Cooking Tips and Tricks

  1. Clogged Drains: To clear clogged drains naturally, combine 1 cup each of baking soda and salt, then slowly pour down the drain. Let it sit for 5 minutes then pour in a pan or teakettle of boiling water. Repeat as needed.
  2. Quick Recipe Book Holder: Need your hands free for cooking? Use the clip from a pants hanger to keep the pages open.
  3. Perfect Rice: If you want perfect rice that’s not sticky, use lemon juice. Just 2 tablespoons added to the water will keep the grains from sticking together.
  4. Quick Ice Packs: Need an easy, no-mess ice pack for your child’s lunch? Soak a new kitchen sponge in water, place in zipper plastic bag and freeze.
  5. Expanding Ice: Be careful when freezing foods with high water contents such as soft cheeses, food emulsions, and eggs in the shell. Freezing will change the textures of high-moisture foods; eggshells will crack.
  6. Texture Tip: Try to add texture to soft foods for contrast. Mashed potatoes? Add some crunchy bacon bits. Creamy guacamole? Top it with lightly salted pumpkin or sunflower seeds.
  7. Pumpkin Scooping: For quicker and easier seeding of pumpkins and squash, use an ice cream scoop.
  8. Jar Power: To open a tightly sealed jar lid, place a rubber band around the lid. Wrap with a cloth and turn.
  9. Floss To Cut: If you need to cut softer foods, a knife can be too damaging. Use unscented/unflavored dental floss to cut soft cheeses and cakes.
  10. Breadcrumbs In A Snap: Freeze stale bread to grind in a food processor later. It’s a quick and easy way to make breadcrumbs when needed.
  11. Clean While You Cook: Cleaning up as you cook keeps you organized and with ample space.
  12. Ample Storage: Cooking in bulk is a great way to plan for future meals. However, make sure you have plenty of containers and storage space in the freezer before beginning.
  13. Cool It Down: Don’t place hot food directly in the freezer. Allow it to cool down in the refrigerator first. Placing hot items in the freezer can raise the temperature too much and partially thaw frozen items.
  14. Get Trashy: When cooking, keep a plastic grocery bag hanging on the outside cabinet door handle. It’s a handy way to throw things away quickly without having to open and close the door often.
  15. Soapy Sink: To encourage quick cleanups as you go, keep your sink filled with hot, soapy water while cooking. You’ll be more likely to wash, rinse, and put away quickly.
  16. Animal Instincts: Trust your senses when cooking. If something doesn’t smell right to you, it’s probably spoiled.
  17. Read Recipes: When trying a new recipe, always read it completely first. Avoid the frustration of starting to cook and realizing you are missing an ingredient or utensil!
  18. Guessing Temp & Time: If you’re unsure of how long to cook something, cooking it at a lower heat for a longer time is best. You’re less likely to burn your meal.
  19. Prep Ahead: When cooking a big meal, do as much as you can ahead of time. Cutting vegetables, making stock, and measuring spices can all be done ahead.
  20. Cool Cream: To whip cream faster and more efficiently, chill the cream, the bowl, and the beaters first.
  21. Cinnamon Surprise: Surprise your guests with an added flavor in your whipped cream. Add a dash each of cinnamon and nutmeg to whipped cream as it’s being prepared.
  22. Fake Funnel: When you need a funnel but don’t have one handy, roll up a paper plate. Or snip off a corner of a mailing envelope and use the cone shaped as a funnel.
  23. Perfect Liquids: When measuring liquids, always measure on a flat, stable surface. Trying to measure while holding the cup may lead to inaccurate measurements.