Ten-Second Tips for the Kitchen | Kitchen Tips
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Bacon

To cut easily: freeze for thirty minutes.

To reduce shrinkage: Run bacon under cold water before frying,  This can reduce shrinkage and curling by up to 50%.

To separate slices: Before you open a package of bacon, roll it. This will help separate the slices for easy removal.

To fry ahead of time: Cook and drain, then wrap in wax paper. Freeze them in a plastic zippered bag or other freezer container. Reheat briefly in a skillet.

Baguette

Put leftover French baguettes through the food processor, put the crumbs in a zippered freezer bag, and place in the freezer for the next time you need bread crumbs.

Alternatively, if you know an entire baguette will not be consumed the day you bring it home, put the portion you know will not be eaten into the freezer in a zippered freezer bag.  When you are ready to use it, leave it out on the counter for about half an hour.

Baked Potatoes

Bake potatoes by standing them on end in a muffin tin sprayed with oil. This will allow you to remove them all at once.

To reduce cooking time: cut potatoes in half and place them face down on a baking sheet in the oven.

Baking Cookies

Use parchment paper to line the cookie sheet. When the cookies are done, simply slide the sheet of parchment with cookies onto a counter and reload.  Also note that you can re-use the sheet of parchment for 2-3 batches of cookies without replacing with a new sheet.

Baking Powder

Check freshness: If you’re not sure how fresh your baking powder is, try this tip:  Put one teaspoon of baking powder in 1/3 cup of water. If the water does not fizz, it’s too old and you should toss it.

bananas
Bananas

Overripe Bananas: The next time one or more of your bananas turns black, peel them and put them in a zippered freezer bag.  Once you have a sufficient amount frozen, thaw and make your favorite banana bread or muffins, or drop into the blender frozen when making your next smoothie.

Peeling: Peel a banana from the bottom and you won’t have to pick off the fibrous “strings.”

Storage: Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.

Ripen Faster: Store the green bananas in a brown paper bag.

Beets

Minimize Bleeding: Steam (Don’t boil) beets with the skins, root and part of the stem intact.

Keep Color Bright (when boiling): Add a few tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar to every quart of boiling water.

Boiled Potatoes

Keep them bright white: Put in a few drops of fresh lemon juice.

Mashing: Use a “ricer” instead of mashing – The process is easy, quick and produces silky smooth potatoes without clumps.

Breading/Coating Meat or Poultry

Prevent buildup on hands: Use one hand for the wet part (egg) and the other hand for the dry (flour or breadcrumbs).  Keeping the wet from the dry will eliminate a buildup of batter on your hands and makes cleaning up easier.

You can also put sheet of wax paper or parchment on the plate before putting the flour or breadcrumbs.  Lift the corners of the paper until the meat is covered.

Another option is when you need to coat foods with bread crumbs, batter, or flour, place the coating in a zipper lock freezer bag or any plastic bag and shake.

Help coating stick: After coating chicken, place in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes before you fry it.

Brown Sugar

To soften:  If you need a small amount, simply take that rock hard sugar and grate what you need.  Another alternative is to put a slice of fresh bread in a container with the sugar.  It should be soft again in just a few hours.  For future use, store sugar in an airtight container or zippered bag.

Butter

Dotting casseroles or other dishes:  When a recipe calls for you to “dot” the top with butter, it can be a messy process with soft butter.  In the future, try keeping a stick of butter in the freezer.  By using a vegetable peeler or grater, you can evenly distribute the butter over your dish with no mess.

Soften: To quickly soften butter that happens to be frozen or chilled, just grate the amount needed, it will be soft in no time.  You can also invert a heated bowl over a stick of butter for a few minutes to quicken the softening process.

Butternut Squash

Peeling: Sometimes that skin is so hard that it is a stubborn vegetable to peel, especially if your peeler is dull.  Try this:  Put the squash in your microwave for about two minutes.  This will loosen the part between the flesh and the skin for easier peeling.