Ten-Second Tips for the Kitchen | microwave
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Ice Cream

To soften: Take the entire carton and put it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds.  Check and if it hasn’t softened keep going at 5 second intervals.  This will make the scooping easier and won’t turn your ice cream into a puddle.

To make birthday party treats ahead of time: Scoop ice cream into muffin pan liners and place in muffin tins. Decorate with sprinkles, nuts or chocolate chips. Keep in the freezer until ready to serve.

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.

Pasta

To prevent boil over: When cooking pasta, rub or spray the sides of your pot with oil; this will prevent boiling over.

To store: When you have extra cooked pasta, store individual portions in zippered bags and put in the freezer.  In a pinch, throw the frozen pasta in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or until heated. The frozen crystals melt and steam the pasta to perfection!

Onions

To reduce tears: To reduce the amount of onion oils that make you tear, put your peeled onion in the freezer for about 5 minutes prior to cutting.

To dice: While many of you know how to dice an onion, this tip is safer and easier.  Cut an onion in half and peel the outer layers from each half almost to the root.  Do not take the outer layers off as this will be your handle.  Hold onto the layers in a bunch to hold the onion half then slice vertically and horizontally for perfect dice.

To reduce cooking time:  Making caramelized onions takes forever, but you can speed up the process by placing the sliced onions in your microwave.

Onion Leftovers: If you need only 1/2 of an onion, save the root half.  It will last longer.

Leftovers

Make a complete dinner by putting leftovers in a reusable plastic container with dividers and store in the freezer.  When you want a meal in a pinch, put it in the microwave.  Alternatively, you may put leftovers in a foil pie plate and heat in the oven.

Cream Cheese

To soften a block of cream cheese quickly, put the block either in the foil package it comes in or in a zippered plastic bag and immerse in hot water briefly or put it in your microwave for about 10 seconds.