7 Cooking Hacks You Haven’t Thought Of Yet

Get inspired by these genius hacks from Taste of Home staffers!

I used to shy away from making smoothies (like this delish Strawberry-Carrot recipe) thinking they were too much effort for my already time-strapped mornings. Then I realized, there’s no reason I can’t blend up a big batch in advance and keep the pitcher in the fridge. Now each morning, I give it a whirl before I pour off a glass. I get four great-tasting breakfasts at one clip—and my mornings are a little more sane.

Making a pitcher of smoothies last several days inspired me to ask other staffers for their most genius cooking tips. Here’s what I found out.

1. Get crispier, more fluffy hash browns.

For the best-tasting hash browns around, reach for the potato ricer! “I put raw shredded potatoes in the ricer and squeeze out the excess moisture. It’s amusing how the same tool that extrudes cooked potatoes keeps them intact when raw,” says Amy Silvers, a copy editor for Taste of Home. It’s also a great way to prep potatoes for making potato pancakes.

2. Roast veggies like a pro.

“I use a Silpat mat no matter what I’m baking or roasting. Last night, I tossed some cut fingerling potatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper and some rosemary. I baked them on a Silpat at 425° and the cut sides touching the mat came out a nice and crispy golden brown. And, there was very little cleanup with no scrubbing,” says our deputy editor James Schend. Buh-bye aluminum foil. Grab your Silpat here!

3. Make single serving portions of whip!

Ever need just a little dollop or two of whipped cream?  These dreamy desserts all call for the topping. Culinary director Sarah Farmer explains, “I reach for the immersion blender when I need to whip up some cream. I like how I can make small amounts in a measuring cup.” Genius!

Our Test Kitchen recommends this immersion blender.

4. Freeze wine in measuring cups.

“I love to freeze leftover wine, or even wine from a gift that I would not drink, in a Pyrex measuring cup in the freezer,” says food stylist Laura Bednarski. “It is easy to just chip it right out as needed for deglazing or adding to any sauce. I have one red and one white in the freezer at all times. Some people use ice cube trays, but I like the simplicity of Pyrex.” If you don’t want to freeze it, we have plenty of ideas for how to finish off a bottle of wine.

5. Peel and prep garlic quickly.

Layout designer Joe Hrdina recommends heading to the bar cart for any garlic-prep tasks. (And not just to chase away those blues with a good Bloody Mary!) “I’ve tried shaking garlic in a cocktail shaker to remove the skins, and also to break apart cloves from the bulb. Also, whenever a recipe calls for minced ginger or garlic, I grate it on a Microplane, rather than using a knife or garlic press. Garlic presses don’t always work well, and the skins get stuck inside.” Here are 9 genius ways to use a microplane grater.

6. Do more with your waffle iron.

For a tasty side dish, executive assistant Holli Fletcher depends on her waffle iron to make the best-ever hash browns. “I use shredded raw sweet potatoes or a mix of sweet and regular potatoes. I mix in a few eggs or egg whites, olive oil or butter, depending upon how healthy I am being. I mostly go savory with my seasonings: salt, pepper, cumin, dried chives. Or try nutmeg and cinnamon or apple pie spice for sweet hash browns. Coat the waffle iron well with cooking spray so the hash browns don’t stick,” she says.

Pssst! Holli also loves to make easy-to-peel hard-boiled eggs in the Instant Pot.

7. Make easy scrambled eggs.

Lead food stylist Shannon Roum explains, “I use an immersion blender or regular blender when making a large batch of scrambled eggs. It makes them super fluffy.” Try Shannon’s technique with these beautiful Avocado Scrambled Eggs—just stir in the avocado!

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Christine Rukavena
Christine loves to read, curate, sample and develop new recipes as a senior book editor at Taste of Home. A CIA alumna with honors, she creates cookbooks and food-related content. A favorite part of the job is taste-testing dishes. Previous positions include pastry chef at a AAA Five Diamond property. Christine moonlights at a boutique wine shop, where she edits marketing pieces and samples wine far higher than her pay grade.