) http://allrecipes.com/Cook/1449418/BlogEntry.aspx?postid=208528...OH...one more thing...do NOT cover or add anything(butter) to the baked bread when you take it out of the oven...let it cool completely on a wire rack in the open air...
 
Jan. 13, 2011 4:00 pm
When you buy celery, wash and prepare the ribs (cutting off the ends) then store in aluminum foil in your veggie drawer of refrigerator. It extends the crunch time for the celery by weeks.
 
Jan. 13, 2011 4:20 pm
Sick of cleaning up after a pot boils over? Put a wooden spoon across the pot when you are cooking pasta or something else prone to boil over and you won't have the problem. My teen niece told me this one and I didn't believe her until she proved it to me.
 
pattyD 
Jan. 13, 2011 4:26 pm
My little tip is when you buy ground beef in bulk, divide it into one pound packages. Put each pound of beef into a large zip lock bag, flatten the beef as thin as possible and stack into the freezer. The beef thaws out very quickly and takes up less space in the freezer.
 
Leslie 
Jan. 13, 2011 4:48 pm
If you want to sanitize your sponge, stick it in the microwave and nuke for 1 minute on high. Kills any germs.
 
Mamaw1 
Jan. 13, 2011 4:48 pm
Great blog. Why isn't it in top 5?? A tip, from friend who worked in college frat house kitchen: When browning ground beef in lg. amounts, add some water to the large (or small) skillet of meat. This helps quickly break down the HB, for ease in browning. PattyD - the "bag it flat" tip works well for almost anything you can freeze. Place bags on cookie sheet until frozen, then stack.
 
Kitten 
Jan. 13, 2011 4:49 pm
If you get something too salty or sweet or sour. Remember, there are 4 major tastes, they are bitter, sweet, sour and salty. changing one will change the other. Example- a lemon made into lemon juice is undrimkable because it is to sour. Add some sugar and it looses some of its' sourness. If you get too much salt in your dish, change one of the other or all the other flavors and it will change the saltiness. It doesn't change the taste so much as it changes the way our taste buds preceive the taste. Some will tlll you to add a chopped potato to a pot of liquid, sauce, soup, stew, to take out too much salt. It doesn't take out the salt but a potato is a starch. Our bodies preceive a starch as a sugar, and it lessens the taste of the salt. If it too sour, add a sweetner, if it is too sweet, as sour and/salt. Changing one of the main four flavors will change the others.
 
Kitten 
Jan. 13, 2011 4:52 pm
To make restaurant style hash browns from fresh potatoes. Peel or not and grate the potatoes either inot cold water or dump into cold water immediately after shredding. Let sit for a short time, discard water, rinse then drain the water off. Pour potatoes onto a tea towel or paper towling to absorb last of the water and then add to griddle or skillet. The shreds will not fry without sticking together. The starch that you've rinsed off is what caused the potaotes to stick together.
 
Kitten 
Jan. 13, 2011 4:53 pm
Don't start dried beans to cooking with a tomato product of any kind in the water. The acid will stop the beans from getting soft. You can cook the beans for ever and they will not soften.
 
Mamaw1 
Jan. 13, 2011 4:54 pm
Marvel's Kitchen: True. Snow/cold weather is great for an extra refrigerator. When we have large gatherings in the winter, I often set things out on the patio to keep cold or to chill. (IN weather is good for something!)
 
Kitten 
Jan. 13, 2011 5:25 pm
Excuse me, Up there on teh hash brown tips. rinsing the shredded potatoes in cold water will remove the sticky starch and as I erroneously put in above. "...the shredded potatoes will not fry into restaurant style hash brown without sticking in one massive lump." Sorry about that.
 
Kitten 
Jan. 13, 2011 5:30 pm
When cooking something deciding on whether to cover or not. If you want it to simmer and not run out of liquid, pot the lid on. If you wnt to boil it donw and concentrate the flavor and make a reduction of the liquid, then it's no lid.
 
Jan. 13, 2011 6:47 pm
Not sure if this helps (or is even conventional) but when I'm in a mad rush, I'll cut whatever can be with sharp kitchem shears. Works with green onions and fresh herbs mostly. And you can save time by cutting them right over the pan/pot/bowl. I'm loving this blog! Thanks!
 
Jan. 13, 2011 8:17 pm
I like to freeze pesto in ice cube trays in the summer when I have fresh basil. Then I can take out a few cubes to add to sauces, etc. I do the same with leftover coffee to add to iced coffee. Just store them in freezer bags after they freeze and pull out what you need. *~*~* Keri, I use that tomato paste "trick" every time...I don't remember when I first heard about it.
 
Jan. 13, 2011 8:26 pm
I do the same thing but with opened bottles of wine. If you pour into an ice cube tray then you can use later for soups and sauces. Just pop out of the tray and put in baggies.
 
Anissa 
Jan. 13, 2011 8:27 pm
One of my time savers is when green, red, yellow peppers are on ale or clearance in the produce dept, buu a buch, cut into strips and freeze in ziploc bags. So easy to grab a handful when you need it for a recipe instead of running to the store and paying a dollar a pepper...Welcome Marvel and thanks for this great blog!
 
Jan. 13, 2011 8:30 pm
When using honey or any sticky liquid in a recipe use a metal spoon ad dip it in hot water first. It will slide right off of the spoon and not leave a sticky mess
 
Jan. 13, 2011 8:32 pm
When your dishwasher is finished washing and is on the drying cycle, jerk the top rack out a little and push back in fast...this gets all the water off the tops of tharn darn coffee mugs that hold water. Do it to the bottom rack too. Close it and let it finish the dry cycle and you will have no more surprise sloshes when you go to grab a mug out of the dishwasher!
 
Jan. 13, 2011 8:39 pm
Since i no longer drink, I buy wine in those little four-packs with screw-top lids tomuse for cooking. Keeps a long, long time in the pantry.
 
weeble 
Jan. 13, 2011 9:40 pm
USED DRYER SHEETS....i always add this one to the household tips lists! use your used dryer sheets to clean up a sticky, baked on messy pan/dish by filling the pan/dish with hot soapy water, drop the used dryer sheet in and soak until you've finished cleaning up your kitchen, then take the dryer sheet and wipe your pan/dish clean! works every time :) btw, great blog marvel!
 
Kitten 
Jan. 13, 2011 11:57 pm
One usually buys the bath/bar soap they do because they like the smell. Take advantage of that smaell by unwrapping the bars of soap and placing them in linen cabinets, in the socks drawers, unwrap a couple of bars and place in a pretty dish on the vanity or on a dresser. You purchased them for their scent, well, take advantage of that scent you like so much.
 
Kitten 
Jan. 14, 2011 12:02 am
When I buy celery, I always buy two bunches. One I use for cooking and one for removing individual stalks and eating or appetizer plates. The one I use for cooking, I don't open it up or remove any stalks. When I need some celery, I just get a good grip on the entire bunch of celery and slice through the whole think in about 1/3 inch slices across the bunch. When I get enough, I drop the celery bunch back in the bag for the next time. You can just keep slicing off celery and even when you get down to the root, scrub that and throw it in your soup for flavor. There is a ot of flavor left in that celery root. This way, none of the celery bunch get wasted.
 
Kitten 
Jan. 14, 2011 12:16 am
The first of each month I buy a fresh bunch or two of parsley, cilantro and Italian parsley. At home I rinse the one bunch, spread it out on paper towels in a cookie sheet and then cover loosley with paper towel to keep the dust off and put them in an out of the way place to dry. When they are dry I crumble them and put in a container and add another bunch to dry. That way I always have parsley and cilantro and I know what is in it and how fresh it is.
 
Don 
Jan. 14, 2011 1:45 am
Hi, to freeze herbs like coriander(cilanto) and basil. take a leaf, put in an ice cube tray cover with water and freeze. will keep for up to 3 months but usually used mine withun 6 weeks. Cheers.
 
Kim 
Jan. 14, 2011 2:04 am
Whenever I make cupcakes I always manage to stick my oven mitt in one of the cupcakes. If you leave one of the cupcake wells unfilled, you have a perfect spot to grab on to without leaving an oven mitt thumbprint in your treat.
 
Jan. 14, 2011 4:11 am
If you want to make guacamole ahead of time for a crowd, or if you have some left over, put it in the tallest, thinnest container you have, spread a thin layer of mayonnaise over it and cover it. When ready to use, simply mix the mayo in with it. Will keep guacamole fresh!
 
Jan. 14, 2011 4:13 am
Fresh cilantro will stay fresh and green a long time if when you get it home from the store, leave it in a bunch and set it into a pint canning jar half full of water. Then cover the whole thing with a plastic bag and secure with a rubber band around the jar. Stays fresh for many, many days.
 
Jan. 14, 2011 4:59 am
I often have leftovers that I package up for my 70 year old father who lives alone. I always put them in the tupperware while they are warm and not hot and let them cool before placing a piece of bread on top and sealing. You let it cool so it doesn't get as much condensation and the bread is so that it absorbs just enough of the moisture to keep it fresh for almost 2 weeks. I never know how much time it is going to spend in his fridge so this is a great trick for us! Just make sure they know the piece of bread is NOT part of the meal... funny.... but not something you want to eat..
 
Jan. 14, 2011 5:33 am
When making pasta you have to let the water boil. To prevent the water from boiling over you only need to lay a wooden spoon over the top of the pan. WaaLaa...the bubbly froth will not spill over the side!!
 
Jan. 14, 2011 5:46 am
Put an onion in the fridge and chill it before you cut it. It won't bring tears to yours eyes when you go to cut it.
 
