For crispy French toast, add a touch of cornstarch to the egg mixture.
Before chopping nuts in a food processor, dust them with flour. This keeps the nuts from sticking to the processor.
To keep boiled vegetables bright colored, add a few drops of olive oil to the water.
Knead bread dough in a large resealable bag. You hands---and the counter tops---stay nice and clean.
To give gravy and stew great color and flavor; add a few teaspoons of soy sauce.
To butter many slices bread quickly and evenly, heat the butter until soft, then 'paint' it on with a flat pastry brush
To keep celery fresh and crisp, remove celery from the sore bag it comes in and wrap it in a paper towel then in aluminum foil. When you need some, break off what your recipe calls for, re-wrap the rest and return to fridge. Celery stored this way stays crisp a very long time.
Instead of frying bacon, lay strips on a jelly roll pan and bake at 350-F for about 30 minutes. Prepared this way, bacon comes out crisp and flat. Plus, the pan cleans easily and there's no stove top spattering.
To dot a casserole or pie with butter, use a coarse grater to shred 'cold' butter over the dish. It's quick and effective.
To prevent your pumpkin or custard pie from getting a soggy crust, brush the unbaked crust with egg white then bake just a few minutes to dry the egg white and seal the crust. Add you filling and bake as usual.
For faster-rising bread dough, put the bowl of dough on top of a heating pad set on low or medium. Cover with a thin cloth. Dough rises twice as fast this way.
Butter your knife before cutting a meringue pie--you'll get a clean cut without damaging the meringue
Posted by Phyllis A. on March 25, 2000, 9:41 am
To quickly and easily cut rolled and chilled cookie dough, use your electric knife. It makes perfect even cookies.
For fast cleanup of food stuck inside pans, boil vinegar and water in the pan before washing. No scrubbing is required---the pan practically wiped clean.
To prevent icing from running off your cake, try dusting the surface lightly with powdered sugar.
Spray your egg slicer with nonstick cooking spray before slicing hard cooked eggs. They slice easier and cleaner because no egg clings to the slicer.
To reduce the order of cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower as it cooks, add a slice of lemon to the water.
Cut a roll of clear plastic wrap in half to use for individually wrapping homemade granola bars, brownies and cookies. Instead of one wide roll, you have two narrower rolls of the perfect size wrap.
To eliminate "lunch box odor" caused by a mixture of foods, place 1 teaspoon of baking soda in the bottom of the box and cover it with a paper towel before placing the food in the box. The soda will keep the lunch box smelling fresh for a week.
Soak nuts in salt water overnight before cracking. The nut meats will come out whole instead of in pieces.
If you frequently use marinated meat but don't always have time to wait for the meat to marinate, put several meal-sized portions into freezer bags, add a little teriyaki sauce and freeze. The meat marinates in the freezer and is always for a quick meal,
Coat raisins, berries and nuts with flour before adding to a batter to prevent them from sinking to the bottom.
For a less-greasy meat loaf, put your loaf in a disposable loaf pan with holes punched in the bottom. Set the disposable pan in a regular loaf pan to catch the drippings.
Posted by Phyllis A. on March 31, 2000, 8:53 pm
If you don't have time to make a cream sauce for vegetables, just combine equal parts mayonnaise and water used to cook the vegetables. Season to taste. It's creamy, smooth and delicious.
When you find a recipe you like better than the one in a favorite cookbook; copy it onto a file card and tape it over the recipe in the book. This way, you can use the book's index to quickly find your new and improved recipe.
Those new plastic vegetable storage bags are perfect for storing muffins. The muffins stay nice and moist and don't get sticky.
If picky eaters in your family don't like chunks of onion or green pepper in meatloaf, put those ingredients in a blender and blend before adding to the ground beef. Your meatloaf will be tasty and slice well.
Put a few drops of peppermint oil in your hot dishwasher to make your kitchen and surrounding rooms smell wonderful.
Don't have cheesecloth to bundle up your spices? Tie your spices in a paper coffee filter instead. It works just as well.
Cut potatoes in half before peeling. That way if they're bad inside, you know before you've gone through the trouble of peeling them.
Posted by Phyllis A. on April 15, 2000, 10:26 am
To color Easter eggs naturally, try homemade dyes. For Yellow, put onion skins in cold and bring to a boil. For Blue, boil leaves from half a head of red cabbage. For Pink, boil three sliced beets. Add 1 tsp. of vinegar to each dye; soak eggs in the dyes to set the colors
Save the liquid in pickle jars after all the pickles are gone. Add a can of drained sliced beets to the juice, and overnight you'll have the best-tasting pickled beets.
When you need to measure honey for baking. First oil the measuring cup. The honey comes out easily, and you get the full measure without the messy process of scraping the cup.
Cut a head of lettuce into salad-size pieces and store them in a container in the refrigerator covered in water. When you want to use some, fish out a handful or two, drain it in a strainer and serve a crispy salad quickly with no fuss.
Rub chicken skin with mayonnaise before baking to make it crispy and golden brown.
When making a batch of cookies, bake a couple of sheets, then scoop the rest of the dough in cookie portions onto waxed paper-lined cookie sheets to freeze. Once the dough is frozen, store it in labeled freezer bags. When guests drop in you can easily bake a few fresh cookies. Bags of frozen cookie dough with baking instructions also make special gifts for folks who are busy or live alone.
Do your potatoes sprout before you use them? Peel, slice and boil them until partially cooked. Remove them from the water and freeze in small quantities. Later, when you want mashed potatoes, pop the frozen potatoes into boiling water to finish cooking and they're soon ready to mash.
Whenever you make a cake from scratch, prepare a few homemade cake mixes. As you measure the dry ingredients into the bowl, put the same amounts into plastic storage bags. Label the bags with recipe names, what to add and baking instructions. Keep mixes on hand to use when you need a quick dessert.
Posted by Phyllis A. on May 5, 2000, 5:53 pm
When frosting a two-or three-layer cake. It's easier to frost the top and sides of each layer as you build the cake. When you add the top layer and frost you are finished.
When making sloppy joes, do you have trouble keeping the mixture on the bun? Next time stir a few mashed potato flakes. The thicker mixture is less likely to crumble and fall out. For easier serving, use an ice cream scoop to place the right amount on a bun.
To quickly color coconut, place the amount of coconut you need in a resealable plastic bag and add food coloring. Seal the bag, then work the coloring into the coconut by kneading it through the plastic with your finger until you get the desired color.
Substitute seasoned stuffing mix (sold in canisters) for plain bread crumbs when making meatloaf. It's a speedy way to give it a little extra flavor.
When cooking kabobs on the grill, leave a 1/4-in space between each piece of food. Not only does the allow the items to cook more quickly, it's easier to baste them thoroughly.
Store brown sugar in the freezer, to keep it from turning hard. Take it out of the freezer 1/2 hour before using it, then return the unused portion to use another time.
When using small pastry shells or individual graham cracker shells to make tarts. Use an ice cream scoop to fill them. A heaping scoopful of pie filling is just the right amount needed for each one.
An easy way to dry your metal cookie cutters so they won't rust once you put them away; after baking cookies, wash the cutters in hot soapy water, rinse , then place them on the oven rack to dry. With the over turned off, there is still enough warm air to thoroughly dry the cookie cutters.