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"Homemade" Chocolate Chips

To make chocolate chip cookies taste extra special, I like to use a combination of semisweet chocolate, butterscotch and white chocolate chips. These yummy cookies are less expensive to make if I…

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"Mashed" Gravy

When my country-style gravy ends up with lumps, I get rid of them by stirring and “mashing” them out with my potato masher. The utensil also comes in handy for stirring up the batter for packaged…

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"Seized" Chocolate

Before melting chocolate chips, be sure all equipment and utensils are completely dry. Any moisture may cause the chocolate to stiffen or "seize." Chocolate that has seized can sometimes be saved…

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Applesauce Snack Packs

I often use applesauce to replace oil when baking. But once the jar of applesauce is opened, it spoils before we can finish it. So now I keep several lunch-size snack packs on hand for baking, and…

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Appliance Covers

To save space in my cabinets, I store my indoor grill, bread machine and stockpots in my pantry. To keep dust off of them and to avoid having to wash them before every use, I buy a pack of clear…

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Baked Bacon

I cook bacon in the oven on a foil-lined baking sheet with sides. This eliminates having to clean a greasy stovetop. —Barbara Soule, Cazenovia, New York

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Baked Brats

I like to place fully cooked bratwurst in a deep pan and bake in a 350° oven until brown on one side, then turn and brown on the other side. We prefer these to grilled brats.—Peggy G.,…

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Baked Ham with Apples

My husband, Brett, and I bought a ham to bake for our family but didn’t have a rack to cook it on. We decided to use cut apples to prop up the ham. Not only did they keep it upright in the pan,…

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Baked Pancakes

My daughter-in-law, Lynn Gunderson, has a unique way of making pancakes for her family of six. She pours pancake batter onto a cookie sheet and bakes it at 400° for about 20 minutes. She then…

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Basil Spaghetti Sauce

Instead of chopping the fresh basil from our garden to add to my spaghetti sauce, I place several leaves in plastic bags and freeze them. I simply take out a handful of the frozen leaves and…

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Berry Good Pie

"When I make blueberry pie with berries from our bush, I add some cooked rhubarb for a nice tang," says Joan Clarke of Pawtucket, Rhode Island. "And I put a little lemon zest in my blueberry…

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Better Bacon

My mom taught me a fast way to prepare a pound of bacon with little cleanup, and since my family enjoys bacon so much I use the trick often. I line a large baking pan with aluminum foil, place the…

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Bite-Size Snacks

When feeding my three small children lunch, it can be a time-consuming process to cut up several foods into bite-size pieces for them. I've found that my pizza cutter makes this process easier and…

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Black Frosting

When I’m decorating cookies or cakes, I sometimes need black frosting. It comes together in no time when I start with a can of chocolate frosting. I simply add black paste food coloring until it…

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Black Walnut Alternative

I love making treats with black walnuts, but they're hard to find in my area. So I put English walnut halves in a pint jar, sprinkle on a teaspoon or so of black walnut flavoring, tighten the lid…

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Blended Picante Sauce

Our family enjoys the flavor of picante sauce, but no one wants to eat all the chunks of vegetables in it. So we process the sauce in the blender for about 20 seconds, then serve it with tortilla…

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Blended Pumpkin Pie

To save time and mess, put all your pumpkin pie ingredients into a blender. Blend to combine, pour into a pie shell and bake. Easy! —Ruth Mohl, Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania

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Blender Batter

I use my blender to make pancake batter. It pours onto the griddle nicely, and cleanup is a breeze since I don’t have to wash beaters, bowls and ladles. —Michelle Lindgren, Moorhead,…

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Boiling Brown Rice

One of the difficult aspects of boiling brown rice is "not peeking while the rice is cooking." I use a glass lid so I can easily keep an eye on the rice's cooking progress. Thought I would pass…

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Bread for the Birds

Instead of draining the fat from browned meats and throwing it away, I use slices of stale bread to soak it up while it’s still in the pan. I let the bread dry a bit and then crumble it and feed…

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Bread-and-Butter Salad

I save the liquid from bread-and-butter pickles to use in my three-bean salad. Just add the beans of your choice along with some chopped onion and green pepper to the juice. Then refrigerate to…

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Brown Bag Lunches

Don’t throw away those little packages of plastic silverware that you get from fast-food restaurants. They’re very useful for those brown bag lunches your kids have to take on field trips.…

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Brownie Kettle Mix

I have a suggestion for people who plan to make Brownie Mix. Since I didn’t have a large enough bowl, I put all the…

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Buttered Corn

To butter corn on the cob, I place a few tablespoons of butter or margarine in a 13-inch x 9-inch baking dish and add the hot corn. Simply roll the corn in the butter and serve in the dish.…

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Buttered Corn on the Cob

To butter corn on the cob easily, we remove a third of the wrapper from one end of a stick of butter. By holding on to the papered end of the stick, we can rub the butter on each ear without a…

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Cabbage Leaves

When I need leaves for cabbage rolls, I microwave a cored head of cabbage for 5 to 10 minutes. After it cools, the leaves separate easily. —Sandra Monk, Maplewood, Minnesota

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Can Opener

Ring-pull lids can be difficult to remove from cans, especially if you have arthritis. I found this easy solution: Slip the handle of a long wooden spoon through the ring and, with the bowl of the…

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Canned Cherry Cobblers

It’s better to be safe than sorry when making pies and cobblers. When using canned cherries, I simply pinch each one to make sure that no pits sneak their way into the dish I’m preparing!…

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Canned Corn Beef

When using canned corned beef, I had trouble getting it out of the can in one piece. Now I fill a large saucepan with hot water and drop in the unopened can for about 30 seconds or so. When I open…

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Cans Make Quick Cutters

Clean empty cans are great for cutting biscuits and pastries. They’re easy to hold, come in lots of sizes from small (tomato paste) to large (fruit cocktail) and nest inside one another for easy…

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Carryout Utensils

Hold on to the plastic utensils that come with fast food or carryout meals. I keep the plastic knives in my sugar and flour canisters, using them to level off measuring cups and spoons when using…

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Celery Leaves

When I have a bunch of celery with nice leaves, I cut off the leaves, wash and drain them, and place on a cookie sheet. I dry the leaves in my oven, then crush and store in a jar. They add nice…

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Cereal Storage

I keep a plastic cereal container handy. When boxes of cereal get low, I empty whatever is left into the container. The combinations of cereals create variety and eliminate storing a lot of…

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Cheese Peeler

I use my potato peeler to slice cheese paper-thin. —Alma K., Alma, Wisconsin

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Cheese Slicer

In a previous issue, a reader mentioned that she uses dental floss to cut cake layers horizontally. That reminded me that I use new fishing line for slicing sticky Velveeta cheese into slices and…

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Cheesy Pasta Salad

Our family loves all kinds of pasta salads. When a recipe calls for cubed cheese, I use string cheese or cheese stick snacks instead. Just unwrap and slice them into cubes. Since the cheese is…

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Cherry Pit Clip

I wash a metal paper clip and use it to pit fresh cherries. Just unfold one end of the paper clip, leaving the other end folded. Insert the U-shaped end into the cherry. Loosen the pit and pull it…

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Chili with Beans

When my children were small, they hated kidney beans in their chili, but I wanted to make sure they got all the protein and fiber the beans provide. So I’d puree three-fourths of the beans and…

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Chip Clips

Instead of using those expensive plastic “chip clips” to close your opened bags of snacks, try the little black binder clips or jumbo paper clips. You can buy a small box of multiple clips for…

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Chopped Chocolate Chips

I use my blender to finely chop chocolate chips when a recipe calls for them. It’s quick and easy. —Loretta Good, Goshen, Indiana

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Chopped Strawberries

To crush strawberries for a recipe, and still have some pulp and juice, I remove the stems, place the berries in a big bowl and chop them with a pastry cutter. You can chop them as fine as you…

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Christmas Candy by Color

After the holidays, I buy Christmas candy (red and green M&M’s, foil-wrapped kisses, etc.) at reduced prices. I then separate the candy by color. I store it in an airtight container and use the…

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Christmas Cookie Cleanup

I love making Christmas cookies with my kids but don’t care for the mess our jam thumbprint cookies leave behind. We used to divide the dough into balls, dip them in egg whites and roll them in…

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Cinnamon-Sugar Shaker

My children and husband love cinnamon toast. To save time, I mix together a big batch of cinnamon-sugar and keep it in a large shaker. This way, they can have cinnamon toast whenever they want…

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Clean Baking Sheets

For quick cleanup, spread a sheet of aluminum foil, over your baking sheets before baking cookies or other items. Just peel off the foil, and any grease and crumbs come off with it. Your baking…

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Clean Counters

When frying bacon, chicken or anything that needs to be drained, I first spread a sheet of aluminum foil on the counter and cover with several paper towels. I drain the items on the…

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Clean Cutting Board

Bothered by a wooden cutting board that still smells like onions even after you wash it? Wet the board, rub it with baking soda and let it sit for several minutes. Rinse it off and the odors…

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Cleaning a Grater

A bottle brush works great for cleaning a grater. It cleans out those little holes without ruining a sponge or scraping my hands. Even grated onion comes out nicely. —LuAnn Edele Brewster,…

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Clump-Free Shakers

If you live in an area where humidity cakes the salt and pepper in your shakers, drop a few oyster crackers into the shakers. They’ll absorb moisture and keep your salt and pepper running freely.…

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Cobbler Short-Cut

When short on time, I substitute canned pie filling for fresh fruit in my crisps and cobblers. —Clara Alford, Westfield, New York

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Coffee Filter Tape

I had a stack of coffee filters that wouldn't separate. I grabbed a small piece of Scotch tape, touched it to the top filter and it easily came off the stack by itself. Now I keep the tape…