Bibi 
Jan. 14, 2011 5:49 am
Good Morning! To store fresh asparagus, stand it upright in a container with 1/2" of water in it. Place it in the refrigerator, then put a plastic bag over it, loosely forming a tent over the asparagus and the container. (Just remember not to disturb the container, or you will spill the water!) Change the water after 24 hours if you haven't used the asparagus.
 
Ranunkel 
Jan. 14, 2011 6:14 am
When in a hurry put your bread dough in the microwave oven on high for 10 sec. Leave it for 10 min. Then microwave again for 10 sec. Now you are ready to shape into bread or buns. For recipes with very little yeast repeat step 2 and 3.
 
GvlGirl 
Jan. 14, 2011 7:06 am
I keep a plastic container in the freezer for leftovers. Even a small handful of green beans or almost anything I let completely cool and toss it in. Those really ugly layers of seasoned vegetables make really good vegetable soup.
 
Jan. 14, 2011 7:10 am
Lining your baking sheets with parchment paper before baking cookies, a meatloaf, meatballs etc. sure makes for easy removal and clean-up. When baking cupcakes or muffins spray your paper/foil liners with non-stick spray and your goodies won't stick to the paper. Thanks for another great blog! We should combine these wonderful kitchen tips with redneck gramma's terrific household tips blog from a few days ago.
 
Mamaw1 
Jan. 14, 2011 7:30 am
Kitten, re. storing bath soap: In addition to the great smell for clothes drawers, etc., by unwrapping the bars and storing them for a while, the soap bars harden, and last so much longer when you do use them. No limit on storage time. You will always have bath soap ready to go. Buy when on sale. To be really frugal, keep the small pieces of soap, stick them together when wet to form a larger piece, let dry, or collect the pieces in a small net/mesh bag, and use the bag for bathing.
 
Jan. 14, 2011 7:51 am
When you buy a bunch of cilantro, parsley or other fresh herbs, cut the root ends of the bunch and stick it in a short glass of fresh water. Cover loosely with the plastic bag from the store. I find this keeps my herbs fresher and "perkier", easy to snip off what I need, too! Great blog, I'll be back to check out more ideas! *tink*
 
Jan. 14, 2011 8:38 am
When making dishes with cilantro, I mince the root and make a paste with a little salt and add it to the dish... it really turns up the flavor!
 
covergirl 
Jan. 14, 2011 8:53 am
If you find when using your slow cooker that foods get too watery, try draping a clean kitchen towel over the top of the open crockpot (should drape over on all sides) and then place the lid on top. The towel wicks up a lot of the steamy condensation instead of it dripping back into the food. Works for me!
 
Jan. 14, 2011 8:55 am
If anybody is interested here's a link to the household tips blog. All of this is such wonderful information for both young and old a like. Thank you Marvel for thinking of this and welcome to AR! http://allrecipes.com/Cook/13447685/BlogEntry.aspx?postid=215323
 
covergirl 
Jan. 14, 2011 8:58 am
Meatballs tough? Use wet bread, just wet the bread with either milk or water and break up into small pieces, crust and all, into your uncooked meat mixture. English muffins work too. Get em good and wet though. A tip I learned from my emigree Italian grandmother.
 
cinditd 
Jan. 14, 2011 9:06 am
Love this blog!! When using canned fruit or veggies that you will be draining the liquid from, turn the can upside down for a few hours and all the liquid goes to "the top" of the can and makes for easier draining! I, also, run my sponges & dish brushes thru the dishwasher when I run it and they come out clean & disinfected!
 
Jan. 14, 2011 9:53 am
If you buy brown sugar in the large economy size, it may start to harden before you use it all. To soften the brown sugar and make it malleable again, just put a slice(s)of bread on the sugar and close the box (bag) back up. In a day or 2, you'll have soft brown sugar again.
 
Jan. 14, 2011 9:53 am
great blog, it takes reading tips for me to think of tips. When baking 1 crust pie crusts, place a layer of tinfoil or parchment on the crust, throw in a handful of dried beans and bake. This keeps the crust flat. Remove the beans and store in a plastic container for next time. Lemons and limes juice better if warm-place in a glass of hot water before cutting and juicing them.
 
Jan. 14, 2011 9:55 am
also do not store apples with other fruits or near potatoes-apples give off a gas that makes other fruit ripen quicker and potatoes will grow sprouts sooner. Cucumbers with other veggies has the same reaction. So store them in separate.
 
Jan. 14, 2011 9:57 am
if your white sugar gets very hard because of moisture, use it to feed the hummingbirds-1 cup sugar to 1 1/2 cups water, boil to dissolve the sugar, then cool. This is very sweet for them and you will hoard all the hummingbirds on your block. I will stop now:)
 
Suzy Homemaker 
Jan. 14, 2011 10:21 am
A friend was kind of nice to bring a large ziplock of cookies over and inside was a slice of bread. I can't believe how much longer those cookies stayed moist and fresh! It's now an official "trick" in our house.
 
Jan. 14, 2011 10:27 am
To keep your Tupperware or other plastic containers in like new condition, here are a few tips: 1) let foods cool somewhat before putting into the container, especially those that are tomato based or have a high fat content. 2) avoid the microwave, and if you do reheat in the microwave, remove the lids to avoid warping them. 3) when washing plastic containers, rinse them out first in lukewarm, or cooler, soapy water; plunging them into hot water first thing will bind the stain to the plastic. After you've rinsed it out, feel free to use as much hot water as you want.
 
Jan. 14, 2011 11:04 am
My Best Tip today: When you have yogurt (homemade or other) that is runnier than you wish, spoon yogurt into a large tea strainer (or other fine mesh strainer) in a tumbler or bowl, cover with plastic, refrigerate for an hour and the whey will drain into the container... voila... creamy, thick yogurt/yogurt cheese
 
Jan. 14, 2011 11:25 am
When honey crystalizes, just warm it up and they will go away (temporarily)then you can use. I have bought honey that has done this and it seems it always goes back to the crystal state.
 
Skoo 
Jan. 14, 2011 11:36 am
When chopping veggies, onions, and garlic save the ends or peels or unwanted parts in a bag in the freezer. If you buy a rotisserie chicken, or debone a chicken, save the bones in the freezer too. When you go to make homemade chicken stock take the bones and whatever veggies you want out of the freezer and roast in oven at 400 until nice and brown. Then proceed to make the stock. I learned this technique partly from the great chefs here! Thanks!
 
Skoo 
Jan. 14, 2011 11:37 am
To lower fat in muffins or quick breads use applesauce or yogurt for part of the oil
 
union_98 
Jan. 14, 2011 11:40 am
Great ideas! I used to add my seasonings at the end, when I had all ingredients included. Now I add seasoning to each layer which gives you a deeper flavor. For example, making stew. Brown your meat, add seasoning. Brown your veggies, add seasoning. Add your liquids, add seasoning. This is great when using dried herbs or seasonings. Just be aware that some seasonings are mostly salt so don't overdo it!
 
Kalex 
Jan. 14, 2011 11:55 am
Since there are only 2 of us whenever I make a batch of cookies I bake a few cookies then I freeze the rest of the dough balls on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Once frozen I store them in a ziplock or tupperware. This makes it easy to cook a couple at a time for a sweet craving, guests or when you need to take something somewhere. I bake them straight from the freezer and generally add a minute or two of bake time. Then they are always fresh and it's easy to have a variety on hand.
 
Momzie G 
Jan. 14, 2011 1:39 pm
Hi--- Use kitchen shears to cut pizza into smaller slices for little kids.
 
Mangel 
Jan. 14, 2011 3:38 pm
Gosh darn it! I knew I should have read this blog before I made the scratch kitchen soup that simmers as I type. Threw away all my onion, carrot, and celery ends. I'll remember for next time. Is there a way to print all this incredible information for future reference??? Thanks everyone for the great tips. Oh, I did remember to zest the orange I had with breakfast. I now have a tupper with zest in the freezer for, I'm thinking, Apple Bran Muffins???
 
Jan. 14, 2011 3:43 pm
To add to Kalex's comment: I make a double batch of cookies, put half the batch in a gallon zip seal freezer baggie, and roll it flat (with the seal partially open to let out air). I then seal it up and freeze it flat on a cookie sheet. When ready, cut and bake, just like the store-bought, but your favorite recipe. I can have many different types of cookie stacked in my freezer, ready to go at a moment's notice. (Great for Christmas cookie swaps too.)Great blog! Keep those tips coming, I'm still learning!
 
carolleb 
Jan. 14, 2011 4:36 pm
To use up heels of bread or old bread going stale, make toast, then butter, then pulse in food processor and voila! buttered crumbs. Freeze until needed.
 
Jan. 14, 2011 5:19 pm
When making boiled eggs throw a couple of tooth picks in the water to stop the eggs from cracking.
 
Jan. 14, 2011 5:21 pm
Sudsy/cludy ammonia is very cheap and great grease cutter. When I have extra greasy dishes (or a lot of dishes) I add a splash of ammonia in with the regular dish liquid. It improves the grease cutting ability and prolongs the 'life' of the water.
 
Jan. 14, 2011 5:24 pm
If you have more onions than you can use before they go bad whiz them in the food processor and freeze in small batches to add to burgers, meatballs, meat loaf or soups and sauces and no chopping needed.
 
Jan. 14, 2011 6:35 pm
When making cabbage rolls: Put the whole head of cabbage in the freezer until it is completely frozen, then defrost. The leaves will peel off with ease.
 
esanjays 
Jan. 14, 2011 6:49 pm
After you cut onions or garlic with a knife, to take that smell off your hands, just rub a piece of stainless steel faucet or maybe even the sink and that smell will no longer be on your hands. Love the tips! Thank you!
 
Jan. 14, 2011 7:33 pm
Not food or kitchen related. If the inside of your windshield frosts up, use a credit card as a scraper. It will do a faster and cleaner job than a typical scraper.
 
