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Kitchen Tips

Added Space in Small Kitchens

Since I live in an apartment, my kitchen isn’t as spacious as I’d like. For extra “counter space”, I sometimes open drawers and put cutting boards across them. —Randy B., Fargo, North Dakota

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Adding in Your Favorite Recipes

When you find a recipe you like better than one in a favorite cookbook, copy it onto a file card and tape it over the recipe in the book. This way, you can use the book’s index to quickly find…

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Bakeware Size

Not sure about your bakeware's size? Using a ruler, measure from one inside top edge to the opposite inside top edge to check the diameter, length and width. To measure the height, place a ruler…

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Baking Pans Versus Baking Dishes

Baking pans are made of metal; baking dishes are made of ovenproof glass or ceramic. We prefer to bake in metal pans with dull finishes; they produce foods with an even, golden surface. Pans with…

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Binder Cookbook

When I get my magazine issue, I literally tear it apart! I carefully tear out each page and place it in a separate plastic page protector, then place them in order in a three-ring binder. Now the…

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Charcoal Reduces Refrigerator Odors

To keep stale odors from building up in my fridge and freezer, I put a plain charcoal briquette or two in a small cup or on a piece of foil in the back corner of each appliance. The charcoal…

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Cleaning Baked-On Pans

Baked-on food slides right off of pans if you let them soak in warm water to which a teaspoon or two of dishwasher detergent has been added. —Karen W., Ellenton, Florida

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Cleaning Bread Machine

Do you have a hard time cleaning the mixing paddle on your bread machine? Soak it in warm soapy water, then scrub out the inside with one of those little brushes designed to clean baby bottles.…

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Cleaning Serrated Knives

A small nail brush is great for removing stuck-on food from serrated knives and other utensils that are hard to clean. It’s easier than trying to work with a soapy pad. —Jeannette B., Baltimore,…

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Cleaning Stained Coffee Cups

To clean a stained coffee cup, wet the cup and sprinkle in some table salt. Scrub the salt around with a cloth, then rinse the cup. Repeat if needed. This works for me every time. —Lois M.,…

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Cleaning the Microwave

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…

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Cleaning Up Spilled Oil

While managing a restaurant, I learned an easy way to clean up spilled cooking oil—by sprinkling flour thickly over the spill. Wait a moment, then just sweep the flour into a dustpan. —Carlie P.,…

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Creating Napkin Roses

Guests will shower you with compliments when they see this fresh idea for Napkin Roses. To start, lay a square napkin flat with the right side down.

Fold napkin in half diagonally. Fold…

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Different Uses for Muffin Pans

The next time you make baked apples or stuffed peppers, use jumbo muffin pans to prevent them from tipping over. - Karen Ann Bland, Gove, Kansas

Put drinks in muffin pans to serve them. They…

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Dishwasher Storage

My dishwasher is next to my sink. So I store my dish brush and plastic scrubbing pads on the dishwasher’s top rack. After I’m done using them, I don’t have to worry about them dripping onto…

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Early Easter Eggs

In 3,000 B.C., Persians began using colored eggs to herald the arrival of spring. Thirteenth-century Macedonians were the first Christians on record to use colored eggs in Easter celebrations.

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Filling Storage Bags

Storage bags can be messy and hard to hold when filling. So line a tall drinking glass with a storage bag. Fold the top of the bag over the rim of the glass. Now your hands are free to fill. The…

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Garbage Disposal Alternative

I don’t have a garbage disposal, so I came up with this trick. When I rinse the supper dishes, I always place a colander in the sink first. This catches all the food scraps so I don’t have to dig…

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Getting Rid of Cooking Odors

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.…

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Grocery Shopping Hint

When your groceries are being packed at the checkout line, be sure frozen items are bagged together to help keep them cold. Put them in the freezer as soon as you get home.

Pick your day.…

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It's a Wrap with Ribbon!

Wrap a piece of double-stick tape around the entire metal band on the outside of the tea light. (If you're using a lacy ribbon, be sure the tape is transparent.) Press one end of ribbon (we used…

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Keep an Organized Kitchen

An organized kitchen is my key to making quick meals. I save seconds by storing items close to where they’re used. For example, pots and pans are kept near my stove…mixing bowls and utensils near…

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Keep Recipes Handy

I keep some of my most-used recipes handy right inside my spice cabinet door, fastened there with clear contact paper. That way, I never have to search through an overcrowded recipe box. —Patty…

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Keeping Track of Recipes

I tend to have a short memory, so when I see a recipe in Taste of Home I’d like to try later, I jot down the recipe name, issue and page number on my calendar. When I turn to that particular day,…

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Kitchen Space-Saver

This tip is a kitchen space-saver rather than a time-saver. I like to save my plastic grocery bags to use later, so I store them in empty cardboard tubes from paper towels. I can stuff several…

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Oiling Wooden Cutting Boards

