To protect your containers from tomato-based stains, coat the inside with nonstick cooking spray before adding the leftovers to keep the plastic as good as new.
To prevent bits from soaring across your kitchen when you break spaghetti into the pot, first wrap your pasta in a clean dish towel. Bend the towel back and forth to break the noodles, then carefully open the towel and slide the pieces into the boiling water.
Smart Citrus Sub
Keep lemon and orange extracts on your pantry shelf to use when you don't have fresh citrus peel. If your recipe calls for 1 teaspoon grated peel, substitute 1/2 teaspoon extract. Make sure to add the extract with the rest of the liquid ingredients in the recipe.
Shortcut Make-Ahead Marinade
After grocery shopping, repackage boneless, skinless chicken breasts in freezer bags with marinade before you freeze. Then just thaw overnight in the fridge and prepare as desired. (NOTE: make sure to throw out the excess marinade before cooking).
Save extra crescent rolls from last night's dinner and reuse them as sweet treats. Lightly spritz with butter-flavored spray or non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle each with sugar and cinnamon and microwave for 15 to 20 seconds. They're perfect for busy mornings and make delicious treats for brunches.
Make the Perfect Mark
Add a little honey to your marinade or sauce when grilling. The sugar in the honey caramelizes to help create gourmet-looking grill marks. And pssst, you can even use this trick when cooking foods on the stove. Brush meat, chicken or fish with honey and sauté in a nonstick pan coated with cooking spray to give it a golden-brown color.
Have picky eaters at your house? Try serving chicken, egg or tuna salad in an ice cream cone instead of between bread. Kids love this crunchy lunch that looks more like dessert.
Very Cool Serving Idea
Liven up your libations and freeze a sprig of mint, bit of lemon, or other garnishes in ice cubes. Try experimenting with other types of cubes, too. For example, plunk a cherry in an ice cube tray cup, cover with pink lemonade and freeze.
You usually pay a premium for pre-grated cheese at the store. Instead, buy blocks, shred in your food processor, then freeze in heavy-duty re-sealable plastic bags. Then you'll have shredded cheese at your fingertips whenever you need it.
If you find yourself mid-recipe without any oat flour, don't worry! Simply process some oats in a blender. For 1 cup oat flour, process 1-1/4 cups quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats until finely ground.
Use a strawberry huller or the tip of a serrated grapefruit spoon to easily remove the stem/hull. Just insert the tip of the spoon into the strawberry next to the stem and cut around the stem.
Flour-Free, Stick-Free Sweets
When baking chocolate recipes, dust the pan with cocoa instead of flour. The cocoa enhances the chocolate flavor and eliminates the white flour dust!
Want an easy way to cut baked goods? Use a pizza wheel.
For Good Measure
Try keeping a clean chopstick in your flour and sugar canisters. That way, you've always got a clean tool nearby when you need to level off dry ingredients.
To clean the inside of your microwave in a jiffy, place a bowl of water inside and microwave it on high for 2 minutes. This steams up the inside and makes any splatters easy to clean up with a damp cloth.
Instead of frying bacon, lay strips on a jelly roll pan and bake at 350° for about 30 minutes. Prepared this way, bacon comes out crisp and flat. Plus, the pan cleans easily, and there are no splatters on your stove-top.
Solution for Smelly Kitchens
To get cooking odors out of the kitchen, boil some red-hot candies and a few cinnamon sticks in water for several minutes. Soon a delicious aroma will fill your kitchen and the rest of your home. This is also fun to do around the holidays.
Better Cookie Cutouts
Dip your cookie cutter in slightly warm vegetable oil for a crisper, cleaner cut.
To keep fresh parsley in the refrigerator for several weeks, wash the entire bunch in warm water, shake off all excess moisture, wrap in paper towel and seal in a plastic bag. If you need longer storage time, remove the paper towel and place the sealed bag in the freezer. Then simply break off and crumble the amount of parsley you need for soups, stews and other cooked dishes.
Slick Trick for Cleaning Up Oil
Don't cry over spilled oil. Just sprinkle a thick layer of flour over the spill. Wait a moment, then just sweep the flour into a dustpan.
Say Sayonara to Stained Cups
To remove coffee or tea stains, wet the cup and sprinkle in some table salt. Scrub the salt around with a cloth, then rinse the cup. Repeat if needed. Or if you want a second strategy, fill the vessel with warm water, drop in two effervescent denture cleaning tablets and by morning, the stains should be gone.
When stacking non-stick skillets on cupboard shelves, place a paper plate between each to prevent scratches.
To keep stale odors from building up in your fridge and freezer, put 1-2 plain charcoal briquettes in a small cup in the back of each appliance. The charcoal absorbs odor well, takes up very little space and doesn’t need to be changed very often.
Right-Side-Up Serving Suggestions
The next time you make baked apples or stuffed peppers, use jumbo muffin pans to prevent them from tipping over. If you're serving tippy food like deviled eggs, place them in cupcake liners in muffin tins and serve! Then again, if you're serving something with lots of condiments or toppings, why not keep them together in a muffin tin? So many uses! Who knew?
Easy Canning Cleanup
To prevent a messy stovetop when canning, cover it with heavy-duty aluminum foil, making holes for the burners. When you’re done canning, simply remove the foil to save yourself a lot of scrubbing!