Jan. 14, 2011 8:04 pm
I make my own "PAM" cooking spray. I have 1 fine mist bottle for canola oil and 1 for olive oil. No more cans, no more running out unexpectedly!
 
Tia at home 
Jan. 15, 2011 5:09 am
I have a hint similar to the one about saving the leftover veggies for soups, etc. I do the same with meats. We always have one sausage or pork chop left over or maybe just a little bit of taco meat. I save it in a medium ziploc labeled as leftover meat and put it in the freezer. When it is full, I grind it up, add to tomato sauce with spices and veggies as needed (mirepoix, garlic) Makes a great spaghetti sauce
 
deb48 
Jan. 15, 2011 5:36 am
Thanks so much for all the tips. I copied and pasted them in my cooking file. One tip I have is, when using a crockpot I always put a paper towel between the lid and pot so the mositure does not go into the recipe.
 
Jan. 15, 2011 5:43 am
Before throwing away lemons that I've juiced and zested, I sprinkle the inside with salt and rub on my copper bottom pans... shines them right up without chemicals and for free
 
Jan. 15, 2011 6:03 am
Best Tip for today. Add roasted chicory root to your coffee or instead of coffee) for a different flavor. It's more soluable then coffee so it goes farther. A favorite of poor French $tudents :)
 
Jan. 15, 2011 7:11 am
When making cream pies, sprinkle the baked crust with powdered sugar - prevents crust from becoming soggy. Great blog! I love learning from others!
 
ragnild 
Jan. 15, 2011 9:04 am
While preparing a meal I have a plastic shopping bag ready for scraps/trash and when finished I toss the bag.
 
ragnild 
Jan. 15, 2011 9:06 am
I put baking soda and water in baked-on-pans on the stove, and boil for a few minutes.
 
kparis 
Jan. 15, 2011 9:16 am
Hey Carrie, I buy the green onions, pre-dice them and put them in the freezer in a tupperware container. When its time to use them for soups or any of my meals I bang my container a little to loosen them (which they loosed easily)and use them straigt from the freezer, they last up to 6 months!!
 
Ema 
Jan. 15, 2011 9:29 am
Love this site! When making stew/soup,I use instant potatoes to thicken the broth rather than flour. No lumps or flour flavor. Just stir in to boiling broth at the end of cooking time, cook for 5 minutes.I use about a cup of flakes to a pint of broth. (Very approximate.) I don't measure much.
 
Tommie Jo 
Jan. 15, 2011 9:57 am
In years past I always thought hot soap and water was best for soaking a dirty pan or skillet. The instructions with my stainless cookware said soak in cold water to remove cooked on food. It does work well and fast-- and I have now done that for 30 years or so--works on other containers as well. Part of the trick is to not let the pot residue dry on, get at it soon. It is amazing how a dishwasher will do this very well. The trick here is not to let them automatic dry or a little residue that is left will dry on. Usually a dry spot comes off easily though.
 
kparis 
Jan. 15, 2011 10:05 am
Tip for boiling eggs without them cracking. Place eggs in cold water on the stove, once they come to a boil, take off the heat and cover for 15 minutes. Perfect hard boiled eggs.
 
Ema 
Jan. 15, 2011 10:10 am
kparis,may I add that dropping the eggs into a bowl if ice water, makes them a snap to peel?
 
Jan. 15, 2011 10:13 am
When cooking saucy dishes on the stovetop, be sure to taste test regularly, and pay special attention to the saltiness. Too little can make many dishes taste bland, especially curries. This may be so obvious to the pro's out there, but novices don't always realize how important this is - just following the recipe doesn't usually cut it.
 
Kitluca5 
Jan. 15, 2011 10:35 am
I just want to thank everyone for their helpful tips! I save the leftover hot dog/hamburger buns for garlic bread. You can freeze these until you are ready to use. Let the frozen buns thaw for an hour or so ~ spread with butter and sprinkle garlic powder powder on top. Broil to toast the buns and you have delicious garlic bread!
 
Jan. 15, 2011 10:46 am
If while cooking, your sauce has become too salty, add lemon juice to neutralize the salt - the other option is to add sweetness (white sugar, brown sugar, honey). Rather you add lemon or sweetness - depends on the end result you're going for. Usually this will save an over salted recipe.
 
Jan. 15, 2011 10:48 am
Being a single guy it's hard to buy fresh veggies cooking for one and not have the leftover veggies go bad. So I usually buy a few different bags of frozen veggie blends so I always have any type of veggie a recipe may call for. I can just grab a handful of whatever I need and put it back in the freezer.
 
Don 
Jan. 15, 2011 12:04 pm
Hi, whatever, stick free rice, basically any kind. cheers. White (BASMATI) Rice White rice is easy. Forget what it says on packets. 1. Always use long grain (1 teacup for 3 people) (I prefer Basmati for perfumed smell, flavour and taste); 2. Rinse rice in a sieve in cold water 3. Fill a large pot to ¾ with water, add salt and at least 25 g butter and bring to boil; 4. Add rice, stirring well to avoid any sticking, the butter helps in this respect 5. Cover, bring back to boil and simmer for 10/12 mins until rice is soft but still has a slight bite 6. Meanwhile boil water in a kettle; 7. After 10/12 minutes, drain rice in sieve then pour over with hot water from kettle; 8. Stir with fork; Stick free rice.
 
Jan. 15, 2011 12:11 pm
Keep a roll of blue painters tape and a sharpie nearby. I use it to label EVERYTHING with contents and date. It sticks to ziplocks, plastic tubs and foil in the fridge,freezer and pantry.It removes easily without a sticky residue. It keeps you from wondering what is the mystery meat in the freezer.
 
damjohnsons 
Jan. 15, 2011 12:12 pm
W hen making a veggie pizza I get few pieces of broccoli and cauliflower from the deli. No extras to use up! Love this blog:)
 
Don 
Jan. 15, 2011 12:20 pm
Hi, use a mixture of pork mince and beef mince (60 to 40 approx)Mixta in Spain to make real tasty hamburgers. The pork mince greatly adds to the flavour and what a difference. Cheers.
 
Mary @ 48 
Jan. 15, 2011 12:21 pm
A slick trick for greasing pans without a fatty feel is to use liquid lecithin. It makes cookies and other items slide right off the pan.
 
Mary @ 48 
Jan. 15, 2011 12:23 pm
My Grandma Mary taught me to put cold water into bowls that have sticky floury stuff stuck from mixing bread and other dough. The cold water dissolves the dough and makes washing go faster.
 
Mary @ 48 
Jan. 15, 2011 12:25 pm
After you eat crab or other shellfish, freeze the shells in a bag until the garbage man comes.
 
Becky 
Jan. 15, 2011 12:25 pm
I wrap clerey in aluminum foil. It stays fresh forever -- no more limp celery.
 
Mary @ 48 
Jan. 15, 2011 12:27 pm
I learned an old Chinese trick in cooking class. When you don't have a knife sharpener handy, use the bottom of a ceramic mug or cup. The ceramic part will make the knife sharper quickly.
 
Don 
Jan. 15, 2011 12:31 pm
Hi, keep the smell of cut onions away in fridge.. Wrap cut or part onion in cling film, then wrap in kitchen foil. No smell in fridge. Cheers.
 
Cindy 
Jan. 15, 2011 1:34 pm
If your pans have discolored cover stained area with water. Add 1T of Cream of Tarter for each cup of water. and Boil for 10 minutes.
 
Mary @ 48 
Jan. 15, 2011 2:12 pm
Mom taught me the secret ingredient for meat loaf! Use poultry seasoning and your meatloaf will be a giant hit.
 
kalamela 
Jan. 15, 2011 2:18 pm
I use leftover hot dog or hamburger buns for mini pizzas.
 
Jan. 15, 2011 2:28 pm
When slicing anything in a loaf shape, keep your eye on what you're cutting from (not the slice you're cutting). Every slice will be even
 
C1PNR 
Jan. 15, 2011 2:44 pm
To be sure I always have an empty bag for peelings, etc., as ragnild mentioned, I kept an empty Kleenix box and now stuff those nifty thin plastic produce bags into it. It's almost as easy as pulling out another Kleenix.
 
Grams 
Jan. 15, 2011 2:48 pm
Variation on freezing zest: Buy extra citrus when on sale and zest and juice into ice cube trays. (pop out once frozen, label and store in freezer bags) Variety of citrus available. Just put a zest filled juicy ice cube into whatever needs a little citrus pop!
 
C1PNR 
Jan. 15, 2011 2:50 pm
Oh yeah, if you have an older lemon or lime that's getting pretty hard, just microwave it for about 15 to 20 seconds on High. The juice is now available for whatever you need. And everyone knows to roll them on a hard surface for a few seconds to loosen the juice.
 
GranJan 
Jan. 15, 2011 3:33 pm
Leave the tea bag in the leftover iced tea when storing in the refrigerator. Your tea will not become cloudy. It works for me.
 
Mamaw1 
Jan. 15, 2011 3:52 pm
Thanks, kparis. Here's 2 added steps for boiled eggs: 1) DO NOT USE REALLY FRESH EGGS. They won't peel easily. 2)Put eggs in cold water, bring to boil, cover& turn off, let set 15 minutes. 3)Then drain hot water (use lid), set pan in sink, shake pan to crack eggs, run cold water over eggs, until water cools, shake pan again, making sure eggs are cracked, to let cold water in. Let set a bit. They will peel almost perfectly. This is a great blog. So many wonderful ideas being shared. Thanks!
 
tanyaj 
Jan. 15, 2011 4:42 pm
microwave brown sugar to soften - easy peasy!
 
tanyaj 
Jan. 15, 2011 4:49 pm
spray your tupperware with PAM before adding red sauces to avoid staining
 
mcgrath 
Jan. 15, 2011 4:58 pm
Another way to remove caked on food is to put the pot on the stove and add a carbonated beverage and simmer. The stuff comes right off!
 
