Are you like me? You love cooking and baking, but not the amount of time it takes to actually execute that perfect dinner, cake, bread or lunch?
Over the years, I have learned lots of shortcuts as well as some tricks for making the entire cooking and baking process much more enjoyable.
My 16 Favourite Kitchen Tips & Tricks
UPDATE – Forgot to add this tip that we have used for years and years. When freezing ground meat, put it in a freezer bag, flatten and remove all air before zipping the bag. The meat will not only stack neatly and take up far less freezer space, it thaws more quickly too!
1.) Read Entire Recipe BEFORE you Begin Cooking
Ever get partway through a recipe only to discover you are missing an ingredient? Yeah, I have been there and done that. Trust me, you don’t want to make a trip to the supermarket midway through a recipe.
2.) Mise en place
If you watch cooking shows, you may have heard the phrase, “Mise en place”. It is often used by chefs and is a French phrase which means “putting in place”. Basically, you gather and prep your ingredients before beginning to actually cook. That way, the cooking phase moves more quickly. It is also another check to make sure you have everything that you need to complete a recipe.
3.) Stabilizing Your Cutting Board
Wet a kitchen towel and spread it out over your work surface. Then just place your cutting board on top and you have created a stable, slip-free cutting surface. This is a great tip for use on all surfaces, but especially if there is a little bit of unevenness.
4.) Freezing Ripe Bananas
Don’t throw those overly ripe bananas out. Peel the bananas and pop them into a freezer bag. You can freeze them individually or in groups. I keep adding bananas to the bag until I have three. Most of my recipes that use bananas call for three, so that way I just haul the one bag out of the freezer and let it thaw before using.
5.) How to Cook the Perfect Hard Boiled Egg
- 1. Place the eggs in a pot, cover with water and bring to full boil.
- 2. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and let stand for 10 minutes for large eggs and 11 minutes for extra-large.
- 3. Drain and run eggs under cold water until cool enough to handle.
- 4. Roll the egg on a piece of waxed paper to crack it all over, the shell should then easily slip off. Rinse under cold water to remove any stuck on shell. (Note – wet shells peel much easier than dry)
6.) How to Easily and Cleanly Crush Crackers, Cereal Flakes, Cookies etc
Just put whatever you want to crush into a plastic, sealable bag. Remove air from bag and seal tightly. Using a rolling-pin, roll back and forth over the crackers, etc until they have been crushed to the proper size for your recipe. Pour into a measuring cup or bowl. Recycle the plastic bag and put the rolling-pin back in the drawer. No mess at all.
7.) Don’t Fry Your Bacon, Bake It!
This tip is genius! I NEVER fry bacon anymore. This method is so easy. Place bacon slices on parchment lined baking sheet. Put pan in COLD oven. Turn on oven to 400 degrees F. and bake for 15 – 20 minutes. That’s it, no muss, no fuss!
8.) How To Get a Piece of Eggshell Out Of The Bowl of Eggs
This is the very reason that I always crack my eggs into a little bowl before adding them to any recipe. No one wants eggshell in their scrambled eggs or cookies!
Using your finger to fish out the broken shell never seems to work. The tip – use one of the egg-shell halves to scoop out the broken shell. Works every time!
9.) Store Herbs and Greens with Paper Towel
You can extend the lifespan of washed herbs and greens by several days by rolling them up in paper towel, placing them in plastic bags with the seals left slightly open and refrigerating in the produce drawer.
10.) Ice cream scoops
I have two good quality scoops that are indispensable in my kitchen. The larger of the two hold about 4 Tablespoons (scoop is 6cm in diameter) and is the perfect size for portioning muffins and cupcakes. The smaller holds about 1.5 Tablespoons (scoop is 3.5cm in diameter) and is the perfect size for portioning cookies, truffles and meatballs.
11.) Keep pie crusts from burning
I do this all the time with double crust pies. If the top crust is becoming too brown and the filling is still not baked, slip a piece of aluminum foil over the pie to prevent further browning.
12.) Save The Rinds From the Wedges of Parmesan Cheese
Don’t throw away the ends of your parmesan cheese. Pop them in a freezer bag and add to soups and stews. These rinds add incredible flavour to soups, sauces and stews. Just pop the ends in a freezer bag and store in freezer until needed.
13.) Clean Your Cookware With a Baking Soda and Water Paste
Having trouble getting your pots and pans to sparkle? Scrub them using paper towel and a paste of baking soda and water. This works especially well on enamel cookware as it won’t scratch the pans.
To remove stains from your coffee and tea cups, wipe them with a damp paper towel dipped in a baking soda paste.
14.) A Bowl for Compost and One For Garbage
Keep a couple of bowls near your work area, one for compost and one for garbage. This saves many trips back and forth to the respective bins and is a great time-saver!
15.) Keeping Your Tea Hot
My friend taught me this tip. Heat a teapot by pouring boiling water into it before making your tea. Swish the hot water around the inside of the teapot and just before making your tea, dump that water out. Make your tea as usual. This will help prevent your tea from cooling too quickly. I also always put the teapot on my cooktop over a very low setting to keep it warm. If the pot is not on the cooktop, covering it with a “tea cozy” also helps retain the heat.
16.) Keep Wine & Beer Glasses in Freezer (not technically a cooking tip, but wine and cooking sometimes goes hand in hand!)
I have a collection of inexpensive wine and beer glasses that I keep in the freezer. They aren’t dollar store glasses but they are not the family heirloom Waterford crystal glasses either. They are somewhere in the middle. Nice to drink from but if they break I won’t be devastated.
You will not believe how many people will comment on how much they enjoy having their wine, beer or cocktails served in a frosty, icy cold glass.
What are some of your favourite kitchen or cooking tips or tricks?
Do you already use any of the tips or tricks listed here?