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Coffee Grinder

Some people like to grind their spices fresh in a coffee grinder. This often leaves a residue of spice or at least an aroma in the grinder. Putting a fresh piece of white bread in the grinder…

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Colored Cutting Boards

I purchased several different colored plastic cutting boards for my kitchen and use a different color for each type of food (pink for vegetables, white for raw meats, clear for cooked meats,…

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Container Cover Bag

I have lots of plastic storage containers for keeping my leftovers. But finding the matching lids to the containers can be time-consuming. So I bought a small net laundry bag and some plastic…

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Cookie Crumb Topping

Instead of throwing away the cookie crumbs that fall through the rack while the cookies are cooling, I store them in an airtight container. The crumbs make a nice topping for ice cream, pudding…

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Cookie Floss

One reader asked how she could slice refrigerator cookies and keep their nice round shape. The answer is dental floss! Slide a piece (about 1 foot long) under the roll of dough, crisscross the…

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Cooler Ice Blocks

Here’s a handy tip you can use when you go camping or on a picnic. Instead of using ice cubes in your cooler to keep the contents chilled, fill a clean gallon milk jug (or two half-gallon jugs)…

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Coring Lettuce

Here's a tip that makes it easy to remove the core from a head of iceberg lettuce. Hold the head with both hands and firmly hit the head, core side down, against your countertop. Then twist the…

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Corn Brush

Want to brush away corn silk in a jiffy? Buy a hairbrush with flexible plastic bristles that have rounded ends. They will protect the kernels while the bristles effectively remove the silk as you…

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Corn in a Kettle

Have a hard time fitting several ears of fresh corn in a kettle to cook? Lay a tall stockpot on its side and stack the ears of corn in it. Stand it up, add water and boil as usual. My pot is 8…

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Coupon Shopping

Having trouble keeping track of coupons when you’re shopping? I write my grocery list on a business-size envelope and place corresponding coupons inside. —Patty Hammer, Williamsville, New…

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Cover for Frosted Treats

To keep frosted brownies or cupcakes from sticking to aluminum foil when you cover them, try this. Mold a sheet of aluminum foil over an upturned bowl a little larger than the plate. Remove the…

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Cracker Crumbs

I don’t like cleaning up the mess that occurs when using a rolling pin or blender to make cracker crumbs. A great way to avoid it is to break the crackers into small pieces and put them in a…

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Cream Sauce

Need a cream sauce or gravy in a hurry? Place 1-1/4 cups flour and 1 cup cold butter in a food processor and pulse until mixed. Add a little salt and paprika and store the mixture in a glass jar…

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Crumb Crust

When a recipe calls for a butter-crumb crust on the bottom of the pan, tamp it down with a potato masher. It’s quick, easy and creates a nice uniform layer. —Darlene Hensey, Portland,…

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Crushing Way to Save Time

I store crushed crackers in a sealed jar. They’re handy in recipes or for adding to soup…and I don’t have the mess of crushing crackers each time. —Regena J., Lafayette, Indiana

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Cubed Cookie Dough

Recently, I noticed a TV commercial for prepared cookie dough portioned into cubes that bake into perfect same-size cookies. I decided I could do that with my own cookie recipe and eliminate the…

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Cut Biscuits in a Hurry

To make biscuits in a hurry, roll out dough and cut it into squares. There are no scraps to roll out and cut again! —Sue M., Galesburg, Illinois

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Cut Spaghetti

After cooking spaghetti, I run a pizza cutter across it on the plate to make neatly cut pieces of pasta. This makes it easier to cut small bite-size pieces for kids. —Anna Victoria Reich,…

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Cutting Board

I keep a separate cutting board for making breads, cookies and other bakery goods. To keep it from slipping as I roll out dough, I lay a moistened paper towel underneath the board. It doesn’t…

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Cutting Board Cleanup

Here’s how I make the most of those plastic bags I bring home from the grocery store. When I’m cutting or peeling fruits and vegetables, I hang a bag by its handles over the corners of the…

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Cutting Fresh Basil

To quickly chop a lot of basil, stack several leaves and roll them into a tight tube. Slice the leaves widthwise into narrow pieces to create long thin strips. If you’d like smaller pieces, chop…

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Cutting Kitchen Time

"If you're fixing a dish that can be frozen, prepare two. It takes very little extra time to double the dish." - Anita Beachy, Bealeton, Virginia.

"Organization is key. I like to be sure…

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Cutting Meringue Pies

When cutting meringue-topped pies or puddings, oil the knife or spoon. Then the meringue won’t tear or pull. —Dovie O., Fulton, Mississippi

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Decorative Holiday Cookies

When making big batches of cookies for the holidays, I chill the cookie dough in the refrigerator so it’s easy to roll into balls and place on cookie sheets. I use a meat tenderizer, dipped in…

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Deviled Easter Eggs

I once hosted a birthday brunch buffet for my 90-year-old uncle. Since the event took place near Easter, I wanted to prepare colored eggs but worried about the mess all of those broken egg shells…

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Diced Bacon

To dice bacon with ease, I cut the uncooked bacon with my kitchen shears and brown as usual.—Sue S., Valatie, New York

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Dicing Bacon

When making bacon bits (for sprinkling over a salad, etc.), use your kitchen scissors to cut uncooked bacon into small pieces. Fry in a skillet, stirring often as the bacon cooks. Drain and pat…

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Dilled Beets

I save the juice from dill pickles and place sliced or whole beets in the dill juice. I refrigerate the dilled beets to use in salads. —Betty Kassteen, Morris Plains, New Jersey

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Dishwasher Tips

Washing small items like blender parts, baby bottle rings and caps, and the lids to kids’ sippy cups can be tedious. To clean them in the dishwasher, I put them in an open weave lingerie bag I…

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Dot with Butter

I’ve always found it cumbersome and messy to “dot with butter.” So instead of cutting the butter into tiny pieces, I melt the required amount in the microwave and drizzle it on.…

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Drained Ground Beef

To drain the fat after browning ground beef, I remove the pan from the heat and use a spatula to push the meat to one side. I carefully tip the empty side of the pan down, allowing the fat to…

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Easy Apple Peeling

In my 80 years, I've peeled tons of apples to make sauce. Now I halve and core the apples, then place them in my double boiler steamer. In 4 to 5 minutes, they soften, and the peel can be pulled…

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Easy Bacon and Eggs

My husband eats egg substitute several times a week. He prefers it fixed omelet-style with onions, green peppers, mushrooms, bacon and cheese. I chop the veggies in quantity once a week, then…

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Easy Biscuit Doughnuts

“I turn refrigerated biscuits into doughnuts by cutting a hole in the middle of each,” says Anne Welter of Sher-idan, Wyoming. “I carefully fry the biscuits in hot oil until they’re golden brown,…

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Easy Cheese Slices

To easily slice process cheese, cut a 12-inch piece of sewing thread and double it for strength. Wrap each end around your index fingers and, with your thumbs, press the string down through the…

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Easy Chocolate Syrup

Want to dress up ice cream quickly? Simply melt milk chocolate chips in the microwave, add a little milk and light corn syrup, and heat again for 5 seconds. Stir and drizzle this topping over your…

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Easy Chopped Nuts

An easy way to chop nuts is to put them in a plastic bag and roll them with a rolling pin to the desired fineness. It’s quick, plus I save even more time since there’s no chopper to clean. —Linda…

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Easy Chopped Onions

To finely chop onions, run a pizza cutter back and forth over sliced onions on your cutting board. —Hazel G., Spring Hill, Florida

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Easy Clean Blender

Because my blender was so hard to clean, I didn’t use it much…until I discovered this cleaning method: I fill the blender halfway with hot water, add a drop of dishwashing liquid, cover it…

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Easy Cleaning

When you burn something in a pan and it leaves a crust, cover the burn with about an inch of water, add a teaspoon of cream of tartar and bring to a boil. The black crust will flake off and leave…

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Easy Cleanup

When kneading bread dough or decorating sugar cookies on your kitchen table, place masking tape over the seams of the table. This will prevent ingredients from getting between the table’s leaves,…

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Easy Cleanup Idea

Before you mix pie dough, lightly coat your pastry blender with cooking spray. This makes cleanup a breeze. —Betty F., Claypool, Indiana

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Easy Cleanup of Casseroles

When making casseroles, I spray a fine mist of nonstick cooking spray on the dish before I fill it. It makes serving the casserole, plus the cleanup, so much easier. —Joy B., Cincinnati, Ohio

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Easy Cream Cheese Frosting

Pat Reis has a simple way to stretch a can of frosting. From Early, Iowa, she pens, “I combine a softened 8-ounce package of cream cheese with a can of frosting. It makes a light, less-sweet…

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Easy Dough for Tarts

When making tarts, I put a ball of dough into each cup and loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap. Using my fingers, I press the dough into a tart shape through the plastic. Then I peel off the…

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Easy Dumplings

To make easy dumplings, I simply cut flour tortillas into strips and add them to boiling broth a few at a time so they don’t stick together. —Cheryl Maczko, Arthurdale, West Virginia

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Easy Italian Spaghetti Sauce

For easy spaghetti sauce, I blend a can or two of Italian diced tomatoes until smooth, heat and serve over noodles. Already spiced, the sauce tastes wonderfully fresh. —Karen Victor,…

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Easy Lasagna Preparation

When preparing a pan of lasagna, I place the cheese mixture in a large resealable plastic bag with one corner snipped off. Then I squeeze the mixture out evenly onto the noodles. It’s easy, and…