Jan. 15, 2011 5:26 pm
Our microwave at work was disgusting so I poured 1/2 cup of vinegar into a cup,added water then turned it on for 3 mins. I got busy and forgot about it for an hour or so but when I went back it wiped off with ease. I have used vinegar to clean my kettle but never the microwave. It did a great job!
 
Jan. 15, 2011 7:54 pm
When measuring out sticky ingredients like corn syrup or honey, spray the measuring cup with some Pam or similar non-stick spray. The corn syrup will slide right out without you having to use a utensil (and get that all sticky too).
 
Jan. 15, 2011 8:35 pm
I freeze the leftover water from my pots after I cook or steam veggies (in freezer-proof plastic containers). A great addition to soups instead of plain water, and cheaper than using a lot of stock.
 
Racytracey 
Jan. 15, 2011 8:41 pm
When blueberries are in high season, I buy a bunch and freeze - without washing! By not getting them wet before freezing, they stay in better shape. A quick rinse to clean them pretty much thaws them at the same time!
 
LPK 
Jan. 16, 2011 3:02 am
When boiling fresh root vegetables (ones that grow below the ground (i.e, potatoes, carrots, etc.) always start in cold water and above the ground fresh vegetables in boiling water.
 
Jan. 16, 2011 5:01 am
Use whole peppercorns to flavor light colored soups and stews. No black specks and if you count them when you put them in, you can take them all out before serving.
 
Jeaneli 
Jan. 16, 2011 5:59 am
To Make your broadleaf house plants shine...use the inside fleshy side of banana skins to wipe each leaf before you discard the peel.
 
Jan. 16, 2011 6:38 am
To lessen the amount of splatter when frying, sprinkle a little salt (kosher is best) over the oil before adding the food item.
 
Lefty 
Jan. 16, 2011 8:26 am
Great blog. When you need to tie a whole chicken for rotisserie or for a beer can chicken, use unwaxed dental floss. Also good for tieing up any meats. There's a lot of floss on one of those rolls and doesn't take up much room in a kitchen drawer.
 
Gerry 
Jan. 16, 2011 8:55 am
Instead of having one of those small cans of tomato paste going bad in the fridge,empty it onto a piece of plastic wrap, covering it with the plastic,roll it into a log,Swirl the ends and freeze.When you need some,zap it for 10 sec.in microwave and slice off as needed.I Also do this with my roasted garlic paste every time I roast a kilo of garlic..works great. Extra citrus fruits? wash,dry, and cut in wedges,then freeze on cookie sheet.Once frozen store in ziplock bags,Zest and juices can be used.
 
Jan. 16, 2011 9:58 am
When going to purchase a new refrigerator (heaves heavy sigh), be sure to bring along one of your usual drinking glasses. This was you can make sure the bloody thing fits under the water dispenser (I hate my new fridge for just that reason ... rolls eyes).
 
Jan. 16, 2011 10:46 am
OKay three frugal tips from me. One, put those Clorox scrubbing sheets into the bottom of the trash can. It keeps the plastic from getting stinky and disinfects from the trash. Something always ends up leaking. Two, soak dried beans overnight. Rinse and drain. Put into a crockpot with plenty of water and cook on low all day. You can freeze what you don't want and use the rest. I discovered this after burning beans on the stovetop more than once. This is mostly due to my ADD and a very busy household. It is dummie-proofed. Third tip, keep a gallon sized ice cream bucket for veggie scraps. I will toss in cut veggies that have been the fridge for a couple of days. Celery tops and broccoli stems. When dinner is over there might be a couple of bites of corn, peas, green beans, etc. I put that into the bucket. After making a roast, I will add the used bones. At the end of the month when I am out of food budget money, I have most of the fixings for a nearly free pot of veggie soup or stock makings.
 
Jan. 16, 2011 10:48 am
Freeze your nuts. It keeps the oils from going rancid.
 
Gerry 
Jan. 16, 2011 11:53 am
When measuring butter,margarine,shortening etc.line your measuring cup with plastic wrap.Fill as needed,then pull the wrap up and out,empty,then discard the plastic wrap,eliminates a messy cup to clean...
 
Jan. 16, 2011 12:23 pm
Lefty, It's also good for cutting soft cheeses!
 
herbiesprincess 
Jan. 16, 2011 12:24 pm
SERIOUSLY GREAT tips yall! - since I'm lucky enough to live in so. cal. we freeze our citrus juice in ice cube trays & label zip top bags for easy use later. i also make pastes of garlic, cilantro, basil, mint, etc & use candy molds to freeze. if you buy pre chopped veggies (mirpoix) on sale these can be frozen for quick use too.
 
Jan. 16, 2011 12:56 pm
i worked in a cafe once- and the best tip i learned there was- a tsp. of lemon juice in your rice-- it will not boil over( you do not taste the lemon)
 
JerseyJohn 
Jan. 16, 2011 1:26 pm
My tip is for all of those with ceramic cook tops. I originally thought that having a ceramic cook top on my oven would make cleaning up spills a snap. After buying one I realized that anytime I cook something I'm almost always left with brown stains especially spills that burn on instantly all over my white cooktop. I used to buy that expensive cooktop cleaner that all of the manufacturers recommend when you purchase the appliance. Since then I've discovered that a paste of baking soda (scratch safe) will do the job better and cheaper. Besides the fact that baking soda neutralizes acids from sugary spills that can chemically etch your cook top. Just dampen the stains and sprinkle on the baking soda, take a dampened paper towel and scrub. (tip) don't get it too wet you only need enough moisture to hold the paste together. When done just wipe off with a clean damp paper towel to get rid of the residue. My cooktop is over 5 years old and it still looks pretty good, almost new! Someone else already mentioned about boiling baking soda and water in pots and pans that have burned on food. I've tried that and it worked well for me also. But my usual "Go-to" remedy for burnt pots (Stainless steel or enameled aluminum is soaking them in hot water (has to be hot to disolve the powder)and about a tablespoon of powdered dishwasher detergent. This can be hard on your hands if you don't drain the water/detergent out before scrubbing. Never use dishwasher detergent on uncoated aluninum because it can damage it. Stick to the baking soda or liquid dish soap for that.
 
Jan. 16, 2011 1:52 pm
I love making smoothies and milkshakes, but hate taking my blender apart to clean it out after the fact. So now I do this instead: immediately after using it, I put a little hot water and dish soap in the blender, cover with the lid, and blend for a few seconds. Pour out the soapy mixture, rinse with hot water, and then invert on a tea towel to dry. Voila! A clean blender with minimal effort!
 
Purple 
Jan. 16, 2011 2:09 pm
Muffin tins are really handy for serving sizes. I make mini meatloaves,cheescakes just about anything in them even shepherds pie and it helps you to not overeat. Another tip is in greasing a baking pan I use the wrapper from the butter or margarine to coat the tin. Usually my hand stays clean also. Use fancy spare tiles to place hot items on. There are so many to remember at once.
 
Jan. 16, 2011 4:18 pm
Great tips people! These tips would make a wonderful gift for a new bride...tips on recipe cards that are scrapped or stamped, and bound at an office supply store...but that's not my tip. I look for sales on bottom round roasts and when I spot them i buy in bulk and take it home and remove the fat cut it into cubes and grind it in my food processor. I also do what previous posters suggest and flatten the GB so that they store easily in the freezer. hamburger patties? use an ice cream scoop and drop them in glad sandwich bags then seal and flatten with a plate and they are a nice round shape. Just scored a couple of nice roasts for $1.99/lb...ground round for that price...PRICELESS
 
Jan. 16, 2011 4:24 pm
Before you boil potatoes for potato salad, run a paring knife around the potato. Then cook and instead of peeling the cooked potato you just slip the potato out of the loosened skin. Too cook eggs for potato salad, just poach the egg until hard. No hard boiled egg to peel:)
 
Jan. 16, 2011 4:25 pm
meant "to cook eggs"
 
Jan. 16, 2011 4:34 pm
To use up stale or leftover savory or garlic breads, I make an egg wash (like french toast egg wash) with eggs, milk, ranch or caesar dressing and a little parmesan. I then dip the slices and pan fry for a savory french toast to go with dinner. This can also be done when making sandwiches with leftover or stale bread.
 
Jan. 16, 2011 5:22 pm
When reheating leftover beef in the microwave (such as a roast), pour a splash of milk on it & it will be just as tender as when you first made it -without any dry spots. I've done this with all 4 kinds of cow's milk with equal success. I've never tried it with non-cow milk (sorry).
 
Jan. 16, 2011 5:35 pm
I always save my veggie cuttings in the freezer for veg stock, as others suggested, but don't throw out those shellfish shells either! You could boil them to make a fish stock. Store like other frozen stocks in cubes and now you have something for poached fish or fish chowder, etc.
 
Viki 
Jan. 16, 2011 6:46 pm
WHAT A GREAT BLOG! 2 from me: 1. Actually, this is my Mom's: Whenever she's slicing strawberries, she saves the caps in a freezer bag. When the bag is full, she cooks them down and squeezes them for the juice, which she uses to make jelly. 2. Living in State College, PA, we host lots of guests for Penn State football weekends and invariably have leftover chips, pretzels, crackers, cheezeits, tortilla chips, you name it . . .When they get stale and/or if there's only a handful of crumblies in the bottom of the bag, I throw them in a bag in the freezer. When the bag gets full, I pour all of them into the food processor. Presto: Flavored breadcrumbs! I keep the bag of breadcrumbs in the freezer too.
 
tiggeraholic 
Jan. 16, 2011 7:13 pm
If you forget to turn the coffee pot off and it burns, take a tbspn of salt and some crushed ice and shake it around, It will loosenen the burnt coffee. rinse and repeat one more time if necessary.
 
