10 Cooking Hacks
There are hundreds of different techniques when it comes to cooking, which is why we’ve tried to distill these down to the top 10 cooking hacks- whether it is chopping or flipping, you know some of these skills take years of practice and education to get down pat. The good news is that there are a few shortcuts you can take to greatly increase your efficiency and skill in the kitchen.
Here we have cooking hacks that will help with your prepping, freezing, cleaning and much more. You don’t have to be a Bobby Flay or a Rachel Ray to be an ace in the cookery, and in fact many of these tips can be used in your everyday kitchen needs. Whether you are making a five course feast or a simple bowl of cereal, these top 10 cooking hacks will get you a leg up in the kitchen.
Cutting without Hassle
Secrets of the Cooking Trade – Any good meal requires a bit of slicing, dicing, grating, and cutting – this can be a bit of a hassle if you don’t know exactly know what the secrets of the trade are.
Cutting The Cheese – Take cheeses for example – if you are trying to grate softer ones try to throw them in the freezer for 30 minutes before, this will allow you to easily whittle down the block without it bending and breaking. If your cheese is extra soft try using a piece of dental floss to cut it – just make sure that it’s unflavored!
Shove Bread In Your Mouth – The freezing technique can also be used on onions to avoid the pungent odor making you tear up. If you are on a bit of a time limit try instead wetting your hands and putting a piece of bread in your mouth (obviously, if you’re gluten intolerant, then use the bread that won’t make you sick) – it might make you look silly looking, but this has been shown to absorb the irritant cloud of cut onion.
If you are having trouble cutting smaller fruits and vegetables, try wedging them in between a pair of lids – this allows a clean cut without smashing them to a pulp.
Meal Prep made Easy
Freeze Smoothie Portions – If you’re a busy person – and who isn’t nowadays? Then you often might need to eat on the go. Save some time by creating a large amount of smoothie at once. After it is all mixed up go ahead and distribute it into a muffin tin and freeze, giving you the ability to pop it out of the freezer and remix it for a quick and healthy breakfast.
Portioning For All Foods – You don’t have to stop at just portioning out smoothie either – whether it is meat, vegetables, fruit, or oatmeal, try doing it all at once and refrigerating it, this cuts back in time and makes the rest of your week easier. Putting them in clear containers by serving size will also help control any unwanted munching.
Multiple Seasonings – So you don’t get bored eating the same things every day, try using multiple seasonings on your meats and vegetables. To make this process easier you can do it all in one baking pan – just make dividers with aluminum foil to make sure they don’t intermix. If you choose to mix your vegetables, go ahead and combine those with the same cooking time. For example soft veggies like spinach and mushrooms have a short cooking time, while tougher veggies like carrots and potatoes take a bit longer.
Healthier Meals by Eating at Home – One of the biggest advantages of cooking from home is that you have many more healthy alternatives than with eating out. Try swapping out some of more calorically dense ingredients for healthier substitutes. You can replace mashed avocado for butter in cookies, muffins, and other baked goods. You can also substitute heavy creams for low-fat versions of buttermilk.
Make Healthy Salad Dressing – Replace unhealthy salad dressings with a protein packed Greek yogurt. You can also incorporate more fiber into your diet, which is great for regulating blood sugar levels and body mass index, without sacrificing taste. Get the most fiber by replacing white flour with whole wheat variants like the type found in pancakes. Vegetable are an excellent source of fiber as well, so try putting mixing more veggies with your meat. For instance you cut zucchini up and mix it with ground beef to get a healthier burger.
Some Egg Tricks
Eggs are Very Healthy – Eggs are not only one of the most used foods in cooking, but are also some of the healthiest out there. This is a result in eggs containing a large amount of amino acids, which makes egg protein one of the most complete compared to other food groups. Get even more nutrition out of them by buying eggs that are infused with omega 3, an essential fatty acid.
Steam Your Eggs – If you want to hard-boil your eggs but want to avoid overcooking them, try steaming them over a pot of boiling water for 15 minutes rather than in the pot itself. If you feel more comfortable having them in the water instead, mix in a little bit of baking soda and vinegar – this has been shown to make the eggshells peel off easier.
Good Eggs Sink & Bad Eggs Float – If, when you grab your eggs, you see they are past the expiration date there is no need to despair – merely puts the eggs in a glass of water. Good eggs will sink, while the bad eggs will float to the surface.
Separate The yolks from the Whites – If you want to separate the egg whites from the yolk there are a couple of techniques you pull off. The first is one of the oldest: Using an already cracked egg shell merely oscillate the yolk back and forth between the two halves over a bowl or pan. The white part of the egg will natural fall out and hit the container, allowing you to throw away the yolk. Another way to get that white part of the egg is to gently squeeze a plastic water bottle over an already cracked egg, when it reinflates it should suck up the the white part.
Cooling it Off
Freeze Herbs – Freezing can not only make things last longer, but also taste better if you do it right. Try freezing fresh herbs in water and olive oil to make them last a lot longer and easily incorporated into a meal.
Freeze Cocktail Mixer – Chill out with your favorite cocktail mixer or wine by putting themin an ice cube tray – this way you can cool them off without diluting them. This cube hack can work great with iced cofee drinks as well. You can prevent freezer burn on ice cream and meat by putting wax paper over or around them.
Keep Your Freezer Full – To have your freezer not work as hard and save you some money in the process, make sure to keep your freezer as full as possible. If you don’t have enough food get some bottles of water and fill them up about ¾ of the way and then put them inside the freezer.