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Easy Seasoning

My husband punched a few holes in a decorative canning jar lid; then I filled a pint-size canning jar with a mixture of 1 cup salt, 1/4 cup pepper and 1/4 cup garlic powder. (You could also add…

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Easy Sliced Cheese

To cut Velveeta cheese with ease, first place a large non-serrated knife and a cutting board in the freezer for 15 minutes. The cheese won't stick to the knife or the board. —Lisa Anderson,…

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Easy Sweet Dill Pickles

Alyce W. of Pembina, North Dakota makes delicious sweet dill pickles from a 48-ounce jar of kosher dills. “I drain the juice, remove the stem ends, cut the pickles into 3/4-inch pieces, then put…

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Easy Way to Remove Stuffing

When baking a stuffed turkey or chicken, I put the stuffing on a square of cheesecloth and tie it in a loose knot. I then “stuff” the knotted cheesecloth into the bird and roast as usual. To…

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Easy-Pour Syrup & Molasses

When a bottle of syrup or molasses is almost empty, I warm it in the microwave for a few seconds. This thins the remaining liquid so it runs out better. You can get almost every drop if you tip…

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Egg Count

Record the number of eggs left in a carton on the carton’s lid with a marker. Adjust the number each time eggs are removed. This lets you know when you’re running low on eggs and saves you time…

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Emptying Canned Contents

Canned beans and other canned ingredients sometimes stick to the bottom of the can and require a spatula or spoon to remove. So I open the bottom of the can, where everything has settled. With a…

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Extra Baked Potatoes

When making a dish that needs to bake for more than an hour, I put a few potatoes in the oven to bake alongside of it. I keep the baked potatoes in the refrigerator for quick meals for our…

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Extra French Toast?

I butter extra French toast slices, sprinkle with powdered sugar, cut into fourths and freeze them. When I'm in a hurry, I microwave the thawed sticks. They're good finger foods that can be eaten…

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Extra Lemon Juice

To get more juice from a lemon, I soak the fruit in hot water for 15 minutes, then roll it on my kitchen counter. When I halve the lemon and squeeze it, the juice comes out more easily.…

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Extract Dropper

Flavoring extracts are difficult to pour from small bottles. So I use an inexpensive medicine dropper I bought at the pharmacy. It fits nicely into the bottles, prevents waste and is easily…

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Family Meal

Once a month we have a birthday lunch at work where everyone brings something to share. Whatever I decide to bring, I make one for home, too. This keeps my family from snitching from the dish I…

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Family Menu

I’m a full-time working mom of two teenagers. After a couple months of cooking the same recipes in a cycle of about 2 weeks, our whole family is bored. But when I try new recipes, they complain…

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Fast and Easy Greasing

I always hated greasing a pan because the solid shortening got all over my hands. So I now use my pastry brush. It’s fast and easy, with no messy hands. —Wavelene C., London,…

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Fast Corn on the Cob

Here's a fast way to cook a few ears of corn. Shuck the corn and wash it. Then wrap each cob in a paper towel to help hold in moisture. Microwave on high for a few minutes. That's it! The corn…

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Fast Cucumber Salad

For a quick side dish, finely chop some fresh dill into plain yogurt. Pour over fresh cucumber slices and toss.

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Fast Egg Salad

To make egg salad in almost half the time, use a pastry blender instead of a knife to chop the eggs. It’s quick and easy! —Allison F., Annapolis, Maryland

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Fast Freezer Cleaning

I spray my freezer where the ice usually forms with nonstick cooking spray. When I defrost it, the ice pops right off. It makes the job so much easier and faster! —Charlotte Carter, Girard,…

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Fast Frosting

Don’t have the time to make homemade frosting? Mix a can of store-bought frosting (any flavor) with an 8-ounce container of whipped topping. The result is so soft, creamy and easy to spread that…

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Fast Twice-Baked Potatoes

When making twice-baked potatoes, use a melon baller to scoop the cooked potato out of the shells. It will come out quickly and neatly without tearing the skins. I once did 40 potatoes this way in…

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Fast Way to Fill Cupcake Cups

I can whip up a batch of cupcakes in no time with this tip I learned from a friend. Pour the batter into a large resealable plastic bag, snip off a corner and squeeze the batter into tins. It’s…

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Fennel Seed Sausage

I flavor my Italian sausage with fennel seed. I crush the seed, then heat it in a small amount of water and mix it into the sausage. It permeates the meat quicker that way and gives it a rich…

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Filled Coffee Filters

To save time making coffee in the morning, I rely on this handy trick I learned as a waitress. I measure out the correct amount of ground coffee into a coffee filter. Then I put another filter on…

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Filling Canisters

Here’s how I transfer flour (or sugar) to a canister without a mess: When I get a new bag of flour, I completely cut off the top of the bag. Then I place a plastic bag over the flour bag and turn…

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Filling Manicotti Shells

Spooning a cheesy filling into manicotti shells can be time-consuming and messy. To avoid the trouble, I put the filling into a cake decorating bag and easily pipe it into the pasta tubes.…

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Filling Shakers

To prevent salt and pepper shakers from leaking while filling them, I place a piece of tape over the holes. Once they’re filled, I turn them upright and remove the tape. —Joyce F., Charlotte,…

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Flattened Cookies

When a recipe instructs me to flatten cookie dough with a sugar-dipped glass, I put the sugar aside and place waxed or parchment paper over the portions of dough on the baking sheet. As I flatten…

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Flour Ladle

When baking, I use a gravy ladle to scoop flour out of the bag or canister and into a measuring cup. The flour piles up and sits nicely in the ladle, reducing spills and cutting back on kitchen…

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Flour Shaker

I have an extra shaker container that I’ve filled with flour. It works wonders for flouring cake pans, flouring dough or flouring a board before rolling out dough. The shaker top lets out just the…

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Flouring Meat

After I flour meat for stew or chicken pieces for frying, I shake them in a colander over a paper towel. This keeps me from having too much flour in the browning pan. —Amy Jump, Alexander,…

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Foil Pie Ring

Most pie recipes instruct you to cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil when they begin to brown. I save myself a lot of trouble by fitting a foil ring around the pie while it’s still…

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Food Processed Pickles

I like to add chopped sweet pickles to my tuna, chicken and egg salads. But cutting up all those pickles gets tiresome, so I use my food processor to mince an entire jar at once. I process the…

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Freeze Meat Before Slicing

I like to use flank steak (London broil) for stir-fry dishes and fajitas. It can be difficult to cut the meat into thin, uniform slices when it’s fresh, but I’ve found it’s much faster and easier…

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Freeze On-Hand Soup Ingredients

I keep a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag in the freezer to store soup ingredients. When we have corn, beans or other vegetables left over at dinner, I put them in the bag. I do the same with…

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Freezer Chili Dump

I keep a container in my freezer to hold ingredients for my next pot of chili. I dump in leftover taco meat, sloppy joes and cooked meats as well as tomato-based dishes such as spaghetti sauce,…

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Freezer Shredded Cheese

Shredded cheese always spoiled before I had the chance to use it all. My dad taught me to buy a 5-pound bag of shredded cheddar, put small amounts in resealable freezer bags and freeze…

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Freezer Tape

Ordinary masking tape makes wonderful freezer tape. You can write on it with anything, it stays on the containers in the freezer and it peels off easily without scrubbing. —Bobby Langley,…

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Freezer Treats

To save time, I frequently prepare a double batch of cookies, brownies or other treats. I freeze the second batch so I have something on hand for a family dessert, housewarming or whatever…

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Freezing Fresh Corn

I often freeze fresh corn. I used to cut the kernels off the cob with a paring knife. A couple years ago, I tried using my electric knife to speed up the process. It was less messy and easier on…

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French Toast Sticks

One morning, my children requested French toast, but I was out of bread. I improvised with leftover hot dog buns, splitting each roll in half before dipping it in the egg batter. They resembled…

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Fresh Asparagus

In order to keep asparagus fresh longer, I place the cut stems in a container of cold water—similar to flowers in a vase. I keep the asparagus in the refrigerator, changing the water at…

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Fresh Beans Fast

When preparing fresh green beans for cooking, I used to break off the stem ends and then cut the beans into pieces—a tedious and time-consuming process. Now I use a pair of kitchen shears to do it…

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Fresh Cereal

Here’s a helpful hint we use to keep breakfast cereal fresh. We pour the contents of a cereal box into a resealable plastic bag, then place the bag back into the cereal box. Now, instead of an…

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Fresh Salad Greens

To keep salad greens and cut vegetables fresh, I put a paper towel with them in the plastic bag. It absorbs any liquid so my produce lasts much longer. —Sheila Rehagen, Long Lane,…

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Frozen Bread Cubes

Once a loaf of white bread is down to the last few slices, I cube the bread, put it in a freezer bag and place in the freezer. I keep adding to the bag, so when I want to make bread pudding (or…

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Frozen Bread Dough Tips

Frozen bread dough is quite a time-saver for busy cooks. If you take it out of the freezer at lunchtime, set it on the counter and cover it with plastic wrap coated with nonstick cooking spray, it…

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Frozen Butter

I have discovered a simple and efficient way to combine flour and a stick of butter for a recipe. Just freeze the butter, grate it into the flour and stir a couple of times with a fork.…

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Frozen Cake Mixes

I think measuring dry ingredients is the most time-consuming chore when baking a cake from scratch. So when I bake, I set several resealable bags on the kitchen counter. After I measure a dry…

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Frozen Ham

Instead of using ham hocks in soups, beans and other dishes, I buy a fully cooked ham and ask the butcher to cut it into large chunks. I package them individually in large heavy-duty resealable…

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Frozen Shredded Cheese

I like to buy shredded cheddar cheese in bulk. Then I divide it up, place in heavy-duty resealable plastic bags and freeze. When it’s time to use the cheese, there’s no need to thaw a solid clump…

