My favorite room in the house is the kitchen. I love to cook and it is kind of my escape but even some weirdo like me that enjoys being in the kitchen could use some tips and tricks to make things easier or quicker. Every now and then I come across a life hack that makes me think ” why didn’t I ever think of that”? Once you hear or see them you can’t believe how simple the idea is but it never popped into your over-worked brain. I hope that these little life hacks help you as much as they have me.
Most of us have a muffin tin or two around the house and I have used mine for assorted other things like making mini meatloaf or things like that but I never really ventured past that. Here is a good one. I love Ice tea all year around. I make mine at home and add flavors like raspberry and peach. But I never thought about placing the pieces of fruit in the muffin tins, filling them with water and making flavored ice cubes for my tea!! Simple huh? You could do this with any fruits, mint, rosemary etc. The possibilities are endless. I may have to go to the dollar store and stock up on muffin tins!
Have you ever fought with a head of lettuce trying to get the core out so you could chop up a quick salad for dinner? This one I have been using for years: take the head of lettuce with the core side down and your hands higher up on the head and give it a good slam against a cutting board but make sure your little digits are out of the way, the counter or even the side of the sink and voila! The core just comes out. This makes the lettuce a lot easier to clean and drain too!
This next one is one that I had to thump my hand against my forehead in an homage to the V-8 commercials because I cannot believe that I didn’t think of it and that it works so well. Cut down your pasta cooking time with this trick. Get a large freezer zip lock bag and place your spaghetti or other pasta noodles inside and fill with water, zip up the bag and let the pasta sit for 2 hours to overnight. When you’re ready to cook it, place in boiling water and it will be ready in 60 seconds. Yes just 60 seconds! Talk about a quick pasta meal.
Do you ever have the problem with your cutting board slipping and sliding around the counter when you are trying to chop onions and you swear it has grown feet? I don’t have this particular problem myself because I have a huge, very heavy wood block cutting board but I have encountered this in the past. Simply wet a paper towel and place it under the cutting board, no more slipping and no need for stitches!
Have you ever been following a recipe and it calls for carmelized onions and you think to yourself ” oh no, not carmelized onions!!” Well fret no more! Next time you see those dreaded words just add a little baking soda on the onions and watch them carmelize in a jiff!
I love to go to the farmer’s market and get fresh ears of sweet corn for my hubby, He once ate 6 ears in one sitting he loves them so much. I hate that I have to shuck them and try to get all of those pesky little strings off that get everywhere and clog up my sink. Well here is a great way to lower the stress level and not have to pay a plumber to snake out my drain. Place the entire ear of corn, husk and all just as you bought it in the microwave for 8 minutes. when you take it out make sure you have a cool pair of those ove gloves on because they are piping hot. The end of the corn just gets cut off ( not the end where the husks start) lop that sucker off. once you cut it, hold the very top and shake the corn and the ear will fall out with NO STRINGS ATTACHED 🙂
I love fresh ginger! I love it in teas and in sauces and it just adds amazing flavor but I hate cutting or grating it. Use a microplane instead of a grater. If you don’t know, a microplane is a handheld grater that produces much finer zest. Freeze your ginger first and it’s even easier.
Do you love fresh grated cheese in your meals? Do you hate that every time you use the grater the cheese gets stuck on the inside of the grater as well as the outside and makes for very hard clean up? I hate this! Simply spray some unflavored non stick spray on the inside and outside of the grater and the cheese will not stick to it! Don’t worry it won’t add a weird taste to your cheese unless your cheese is already a stinky cheese!
Do you love making homemade fries but hating cutting the potatoes? I know I do! Quick tip is use an apple slicer for perfectly cut potatoes and easy fries at home.
If you are using lemon or lime juice and want to use the real thing like I do, here’s a little tip to get the most juice out of those buggers that you can. Microwave them for 15 to 20 seconds before squeezing the life out of them. The heat breaks down the carbs and allows maximum liquid yield!!
I hate hate hate peeling potatoes! It is a mind numbing, tedious chore and it makes me feel like I’m on Army KP duty and did I say I hate it? Well I don’t have to do it anymore! Simply boil your potatoes with the skin on! When they are tender the skin will fall right off! Hallelujah it’s a miracle!
Pinterest is one of my favorite sites, I know crazy right? I have seen a million uses for a paper clip but here’s a cool one? Bend one end of the paper clip straight out and use it to pit a cherry! One good swipe and the sucker just pops right out!
I love to make my own homemade whip cream using heavy whipping cream, of course! I just hate that if you try to do it by hand you could see your toddler off for his first day of college before it’s done! So try this instead! Put the heavy whipping cream in a mason jar and simply…shake shake shake…. shake your booty! That’s right dance your way to whipped cream! Cool right?
Okay here is another little pet peeve of mine… peeling boiled eggs!! Have you ever got one of those pieces of shell stuck in your finger? It hurts like a stinking paper cut! Once you have your boiled eggs…well… boiled, grab a pair of oven mitts and hold the pot under running water and shake the heck out of the pan and the eggs. Don’t be nice, really shake those eggs! The little boogers crash against each other and the shells peel themselves.
Are you a fan of wine? I am!! I love Sangria, it’s so good!! I must have mine extremely cold or I will not drink it! I know for some wine lovers out there that makes me the devil but come on, I know you like it chilled too, I am not the only odd ball out there, at least I hope I’m not! Freeze some grapes and use them instead of ice cubes. They don’t water down the wine and they keep it bone-chillingly cold! Oh it also adds some really cool flavor. In my sangria I use the really, really dark purple grapes!
Do you hate when a recipe calls for 1 cup of peanut butter or 1/2 cup of honey and you think to yourself “Man I’m going hate cleaning that measuring cup later”? Well all you have to do is spray a little non stick cooking spray in the measuring cup and the sticky stuff won’t stick!
Stuffed shells are a major favorite in my house but I gotta tell you I really hate trying to stuff the slippery little suckers and by the time I’m done it looks like the pillsbury dough boy exploded in my kitchen. Here’s a quick way to fill them without all of the mess. Whatever filling you are using just add it to a zip lock bag and cut a small hole in one corner, squeeze and fill!
Do you hate when your brown sugar sits in your cabinet and petrifies? I do! All you gotta do is place it in the microwave for 20 seconds and it’s soft as the driven snow!
I love to cook with oils and sauces and herbs and sometimes I just don’t have the time to make them up on the spot so all I have to do is take a glass bowl and add some olive oil and fresh herbs and mix them well. Place the mix in ice-cube trays, cover with plastic wrap and freeze. Now when you want to saute some chicken just grab a couple of cubes, throw them in the pan for a few seconds and get your chef on!
I hope one or all of these brings you a little help in the kitchen department and you keep your sanity! If you have a tip or trick to share, please leave a comment and let all of us mere mortals in on the secret!