Mamaw1 
Jan. 16, 2011 7:25 pm
Lefty and Marvel, dental floss is great for cutting decorated cakes, esp. sheet ones, without making a mess of the cake and you. Wrap a length of floss (sufficient to cut width or length of cake) around index finger of each hand, (as for flossing) saw/push down through length or width of cake to the bottom, release one end, pull floss through, and begin next cut (2 hands, until cake is cut. Clean cuts, undisturbed decorations, and little mess. Just have something ready to wipe off your fingers when done. Thanks for all the good hints, everyone.
 
Stacy 
Jan. 16, 2011 7:37 pm
I use those leftover bread pieces to make my own breadcrumbs. Toast in my toaster oven and go about my day. Come back later and the bread is completely dry, ready to be made into breadcrumbs. Adding my own flavors. Also ~ to keep brown sugar from getting hard I keep mine inside a large ziplock bag in the fridge.
 
MsVal 
Jan. 16, 2011 10:24 pm
Being single I can never finish an entire bunch of asparagus in one meal. When I get it home from the market, I treat it as if I'm preserving a fresh bouquet. I trim off approx. 1/4" across the bottom of the bunch then stand it upright in a widemouth vase with a little water and cover the entire bouquet with the inverted produce bag to keep in the fridge. This way, if I change the water daily, I can use a few stalks at a time over 3 or 4 days with no loss of quality. Thanks for this awesome blog, Marvel! And thank you to everyone else for all the fantastic tips, too!
 
Jan. 16, 2011 11:27 pm
When you have to measure peanut butter, put some water in a measuring cup, and spoon the peanut butter into the cup. The water will be displaced, so you just watch how much water is displaced, and you know when you have the right amount of peanut butter. Example, put 1 cup of water in the cup. As you add peanut butter, when the water line reaches 1 and 1/4 cup, you have 1/4 cup of peanut butter. Just pour off the water, and you've got your peanut butter for your recipe.
 
Don 
Jan. 17, 2011 2:01 am
Hi, freeze cheese like parmesan/cheddar etc. Once again, cut into size you wish, wrap in clingfilm then kitchen foil. will keep frozen for 3 months. will keep in fridge like that for a couple of weeks or so. Cheers.
 
Jan. 17, 2011 8:40 am
Don't throw away those hard crusty bits of ham. Put them in a tea ball and let them bump up the flavor in your soup and stews. The teaball is great for other flavorings you don't want necesarily to eat, eg peppercorns, rosemary needles, parsley stems, etc
 
Jan. 17, 2011 9:24 am
And here I thought AllRecipes was just a recipe database and exchange forum. Little did I realize we are surrounded by kitchen geniuses! Tons of good tips here.. and that wooden spoon boiling water tip is awesome.. can't wait to try it! Thanks to all for your tips.. when I have an hour, I'll pour over all of them once again! Great!
 
Jan. 17, 2011 9:24 am
To keep brown sugar moist, put in a slice of fresh bread to your container.. replace when it's dried out. Your sugar stays fresh!
 
ctrox 
Jan. 17, 2011 10:43 am
To grease a pan without getting my hands dirty, I use a sandwich bag as a "glove" to smear butter all over the pan, then slip off and turn inside out, throw away. No mess!
 
ctrox 
Jan. 17, 2011 10:44 am
We don't like to put tons of peelings down our sink, so I line the bottom of the kitchen sink with paper towels or a plastic grocery bag, peel away, then just bundle it all up and toss out. (Unless you want to keep those peelings for another use later!)
 
Jan. 17, 2011 12:27 pm
Some nice tips, good idea. Here is one for meatloaf. Save your bacon grease and grease your muffin tins with it. Your meatloaves should pop out easily and have a nice crustiness all the way around. Especially if you don't douse them with and ketchupy mixture.
 
MaryLamont 
Jan. 17, 2011 12:33 pm
If you drop an egg, sprinkle it with lots of salt, let it stand for a few minutes, and then you can scoop it right up to throw away.
 
Jan. 17, 2011 1:21 pm
What great tips! Thanks so much for sharing everyone.. Here are a few of mine. Happy Cooking! When separating eggs, break them into a funnel. The whites will go through leaving the yolk intact in the funnel. Drain deep fried foods on brown paper grocery bags as opposed to paper towels to retain crispness.
 
Jan. 17, 2011 1:46 pm
great tips! Today my tips deal with BANANAS: mine is to put your bananas in the fridge when they are at your desired ripeness, the skins get dark but the inside banana stays great for a much longer period of time!. Also when making banana nut bread I let the bananas sit out on the counter to get really brown before using them in the recipe, the browner they are the sweeter they make the bread! Also if they get brown but I don't have the time to make the bread, I will mash them and put them into quart sized freezer bags and freeze flat until ready to use-then thaw.
 
khill 
Jan. 17, 2011 2:33 pm
oh, now I see. Ok, here's mine: When potatoes start to get old, I cook them, add seasonings (salt,pepper,butter, etc), mash them and spoon into muffin tins. Then after I've frozen them in the muffin tins, I put them into freezer bags and take out as many as I need for a meal. Have also done this with a 5# bag just brought from store as a time-saver. Also do mini-meatloaves the same way. By the way, I hate to cook, so anything that saves time & effort is a godsend!
 
khill 
Jan. 17, 2011 2:35 pm
oh, forgot to mention, after removing from freezer bag,, pop into microwave to heat~ sometimes add a little milk, if needed.
 
sastartin 
Jan. 17, 2011 3:45 pm
clean with vinegar. counters, table tops, floors, just about anywhere. it kills germs and odors, and is also much safer than regular cleaning products - even the "natural" or "green" ones. this is especially good if you have kids or pets and are worried about harsh chemicals. the only time i use any bleach (or anything else) is for mold.
 
sastartin 
Jan. 17, 2011 3:47 pm
almost forgot: the odor-killing effects of vinegar is really great for kitchen odors - especially if you've burned something!
 
Sanja 
Jan. 17, 2011 4:41 pm
Great blog! Here's an oldie, but a goodie - if you go over bored on the salt in a dish, just add some sliced potato wedges to whatever you're cooking. Potatoes will easily soak up the excess salt from your dish. Also, store brown sugar in the freezer. But if your bag of brown sugar has already turned hard as a rock, place a slice of fresh bread in the package. After a few hours - voila! - your sugar will be as good as new!
 
rc 
Jan. 17, 2011 5:18 pm
test the seasoning of meatloaf by cooking a small piece in a skillet before you bake the entire loaf
 
Jan. 17, 2011 11:18 pm
When frying ground beef I always push the beef to one side and drop a folded paper towel into the pan. Use the spatula to move it around and soak up the grease then all I have to do is lift it out and toss away. No greasy lid from the regular draining or mess on the side of the pan that can catch fire or make a mess of your cook top.
 
Don 
Jan. 18, 2011 1:29 am
Hi, Bouquet Garni for chicken stock. other things can be used as want or required. Cheers. Bouquet Garni Wrap the green part of a leek loosely around a Bay Leaf, Sprig of Thyme, some Celery Leaves and a few stalks of Parsley; Tie together with string, leaving a long tail for easy removal.
 
bonniesue 
Jan. 18, 2011 3:02 am
To keep cookies soft and fresh or to make hard cookies soft, just add a piece of bread to your plate or covered container and cover with Plastic wrap...works every time!
 
Kriska 
Jan. 18, 2011 5:48 am
Absolutely wonderful ideas and suggestions, thanks so much to everyone!! My addition to this great site is for those of us who don't have garbage disposals, I keep a large tupperware tub in my freezer lined with a Tshirt bag from shopping and put all my "would be" smelly garbage in it in the freezer i.e., egg shells, banana peels, leftovers from dinner plates, onion peels, etc., even wet used scott towels which really seem to make my kitchen trash pail smell awful. In doing so my kitchen garbage pail remains smelling acceptable with only used paper products in it. I simply remove the Tshirt bag and toss it in with the rest of the trash on garbage day and neither I nor the garbage man has to deal with smelly garbage, from my house anyway.....
 
toy 
Jan. 18, 2011 6:16 am
when your boiling anything rub butter or margerin around the inside rim of the pot ,this will stop liqiud from boiling over
 
Jan. 18, 2011 7:27 am
To keep cheeses mold free, wrap loosely in a paper towel and store in a zip lock or an airtight container. I can keep a big chunk of Parmesan from Costco for over a year safely. You can also add a paper towel to the top of a container of blue cheese of feta for very long lasting freshness. No mold!
 
Jan. 18, 2011 9:56 am
I love to make soups, so not only do I save bones,shellfish skins and tails and veggies for stock, I ask friends to do the same. You'd be amazed at the meaty ham bones and lovely leftovers I get this way. I note who brought what and deliver a container of delightful homemade soup to them in thanks! I never lack the essential ingrediants for stock and have encouraged "non-cooks" to try a hand at making their own soups.
 
Jan. 18, 2011 10:43 am
Half my family likes mayo on sandwiches and half don`t.. I cut sandwiches with mayo diagonally and those without straight... No body has to peek or ends up with the wrong sandwich...
 
Jan. 18, 2011 11:43 am
Great tips! I save the wrappers from butter and margarine to use as pan greasers.
 