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Frozen Whipped Cream Dollops

I drop rounded spoonfuls of leftover whipped cream on a cookie sheet and freeze. I drop the frozen dollops into a small resealable plastic bag and return them to the freezer. When the…

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Frozen Zest

I grate the rind from oranges, lemons and limes before I use them. Then I either freeze or dry the rind, so I have zest on hand when I need it. —Rebecca Baird, Salt Lake City, Utah

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Fruited Frosting

When making frosting for cookies from confectioners' sugar, I use seedless jam for color and flavor instead of food coloring. It's easy, quick and natural. —Doris Harrar, Stillman Valley,…

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Fruity Glaze

For a quick, inexpensive and tasty glaze, I mix 3/4 cup ketchup with a small jar of baby food fruit and brown sugar. It gives foods a wonderfully fruity boost. —Jodi Anthoney, Dubuque,…

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Fudge Pieces

Cutting fudge can be difficult. Try using a pizza cutter to get nice even pieces. —Ruth Hime, Houston, Texas

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Fudgy Bananas

When making fudge, scrape the saucepan clean with chunks of banana for a fast treat. Yum! —Elizabeth Green, Las Vegas, Nevada

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Garbage Bowl

When cooking or baking, I often grab an extra dishwasher-safe bowl and set it on the counter within easy reach. I use it as my garbage bowl to throw eggs shells, wrappers and other messy items.…

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Garden Fresh Green Beans

I use my lettuce spinner to remove moisture from my garden-fresh green beans when I wash and prepare them for the freezer. It removes most of the moisture without all the work. —Bernie…

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Garlic Peeler

I’ve discovered another use for those handy rubber jar openers. Place a clove of garlic on the jar opener and wrap it around the garlic, then roll. It peels the garlic in a jiffy. —Bobbie…

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Getting Butter to Room Temperature

Waiting for butter to come to room temperature is like waiting for water to boil. To soften 1/2 cup cold butter quickly, place an unwrapped stick on a microwave-safe plate. In an 1,100-watt…

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Grated Gingerroot

Fresh gingerroot is easy to peel and grate once it’s frozen. —Genevieve Dollar, Everett, Washington

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Grating Cold Butter

I always grate cold butter before cutting it into my cobbler recipe. Grating makes uniform pieces that "cut in" faster. —Cheryl Adams, Oregon, Wisconsin

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Grating Glove

My husband loves carrot cake, but I never seem to be able to grate the carrots without scraping my fingers. So I decided to wear a new garden glove while grating. It was just the thing to grasp…

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Grating Orange Peel

Grating fresh orange peel is a lot easier when you place the orange in the freezer the night before. I also wear a pair of clean gloves to prevent cutting my fingertips on the grater.…

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Greasing Tip

When I need to grease a pan or bowl, I cover my hand with a plastic sandwich bag before handling the grease or butter. When I’m finished, I simply throw the bag away. It works great!…

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Great Grill Marks

Trying to get those lovely grill marks on food, but always miss the mark? Add a little honey to your marinade or sauce. The sugar in the honey caramelizes when grilled and creates the grill marks.…

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Great Tip for Grinding

An electric coffee bean grinder is quick and handy for grinding hard dried herbs and spices and hard brown sugar. —Mary T., Fort Myers Beach, Florida

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Green Onions in a Snip

I use my kitchen shears to cut green onions for salads and to use in recipes. It’s safer than using a knife, and I finish in a flash. —Mary P., Hillsboro, Indiana

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Grilled Bacon

To avoid the lingering odor of fried bacon in the house, I cook it on the outdoor grill. I place the bacon strips in a disposable aluminum pie plate and place it on the grill. Not only does this…

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Grilled Hot Dogs

If you like the taste of grilled hot dogs but don't have time to fire up the grill, brown them on the stove in 1 tablespoon of melted butter. They'll taste like they came straight off the fire!…

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Grilled Potatoes

My husband and I love baked potatoes prepared on the grill, but they’re time-consuming. So first I microwave them for about 10 minutes, then I wrap them in foil and bake for about 30 minutes on…

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Grilled Sweet Potatoes

Here’s an easy way to enjoy sweet potatoes in the summer. Just peel and wash them, then cut into 1/2-inch slices. Cook them on the grill, brushing each side with butter several times and turning…

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Grilling Drip Pan

Make a drip pan quickly and easily by shaping heavy-duty foil into a small pan.

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Grilling Platter

When grilling, it’s not safe to reuse a platter that held uncooked meat without washing it first. Rather than dirty two platters, I cover one with heavy-duty foil before placing the raw meat on…

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Grinding Meat

Have trouble grinding meat? Cut it into small pieces and freeze in a single layer for about 45 minutes. The meat will go through the grinder perfectly. —Angeline C., Mabank, Texas

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Grocery Car Cooler

Keeping a small cooler in my car trunk allows me to keep meats, ice cream, milk and other perishable items cool after grocery shopping. That way, I can make other stops without having to rush home…

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Grocery List Ideas

Here’s a tip that saves time in the grocery store. I color code the items on my shopping list by the areas where they’re located in the store. I do this with highlighting markers in different…

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Grocery List Twist

I buy inexpensive index cards and write down the recipes I plan to make that week (one recipe to a card). I take the whole week’s worth of recipe index cards to the store when I go grocery…

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Ground Beef Tip

When I’m browning ground beef or other ground meat, I use a pastry blender to break up larger pieces shortly before the meat is completely cooked. This makes it much more suitable for chili,…

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Ground Beef with Refried Beans

To keep ground beef from falling out of your burritos or enchiladas, add a can of refried beans to the meat mixture and heat thoroughly. The filling not only stays in place—the beans stretch…

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Handy Egg Slicer Tip

I spray my egg slicer with nonstick cooking spray before slicing hard-cooked eggs. They slice easier and cleaner since no egg clings to the slicer. —Mary R., Trenton, New Jersey

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Handy Flour

I keep a small plastic container of flour in a handy spot in my cupboard. Then when I only need a tablespoon or two, I don't have to go through the mess and hassle of dealing with my big flour…

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Handy Shopping List

I used my computer to create a list of kitchen staples and items I often purchase at the grocery store. A printout of this list hangs on my refrigerator, and as soon as I run low on an item, I…

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Hanging Recipe

When reading a recipe from a cookbook or magazine, I clamp it open to that page with a pants hanger, then hang it at eye level from one of my upper cabinet doors. The recipe stays clean and dry…

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Hard-Cooked Eggshells

When peeling the eggshells from hard-cooked eggs, I pour off the water as soon as the boiling is done and pour ice water or crushed ice onto the eggs. The shells come off easily, with no sticking.…

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Hash Brown Mashed Potatoes

When I’m in a hurry, I use frozen hash browns to make mashed potatoes. There’s no need to peel or cut the potatoes. And because the pieces are small, they cook very quickly. —Pamela W., St.…

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Homemade Croutons

My wife and I enjoy homemade croutons. My favorite way to prepare them is to cube the bread, place on a cookie sheet and spray with a flavored nonstick cooking spray. Then I sprinkle on other…

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Homemade Icing

When I don't have time to make icing from scratch, I blend a half can of chocolate frosting with 3 ounces of softened cream cheese in a mixing bowl. The creamy result is not as sweet or thick as…

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Homemade Lunch Treats

To have homemade treats ready for my husband’s lunch or a quick snack, I make extra cookies, dessert bars, etc. and keep them in a plastic container in the freezer. When I pack my husband’s lunch,…

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Homemade Potato Salad

Whenever I bake potatoes for our family of six during the summer, I double the number of potatoes. I cool the extras and store them in the refrigerator until I’m ready to make potato salad. The…

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Homemade Tartar Sauce

I don’t eat fish often, but when I do, I like it with tartar sauce. Since jars of prepared tartar sauce spoil before I use them, I’ve come up with a quick homemade version. I stir a teaspoon of…

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Honey Mustard Pork Chops

I used to marinate pork chops in a honey-mustard dressing for 8 hours, dip them in egg, bread them and fry them. After forgetting to marinate them on one occasion, I skipped the egg and just…

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Honey-Roasted Peanuts

I like to use honey-roasted peanuts in place of dry roasted peanuts to give extra flavor and sweetness to my favorite bar and cookie recipes. —Jo Stejskal, Winona, Minnesota

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Hurry-Up Potatoes

Want to get fried potatoes on the table fast? Pop the spuds in the microwave first for a few minutes before slicing them. This will cut your cooking time almost in half. —Tina Shumway,…

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Ice Cream Cone

You can keep ice cream from dripping out the bottom of a sugar cone by stuffing a miniature marshmallow into the bottom before adding scoops of ice cream. —Cheryl Maczko, Arthurdale, West…

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Ice Cream Cone Tin

My children and daycare children love cupcakes baked in cake ice cream cones. The difficulty was finding a pan to hold the cones upright while baking. I finally tried mini muffin tins. The cones…

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Ice Cream Floats for a Crowd

Ice cream floats can be an easy and fun make-ahead dessert for a large crowd. Prior to the event, place two scoops of vanilla ice cream into 8-ounce clear plastic drink cups. Set them on cookie…

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Instant Mashed Potatoes

Instant mashed potatoes taste almost as good as fresh if you replace some of the milk with mayonnaise when whipping them. —Arlene Lenhart, Boulevard, California

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Jarred Garlic

To avoid having leftover fresh garlic, rely on bottled minced or chopped garlic instead. It's available at most grocery stores. You'll love the convenience—just open the jar and scoop out…

