I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a post to share some of my favorite kitchen hacks and shortcuts for a while now. Well, that post is finally here! Some of these tips I came across on the internet, while others were my own ideas. Although you might be familiar with some of the tips, I hope you will discover at least a few new tricks. And now, on to my kitchen hacks!
1. Flour A Baking Pan the Easy Way
The first of my kitchen hacks and shortcuts is my own Brian-child. I came up with it recently while making my favorite fig cake. In the past, I’ve taken handfuls of flour and let it run through my fingers to flour pans. Needless to say, this makes a huge mess! But then I realized it would be much easier if I used an empty salt shaker that I had laying around. This worked beautifully and concentrated the flour in the pan, instead of all over the counter. Since then, I’ve found this handy dusting wand online; I guess my idea wasn’t as original as I thought. You can also use a powdered sugar shaker.
2. Never Run Out of Chicken Broth Again
We all love the convenience of picking up a rotisserie chicken on those nights we don’t feel like cooking (gasp)! Believe it or not, I have those days too. When we have rotisserie chicken, I always save the juice on the bottom of the pan, along with the chicken carcass, skin, etc. I toss everything in a stockpot, along with garlic, bay leaf, a few slices of onion, and plenty of water. I then allow them to simmer for a few hours, to concentrate the flavors. Once cool, I add one to two cup portions of broth in sandwich-sized ziplock bags and freeze for later use. Other ingredients you can toss in include carrots, celery, thyme, and peppercorn.
3. How to Keep Your Ice Coffee From Getting Diluted
Here’s another great kitchen hack! A great way to keep ice coffee from getting watered down is to have some frozen coffee cubes on hand. When you have extra coffee left in the pot, just freeze the coffee in ice trays. I started doing this because Scott likes to have his coffee lukewarm (gross, I know)! If it doesn’t burn my mouth it’s not hot enough… but it’s not all about me, is it? He not only wants his coffee lukewarm, but he also wants it extra strong. To keep his coffee from getting watered down, I use these frozen coffee cubes. You can also do the same with other drinks, like ice tea.
4. Easy Boiled Eggs
My favorite way of boiling eggs i using my electric kettle. I just fill the kettle with water, then gently add the eggs, and allow the water to come to a boil. The kettle turns off automatically when the water comes to a boil. I leave the eggs in the kettle for ten minutes after it shuts off, before removing them. Here’s an extra tip, free of charge; add a teaspoon of baking soda in the water to help the shell come off easier.
5. How to Know When Boiled Eggs Are Ready
Speaking of boiled eggs, do you know how to tell when eggs are hardboiled? I learned this little trick from my mom. All you have to do is spin the boiled egg on its bottom. If it’s hard-boiled, it will spin like a top. If it’s not ready, it will wobble instead. See videos below.
6. A Quick Way to See if an Egg is Fresh or Spoiled
This is my last egg tip, I promise! The expiration date can’t always be trusted. There are also those times when a friend gives you eggs that their chickens laid. Yes, even us city folks know people with egg-laying chickens! A quick way to tell if they’re still fresh is to place them in a cup of cold water. A good egg will sink; if it floats, toss it!
7. Quick Roasted Garlic
Sometimes recipes call for roasted garlic, but you don’t have some on hand. That’s ok, you can have roasted garlic in under 15 minutes! Simply slice off the pointy end of the bulb, and place the bulb on a piece of foil. Drizzle with a teaspoon or two of olive oil. Roast garlic in a toaster oven set to 400 degrees F, for approximately 15 minutes. Cool slightly before squeezing out the cloves with ease.
8. Don’t Toss Fruit and Vegetables, Dehydrate Them Instead!
One of my favorite ways to use my dehydrator is to dehydrate perishables before they spoil. This works great on apples, strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, persimmons, and citrus. My favorite of all these is citrus. Not only are the slices gorgeous, but they are great to add to tea, ice water, wine, mixed drinks, soups, and stews. They’re perfect for adding in a gift basket, and can even be enjoyed as a healthy snack!
9. Get More Juice Out of Citrus
We all know to roll citrus on a hard surface, like a cutting board, while applying pressure, to release more juice from citrus. But, did you know that you could microwave the fruit for even more juice? All you have to do is microwave the uncut citrus for 20 seconds on high. This releases the juice within the fruit, yielding more juice, with less effort.
10. How to Keep Brown Sugar From Hardening
This is an old kitchen hack, but I’ve found that some of my younger friends haven’t heard of it. A great method of keeping brown sugar from hardening is to add a slice of apple in your sugar jar. If you want to be fancy about it, you can use terra cotta disks instead.
11. A Quick Substitute For Buttermilk
Let’s be honest, isn’t it frustrating when you find a recipe you want to try, but it calls for buttermilk? I mean, who has buttermilk on hand? Luckily, there’s a quick way to make a buttermilk substitute. Just add a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to a full glass of whole milk. Although it won’t be as thick as buttermilk, it will do the job. But, if you insist on having a thicker texture, feel free to stir in a few tablespoons of sour cream or yogurt. Why do you have to be so difficult?
12. Pound Chicken Breast Without Making A Mess
I’ve always read to pound chicken breast flat, you should place it on a cutting board, cover it with saran wrap, and pound it with a mallet. This usually results not only in a giant mess but in chicken juices flying all over the kitchen. It finally hit me one day that a better way to do this would be to use a large ziplock bag. Not only does it keep the mess inside the bag, but you won’t have to spend extra time cleaning your cutting board. The bags are much sturdier than Saran Wrap, so one bag is sturdy enough to do the entire job. This works great with other meats too!
13. Cut Brownies Without Destroying Them (my favorite kitchen hack)
Another one of my favorite kitchen hacks has to do with cutting brownies. My family loves brownies; Ghirardelli brownies to be exact. They come out perfect every time. But cutting moist brownies with a knife is almost impossible. The brownies stick to the knife and end up with jagged edges. A very easy way to avoid this is to cut the brownies using a plastic, disposable knife. This results in not only delicious brownies but beautiful ones as well!
14. Drying Herbs (without using a dehydrator)
Winter is upon us, which means it’s time to dry the herbs in your herb garden. A quick way to do that, without a dehydrator, is to use your microwave. You’ll want to place the herbs on a napkin and microwave them on high for 60 to 90 seconds. I do this 30 seconds at a time, to avoid burning them. This method seems to work better on thicker leaved herbs like sage, mint, and rosemary. As you can see in the picture, basil did not fare as well. The edge of the leaves burned, while the center remained limp.
15. Using A Wooden Spoon to Prevent Liquid From Boiling Over
Did you know that if you place a wooden spoon over a pot of boiling liquid, it will prevent the liquid from boiling over? Don’t believe me, try it! This tip comes in handy if you have to walk away for a few minutes. However, if you leave the spoon on there too long, there’s a good chance it will be damaged by the steam.
Do you want more kitchen hacks?
If you enjoyed these kitchen hacks and shortcuts, and want to see more in the future, be sure to leave me a comment. You can also use the contact page to get ahold of me. Additionally, if you want to share your favorite kitchen hacks, please comment below the post.
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