Jan. 18, 2011 11:47 am
Mom, Me, too... I fold them up and keep them in the freezer
 
Yaa 
Jan. 18, 2011 12:54 pm
These tips are probably going to sound really obvious, but they've made a real difference for me: - When my favorite bacon brand goes on sale I buy it in bulk and freeze in individually wrapped 2 or 3-slice packages. One package thaws in less than 30 minutes or 20 seconds if you pop it in the microwave. - If a recipe calls for one spoonful of tomato paste, I freeze the rest in individual tablespoon-size segments. I know I could get the tube of tomato paste as well but I guess I don't use it enough... - If appearance doesn't matter (the seeds tend to go dark), whole hot peppers (jalapenos and the like) freeze very well. I defrost one and chop it up for stews or soups.
 
erica 
Jan. 18, 2011 1:38 pm
when a recipe calls for mashed sweet potatoes or carrots buy the low sodium or sugar ones in the can and mash them and add to your recipes! this helps me since I'm a busy mommy!
 
esanjays 
Jan. 18, 2011 2:37 pm
Found this article today on the uses of cooking spray in and out of the kitchen:
http://www.diylife.com/2011/01/13/cooking-spray-uses/
 
Barbara 
Jan. 18, 2011 3:01 pm
To keep your microwave clean for a longer period of time, place a sheet of wax paper over whatever you're heating up. No splatters.
 
teapo23 
Jan. 18, 2011 4:35 pm
Denture cleanser tablets will remove even the worst coffee stains from glass coffee pots and other coffee wear. Fill coffee pot with warm (not hot) water and follow the directions on the denture tablet box (you can use the super cheap grocery store-brand tablets), and when the tablets are done dissolving scrub off the coffee stain with a dish brush. Used to own a coffee shop and this trick removed coffee stains from EVERYTHING. Our equipment looked brand-new.
 
CASTILLOCA 
Jan. 18, 2011 8:03 pm
To remove the caps of strawberries, insert a straw up thru the bottom of the strawberry and the cap pops right off -- no waste :)
 
Jan. 18, 2011 11:00 pm
To get garlic/onion smell off your hands, wash them with a teaspoon of salt and some lemon juice.
 
Jan. 19, 2011 1:00 am
I wash my kitchen sponge in the dishwasher to keep it clean * I keep a Sharpie in my kitchen to write on leftovers and things. I keep it near my scale so when I buy chicken at CostCo, I weigh and cut to portion everything into little freezer bags * When I make stock, I freeze it in 1 Cup portions as well as a bag of stock frozen in the ice cube trays * I also make large batched of pesto and freeze in cubes what doesn't get used right away * when you make soup, make extra portions and freeze to have super-quick soup that is better than out of a can and just as fast.
 
JEC 
Jan. 19, 2011 6:49 am
Spray fume-free cold oven cleaner on stove top & burner grates for easier clean up.
 
iheartfood! 
Jan. 19, 2011 10:24 am
The blog below reminded me of a technique I use to get refried beans and cran sauce out EASILY!Instead of opening both the top and bottom lids, take a knife and puncture the bottom of the can. Then open like normal, the hole in the bottom allows air to get in the bottom of the can and PLOP, one can shapped blob of beans or cran sauce :)
 
borntobake 
Jan. 19, 2011 10:30 am
Freeze leftover gravy in zip lock baggies, easy to add to your next mashies or chicken fried steak ! Cut butter into 1/2 cup chunks and freeze for easy addition to baking recipes.
 
Anne 
Jan. 19, 2011 12:58 pm
RE: cooking dry beans: In addition to not adding tomato/acidic ingredients while cooking, do not add salty ingredients. I have added salt at the beginning of cooking and my beans never softened.
 
Anne 
Jan. 19, 2011 1:01 pm
When peppers are on sale, buy as many as your freezer can hold. Rinse, halve, and remove seeds. Blanche pepper halves and cool completely. Freeze in a single layer on a cookie sheet; place in freezer bags. In addition to saving money, you save time by preparing all your peppers at one time.
 
sldickey 
Jan. 19, 2011 1:46 pm
Along the top of my cupboards - I line with wax paper so I don't have to clean the dust off, just lift the paper and replace. Like someone else mentioned, I save all my bread heels or bread that was leftover, and chips and grind up when I have a plastic bag full - never have to buy bread crumbs! To clear my clogged sink, I pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by 1 cup of vinegar, and quickly put the stopper on and let sit for 10 minutes. Then, I wash it all down with a kettle full of boiling water! When I get to the rind of my Parmesan/asiago, I save it and throw it in soups or sauces, and pull it out before serving. Everyone has already mentioned some amazing tips!
 
JoStenger 
Jan. 19, 2011 2:45 pm
SweetCravings - that freezing the cabbage idea is fabulous. I have never heard of that - trying it now!
 
Nancy 
Jan. 19, 2011 3:19 pm
What great tips! Mine is for other new moms who have loads of empty 12.9 oz. canisters of baby formula (such as Similac or Enfamil). I tried to think of uses for them since I hated the idea of just throwing them all out, and my favorite is to use them as gift containers for homemade treats such as cookies and brownies for friends. Decorate them with wrapping paper and ribbons (people are usually amused at what you've made them out of, too :))
 
biredell 
Jan. 19, 2011 3:29 pm
When making pie crust from scratch I didn't have a pastry cutter or a food processer. I remembered my grandmother using a fork to cut the butter into the flout and it works wonderfully. Also I didn't have a rolling pin handy, but a liquor bottle, or any tall smooth glass bottle, worked great - just cover the pie dough with plastic first.
 
thespian411 
Jan. 19, 2011 5:15 pm
Cleaning Tip: If you have ever burnt something in a pot on the stove, instead of scrubbing till your arms are sore, pour coca cola in, make sure it covers the bottom, the acid soon loosens up the burnt food. Must be regular coca cola
 
Jan. 19, 2011 5:27 pm
I save near empty jars & bottles of everything. Add vinegar to an almost empty Dijon jar, shake then use in a vinaigrette, water or broth to ketchup or steak sauce bottles to add to chili or stews. -- If you forget to lay butter out to soften, grate fine on wax paper & let stand a few minutes.
 
Jan. 19, 2011 5:37 pm
A quick & simple dip for apple wedges, add a little brown sugar & cinnamon to sour cream. -- Line a large wire strainer with a coffee filter, add tub of plain vanilla yogurt, place over a bowl & cover, place in fridge overnight. Next morning, place drained yogurt in bowl, add 2-3 tbsp OJ concentrate, let stand 10 minutes then stir again. A flavored yogurt to top with granola for breakfast.
 
Jan. 19, 2011 6:31 pm
I have a small wire-bound notebook for my most loved, most used recipes. The first 10 pages used to make an index for the following numbered pages. The following recipe pages list only the oven temp & amounts of the ingredients since I remember what to do. Just a quick reference & so handy to know if it is 1/4 or 1/3 of this to make a certain favorite dish. Might not be helpful to others looking at it but I know how to put these dishes together, just my notes as to the temp & amounts.
 
Jan. 19, 2011 6:41 pm
I have 2 pair of Fiskars scissors from the garden department. They seperate at the hinge so I can wash them well. Like these better that the scissors that came with my knife block & use them for everything. To open bags, cut herbs, cut any meat into cubes, trim meat & chicken for prep, cut pizza or bread. -- Have herb scissors, that have the 5 blades on each side. Use these to finely cut green onions & love it
 
Lory 
Jan. 19, 2011 7:36 pm
For a quick bouquet garni for soups empty a tea bag and fill it up with peppercorns, bay leaf, garlic etc. Tie it up with string and drop it in the pot.
 
Jan. 19, 2011 10:55 pm
I use the quart-sized plastic yogurt containers for freezing soups. That way I can still make a nice big pot and divide it; the yogurt container size makes a nice dinner for two since it's just hubby and me.
 
Anuradha 
Jan. 19, 2011 11:21 pm
A foolproof way to boil eggs that I learnt from Delia Smith. Make sure eggs are room temperature and not straight from the refrigerator. It's the change in pressure within that causes eggs to crack. The water for boiling should not be bubbling too fast - just simmering. Lower eggs into water using a tablespoon - don't plonk them in. Simmer for exactly a minute and remove pan from heat. Cover with lid and allow eggs to remain in hot water fro 5 or 6 minutes depending on the eggs. The white will be just set with a soft creamy yolk. Also make sure the pan is large enough so the eggs don't knock against each other. How do you know eggs are overdone - a blackish ring appear on the outer side of yolks
 
Jan. 20, 2011 7:02 am
I buy the family size chicken breasts when they are on sale and 'flash freeze' them myself. I basically pat each piece dry and lay on a cookie sheet in a single layer- you can also lay wax paper down, but I just use a spatula or turner. I then freeze the chicken until pretty solid- remove from cookie sheet and seal in a ziploc bag. Then I can defrost one piece at a time if I wish.
 
Jan. 20, 2011 7:03 am
Also, I use this 'flash freeze' method with onions, bell pepper, and celery as well.
 
Sherry R. 
Jan. 20, 2011 7:09 am
To put moisture back into sliced bread, put the bread slices into the microwave with a plastic measuring cup filled with water, heat on hgh for 10 seconds. Also, heating the water in an empty microwave will help loosen up any food particles for easy cleaning.
 
Jan. 20, 2011 9:36 am
Jilly Bean's hint came true at my house last night. When my pasta started to boil, my dinner guest spoke up quickly to warn me. I simply reached for the wooden spoon I had put on the counter and layed it across the top of the pasta pot.. ta da, disaster averted! ;) Our guest was stunned but educated. Thanks all for some great stuff!!
 
Jan. 20, 2011 9:52 am
Also, when boiling potatoes- start with cold water instead of putting the potatoes into boiling water. This will allow the potatoes to cook evenly since it is almost impossible to have all the same size of potatoes. I also cook bacon in the oven. Just put it on a cookie sheet and bake, flipping halfway through. I've never actually timed it since I think different thicknesses take different times as well as crispy or chewy- but it's basically just like watching it on the stove- you'll know when it's finished. You just don't have to babysit it as much and it doesn't make a huge splatter mess.
 