Cook like the Best
Heat Up Pans While Prepping – In theory cooking is an easy enough task – just follow the directions step by step to get your new meal. Even the best cooks and cookbooks often take some simple tricks for granted. For instance it’s better to let your pans heat up while you are prepping – when you do throw your food on it you get a great sear on the food.
How To Make Flat Bacon – When baking bacon make sure to put a second pan on top of it – this keeps the bacon flat and stops it from curling.
Use a Cake Tester – When cooking steak, seafood, and veggies go ahead and use cake tester rather than a thermometer – not only is it much cheaper but works just as well.
Nonstick Pans Good For Eggs – To get the most out of your frying make sure you are using the right pan for the job. Nonstick pans are great for cooking eggs but that’s about it – try using a stainless steel pan instead.
Leave Behind Those Leftovers No More
Repurpose Leftovers – Find that your leftovers are often being put in the fridge only to be forgotten. Try to repurpose leftovers like rice, toppings, vegetables, and chicken into other meals like stir fry, tacos, or casseroles.
Keep Your Guacamole Fresh – To keep your guacamole fresh, keep the avocado pit inside the container with the guacamole.
Save the Veggie Water – If you find yourself boiling a lot of vegetables, make sure to keep some of the water and the vegetable snips – after awhile you’ll have all the necessary ingredients for a healthy vegetable soup.
Maximizing Onions & Lettuce – To maximize your lettuce and onions, go ahead and stick the hearts of them in a glass of water and put them in some sunlight – after a few weeks you have some new growths that you can then eat.
Take Advantage of that Microwave
Dry Herbs in the Microwave – The microwave is a cornerstone of every kitchen now – and you better believe there are a few hacks to get the most out of your cooking. If you have any fresh picked herbs, try laying them on a paper towel and microwave them in bursts of 30 seconds to dry them out faster – depending on the herb, this make take several times.
Microwave Cooked Eggs – To get some tasty eggs go ahead and beat a couple of them up in a coffee mug and mix in some milk, salt, and pepper. Put the mug in the microwave and cook for 90 seconds – stopping halfway through to stir them.
Use Water When Microwaving Bread & Cakes – To make sure baked goods don’t become hard or dried out with microwaving go ahead and add a small cup of water in the microwave with it. Another way you can do this is draping your food with a moist paper towel and microwave it at a low setting.
Shape Your Pasta – When microwaving pasta make sure to shape it like a donut in the bowl. This reduces the possibility of getting a cold spot in the middle of the pasta.
Use Inside the Cabinet Door – A cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind – the same can be said of a kitchen! To maximize your space and ease of access, trying using the inside of a cabinet door for extra space. You can put a magnet or cork board to stick notepads and containers to, or use a small chalkboard to write yourself notes. You can also use this spot to hold some of your kitchen utensils – just attach some hooks to hang them up.
Install Shelving – If you have any empty spots on the wall make sure you fill them up with shelves – here you can hold all sorts of cooking books, pots, and dishes.
Suspend Your Pots & Pans – You can attach a hanger from the ceiling to hold more pots and pans.
Rolling Shelves Under the Sink – Down a little bit lower you can use rolling shelves underneath the sink or other large cabinets to better organize all of your cleaning supplies.
Magnet Racks on Side of Fridge – By putting magnet racks on the side of the fridge, you can hold all sorts of spices and herbs.
Cleaning made Easy
Coffee Grounds as a Deodorizer – After every good meal you always have a bit of cleaning to do. If you have recurring smells try using old coffee grounds as a deodorizer – instead of throwing them away put them in some panty hose and throw them in the required spot.
Baking Soda Uses – If you have used pungent ingredients like garlic or onion, try using lemon juice and baking soda to get rid of it. Baking soda has numerous other uses as well – for instance you can put it into some warm water to better clean off vegetables. When cooking, make sure to keep some baking soda on hand in the rare circumstance you get a grease or electrical fire – baking soda releases carbon dioxide when it gets hot, which helps smother these fires.
Microwave the Sponges – Sponges are great at cleaning, but are a breeding ground for bacteria and germs – clean them by throwing a wet one into the microwave.
No soap for Cast Iron – Remember to never use soapy water on a cast iron pan either – to avoid rust use a salt scrub.
Vinegar for Stainless Steel – Stainless steel pots and pans on the other hand cleans great with vinegar.
Boil the Wooden Utensils – Wooden utensils are best cleaned in boiled water, and drying them out in the sun.
Okay, so maybe I don’t count so good….
Yes, there’s way more than top 10 cooking hacks here. I like to overdeliver….what can I say…lol. I hope you can get some good use out of these cooking hacks. They should make your life much easier. Leave me a comment below, if you’ve tried any of these.
All of these hacks are easy to do and will greatly improve your skills in the kitchen. Prepping food need not be a hassle if you tackle it the right way, nor does organizing your kitchen.
When cooking your food it’s always best not to overthink it – but then again try to see if you can replace unhealthy food ingredients with just as tasty but healthy alternatives.
Microwaves may get a bad wrap sometimes, but if you use them the right way you can cut back on a lot of time without diminishing the quality of your meals.
Whether it is preparing or cooking, freezing or frying, you know there is some sort of secret trick out there to help you. While nothing can replace a culinary education, you can be sure these top 10 cooking hacks are used in just about every restaurant worth it’s salt, out there today.