My team and I have made hundreds of recipes for the blog over the past four years! Along the way, we’ve picked up a few tips and tricks for cooking food that looks great and tastes delicious. Here are some of our favorite cooking secrets and tricks that will help make your life in the kitchen a whole lot easier. From our kitchen to yours. :-)
Give your pans a few minutes to warm up before adding food. This way, the pans will heat more evenly and you’ll get perfect browning. Don’t waste your time flipping
When roasting in the oven….(French fries, veggies, etc) pre-heating your cookie sheet eliminates the need to flip halfway through.
When sautéing, try tossing your food instead of using a spatula to turn it over. A utensil can bruise the food…tossing is faster, and it tends to brown your food more evenly. Don’t worry, it’s easier than it looks! ;-)
When salting food…sprinkle from a height of about 10 or 12 inches above it. The distance gives a better sense of just how much salt you’re adding, and the granules will be spread more evenly over the food.
When you make pasta, reserve some of the water before draining the noodles. After draining, return the noodles to the pot, and pour about 1/4 cup of water back into the pasta. The starchy water will be absorbed by the noodles, and it will make your sauce stick to noodles better!
Next time you make your favorite creamy soup, add pureed chickpeas to get a rich creaminess with more protein, more fiber, and less fat than adding cream. A nutritious and delicious trick!
Walnuts and cashews are another way to add healthy creaminess to recipes. Just a few simple, healthy ingredients in the blender makes for a delicious sweet and creamy salad dressing!
Before cooking with dried fruit, soak it in boiling water. Place your fruit in a bowl, pour in the hot water, and cover for about 10 minutes. Enjoy more plump, moist fruit pieces in your baked goods!
If you need room temperature butter for a recipe, just place the butter in a sealed bag and beat it with a wooden spoon or rolling pin! It doesn’t take long, it makes the butter perfectly soft, and there’s no risk of over-softening the butter (like I always do in the microwave!)
Instead of using commercial cooking sprays, make your own “pan release paste” for easy removal of baked goods. Use equal parts flour, shortening, and your favorite liquid cooking oil. Keep for up to six months in a covered container. Apply to bakeware with a pastry brush. Cakes, cupcakes, etc will slip out with ease!
Use your cooking spray (or your “pan release paste”) on a cutting board before cutting beets, berries or anything else that would stain the board. This thin coating allows you to quickly wipe the board clean with a paper towel before proceeding to your next task.
Use plastic wrap on your kitchen scale (or cover with a plastic storage bag) to keep things clean and avoid cross-contamination. This will also protect the buttons on the scale so gunk won’t collect in the cracks. Makes cleaning the machine a snap!
A piece of plastic wrap under the lid of a jar will keep sticky messes from sealing the lid shut. This works great with jams, jellies, and molasses! No need to buy a special “jar opening glove” or kitchen gadget to do the job.
And one more plastic wrap tip….keep it from curling and bunching up by storing it in the freezer! Chilling the wrap eliminates the static cling (works for your clothes too!) and makes it easier to transport it from the roll to your bowl.
Having sharp knives makes a world of difference in the kitchen! It’s safer to work with them, and you can work much more efficiently. To see if your knives are sharp enough, try cutting through a sheet of computer paper. If the paper doesn’t slice, then keep on sharpening!
What are YOUR best kitchen secrets?
Raspberry and Walnut Vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
- 1/3 cup toasted walnut pieces
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons dijon mustard
- Blend all ingredients until smooth.