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Juice Concentrate for One

On occasion, my husband and I enjoy a glass of fruit juice made from concentrate, but I don’t like to stir up an entire pitcher that we might not drink. To avoid this, I place paper liners or…

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Juice On Hand

When a recipe calls for a few tablespoons of fruit juice, like apple juice, I don’t always want to take the time to make a whole pitcher. I’ve found that the small drink boxes of 100% juice that I…

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Just Enough Juice Concentrate

I always keep cans of frozen orange juice concentrate and pineapple juice concentrate in the freezer. When a recipe calls for a small amount of juice, it’s simple to make since the ratio to…

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Keep Bread Machine Ingredients on Hand

If you frequently use the same recipe in your bread machine, you can save time on baking day by premeasuring all the dry ingredients needed for one loaf into a resealable plastic bag. Use a marker…

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Keep Carrot Cookies Moist

I have fond memories of baking carrot cookies with my grandma. She stored the cookies with a slice of bread in a large plastic container to keep them soft. —Rebecca B., Colorado Springs,…

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Keeping Carrot Cookies Soft

I have fond memories of baking carrot cookies with my grandma. She stored the cookies with a slice of bread in a large plastic container to keep them soft. —Rebecca B., Colorado Springs,…

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Keeping Mess to a Minimum

To keep the mess to a minimum when I'm kneading biscuit dough for shortcake, I do it right on the baking sheet. I sprinkle flour on the sheet, knead as instructed in the recipe, roll out the dough…

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Kitchen Gloves

I found that rubber gloves are lifesavers in the kitchen. They help me remove tight lids from jars and keep a good grip on my fine china when washing and drying it. —Jean Hutsen, Issaquah,…

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Kitchen Wastebasket

My daughter shared this tip that saves me time and extra steps. Since my kitchen wastebasket fills so fast and frequently requires emptying, I find it most helpful to keep spare plastic garbage…

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Label Peeler

When trying to remove labels from jars, I find it easier to peel them off with a vegetable peeler. It will even take off the glue if you soak the jar in hot water first. —Stephanie Howard,…

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Lattice-Top Pie

When making lattice-top pies, I use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into nice even strips. —Vickie Ray, Bethel Springs, Tennessee

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Leftover Potatoes

I don’t like to peel and cook potatoes, so when I do, I make extras to save time later. When the potatoes cool, I slice or dice the leftovers, place them in resealable plastic bags and refrigerate…

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Lemon Juice

Don’t cut open a whole lemon for just a little juice. Simply insert the tines of a fork through the skin and squeeze out the amount you need. Wrap the lemon in plastic wrap and refrigerate…

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Less-Mess Kneaded Biscuits

When making kneaded biscuits, I prepare and bake them on a round pizza pan. I’m able to knead, pat out the dough, cut the biscuits and bake them all on the same pan. This really helps keep the…

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Light Cake Secret

When I'm making a cake from a boxed mix and want it to be extra tall and light, I whip the eggs first until they're fluffy, about 3 minutes on high. Then I add the cake mix and stir just until…

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Lunch Label

Many people at my office bring packaged frozen meals, yogurt, etc. to work for lunch. To help distinguish my items in the refrigerator, I apply a personalized address label to them.…

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Make Quick Breads Quicker!

I make zucchini bread and other quick breads every week for snacks and lunches. To save time, I pre-measure four batches of salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon and store them in small…

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Marshmallow Creme

To easily remove marshmallow creme from a jar, place the jar in a pan of very hot water. Repeat this once or twice, and then spoon out the creme with a wooden spoon. —Mary French, Port…

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Mashed Ground Meat

If a recipe calls for browned ground meat, I get out my potato masher. I mash the meat as it cooks, twisting the potato masher around the frying pan. The meat crumbles perfectly, without any…

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Measure Ingredients with an Ice Cream Scoop

I use my spring-release ice cream scoop for shortening and peanut butter. It eliminates the need to scrape a spoon since the sticky contents pop right out. —Stella S., Fulda, Minnesota

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Measuring Butter

When I take a stick of butter out of its carton, I cut slits completely through the butter and its wrapping at each tablespoon mark. When a recipe calls for butter, I just break off the number of…

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Measuring Honey

When I need to measure honey for baking, I first oil the measuring cup. The honey comes out easily, and I get the full measure without the messy process of scraping the cup. —Barbara R., Portland,…

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Measuring Sticky Ingredients

I like to wipe a bit of vegetable oil inside my measuring cup when I’m making peanut butter or molasses cookies. This keeps the sticky ingredients from clinging to the cup, making cleanup a snap.…

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Meatballs in a Snap

Making meatballs is a snap if you shape the seasoned meat into a 1-inch-thick block in a skillet first. Cook the meat over medium heat, then gently flip the entire block. Continue cooking until…

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Meatloaf with Less Mess

To keep my hands clean when mixing meat loaf, I keep inexpensive plastic gloves on hand. They’re lightweight and disposable. —Michele S., Green Bay, Wisconsin

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Menu Planning

When I cut out recipes that I want to try, I paper-clip them to the grocery list kept on my refrigerator. When it’s time to plan the week’s menu, I have my new meal ideas handy and just transfer…

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Mess-Free Bread Dough

I like to knead bread dough in a large resealable bag. My hands—and the countertops—stay nice and clean. —Rosalind N., Forsyth, Illinois

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Mess-Free Corn on the Cob

When my four children were small, one of the “mess-saving” things I did was to butter corn on the cob using a slice of bread. I’d spread butter on a piece of bread—sometimes the heel of the…

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Mess-Free Grease

Use a paper muffin cup to cover your hand when greasing a pan. It's the perfect size and shape to cover a few fingers and will keep them grease-free. —Maureen Dufraimont, Guelph, Ontario

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Microwave Breakfast

Time doesn’t always allow me to make a proper breakfast for my kids. A friend offered this idea. When fixing French toast, cook several extra slices. Place a layer of waxed paper between each…

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Microwave Chicken

When recipes call for cooked chicken, I use an easy microwave method instead of cooking the chicken on the stove. I simply place a pound of skinless boneless chicken breasts around the sides of an…

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Microwave Filter

When warming individual items in the microwave, try placing them in a paper coffee filter. It’s great for doughnuts, rolls and pastries. You can eat the treat right out of the filter, too, with no…

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Microwave Glaze

When visiting my mother-in-law, I learned a quick foolproof way to make glaze. Simply spoon out the amount of store-bought vanilla frosting from its can and place it in a microwave-safe measuring…

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Microwave Mashed Potatoes

When I fix mashed potatoes, I speed up the process by cooking the potatoes in the microwave. I peel them, cut them into quarters, put them in a microwave-safe bowl with water, then cover with…

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Microwaved Pepperoni

I love cooking with pepperoni, but it's greasy. So I place the pepperoni on a microwave-safe paper towel-lined plate, then cover it with another paper towel. I microwave the pepperoni for about 30…

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Mini Muffin Knife

A curved grapefruit knife is the perfect tool for popping tart shells and pecan tassies out of mini muffin tins. —Ruby Rainey, Westminster, Maryland

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Mint Chocolate Pretzels

Try using melted mint chocolate chips to make chocolate-covered pretzels. It's a refreshing taste twist and a great treat at parties. —Jacqueline Hudson, Walterboro, South Carolina

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Mixed Picnic Condiments

Here’s a handy idea when preparing for a picnic. If you plan to grill hot dogs and hamburgers, mix the ketchup, mustard, pickle relish and chopped onion together in one container. It’s a breeze to…

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Mixing with Less Mess

I can’t stir up anything without making a mess, so I set my mixing bowl in the sink. Besides easy cleanup, I get better leverage with the bowl lower than counter level. —Suzi R., Bassett,…

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Mom's Method

My mother taught me a great way to remember how to mix milk and tomatoes to keep the mixture from curdling: "Add the red to the white and you'll never be blue." —Vicky Henry, Aurora,…

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Neat Cutout Cookies

Here's a "neat" way to make cutout cookies. After your cookie dough is rolled out, place a piece of plastic wrap loosely over the dough. Use your cutter to cut out the cookies, pressing down on…

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No Fuss Chopped Nuts

Don't fuss with a nut chopper. When you need nuts for a recipe, put them in a plastic bag and roll them with a rolling pin. Then just pour them from the bag into the bowl with the other…

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No Mess Pie Crust

When you're making pie, try this trick: Roll out the dough between two pieces of waxed paper. (A little water sprinkled on the counter will help hold the bottom piece in place.) Remove the top…

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No Wasted Sour Cream

To avoid wasting sour cream, I always serve it with a knife rather than a spoon. This way, you can easily scrape the knife off on the edge of the container or serving dish and continue to use…

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No-Stick Molasses

No-stick Molasses. When a recipe calls for molasses and oil, I measure the oil first and pour it out. Then I measure the molasses in the same cup. It flows out without sticking because the inside…

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Oatmeal Cookies

While baking cookies one day, I was short on flour. So I whirred dry oatmeal in the blender until it was a powder consistency to extend my dry ingredients. It saved the day! —Marie Cling,…

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Oil Overspray

When spraying cooking oil onto pans, I hold the pan over the sink. That way, any overspray goes into the sink, not on the countertop or floor. A quick rinse of the sink cleans it up. —Renee…

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Oil Squeeze Bottle

As soon as I buy vegetable oil, I use a pushpin to carefully puncture a hole near the very top of the plastic bottle. I then use it as a squeeze bottle to easily grease pans. It’s also a…

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Organizing Freezer

I came up with a system so I never have to toss out food that’s been in the freezer too long. At the beginning of each month, I move the foods in my side-by-side freezer up one shelf. I use only…

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Oyster Dressing

Oyster dressing has become a tradition with me. I've found that if you put the oysters through the food processor until they're liquefied, the oyster taste is more evenly distributed. Even my…

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Painting with Butter?