Jan. 20, 2011 10:21 am
I've found that if you place a wet paper towel on the bottom grill grate when you are done cooking and turn off your grill it will loosen all the burnt on droppings and makes for easy clean-up.(indoor grill like George Foremon or Cuisinart)
 
misskatie 
Jan. 20, 2011 11:24 am
To clean your bathtub use a small amount of powdered dishwasher detergent dissolved in warm water in the tub and simply wash with a cloth. Clean and sparkling with no scrubbing ever. Also dishwasher detergent is great to use if you need to remove old wax from your floors (not hardwood of course). Simply dissolve in your scrub bucket, use a mop or by hand to wash the floor. Again, no major effort needed.
 
Jan. 20, 2011 11:37 am
Tired of cutting food into bite size pieces for your little ones? Use a pizza cutter on a small cutting board. The job is done in an instant and it looks good too!! Works especially well for pancakes and sandwiches.
 
Jan. 20, 2011 11:44 am
Tired of pouring away all those lost nutrients after steaming or boiling vegi's? Now I pour the cooled nutrient-water into a container and freeze for my next soup. I use the same container each time and love the stripy colors that it creates - and my soups always have a mysterious and wonderful flavor.
 
ulikeyjm 
Jan. 20, 2011 1:13 pm
I use the end piece of the loaf of bread and cover it with butter and rub it on on my corn on the cob to butter it. You can also microwave cook your corn on the cob if you leave some husks on it and wrap it in saran wrap. They steam cook.
 
jbkelly 
Jan. 20, 2011 1:23 pm
make your usual french toast batter,after soaking bread cook in waffle iron for a jazzed up look and taste of french toast.
 
Jan. 20, 2011 2:30 pm
For a great shower cleaner like the stuff your supposed to spray on after your shower - mix in a clean gallon milk jug 1 cup Mr. Clean or Lysol 2 cups rubbing alcohol and then fill the rest of the way with water. Pour into a clean spray bottle and after every shower spray walls and tub. I haven't had soap scum in months because of this!!
 
MARIO1 
Jan. 20, 2011 2:43 pm
Put hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle to clean up kitchen counters and bathrooms. It's cheap, kills germs, is non-toxic and does not smell. Google "hydrogen peroxide cleaning" and see all the ways it can be used. When buying bulk hamburger meat and freezing, freeze in chunks of about 3/4 lb instead of 1 lb. packages. It saves money and most recipes that call for a pound can be made with less, saving you some fat and calories as well. I have found that cooking a turkey in an electric roaster makes the turkey moist and brown and leaves your oven open for other things on the holidays.
 
Sherrie 
Jan. 20, 2011 4:03 pm
Vinegar will take coffee stains out of your mugs!
 
Mamaw1 
Jan. 20, 2011 8:55 pm
Biredell, another way to cut fat into pie crust is to use 2 knives, using a crossing/pulling/cutting motion repeatedly until fat is finely cut. I have even used 1 knife, cutting the flour/fat.***I always check this site when viewing recipes. There are so many wonderful ideas/tips being shared! Thanks!
 
Jan. 21, 2011 12:53 pm
I didnt see this one listed and its more of a kitchen tip. If you have a hard to open jar slide the tip of a butter knife or spoon under the lid and lift to let air in and the jar will open easily
 
Jan. 22, 2011 3:24 pm
Slice overripe bananas and freeze on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat, wax paper, or plastic wrap. When the slices are frozen, put them in a freezer-safe container to use for smoothies. The extra ripe flavor of the bananas is great in a smoothie.
 
Jan. 25, 2011 8:19 pm
When freezing bananas be sure they are sliced. Last week I tried this, but I cut the bananas into 1 inch pieces and ended up breaking my blender.
 
Jan. 26, 2011 12:58 am
I'm so excited about this blog, Marvel! There is already so much here. I hope you can get it all organized so we can find things easily. Thanks for doing this!! My tip is when you buy lettuce (any kind) fill a large bowl with very hot water. Then dip your head of lettuce up and down into the water to clean it. (If using iceberg lettuce, take out the heart first.) Transfer the lettuce to a clean towel and dry as much as possible. When dry, wrap in paper towels and put into a ziplock bag making sure to remove as much air as you can. Your lettuce will last much longer this way and stay crisper.
 
Canadian cook 
Jan. 26, 2011 3:31 am
January 26, 2011 Whenever making large pots of soup or stew, to cool down quickly before.refrigerating, I put the pot into a kitchen sink filled with cold water and ice cubes. The food cools quickly and is safely into the fridge in no time.
 
Vesnila 
Jan. 26, 2011 4:49 am
you If you want to use parchment (baking) apper, wet it first and wriggle, taking care not to overwriggle it. Then place it in the baking tray and bake whatever you like, even meatballs or patties. It's an Italian trick and I have never seen any cuisine using wet paper. It works well and you don't have to "struggle" with the dry paper that tends to roll in the tray.
 
Vesnila 
Jan. 26, 2011 4:50 am
Wetting the paper makes it more "obedient", that' s the trick!
 
Jan. 26, 2011 4:55 am
Fabulous blog Marvel - thx! My tip: When you're done frying bacon, save your grease in a teacup and place in fridge. When I have leftover potatoes, I dice them up and fry them in the grease for added flavour. I do the same with my mushrooms and onions. This gives it that extra zest!
 
Gina 
Jan. 26, 2011 5:04 am
Working in restaurants most of my life, I've racked up a few tips here & there. When we have pots that have burnt on anything at the bottom, we boil it on the stove with water & few tsps. of cream of tartar. It usually works pretty well.
 
Jan. 26, 2011 5:43 am
When making vegetable soup, add a bit of soy sauce and apple cider vinegar to the broth. Taste as you add until you get a "zing" that wasn't there before. It never fails to bring rave reviews.
 
peterson625 
Jan. 26, 2011 6:38 am
Wow, I love this blog. I've always been int all these time and money saving tips. I can't wait to share it with my sister. She's just getting into all this kind of information. She lost her job and decided to make use of her time at home by figuring out ways to cut down on food waste. For instance, my sister and I spent this past summer blanching and freezing green beans, broccoli, corn and tomatoes. She got the idea to cook all the tomato skins to make a tomato broth/juice which she froze and she has been using to add to soups, roasts, you name it. Boy is that good!!
 
cookMpls 
Jan. 26, 2011 6:40 am
I love the flavor of onions in lots of recipes, but sometimes the diced pieces are a problem or too strong. I use a box grater and grate the whole onion on the largest side. All the flavor, no chunks! Also, when I have leftover tomato paste, I put it into a freezer bag,flatten it and freeze. When you need some, just break off a piece and toss it in your dish!
 
lchow 
Jan. 26, 2011 7:31 am
I am never able to use the fresh herbs I buy and never have any when I need them, in particular cilantro. I find a lot of them lose flavor if dried and the flavor leeches into the water when freezing in an ice cube. Now when I get fresh herbs, I wash and dry, use what little I need, then let them sit out to dry (no water droplets, but not dried out), roll them up tightly and freeze in a ziploc bag with as much air removed as possible. When I need some, I just snip some off with scissors. This works especially well for sage.
 
Jan. 26, 2011 7:32 am
I love it, sharing tips! I have a trick I use to freshen my sponge, I place my sponge in a bowl and cover it with distilled white vinegar and let it soak for 20 - 30 min. This takes the smells out as well as kills the bacteria!
 
leezit 
Jan. 26, 2011 7:56 am
Here in the Phoenix area in Arizona we have an olive mill. They grow olives, process olives and import some from all over the SW to process. They produce a Blood Orange EVOO and a Meyer Lemon EVOO that I now use daily. Yes, they are kind of expensive so I've started to make my own "Citrus Olive Oil" from a high quality, cold pressed EVOO (Trader Joe's) and adding my own orange and lemon oils to this. I get the citrus oils from King Arthur in Connecticut. Instead of using butter or shortning only in baking, I add some of my citrus olive oil and up end with a very subtle citrus flavored baked goods. Same goes for pan frying chicken, fish or veggies. SOOOO GOOOD.
 
Nannienlovinit 
Jan. 26, 2011 8:39 am
Since we had an abundance of tomatoes from our garden, I used the dehydrator to save some. I sliced them and really dried them and store them in the freezer. When I want the taste of fresh, I take a handful, crumble them on pizza, salad or subs etc. Gives that delicious fresh tomato taste.
 
fern 
Jan. 26, 2011 9:12 am
Hi my name has been Mr. Chili. Someone wrote about the tomatoes keeping the beans hard and this is wrong it's the grease in the hamburger that keeps them hard, the beans are sucking in the liquid thence the grease will surround the beans and prevent them of sucking in the water. So you brown the hamburger in a skillet then press the juices out of it which you collect in a tupperware type container, once solidified add the jelly which you will find under the grease to the chili you're cooking, save the grease and filter it and use it in your deep fryer for the best French fries. One pound of grease less gave me three pounds more chili, I was selling about 2,000 pounds of chili a month most of it illegally and with total disregard to health regulations heck the police told me to keep it that way, the cook at the military academy said he had a secret recipe and so did the cook at the main court house. Also when chopping fresh chilies use rubber gloves or suffer the consequences as it will shatter your male ego.
 
fern 
Jan. 26, 2011 9:28 am
@Linda AZ. I also have a license delivered by the Coconino county health dept, in Page I helped the police in German, French and Dutch and they knew I was an illegal alien.
 
Penny Hammack 
Jan. 26, 2011 9:34 am
When cooking dried beans, boil them first then pour off the water. Takes only a few minutes and eliminates those embarrassing moments after dinner. NEVER POUR COLD WATER ON HOT BEANS. If you do your beans will never get soft. I heat water in the microwave if it's needed later in the cooking cycle.
 
