Preparing food at home is an art. These tips and tricks
will make your job preparing food safer, cleaner, and happier.

When a recipe calls for adding oil, garlic, and onions to a pan,
always add garlic last. This keeps it from burning and tasting bitter.

Use a meat baster to make perfect pancakes every time.

To make the best and prettiest chocolate shavings,
use white or milk chocolate; they are softer in texture and curl better.

To help gelatin hold its shape when unmolded,
add a teaspoon of white vinegar to the recipe.

Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of cooked pudding,
cooked custard or pie filling immediately after
pouring to prevent a skin from forming.

Before chopping nuts in a food processor,
dust them with flour. This keeps the nuts
from sticking to the processor.

Cut a meringue pie cleanly by coating
both sides of the knife lightly with butter.

To make mashed potatoes fluffier,
add a pinch of baking soda along
with the butter and milk.

Use flour tortillas for easy dumplings!
Cut into strips and add to boiling broth,
a few at a time so they do not stick together.

If you add a pinch of baking powder
to powdered sugar when making frosting,
it will stay creamy and not harden or crack.

Substituting applesauce for half of the amount
of vegetable oil called for in your baking
recipes will reduce the fat content.
(Or use all applesauce, which
produces a low-cal, moist product!)

Use a piece of plastic wrap the length of
your pan for ease in pressing down
those crispy rice treats,
no more messy hands!
(Try this with any bottom crumb
layer to be pressed in a recipe.)

When cooking oatmeal, coat the pan
with non-stick cooking spray.
It keeps the oatmeal from
boiling over and sticking to the pan.

You'll find honey, corn syrup and molasses
much easier to measure if you remove
their lids and microwave for 30 to 45 seconds
at 100% power. That's for a 12-ounce bottle.
Smaller amounts need even less time.

If you're out of brown sugar,
try substituting an equal amount
of granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup
molasses (light or dark)
for every cup of white sugar.

When shrimp curl into a semicircle they're done.
When tightly coiled, they're overdone.

To slice mushrooms quickly
and uniformly, use an egg slicer.

If you use a food processor or blender
to chop dried fruit, freeze the fruit first.
It will be less sticky and easier to chop.

Instead of salting gravy, enrich both the
gravy's color and flavor by using a little soy sauce.

Bacon strips won't stick together if you
roll up the package like a jelly roll before opening it.

Soup too thin? Prick a baking potato several times,
wrap in a paper towel and microwave 5 minutes
at 100% power until soft. Peel, mash and add the potato into soup.

To prevent boil-overs, apply a thin coat
of cooking oil around the top of the inside of pots.

To keep a bowl steady while you mix
or whip ingredients, place it on a dampened cloth.

For uniform pancakes, use measuring cups designed for
dry ingredients (a 1/4-cup medium-size, 1/3-cup for big ones).
Grease the cups inside and out so the batter will slip out easily.
To keep the batter from dripping en route to the griddle,
scrape the bottom of the measure on the rim of the mixing bowl.

When a sauce curdles, follow this procedure:
Remove pan from heat and plunge into a pan
of cold water to stop the cooking process.
Beat sauce vigorously or pour into a
blender and process until the sauce is smooth.

When ice cream is rock-hard, dip the
scoop in hot water to make scooping easier.

To chop or grind nuts fine in a food processor
without turning them into nut butter,
add 2 or more tablespoons sugar from the recipe.

You can easily adjust the position of your
holiday gelatin mold or fancy frozen
bombe on its platter by slightly
wetting the platter before you unmold.

Always cook pasta in salted water,
but don't add the salt until the water boils.
You'll need 2 tablespoons of coarse (kosher) salt
for 1 pound of pasta. Salted water has a higher
boiling point, so will take longer.
Taste the pasta to determine if it is done.
Perfectly cooked pasta should be "al dente,
" or firm to the bite, yet cooked through.

Another advantage to cooking pasta al dente,
is that it preserves some of the vitamins
and minerals that are lost into the cooking
water with longer cooking times.

If the pasta is to be used as part of a dish
that requires further cooking, undercook
the pasta by 1/3 of the cooking time
specified on the package.

The only time you should rinse pasta
after draining is when you are going
to use it in a cold dish, or when you
are not going to sauce and serve it immediately.
In those cases, rinse the pasta
under cold water to stop the cooking
process, and drain well.

For perfectly clean-cut slices of cheesecake,
briefly run a thin-bladed slicing
knife through an open flame, then cut.
Wipe the blade and reheat between cuts.

You can thicken a soup without
using flour and butter or eggs
just pure a portion of the soup
and stir it back into the pot.

Dairy Tips:
Butter is much easier to spread from the fridge
if you soften it in a bowl of warm water
before you take the wrapper off.

Vegetable Tips:

1. Tomato Peeling:
Place tomatoes in a large pot of boiling
water for exactly 10 seconds. Then remove and peel.
If you have a gas stove, you can hold the tomato
over the fire until the skin begins to shrivel.
Or you can use a blow torch.

2. Crispy Lettuce:
After washing, place lettuce in vegetable drawer
between sheets of paper towel to keep fresh and crisp.

3. When you are busy, or going out,
and you want to get dinner prepared, peel potatoes,
put them in water, and add a small piece of bread.
It will stop potatoes from dis-colring,
and they will be nice and white for dinner.

Meat Tips:
When saut'ing never crowd the meat in
the pan - it will cause it to steam.

Fish Tips:

Defrosting Fish:
Slowly defrost fish in the refrigerator
wrapped in a bag on a tray or pan surrounded by ice.
The fish will taste and look like fresh fish.


New cast iron cookware
Warm soapy water
Vegetable shortening
Paper towels

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Wash new cast iron cookware with
warm soapy water and promptly towel dry.
Generously coat cookware with vegetable shortening.
Bake in oven for 1 hour. Remove skillet from
oven and rub again to redistribute oil.
Place in the oven and bake again for 1 hour.

Remove from oven. Wipe excess oil off
with paper towels, then allow to cool before storing.
Store in a cool, dry place, with paper towels
below and on top of skillet to protect shelves and skillet.


Ok... it's been in your fridge for 3 days.... is it still good?
Or how about in your freezer for a year? Check the chart below....

Storing Perishable Foods.
Always date the item whether it's going in the fridge or the freezer.

Food Product Refrigerator (40 degrees F) Freezer (0 degrees F)
fresh, in the shell
3 weeks in original container don't freeze
raw yolks or whites 2-4 days 1 year (freeze separately if you can)
hard cooked 1 week don't freeze well
vegetable or meat added
3-4 days 2-3 months
beef roast
3-5 days 6-12 months
beef steaks 3-5 days 6-12 months
lamb chops 3-5 days 6-9 months
pork chops 3-5 days 4-6 months
pork roasts 3-5 days 4-6 months
stew meat-beef, lamb or pork 1-2 days 3-4 months
ham, canned, label says "keep refrigerated" 6-9 months (in the can) don't freeze
ham, fully cooked, slices 3-4 days 1-2 months
ground beef, lamb, pork, poultry or mixtures of them 1-2 days 3-4 months
sausage, raw-beef, pork or poultry 1-2 days 3-4 months
smoked breafast links or patties 7 days 1-2 months
bacon 7 days 3 months
chicken or turkey, whole 1-2 days 1 year
chicken or turkey, pieces 1-2 days 9 months
meat or meat mixtures
3-4 days 2-3 months
gravy or meat broth 1-2 days 2-3 months
poultry mixtures 3-4 days 4-6 months
poultry pieces, plain 3-4 days 4 months
poultry pieces covered with broth/gravy 1-2 days 6 months

Back To Top