Cooking is rather simple, it’s how people feed themselves after all. However, it’s not simple for everybody. And even for those that it is, things could still be a little easier. And that’s why it’s so important to know as much as you can about the art. And that’s where these life hacks come in. They’ll certainly help speed up your meal prep. Here are a few easy ways you can help reduce the wait to dinner time.
Skin Boiled Potatoes
Potatoes are possible the most versatile foodstuff there is. You can actually survive off of an all-potato diet, as long as you supplement your diet with some vitamins. But peeling the potatoes to cook them can be a bit tedious. You could buy pre-prepared potatoes, but those won’t be nearly as fresh as they could be. Just boil the potatoes before you peel them. The skin just peels off incredibly easily that way. Plus they take half the time to cook. Or you can just mash them up as soon as you got the skin off.
Shake Garlic Cloves
Garlic is key to many different types of flavorful dishes. Although, the small cloves can be frustrating to peel. That’s why you do this instead. Break apart the garlic into individual cloves then put them in a sealed mason jar. Then just shake the jar. Do this hard and long enough and the garlic will essentially peel itself. Then you just have to pop them off and trim the edges.
Cut Onions Without Crying
Nobody likes chopping onions because of how much they make you cry. People would probably do whatever they could to avoid that. People have a couple different theories on how to avoid it, but there is only one surefire method. The root end of the onion is the part that contains the most of the enzyme that causes crying. So avoid that part while chopping the onion. Or just wear goggles.
Use Pasta Waster When Making Sauce
Here’s a strange suggestion. After you boil some water to make pasta, use that same water to make the sauce for your dish. The water’s already absorbed the starch and salt and will help keep the pasta and sauce together. The starch will also be a thickener that will help give the sauce the perfect consistency. Plus, you don’t waste any water.
Make Your Soup Less Salty
If you make a soup too salty, that’s it, it’s ruined. At least that’s what you’d think most of the time. As it turns out, apples and potatoes can absorb salt. All you have to do is put a few wedges of slice raw apple or potato in the soup and let it cook for about 10 minutes on low heat. They’ll absorb the excess salt. Then just remove the slices and you can eat your soup with no problem.
Hull A Strawberry With A Straw
When you’re trying to cut strawberries, this is a pretty good way to get rid of the stalk without removing too much of the fruit. Just put the straw at the bottom of the strawberry and gently push it through. If you aimed properly, the leaves and stalk will pop out after you push long enough. Then you’ll find a perfected hulled strawberry.
Get Extra Storage Space
Storage space can be hard to come by, and it’s not any better within a kitchen. However, the inside doors of cupboards are actually a perfect place for hanging kitchen and bathroom tools. All you need are some inexpensive hooks to put up. It frees up drawer space and makes it easier to find your more commonly used cooking tools.
Wrap Bananas In Plastic Wrap
Bananas seem to always spoil just right before you’re about to eat them. And sure, banana bread is delicious, but it’s a lot more difficult to make than just eating a banana. In order to elongate the shelf life of your bananas, just wrap them in plastic wrap. Wrapping the end of each individual banana really helps add to their longevity. This prevents ethylene gases from being released from the stem of the banana and keeps it fresh for a longer period of time.
Store Tomatoes Correctly
Tomatoes are usually stored in haphazard fashions. But it turns out that just makes them rot faster. The best way to store them is with their stem facing the ground. Laying them out flat like that ensures a minimal amount of air and moisture from entering and exiting the stem scar. Of course, also store them in the fridge.
Speed Up Ripening With A Paper Bag
Ethylene doesn’t just come from bananas, but from a lot of different fruits as well. And a surge of ethylene is what causes the fruit to ripen. And it will get overripe if left for too long. And getting fruit at that perfect level of ripeness is hard. If you want to speed up the ripening process though, try throwing the fruit in a paper bag. This works particularly well on avocados, bananas, and kiwis. The gas gets trapped in the bag and causes the sugars in the fruit to ripen.
Microwave Lemons To Get More Juice
Lemon juice is pretty healthy and useful in a couple different ways, so squeezing every bit of juice you can out of a lemon would be rather beneficial. The best way to maximize the amount of juice you get from a lemon is to microwave it for seven to ten seconds first. Then just roll it on a table and squeeze the lemon under your hand. When you open the lemon, the juice will pour out with ease.
Peel Mangoes More Quickly
There are many different ways to eat mangoes, but many involve some mess and some waste. But this manner of peeling a mango prevents waste and mess. All you have to do is take the segment you sliced and run it along the side of a glass so the fruit falls into it. The pressure will prevent waste and the mango skin will be scraped off easily.
Use A Muffin Tin To Poach Eggs
Poached eggs are some of the most difficult ones to prepare. But, there is a way to make the process a lot easier. Use a muffin tin. Not only can you poach up to 12 eggs as the same time, it’s also nearly effortless in preparing the egg in the first place. Just add a tablestpoon of water to each muffin cup alongside a cracked egg. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes depending on your preferred consistency of the yolk and add in any additional ingredients that you enjoy.