To butter many slices of bread quickly and evenly, heat the butter until soft, then “paint” it on with a flat pastry brush. —Shirley Z., Grand Island, New York

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Pancake Pitcher

Mix up pancake or waffle batter in a wide-mouthed pitcher. Then it’s easy to pour the batter onto the griddle. And cleanup’s quicker, too. —Darla Germaux, Saxton, Pennsylvania

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Peanut Butter Chips

Replace chocolate chips with peanut butter chips for a rich variation in any favorite chip recipe. —Ramona Chichester, Parkersburg, West Virginia

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Peeling Hard-Cooked Eggs Quickly

Here’s how I quickly and easily peel hard-cooked eggs: After cooling them under cold water, I put all the eggs in a saucepan large enough for them to move around in. I shake the pan vigorously…

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Peeling Sweet Potato

It can be difficult to peel a baked sweet potato, and many of the vitamins are right under the skin. So before baking, I rub the skin thoroughly with vegetable oil, and the skin slips right off…

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Perfect Home Fries

I like to throw a few extra potatoes in the pot when I make them for dinner. The next morning, all I have to do is cut them up, add a few chopped onions and fry them quickly for perfect home…

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Perfect Tortillas

I enjoy making my own tortillas, but the dough never rolls out to a "perfect" circle. So when the individual tortillas are rolled out, cooked and cooled, I overturn a bowl on top of each tortilla…

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Pickle Juice Copper Cleaner

Save your dill pickle juice to clean the copper bottoms of your pots and pans. It works wonders! —Agnes Ground, Sullivan, Illinois

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Picnic Coolers

Here’s a tip for your next family picnic or outdoor get-together. When transporting food to one of these events, load your car with two coolers—one just for hot food and one just for cold…

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Pie Crust Cover

I like to bake frozen pies, but I don’t like using the store-bought aluminum rings that protect the edges of the crusts from burning. I soon became tired of arranging aluminum foil over the…

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Pipe Cleaner Brush

Pipe cleaners dipped in hot soapy water make handy tools for cleaning the vent pipe of a pressure cooker or the grooves in plastic food storage covers. Just bend a short piece of pipe cleaner to…

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Pizza Cutter Makes Cutting Easy

I used to have trouble cutting baked items like sheet cakes or brownies, because too much of the bakery would stick to the knife. One day, I tried using my pizza cutter instead. It rolled along…

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Pizza Dough

Pressing pizza dough on greased pans can be a challenge. My dough usually shrinks during baking, forming some unusual shapes. I’ve discovered that if I make sure there’s no grease on the outer…

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Plump Fruit

To plump raisins or other dried fruit in a hurry, place 2 cups of the fruit in a glass dish. Pour 1/4 cup water over the fruit and cover the dish with microwave-safe plastic wrap. Heat on high for…

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Polished Silverware

In a science class, I learned a great trick for polishing silverware. Line a pan with aluminum foil. Add water and bring to a boil. Add some baking soda and stir. When the water comes to a boil…

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Potato Salad Pronto

When making potato salad, I peel and cube the potatoes before boiling to reduce the cooking time. I also put the eggs in the pan along with the boiling potatoes. In minutes, the potatoes and…

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Potato Salad Time-Saver

To save minutes when preparing potato salad, put the peeled cooked potatoes and peeled hard-cooked eggs into a bowl and use a pastry blender to chop them. It works great. —Marilyn L., Kerman,…

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Potatoes and Apples

Storing potatoes with a couple of apples will keep them from sprouting. —Brenda Soverns, Vinton, Virginia

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Potatoes at the Ready

Before eating supper, I often put a big pot of potatoes on to boil. After supper when they’ve cooled, I refrigerate them to use later. With cooked potatoes on hand, I’m one step closer to…

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Potluck Timesaver

As a time-saver when our children were small, I would cook an extra dinner portion each night and freeze it in an ovenproof dish. When we had six dinners accumulated, we’d have "potluck" on a busy…

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Pre-Seasoned Frozen Chicken

When I buy chickens, I immediately cut them up and coat them with my family’s favorite seasoning mix. I freeze the individual pieces on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. When the pieces are frozen,…

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Premeasuring Tomato Paste

For handy premeasured tomato paste, freeze a 6-ounce can, open both ends and push the frozen paste out onto a cutting board. Cut the roll into six slices (approximately 1 tablespoon each). Quickly…

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Prepared Parchment

To save time, arrange cookie dough on sheets of parchment paper while another batch is baking. The prepared sheets will be ready to slide onto cooled baking sheets.

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Preparing Jalapeno Peppers

When handling jalapeno peppers, always wear plastic gloves. If you have to cut a large number of peppers, try this: First cut off the tops of the peppers, then slice them in half the long way. Use…

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Pumpkin Peeling

I’ve found a great way to peel a pie pumpkin. Cut the pumpkin in half, and scoop out the insides. Microwave each half, cut side down, until tender. Holding the pumpkin with oven mitts, scoop the…

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Pureed Bananas

I always puree bananas in my blender when making banana bread. It takes only seconds and ensures no surprise lumps in the finished product. Sometimes, I put all of the liquid ingredients in the…

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Quick & Easy Breadsticks

For quick-and-easy garlic breadsticks, split a hot dog bun down the middle and cut each half lengthwise. Butter each strip; sprinkle with garlic salt or powder. Place on a baking sheet and broil…

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Quick and Easy Chopped Onions

Looking for a speedy way to chop onions without a lot of tears? Consider your blender! Quarter the onions, place them in the blender and cover with water. Put the top back on the blender and…

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Quick Chopped Carrots

To chop carrots coarsely for soup, I peel, remove the ends and cut the carrots into quarters. Then I let the food processor do the chopping! —Marion K., Waterloo, Iowa

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Quick Clean Up

Before peeling and coring fruits and vegetables, line a dry sink with a few layers of newspaper. Discard the scraps on this paper as you work. When finished, cleanup is simple—just wrap up the…

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Quick Cleanup for Broiler Pans

When using my broiler pan, I line the bottom with aluminum foil and spray the rack with nonstick cooking spray. This cuts cleanup time in half! —Annette S., Junction City, Ohio

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Quick Cooked Chicken

When a recipe calls for cooked chicken, I think the easiest way to cook it is in the pressure cooker. It only takes a total of 15 minutes—start to finish—to cook a whole chicken. I…

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Quick Cookie Crust

When making my favorite bar cookie crust, instead of cutting the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender, I use a food processor. I just add the ingredients, cover and pulse until the…

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Quick Cored Apple

When making apple pie or other treats with fresh apples, use the small end of a melon baller to neatly and easily scoop out the core from halved apples. —Helen Nagy, Sun City Center,…

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Quick Cream Cheese Frosting

I blend an 8-ounce package of cream cheese into a 16-ounce can of prepared frosting. It enhances the flavor, reduces the sweetness and increases the amount of frosting. Try it with any flavor.…

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Quick Cut Brownies

My favorite way to cut brownies is with a pizza wheel. It is a versatile kitchen tool! —Bernadine S., Roanoke, Indiana

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Quick Cut Gumdrops

Oatmeal cookies with gumdrops are a popular treat in our house. But I’m the first to admit that chopping the little spicy gumdrops with a knife can be a sticky and lengthy job. So I came up with a…

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Quick Cutting

Use a pizza cutter instead of a knife and fork to quickly cut pancakes and French toast. —Kathy S., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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Quick Cutting Cookies

My pastry scraper works great for cutting bar cookies. It makes a cleaner cut than using a knife and is easy to do. —Delores Broz, Lincoln, Nebraska

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Quick Deviled Eggs

For quick deviled eggs, I slice boiled eggs in half, remove the yolks and mash the yolks with a fork. Then I add as much sandwich spread as necessary to achieve the desired consistency, fill the…

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Quick Easy Glaze

To make a quick easy glaze for cinnamon rolls or cakes, I sometimes use handy canned white frosting. I just put a small amount in a bowl and microwave it a bit to warm it, then thin it with milk…

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Quick Grated Carrots

Before grating carrots, wash them thoroughly with a brush. I find there’s no need to peel them! —Gail W., House Springs, Missouri

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Quick Gravy

To make a quick gravy, mix 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with a can of evaporated milk and a can of chicken broth; bring the mixture to a boil to thicken it. —Fran Magill, Geneva, New York

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Quick Meat Loaf with Less Mess

To make meat loaf quickly and with little mess, I put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix them with a potato masher. —Gail W. Landfall, Minnesota

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Quick Microwave Cleaning

To remove food that is stuck to the inside of your microwave, put some water in a microwave-safe bowl and bring it to a boil. Stop the microwave but don’t open the door…you don’t want the…

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Quick Mushroom Slicing

My husband and I love fresh mushrooms with our steaks, but slicing them took a lot of time. Then I discovered how quick and easy the task is when I use an egg slicer.—Jennifer I., Brookhaven,…

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Quick Oatmeal

For a quick, economical breakfast, I make up a big batch of oatmeal. I thin it a bit with water and cool it, then pour it into ice cube trays. Once the cubes are frozen, I pop them out and store…

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Quick Shredded Cheese

I purchase a 2-pound block of cheese and like to shred it all at once so I can store it in the freezer. I found that the fastest way to do this is to shred the cheese with my Salad Shooter.…

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Quick Sliced Olives

To quickly slice whole pitted ripe olives, use an egg slicer. Place olives, end to end, across the slots on the base of the slicer, then press the top down. You’ll end up with neat, uniform…

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Quick Substitute for Potatoes

If you don't have time to make mashed potatoes, serve the patties and gravy on toast. Simply toast the bread while the meat is cooking in the microwave.

