Inner Chef

Enjoy your kitchen, your food and your inner chef

Household and Kitchen Tips

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Household and Kitchen Tips and Hints

In the Kitchen

  1. Freeze leftover liquids such as wine, broth and stock, tomato sauce, etc. in ice cube trays. If you open a bottle of wine, a can of tomato sauce or a bottle of pesto and only use a small amount, freeze them for later use. Perfect portions (for most recipes).
  2. Run a knife around the edges of a cheesecake when it comes out of the oven to prevent cracks from forming.
  3. Soak fish in milk half an hour before cooking to remove iodine taste and fishy smell. To remove the flavor or taste out of the shrimp or fish you bought; soak it in milk for about a half hour before cooking.
  4. Bake a double crusted pie with two strands of spaghetti sticking up in it to absorb any excess liquid. Let the top part of the spaghetti stick up a few inches. When the pie bakes, if there is any excess liquid inside of it, the liquid will climb up the spaghetti instead of pouring out the of the sides or the top.
  5. Cook bacon on a meat rack in a roasting pan for 20 minutes at 350 degrees to allow greases and oils to drip below. The oil will drip to the bottom it provides for perfect bacon (and crispness) every time.
  6. Microwave a lemon for 20 seconds and you will triple the amount of liquid you can get out of it and make it very easy to squeeze. Don’t forget to roll your lemons, limes, and other citrus fruits to release more juice.
  7. Spray measuring spoons or cups with non-stick vegetable spray before measuring sticky ingredients like honey, molasses and peanut butter so they’ll slide right off.
  8. Slice a mushroom easily, evenly and cleanly with an egg slicer.
  9. Put flour in a large salt shaker and keep it in the freezer. When you need to flour a pan or make homemade gravy give it a shake. It helps prevent lumpy gravy and messy counters.
  10. Don’t throw out the excess fat when cooking chicken (either roasting or pan frying). Combine it with enough flour to let you roll into small balls about the size of half a walnut.  Place these on a pan or plate in the freezer and when frozen solid, transfer to a plastic bag and store frozen.  The next time you need to make a chicken gravy but don’t have time to go through the whole process, these make an excellent start.  They’re also good if you’re making your gravy from scratch and need a little extra thickening.
  11. Boil rice not in water, chicken broth or vegetable broth.   It makes it extremely flavorful and cuts down on the salt intake.   Do the same thing with vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots.
  12. Use an apple corer to core tomatoes.
  13. Put a vanilla bean in the bottom of your sugar canister. It’s great for baking and this will cost less than purchasing Vanilla Sugar from the market. I keep one canister just for vanilla sugar and one for regular sugar…don’t forget to label the canisters.
  14. The 2-egg omelet is the best way to use up leftover meats and veggies.
  15. If you are having a dinner party and guests may need the butter; don’t put out the entire stick. Let butter soften, put in pastry bag with the tip of your choice. Squeeze out butter onto waxed paper lined plate and chill. Cut the waxed paper so there is a little left around the butter. Place on small plate(s) and place on your table.
  16. For an easy clean-up when baking; place a piece of waxed paper on your counter and measure ingredients over the paper. When you are done baking; simply fold up the paper and toss.
  17. For room temperature ingredients like eggs and butter; take out of the fridge 30 minutes before using.
  18. Set aside one day a week when you can spend a few hours in the kitchen.  Set up your weekly menu and cook your chicken, pork and ground beef ahead of time. Seal in airtight containers for the week.
  19. Make spaghetti sauce in bulk and freeze in pint sized resealable bags.; better yet, make your meatballs on the same day and add to the sauce when both are cooled.
  20. When I make tacos; I make up a 5# batch, let it cool and place in pint sized resealable bags; enough for 2 people and then a few that will serve 4-6 people.
  21. For meals that take a while to cook; I make double the portions and freeze what we don’t use. Works great for Baked Mac & Cheese and meatloaf.
  22. It is less expensive to purchase a whole chicken and cut it up at home. You can actually save up to $3.00 per chicken.
  23. Remove hot chili burns from your skin by rubbing your hand with half a tomato. Try to use gloves when working with hot jalapenos or habaneros, but it will still get on your hands, so the tomato helps.

 

In and Around the Kitchen

  1. When liquid hand soap is on sale, we tend to go crazy and buy 5-10 of them. Instead of spending that amount; purchase the giant refills and just refill your hand soap containers. You can save up to $4.00, if not more.
  2. Toothpaste will remove marker and crayon marks from your painted walls. It must be the white paste, not gel toothpaste.
  3. If you own a “Swiffer Sweeper”; stop buying the dry dusting cloths and use paper towels instead. You can save up to $6.00 and get up to 100 sweeps per roll using paper towels.
  4. Use baking soda to clean stainless steel sinks and faucets. It shines your faucets like new and removes dirt and bacteria that you didn’t know even existed in your sinks.
  5. For aluminum pans that are looking dull; boil apple peels in them. It not only brightens up your pans, but your kitchen smells good too.
  6. Are you going to be cooking something that may leave an unappreciated odor in your home? Place 1 cinnamon stick, a few lemon slices and a clove in water in a saucepan. Simmer while cooking and afterwards for a great smelling kitchen.
  7. To keep your recipe cards looking new; laminate them with clear contact paper (this costs less and you get more than laminate sheets). Just wipe the cards clean with moist cloth and dry.
  8. To remove hard-water and lime build-up in a teakettle, pour in two cups of vinegar and bring to a boil. Let simmer for about 10 minutes, then rinse well.

 

 

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