Your time in the kitchen doesn’t have to be tedious. Enjoy cooking again with some of these creative hacks that put a little spice into your dishes and pantry.
1. Muffin Tin Magic
Pre-scoop frozen desserts into a muffin tin before you serve your meal and stick it back in the freezer. When it’s time to serve, your guests won’t have to wait.
2. Or Slice Your Ice Cream
Dip the container in warm water for 30 seconds, pop the whole ice cream “loaf” onto a plate and then slice it with a warm knife.
3. Wooden Spoons
Prevent water or other items from boiling over by resting a wooden spoon across the top — or at the edge.
4. Freeze Scraps
Wine, stock, herbs – in ice cube trays. This gives you neat little hunks of goodness you can throw into future meals.
Keeps bags tight – and food fresh.
6. Spoon Rest
Place the end of a wooden spoon into the hole of a pot handle, keeping it up and out of the way and keeping drips on the stove or counter to a minimum.
7. Frozen Fruit Ice Cubes
Freeze berries, grapes and chunks of melon whole (make melon pieces into cool shapes if you’re feeling Martha Stewarty) and place them in punch, kiddie cocktails, champagne or white wine coolers.
8. Taco Bowls
Turn a muffin tin upside down and spray it with a little vegetable oil if it’s not non-stick. Place tortillas in the crevices and create your own taco shell bowls. Bake at 350 until the shells are hard.
9. Bread in Sugar
Place a piece of bread in your brown sugar container to keep the sugar from forming lumps.
10. Pastry Bag
Need a pastry bag to frost those cupcakes or write someone’s name on a birthday cake? Don’t despair. Load your frosting into a storage bag – Ziplock or plain – twist it down tight and then cut the corner off. Cut off as much or as little of the corner as you need for your “tip.” A small amount off the corner makes a great writing tip while a larger amount gives you a thick tube of frosting.
Need to fill a jar? Cut the corner off an envelope or roll a piece of paper into a cone.
12. A Little Water
Tired of wasting guacamole when you’re done with it because it turns brown? You can save the guac! Just pour enough water on top of it to cover it and the water will prevent the guacamole from reacting with the oxygen. When you want to eat it again, just pour off the water. Voila!
13. Need mayo?
One large egg in a cup of oil in the blender makes mayo. Yeah. It’s that easy.
14. Bundt Pan Magic
Place an ear of corn in the hole of a bundt pan and slice off the corn. The pan catches the kernels. Who knew?
15. Freeze Cool Whip
Then pop it out and cut it with cookie cutters for a fun addition to a hot beverage like cocoa.
16. Grill the Fish
Save that lovely piece of salmon from a grill-induced death by placing the fish on a bed of sliced lemons. The lemons infuse the fish with flavor and keep it from sticking.
17. Boil Water
Boil water for clear ice cubes. Cold water makes cloudy cubes. Yes. True.
18. Coffee Filters
Invert a coffee filter over your glass, poke a straw through the top and keep the bugs at bay on a hot summer day. Does not prevent spilling, I’m afraid.
19. Ice Pack Sponges
Soak a sponge. Place it in a Ziplock bag. Freeze it. Place it in your lunch cooler.
20. Ice Cream in the Bag
Place your container of ice cream into a Ziplock bag before putting it in the freezer. Keeps it scoopably soft.
21. Cut Cherry Tomatoes or Grapes Easily
Simply place your cherry tomatoes or grapes (especially for little kids) between two large lids or plates and run the knife through them horizontally. Take the time to arrange them so you don’t end up smooshing them too badly.