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Quick Uses for Persimomons

The pulp from the Hachiya persimmon can be added to your favorite smoothie recipe or fresh fruit sauces. Slice Fuyu persimmons and add to tossed salads or cube and add to fruit salads or…

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Quick Way to Dot with Butter

To dot a casserole or pie with butter, use a coarse grater to shred cold butter over the dish. It’s quick and effective. —Lois F., Nelson, Wisconsin

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Quick Way to Get Lemon Peel

The quickest way to make grated lemon peel for recipes is to slice off big pieces of peel and grind them for just a few seconds in a food processor. —LaRue H., Safford, Arizona

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Quick-and-Easy Potato Salad

Here’s how I make a quick-and-easy potato salad. I use canned potatoes instead of spending time peeling and cooking fresh potatoes. They taste the same, and this method keeps the kitchen cool when…

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Quick-Fix Biscuits

To make biscuits in a hurry, I pat or roll the dough into a rectangle and cut out square biscuits with a pizza cutter. The dough only needs to be rolled out once since there are no little leftover…

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Quicker Stuffed Cabbage

When making stuffed cabbage, layer the cabbage and meat mixture in a pan instead of rolling the mixture up in each leaf. This cuts your preparation time in half. —Roberta B., Hamden,…

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Quickly Clean Green Peppers

I’ve found that a melon baller works great to scoop out the seeds and membranes from green peppers. —Charline S., San Diego, California

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Quickly Make Juice Concentrates

Need to quickly prepare juice from a can of frozen concentrate? Slide the frozen concentrate into a pitcher, then mash it with a potato masher. It will dissolve in water a lot faster. —Katie F.,…

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Rainbow Frosting

To decorate Easter cookies or cakes, fill a decorating bag or a resealable plastic bag with a tablespoon each of frosting in different colors—then squeeze out a pretty frosting rainbow!…

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Raisin Bread

When I make cinnamon raisin bread in my bread machine, I mix the raisins and cinnamon together in a bowl before adding to the machine. This keeps the raisins from clumping together. —Stacy…

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Ranch Deviled Eggs

Instead of mixing mayonnaise and mustard with the yolks to fill deviled eggs, I simply mix the yolks with bacon ranch salad dressing. It’s fast and gives the appetizers a different taste.…

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Raspberry Jelly

To freeze raspberries from our garden, I rinse them and pack them in a 4-pound ice cream pail. When it's time to make jelly, I empty the pail into the top of a steamer and let the berry juice drip…

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Ready-to-Use Utensils

I like to have my cooking utensils at my fingertips, so I kept them in a cute crock on the counter next to my stove. But they collected dust and I always had to rewash them each time I used them.…

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Recipe Favorites

As I read through an issue of Taste of Home or a cookbook, I mark recipes I think my family will like with a star or a question mark. That way, when I’m ready to try something new, I just…

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Recipe Filing System

I have a large collection of cooking magazines and books. To help locate a recipe quickly, I rely on a simple system. Instead of writing down the entire recipe and filing it, I grab a recipe card…

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Recipe Hanger

I keep a hanger designed for pants (the kind that pinches together to hold the pants by the bottoms of the legs) in my recipe cabinet. When I’m following a recipe, I just fold the magazine over to…

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Refreshed Coconut

If flaked coconut has been frozen or becomes dried out, you can make it fresh again by placing the amount you need in a bowl and sprinkling with a few drops of water. Cover and microwave until…

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Refrigerated Cookie Dough Tips

Let dough stand at room temperature for 5-10 minutes to soften.

Beat the dough with all-purpose flour and extracts (if listed in separate recipe) until all flour is combined.

Food…

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Refrigerator Lining

I line my refrigerator drawers with disposable plastic cutting sheets, then replace them if they get wet or dirty. They work great! —Betty Christensen, Riverview, Florida

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Refrigerator Solution

To rid your refrigerator of odor, pour a little vanilla extract on a cotton ball and place it in the fridge. The odor will disappear. —Delia Kennedy, Deer Park, Washington

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Reheating Lasagna

I have a tip you can use if you need to reheat one serving of lasagna (or other cheese-topped leftovers) in the microwave. I put the lasagna into a microwave-safe dish and stick a toothpick into…

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Reheating Rice

When reheating a rice dish in the microwave, cover it with a damp microwave-safe paper towel and plastic wrap. The rice turns out so moist. You can even prepare the rice the night before, and…

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Removing Corn Silk

I use a crumpled paper towel to gently brush the silk from corn. This works better for me than a vegetable brush…and the towel isn’t abrasive to the kernels. —Hilda Newcomer,…

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Removing Egg Yolk from Whites

If you get some egg yolk in egg whites to be beaten, just touch the yolk with a piece of bread. The yolk will adhere to the bread. —Rose D., Buellton, California

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Removing Onion Odors

When you’ve finished chopping onions, sprinkle your hands with table salt, rub them together for a few moments, then wash them. Presto—no more smelly hands! —Connie S., Amherst, Ohio

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Reuben Sandwich

Before adding sauerkraut to a Reuben sandwich, I use my potato ricer to squeeze out the excess juice. Then I don’t have to worry about soggy sandwiches. —Mary Ann Youso, Foley, Minnesota

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Reusing Cereal Bags

Save the plastic liner bags from empty cereal boxes. Next time you need to pound steak, chicken breasts, nuts or crackers, pop them inside for no mess. —Mary L., Billings, Montana

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Salad Bar Servings

I usually cook for two people. When I reduce a recipe that makes four or six servings, I usually need half of an onion or pepper, or just one rib of celery. The rest goes to waste. I solved this…

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Salad for Lunch

I work full-time and often bring a salad for lunch. Before I put my salad fixings into a plastic bowl, I pour dressing in the bottom of the bowl. (I use a little oil and balsamic vinegar.) Then I…

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Salad Shooter Veggies

I use my Salad Shooter a lot. I place a large resealable plastic bag over the spout of the appliance to catch whatever I'm shredding or slicing without making a mess. Then I just zip it closed for…

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Saucy Wings

Cleanup is a snap when you follow this handy tip. Line a baking pan with foil and grease it before baking saucy chicken pieces. After you have eaten the chicken and the pan has cooled, carefully…

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Sauteed Onions

If a recipe calls for sauteed onions, I make extra and store in a covered container in the refrigerator. During the next few days, if I’m making rolls or bread, I sprinkle some of the onions…

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Scooped Shortening

Measuring shortening with a spoon can be a mess, so I use an ice cream scoop. The scoop releases the shortening with ease into the measuring cup and eliminates the fuss! —Marjorie Dungan,…

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Scrubbing Baking Potatoes

I roll a piece of aluminum foil into a ball and use it to scrub potatoes for baking. Then I simply throw the foil away; there’s no vegetable brush to clean. —A.N. Wessels, Gilman,…

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Seasoned Corned Beef

When we cook corned beef, we empty the seasoning packet into a round loose tea ball. The meat gets the flavor of the spices without the seasonings getting in the water or on the meat. —Al…

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Serve Melon Fast

My aunt recently suggested I use an ice cream scoop to remove the fleshy fruit from a melon. I cut the melon in half lengthwise and started scooping. In minutes, I was finished! —Dawn M.,…

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Serving-Size Ice Cream

Here’s a trick I used when my grandchildren were little and visited me often. When I bought ice cream, I’d let it sit in the refrigerator until soft, then I scooped servings into several 6-ounce…

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Shaker for Two

Since I often add salt and pepper to foods I'm cooking, I combined the two in one shaker and keep it next to the stove. All my seasoning is done with a few shakes from one shaker. —Mattie…

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Shaping Croquettes

When making salmon or tuna croquettes, I use a metal ice cream scoop for shaping them. I pack the scoop, turn the croquettes out into the hot cooking oil and press each one down with the scoop. It…

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Shaping Yeast Dough

Try this technique for shaping the yeast dough. It eliminates air bubbles, which results in evenly textured loaves without holes. After the dough has doubled in size and been punched down, divide…

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Shelf Liners

When we were living full-time in our motor home, I found many uses for the rubberized shelf liner designed to keep items in the cabinets from drifting while the vehicle is on the road. For…

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Short Spaghetti

We have children who love spaghetti. To save time when serving it, I rely on this trick before cooking the pasta. I break the long strands into quarters before adding them to the boiling water.…

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Simple Meat Loaf

Preparing a meat loaf is simple when I use the dough hook on my mixer to combine the ingredients. —Carol Beasley, Sisseton, South Dakota

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Simple Shredded Carrots

To avoid shredding carrots when making carrot cake, I put pieces of cut raw carrot into my blender, along with the eggs and oil called for in the recipe, then blend until they're finely chopped.…

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Simple Sliced Watermelon

Slicing and serving a whole watermelon can be time-consuming. To streamline the process, I cut the watermelon in half from end to end, then cut each half the long way into thirds to make six…

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Skinless Chicken

To remove skin from chicken drumsticks, boil them for 2 minutes, drain, then rinse in cold water. The skin slips right off. —Joanne Brink, Grand Rapids, Michigan

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Skinless Salmon

Peeling the skin from fresh salmon can be difficult, but not with my method. I bring 1/2 inch of water to a slow boil in a frying pan. I put the salmon, skin side down, in the water for a minute.…

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Slicing Grilled Cheese

To slice a grilled cheese sandwich cleanly without making a mess of the gooey cheese, use a pizza cutter instead of a knife. —Jo Magic, Worth, Illinois

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Slicing with a Pasta Server

When I need to slice an item that’s hot, slippery or hard to hold, such as a peeled tomato, onion or hard-cooked egg, I place it in a spaghetti server and slice away. This works especially well if…