AlC 
Jan. 26, 2011 10:33 am
To clean the "crud" from gas kitchen stove grates I use plain ammonia. First time I tried this I put the grate and bottle of ammonia in a heavy plastic bag and SEALED it very well. Left it sit for a couple of days and all the "crud" brushed off with a nylon bristle brush. Now I have a 5 gallon bucket with ammonia in it and every so often dump all 4 grates in and let soak overnight. A WORD OF CAUTION::::: Ammonia is very strong. USE only in a open air space and make sure it is sealed when not in use..... PLEASE BE CAREFUL and do no use around children or flame
 
Jan. 26, 2011 11:10 am
To always have fresh pieces of lemon for water and other drinks, cut up the whole lemon into little 1/2 or 3/4 inch wedges, put each in an ice cube tray and cover with water to freeze. You end up with lemon embedded in the ice cube and it freezes well and is handy to throw into your glass.
 
Jan. 26, 2011 1:16 pm
We make a lot of soups so I freeze the left-overs (planned- overs) in single sevings in ziplock bags. I label and date them before fillling and lay them flat to freeze. I use the baskets in my freezer like a file drawer to store them standing up. I have also foumd that using a measuring cup with a lip gives a uniform ammount in each and is so much easier than trying to use the ladle to fill them.I close the bags and lay them on their side and try to get all the air to the top of the bag which can then be opened enough to let the air out.this prevents freezer burn.
 
Melinda 
Jan. 26, 2011 1:52 pm
Here's mine: if your recipe calls for garlic, mince or chop it at least 10 minutes before adding it to any source of heat. This allows the alliin and alliinase (2 compounds in the garlic) to interact, and they form a potent antioxidant. An easy way to give your health a boost! - Melinda, RD
 
rag 
Jan. 26, 2011 2:33 pm
-Cold water will kill soap subs in sinks and also clean flour off cutting boards or what ever.
 
Cathy 
Jan. 26, 2011 4:33 pm
my best-est tip is for pastry/biscuits etc. Whenever the recipe calls for cutting in the butter until it resembles course meal (or the like) it used to take me FOREVER!! Now, I keep my butter in the freezer, measure out the required amount, and simply GRATE it on my box grater. Little shards of cold butter to put in the flour and voila! Works like a charm every time.
 
Studebaker 
Jan. 26, 2011 8:15 pm
When making gravy, it's always been a challenge to remove the fat/grease before thickening the liquid. Since you're going to add some water to the liquid anyway, use a couple of ice cubes. They cool the liquid and the fat congeals. Then you can lift it right off with a spoon.
 
barbleit 
Jan. 27, 2011 3:11 am
When using thawed chopped spinach for dip,I place it on a clean dish towel and "Wring " it out.Works like a charm.
 
Jan. 27, 2011 9:01 am
Usually, when I decide to make a recipe that calls for cream cheese, it is last minute and I don't want to wait for the cream cheese to soften. In this case, I use whipped cream cheese. It works the same and you don't have to wait for it to soften!
 
Jan. 27, 2011 9:21 am
this is from my family's recipe... when making meatloaf that has a separate sauce (meaning you don't add ketchup or anything to the actual meat mixture) add a couple tablespoons of Sage. It tastes great and everyone will want to know your secret ingredient!
 
magnet76 
Jan. 27, 2011 11:29 am
Easy, healthy vegetables. Roast at 380 to 400 degrees. I cut up peeled squash, onion, etc. into chunks,you can use any veggie, Toss in olive oil and garlic powder. Spread out on rimmed cookie sheet. Don't overlap, it won't roast. Check and stir around after 10 minutes, should be ready in 5 or 10 minutes depending on vegetable. Remove when golden brown.
 
dtardif 
Jan. 28, 2011 4:51 am
Wow, love those blogs everyone ! Here are a couple of mine, (some of which are already mentioned). First,the paper towel trick is very useful for the pick-up of grease in a pan of cooked foods, (ie greasey foods), just tip the pan for a few seconds push the food to the top and "throw the towel in" the bottom. Toss when full. Second, Use bacon fat, (poured slightly cooled, through a strainer to remove any browned bits),store in fridge for future use (in browning meats especially). Also use for home-made popcorn in a ratio of 1/4 bacon grease to 3/4 vegetable oil. Third, the use of a brown paper bag has been used in my family for years for draining french fries. Just place cooked fries in a bag, toss in a couple paper towels, shake bag, add salt shake again done !! No mess, toss the bag ;) And the last but one of the most important ones in my kitchen is the use of toothpaste; Some may think I'm crazy but it's the best remedy for stove or pot or sheetpan burns. As long as the burn is only first or second degree, imediately wipe on a generous amout of toothpaste, it will remove the burn from the menthol in it. Using water just softens the skin and will sometimes make it worse, also butter is the same. Here's the most important thing though, use only Colgate !! the gels won't work and Crest seems to not have enough menthol in it. I kkep a small tube handy in my knife drawer, ( I know where it is at all times. Oh, and the best thing for that summer time sunburn?... You got it, Colgate mixed into a soften paste with water, and spread on the burn. Instant relief !! I got this when I was stationed in a Panama, in the military, years back. Hope someone remembers this and passes this along to others. HAVE FUN IN THE KITCHEN,....AND KEEP BURNING THE POTS, NOTS THE HANDS !! :)
 
dtardif 
Jan. 28, 2011 4:54 am
BTW, the burns with the toothpaste on them keeps them from getting to the next stage of burn. IE the open wounds which don't heal very well.
 
dtardif 
Jan. 28, 2011 4:55 am
magnet76, my sister showed me that one with cauliflower and brocholi, it's great !
 
mpookie 
Jan. 28, 2011 8:33 pm
Save your water when boiling potatoes. Use in soups and add to gravy instead of water. Awsome flavor.
 
Jan. 30, 2011 7:25 am
When I make a pot of soup and it is too salty tasting...I peel a whole potato and drop it in the broth. The potato does a great job of absorbing the extra salt. Just discard the potato before serving the soup. When making soups..I add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to chicken broth, or if using beef I use lime juice. It gives the broth a little depth.
 
Denise G. 
Jan. 30, 2011 2:44 pm
Another use for unwaxed dental floss--use it when making cinnamon rolls or sticky buns. After you have rolled the dough into a log, loop the floss around the log and pull both ends of the floss. Repeat along the log and voila! Clean slices. This works for rolls of cookie dough, too. I have also used it to split a single layer of cake into 2 smaller layers.
 
docsmom 
Feb. 1, 2011 5:38 pm
Instead of boiling your lasagna noodles, put the noodles in a large enough pan to hold all the noodles and cover with very hot water. Let stand approx. 20-30 min. The noodles will be easy to handle when assembling your lasagna and will finishing cooking in the oven.
 
rere 
Feb. 2, 2011 8:30 am
oh, i have been reading this blog (love it!) for at least 1/2hr. and trying to think of a good tip. well, one just came. i got it from "salad in a jar" blog. it is just that. buy romaine lettuce, and prepare it buy washing and cutting it as she shows us. then sealing the lettuce with a food saver in mason jars (refridgerated) keeping the lettuce good, and easy to grab for a salad. check it out, it worked for me.
 
Feb. 25, 2011 6:44 am
When frosting a cake with buttercream dip your spatula in hot water, quickly wipe of, then pull across the surface of the top of cake for a smooth finish.
 
Mar. 18, 2011 5:38 am
Household tips:http://allrecipes.com/Cook/13447685/BlogEntry.aspx?postid=215323
 
Mar. 19, 2011 9:15 am
[re: beating egg whites] Answered by: KATEZ21 Mar. 18, 2011 8:15 am Are your bowl and beaters clean and dry, with no oil or residue? Are your whites at room temp? Did you add the sugar in the beginning? It's best to wait till the last few seconds of beating to add the sugar. If you have some cream or tartar, add a tiny pinch of that when your egg whites start to peak, this stabilizes the foam. A drop of lemon juice will work too. Hope that helps!
 
Joan 
Jul. 6, 2011 7:48 am
Store popcorn in the freezer before you pop it, and all kernels will pop.
 
Joan 
Jul. 6, 2011 7:52 am
Use the cardboard insert of the paper towel roll to store a pair of tongs.It saves a lot of room in the drawer.
 
Joan 
Jul. 6, 2011 7:56 am
You will get more juice from a lemon or lime, if you roll it on the counter with a little pressure from your hand, or stick it in the microwave for about 20 seconds.
 
Joan 
Jul. 6, 2011 8:00 am
To soften cream cheese without the risk of melting it in the microwave, seal it in a plastic bag and immerse in warm water 3-5 minutes
 
Joan 
Jul. 6, 2011 8:04 am
To make perfect pancakes, substitute club soda for milk or water in your recipe. The tiny bubbles make pancakes extra-fluffy.
 
Joan 
Jul. 6, 2011 8:06 am
To easily test if rising yeast dough has doubled in size, quickly press two fingers into the dough. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready to be shaped.
 
Joan 
Jul. 6, 2011 8:10 am
The secrete to Tall Cakes.... When greasing the pan, sidestep a cake collapse by coating the bottom only. Leaving the sides ungreased allows batter to cling to and "climb up" the pan while baking so your cake can reach new heights. Once baked and cooled, run a knife around the sides of the pan for a quick and easy cake release.
 
Joan 
Jul. 6, 2011 8:13 am
Here's a quick substitution for a cup of buttermilk, or sour milk in a recipe: Place 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup, then add milk to measure 1 cup.
 
 
 
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Marvel's Kitchen

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About Me
Marvel is my mother's name and her kitchen is where I started learning to cook. It should also be Gramma's kitchen, Auntie Jean's, Auntie Phil's, etc. Still learning from friends, family and you all. Many thanks and all the best!
 
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