Mason County News
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Family Times
Wednesday, August 5, 2009 • Posted August 5, 2009

Quick Tips To Make Cooking Easier

Here are a few tried-and-true easy ideas for saving time and your energy in the kitchen!

1. When a bottle of corn syrup or pancake syrup is almost empty and that last bit is taking forever to come out— just warm it in the microwave for a few seconds. It will be thinner and it will run right out!

2. When a recipe says to cover with aluminum foil while baking, just turn a cookie sheet upside down over the dish. Saves time and foil!

4. To make uniform sized muffins in a hurry, use an ice cream scoop to fill the cups. It is also lots neater!

5. To get that onion smell out of your hands after you’ve been peeling and chopping onions, sprinkle table salt on your hands and rub them together. Wash with soap and water and the smell will be gone!

6. Did you know that any brand of bottled Italian Salad Dressing makes a good marinade for meat?

7. When browning ground beef, try using a pastry blender to break the meat into smaller pieces. It works much better than a fork. Do not do this if you have pans that can be easily scratched.

8. Canned chicken broth is a very tasty addition to any canned vegetable, instead of water. You might want to use the fat-free version.

9. Hate to spend the time it takes to clean that crockpot with the baked-on food? Line your slow-cooker with foil before adding recipe ingredients and clean up is a snap! The slow-cooker bags in the stores are also a wonderful thing if you are going to cook something messy or you need quick clean up.

10. To make all your pancakes the same size, use your gravy ladle to pour the batter!

11. Your potato masher will mash bananas for banana bread or avocados for guacamole in a hurry! I’ve also used it to mash cooked apples into a chunky applesauce- fun with kids!

12. Buy several oranges and lemons when they are on sale. Put them in the freezer in zip-top bags. When a recipe calls for juice, just defrost in the microwave. When a recipe calls for grated peel, it’s easy to grate while frozen.

13. Add a dash of vinegar to the water when boiling cabbage. You won’t taste it, but it will cut down on the strong aroma. I’m sure this would also help with cooking brussels sprouts!

14. For easier, faster grating, store fresh ginger in the fridge.

15. Use your bottle brush or a clean old toothbrush to clean the grater after grating onions or cheese. Much faster and no more scraped hands!

16. To easily remove marshmallow creme from the jar, dip your spoon or knife in hot water first.

17. For easy-to-peel baked sweet potatoes, rub the skin with vegetable oil before baking. The skins will come right off.

18. Peel your vegetables over a half sheet of newspaper. When you’re finished, just fold up and throw it all away!

19. To keep your graham cracker pie crust from getting soggy, be sure to use only butter or regular margarine. Don’t use the new low-fat spreads (they contain water). You can also bake it to keep it crisp. Just let it cool before adding filling.

20. When broiling meat, put 1/2 cup of water in the drip pan. There will be no smoke and cleanup is a snap!

Source: Cyndi Roberts, author of the e-newsletter “1 Frugal Friend to Another”

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