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Slow Cooker Applesauce

Here’s an easy way to prepare homemade applesauce without heating up the kitchen. I peel, core and slice apples into my slow cooker until it’s about three-quarters full. Then I add about 1/4 cup…

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Slow Cooker Dipping Chocolate

When I melt bulk chocolate or almond bark to coat candies, fruit or pretzels, I like to use my slow cooker. It keeps the chocolate warm for repeated dips. —C.M. Harris, Walker, Minnesota

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Slow Cooker Ham

When entertaining, I like to prepare a boneless ham in my slow cooker. I drizzle honey and pineapple juice over the ham before piercing it with some whole cloves. I then cook it on low for 6-8…

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Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

My mom came up with a great idea to beat the clock when hosting a large dinner. She mashes her potatoes early in the day and keeps them warm in a slow cooker. She simply covers the cooker and sets…

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Slow Cooker Stock

I like to use my slow cooker to make chicken or beef stock. I just combine the ingredients and let the mixture simmer. This way, I don’t have to be home to keep a close watch on a kettle on the…

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Snack Cracker Crumbs

At my house, broken snack crackers go into a jar sealed with a lid. When the jar gets full, I process the crackers into crumbs. They're economical, handy and tastier than plain bread crumbs.…

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Soft Microwave Tortillas

If your flour tortillas are too stiff to roll into burritos, enchiladas or veggie wraps, place them between two damp microwave-safe paper towels and warm them in the microwave oven. Check the…

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Softened Butter

Cold butter is difficult to serve and spread, so I place a stick in the butter dish and slice with a sharp knife into 1-teaspoon sections (resembling the single-serving pats in restaurants). The…

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Spaghetti in a Hurry

When our 2-year-old wants his spaghetti now, I pour the sauce right from the jar over hot cooked pasta and stir fast. The temperature is just right to feed him immediately. Sometimes I mix pureed…

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Spaghetti Toothpick

In a pinch, use a strand of uncooked spaghetti instead of a toothpick to test a cake for doneness. —Opal Tyler, Chesapeake, Virginia

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Speedy Biscuits

When making baking powder biscuits, I roll the dough into a log and slice it rather than drop it by spoonfuls. This speedy method creates nicer-looking biscuits. —Lou W., Rockford, Illinois

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Speedy Salad

A visit to the supermarket salad bar saves me a great deal of time (and mess) after a busy day. For a tossed salad, I buy a head of lettuce and pick up the rest of the vegetable fixings already…

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Spice Jar Labels

I’ve found that I save a lot of time and guesswork when cooking or baking by writing the name of the spice or herb on the lid of the glass or tin container with a fine-point marker. I also add the…

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Splitting a Cake

When I need to cut a layer cake in half horizontally to make a Boston cream pie or other filled cake, I use a length of unflavored dental floss or sewing thread to simplify the task. Just wrap the…

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Spreadable Butter

To spread softened butter evenly in a jiffy, I put the butter in a resealable sandwich-size plastic bag. I seal it shut and cut off one corner to create a pastry-style bag. This way, I can squeeze…

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Spreading Butter

If your butter is too cold to spread well on rolls or bread, slice it thinly with a potato peeler, then spread. —Theresa Langston, Hessmer, Louisiana

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Sticker Stock

When I stock up on ingredients to make special recipes for a holiday feast or birthday party, I want to be sure my family does not devour them in advance. So I devised a simple solution. I place…

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Sticky Marshmallows

To separate sticky marshmallows, I place a spoonful of powdered sugar in the bag and shake it well. A few stubborn marshmallows might still need to be separated by hand, but this generally works…

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Store Label

After enjoying a particular brand of pancake syrup, my family asked that I pick up another bottle. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember where I purchased the syrup. Over time, I bought several other…

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Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

When making stuffed cabbage rolls, cook the whole head of cored cabbage in the microwave for about 15 minutes. The cabbage leaves will be cooked and ready to roll up when you’re done preparing the…

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Stuffed Turkey

To stuff a turkey, I put a plastic sandwich bag over my hand so I can "grab" the stuffing and insert it into the bird. It makes the job go faster and eliminates messy cleanup. —Pat Williams,…

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Stuffing Pasta Shells

A rubber-tipped baby spoon makes quick work of filling manicotti pasta shells. The spoon fits nicely inside the noodle, and the filling mixture doesn’t stick to its rubber coating. —Toni B.,…

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Sugar Cereal Overload

When you're down to the bottom of a box of sweetened cereal, there are always a lot of sugar crumbs left. I lift out the bag, cut a small hole in the bottom corner and shake out the sugar crumbs…

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Sugar Solution

Soup or vegetables too salty? Just add a teaspoon of sugar to remedy the situation. —Ruby Williams, Bogalusa, Louisiana

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Sun Tea

I brew sun tea indoors all year long. I have a 1-gallon glass jar that I fill with hot water. I put in six individual tea bags and let it sit on the counter for 3-4 hours. Then I remove the tea…

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Super Quick Pilaf

It's easy to add a bit of interest to plain rice. For each cup of uncooked jasmine, long grain white rice, brown rice or 1-1/2 cups instant rice, saute 1/2 cup each sliced celery and thinly sliced…

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Sweet Potato Biscuits

I love sweet potato biscuits. When I have the time, I make large batches of mashed sweet potatoes and measure 2-cup amounts into heavy-duty freezer bags. Then, when I want to whip up the biscuits…

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Table Setting Tip

Here’s a simple but time-saving tip. When I set the table for a meal, I take the clean dishes right out of the dishwasher instead of taking the clean ones out of the cupboard. It saves me the step…

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Taco Roll-Ups

My daughter loves the taco roll-up frozen dinners for kids. I decided I could make those roll-ups myself for a lot less (especially since she wasn't touching the rest of the dinner). I brown a…

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Tart Tin Press

I’ve found it’s a nuisance to arrange dough evenly in small tart tins. So I use an empty aspirin bottle (with the lid on for easy gripping) as a press, wrapping the bottom of the bottle in two…

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Thawing Frozen Peas

I discovered this trick when making recipes that call for thawing frozen peas before using them. To save time, I place the frozen peas in the colander before I drain the pasta. When I drain it,…

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The Right Cut

Use a biscuit cutter to chop up bananas for banana bread. It makes the job a snap. —Janeen T., Astoria, Oregon

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Thickening Trick

“When I don’t have much time, I use instant potato flakes to thicken gravy, soups or stews,” says Regina D. of Angleton, Texas. “They dissolve completely and leave no lumps.”

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Thumbprint Cookies

To make uniform impressions in delicate thumbprint cookies, I wash the outside of a small extract bottle. I press the bottle with the cap in place into the cookies and twist for nice deep…

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Time-Saver for Serving Ice Cream

Before party guests arrive, scoop ice cream into muffin tins lined with cupcake liners and refreeze. You won’t have to fuss later when serving cake. —Ellen C., Nashville, Tennessee

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Time-Saving Chicken Tip

To make cubed cooked chicken for recipes, simmer some boneless chicken breasts in a little water seasoned with salt, pepper and your favorite herbs. Cool and dice; keep them in the freezer for…

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To Cut in Shortening

When making biscuits or pie crusts, use a grid-style potato masher to cut shortening into dry ingredients. It works quickly. —Donna L., Antwerp, New York

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Tortilla Dumplings

If I want to make easy dumplings for chicken soup, I use flour tortillas. I use a sharp knife to cut a stack of tortillas into strips. I add them to the simmering chicken mixture and let them…

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Tortilla Pie Crust

Need a pie crust but don’t have time to make one from scratch? Spray a pie plate with nonstick cooking spray, then drop in a 10-inch flour tortilla. Pour in the pie filling and bake according to…

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Use Canned Beans Instead of Dried

When a recipe calls for dried kidney beans, which must be soaked, cooked and drained first before being added to the other ingredients, you can substitute canned beans. One pound of dried kidney…

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Use for Plastic Packages

When preparing a cake from a boxed mix, I make the most of the plastic bag the cake mix comes in. I use it to protect my hand when I grease the cake pan, then I just toss it away. —Erma I., Echo,…

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Use the Last Drop

When a bottle of corn syrup is getting low, it takes a while for the remaining syrup to pour out. To hasten the process, I run the capped bottle under hot water. The corn syrup pours out quickly…

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Using Frozen Bread Dough

Frozen bread dough can help you turn out beautiful breads in less time. Thawed bread dough should be soft, warm and pliable before it's rolled out. If it springs back when rolled, cover and let it…

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Utensil Organizer

I use a magnet to keep my metal cake tester attached to the hood of my stove. This saves me from digging through a drawer to find it every time I bake. —Jeanne McDonald, Cedar Rapids,…

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Vegetable Soup

When my children say that their soup is too hot to eat, I add a few frozen vegetables to their bowls instead of adding ice cubes. The soup cools a bit as the veggies quickly thaw to a perfect…

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Whole Fresh Pineapple

I enjoy fresh pineapple. When I buy a whole pineapple, I cut off the outer shell, then use a grapefruit spoon to remove the eyes. It works beautifully. —Sally Mathews, Denver, North…

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Wrappers Made Good Greasers

Save your margarine wrappers to grease the bottoms of pans or dishes. I keep them in a resealable bag in the refrigerator and throw them away after use. —Constance A., Concord, Vermont

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Yeast Test

To easily test if rising yeast dough has doubled in size, quickly press two fingers into the dough. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready to be shaped. —Anna Jenell Campbell,…

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Zippy Dipping Sauce

Want a dipping sauce with a little heat for prime rib, grilled chicken or pork chops? Just add the desired amount of prepared horseradish to ranch-style salad dressing. —Denise Hilty, St.…

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