Rub a thin coating of mineral oil over the entire surface of your new wooden cutting board to protect it from moisture. Mineral oil can be purchased at your local pharmacy. Repeat the oiling when…

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Organized Recipe Preparation

Before starting a recipe, I put all the ingredients and supplies on the counter. As I use each item, I put the ingredient away and any dirty bowls or utensils in the dishwasher. When I’m ready to…

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Organized Utensil Drawer

To keep my kitchen utensil drawer organized, I put small items (such as cookie cutters, cake decorating tips, etc.) in resealable plastic sandwich bags. Besides keeping the drawer much neater, I…

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Organizing Recipe Files

I have a solution for my growing recipe files. I bought a large photo album that has pull-back plastic sheets covering each page. I also purchased color tabs for dividing the album into sections…

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Organizing Recipes

I store magazines in chronological order. When new issues arrive, I copy the index and file it in a binder. When I make a recipe, I put a star by the title on the index sheet and make notes on a…

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Perfect Fit for Oven Mitt

To keep my oven mitts from falling off my small hands, I sew a button on top of the mitt, take the “hanging loop” and pull it over the button for a snug fit. —Nancy A., Santa Clara, California

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Plastic & Dishwashers

To keep plastic containers from turning over in the dishwasher, place your wire cooling racks on top of them to hold them in place. —Sandy B., Stites, Idaho

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Preventing Tomato Stains

Tired of tomato-based leftovers staining your plastic containers? Coat the inside of the container with nonstick cooking spray before adding the leftovers to keep the plastic as good as new.…

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Protect Magazine from Spills

Before starting to cook, I open my Taste of Home magazine to the desired recipe, then place the magazine in a 1-gallon resealable plastic bag. This protects the magazine from spills. —Ada D.,…

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Protecting Tablecloths

I bought a large piece of heavy clear plastic/vinyl and used it as a tablecloth protector. It protects wood tables and favorite linens and cleans up easily. It can be cut to your desired length,…

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Quick Colander Cleanup

Before draining noodles or potatoes, spray the sieve or colander with nonstick cooking spray. It makes cleanup a lot faster and easier. —Terry N., Kingsport, Tennessee

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Recipe Binder

I prevent my magazine issues from getting dog-eared and splattered by turning to the page I need, putting the magazine in a clear gallon-sized resealable plastic bag. Then I can read the recipes…

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Sandwiches for a Crowd

Estimate 4 oz. of meat per person. Keep in mind that some people will eat more and others will eat less. For a professional look, if you have time, line a tray or plate you don't need to have…

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Saving Money at the Grocery Store

Watch the cheese! Cheese with a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) stamp or label costs 20 to 50 percent more than similar cheeses without it. These cheeses are required by the European Union…

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Saving Money By Using Leftovers

Save money on groceries by cooking one meal and making a second meal out of the leftovers. This works especially good with slow cooker meals. - Mike R.

Try to know the regular prices on the…

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Scented Dishwater

Put a few drops of peppermint oil in your hot dishwater to make your kitchen and surrounding rooms smell wonderful. —Dora B., Woodruff, South Carolina

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Serving in a Slow Cooker

You can bake the beef for Marinated Beef Sandwiches the day before your party. Transfer the sliced beef and cooking juices to a slow cooker and refrigerate. The next day, reheat on low before your…

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Sparkling Sink

To save time and to keep your sink sparkling clean, put the stoppers from your sink in the dishwasher each time you run it. It’s easy and you’ll love the results. —Jean Keiser, West Chester,…

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Stacking Nonstick Skillets

When stacking non-stick skillets on cupboard shelves, place a paper plate between each to prevent scratches. This prolongs the life of the skillets. —Joyce P., Wellsville, Ohio

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Storing Small Appliances

When putting away electric frying pans, pressure cookers and other appliances, I store the cord, pressure gauges and other accessories right inside the appliance. This way, I don’t waste minutes…

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Table Decorations

If you're concerned about people spilling on your tablecloths during mealtime, consider using coordinating washable linens and placemats and pretty votive candles.

Use bright flowering…

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Tips for Using Blenders and Food Processors

Use a blender or food processor to make salad dressings and sauces and to puree soups.

A food processor is best to mix and puree very thick mixtures such as cheese spreads, sandwich fillings…

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Toothbrush Cleans Small Spaces

I keep a new toothbrush near the kitchen sink for cleaning graters, choppers, blenders, rotary beaters, etc. —Inez K., Raymond, Nebraska

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Treatment for Minor Burns

I used to work in a restaurant where minor burns from hot oil and hot soup were common. I’d run cold water over the burn for a moment, then apply a bit of toothpaste (not the gel variety). Once…

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Using Proper Measuring Tools for Baking

Using correct measuring tools can help prevent baking flops. Choose glass liquid measuring cups for all liquids. When measuring, place the cup on a level surface so you can view it at eye level.…

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