15 Kitchen Tips and Tricks for Every Home Cook

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Today’s parents are busier than ever and the idea of getting a home cooked meal on the table every day can often feel like an impossible task. Here are fifteen tips and tricks designed to make your time in the kitchen more efficient, economical and easy.

  1. Reheat leftover or pre-cooked mashed potatoes by placing them in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of boiling water. 15_kitchen_tips_and_tricksKeep them covered with a lid or aluminum foil (an inverted dinner plate also works well) and stir occasionally to encourage even heat distribution. This method will retain moisture and keep the potatoes from drying out.
  2. Use resealable plastic bags for food storage and makeshift piping bags. Place your icing, or fillings, in the bag and snip one corner to create a small hole. Proceed as you normally would with a piping bag.
  3. Make your own buttermilk by placing 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring glass and topping with milk to the 1-cup line. Stir well and allow to rest for 2 minutes.
  4. Bake your bacon instead of frying it for mess-free cooking. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, then top with a wire cooling rack. Lay the bacon strips side by side (but not overlapping) and bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
  5. Frozen cookie dough balls are a necessity for every home cook. Make a batch of dough and portion it into balls. Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and chill until the dough is firm. Remove from the freezer and store in resealable bags. Write the baking instructions on the outside of the bag and bake when desired following the directions on the package.
  6. The next time you make scones or biscuits, freeze your butter before you bake. Shred the butter on a box grater prior to tossing with the flour. This will result in the flakiest of biscuits and will take less time than the traditional method of using a food processor or pastry cutter.
  7. To prolong the life of your lettuce, trim the ends and remove the outer leaves. Wash the remaining lettuce and, while still wet, wrap your lettuce in paper kitchen towels. Store in a resealable bag in the crisper. The lettuce will stay fresh for up to seven days and will be ready to use as soon as you need it.
  8. Home cooks are prone to suffering from minor burns. The next time this happens, soak your burn in a shallow bowl filled with cold egg whites. The egg whites will removed the redness and the sting from the burned area.
  9. Cook once in order to eat many times. Double or triple your recipes and freeze the extras. Use them for the days when you’re busier than normal but still want to get a homemade meal on the table.
  10. Keep a supply of multi-sized mason jars on hand and use them for the following: baking individual pies and cakes, flower vases, food storage containers (beans, lentils, rice, etc), salad dressing bottles, cookie jars, drinking glasses and, of course, storage for homemade preserved goods.
  11. Whenever you are cooking keep two bowls on the counter: one for compostables and one for waste. This will save you from making trips back and forth to your garbage bins.
  12. When your mustard jar is empty add a few minced cloves of garlic, fresh herbs, salt and pepper and some balsamic vinegar to the container and shake well. Add oil and you will have an instant salad dressing using the remnants of mustard left in the jar.
  13. Separate your bananas from the bunch when you bring them home from the store. They will stay fresh longer.
  14. Banish the boxes and keep a jar of homemade pancake mix on hand in your fridge. This easy to make breakfast food is far more economical, healthy and tasty than the store bought varieties.
  15. Create a “cheat sheet” of your most used recipes by typing up the ingredients and an abbreviated set of instructions. Post the sheet on your fridge or corkboard and your favourite recipes will be easily accessible.

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