Use Oven As A Proofing Drawer
A proofing drawer is a warming drawer that runs on low heat that is used to make sure dough rises properly. It’s essential to bread making. Many people don’t have the money to make specific space for this, however. As such, you should use your oven for it. Don’t turn the oven on, though. Put a bowl of hot water into the oven below the rising dough. This creates a warm, humid environment that’s perfect for the loaf you’re making.
Store Peanut Butter Upside Down
Pure peanut butter has an issue with oil separating. That makes you have to mix up the peanut butter so it has the right consistency every time you’re about to get some. It’s not a major inconvenience, but it’s still better to not have to deal with it. That’s why you should store your peanut butter upside down. After you turn it right side up again, the oil will rise and make it a lot easier to get the right peanut butter mix.
Reuse Pickle Juice
When it comes to brining, you can actually use pickle juice twice. Don’t use it more than twice though. When reusing it, just add in an extra dash of vinegar to ensure it keeps its potency. To make pickles with leftover brine, salt cucumbers in a colander and let them sit for an hour. Then put them in a jar, boil the brine, and pour it over the cucumbers. Lastly, seal the jar and refrigerate for 24 hours before eating. Pickle juice also has other health benefits, including soothing muscle cramps and helping to control blood sugar levels.
Reheat Pizza In A Skillet
Pizza’s delicious, but if you don’t like cold pizza reheating your leftovers is of course something you want to do. Just reheat it on a stove in a nonstick skillet. Place the slice into the skillet on medium-low heat. Cook for two minutes so that it crisps and warms. Next, place two drops of water on the pan away from the slice. Then reduce the heat to a low temperature and cover the skillet for a minute. This will steam the pizza and bring it back to the way it was when you first ordered it.
Put Apples Back Together
Sliced apples make for a good snack, but they also are likely to brown faster that way. But after you slice up an apple, you can put it back together to avoid this hastened browning. First, slice the apple in a “tic tac toe” formation. Then cut it with two vertical slice and two horizontal ones to make a grid. You can then piece the apple back together and secure it with a rubber band or hair tie. When you remove the band, they’ll fall apart, but they won’t be brown.
Freeze Meat For Better Searing
A nice cut of steak or some other form of meat is nice for dinner every once in a while. Unfortunately, steak is prone to overcooking around the edges. But a frozen steak is less likely to overcook at its perimeter when you’re searing it. Don’t waste time thawing it, just sear the steak while it’s still frozen. Just make sure that you wrap your food thoroughly and keep your freeze at a cold enough temperature. That’ll prevent freezer burn.
Make A Grilled Cheese On A Waffle Maker
Waffle irons and panini presses are actually pretty similar. So if you have a waffle iron, but no press, don’t worry. Grilled cheeses made using a waffle iron, some might even say are more delicious. Heat up the waffle iron on medium, grease it with cooking spray, then put the sandwich on the the iron. Cook the grilled cheese for about three minutes, until the cheese is melted and gooey and the bread is crispy and gold.
Use A Bundt Pan To Roast Chicken
Bundt pans have a couple different uses, but making a perfectly roasted chicken probably wasn’t one you’d expect to be able to use. After you’ve prepared and seasoned your chicken, just put it in the Bundt pan, breast-side-up in the middle of the pan. Then bake until the chicken has been cooked through and the skin is golden. It should take around one hour and ten minutes, but check to make sure you don’t overcook it. Then let the chicken sit for 15 minutes before carving.
Cook Bacon Between Two Sheet Pans
Making bacon for a crowd can take a little bit more time than you’d like. But if you use a couple of sheet pans, you can speed that process up. You’ll also need some parchment paper. Place one sheet of parchment paper onto the baking tray and arrange the bacon strips on it. They have to overlap as little as possible. Then set a second sheet of parchment paper on top and the second baking sheet, bottom-side down. Then bake the bacon in between until it’s crisp. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes for thin-cut bacon and 30 to 35 if its thick.
Make Brownies Using Black Beans
People have been trying to cook more healthily, using as little refined sugar as possible. Well, here’s a fun way to do that with brownies. Just use black beans. You’ll need a 15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed, a cup of water, a package of sugar-free or low-sugar brownie mix, and a cup of chocolate chips. Your oven will be preheated at 350 degrees. Blend the beans and water in a blender until they’re smooth and poor the mix into a bowl. Then mix in the brownie mix and chocolate chips, pouring the batter into a greased nine by 13 inch baking dish. Then bake for 25 to 27 minutes. Make sure to let the brownies cool completely.
Microwave Honey To De-Crystallize It
Pure, raw honey often crystallizes. That doesn’t mean its gone bad, though. As a matter of fact, honey can’t expire. The glucose sugar has separated out, which caused white crystals to form, causing a lighter and paler than normal color. To fix this, just place it in a microwave-safe container without a lid. Then microwave the honey for 30 seconds at a time. After that, remove the honey and stir. Continue until the white crystals have dissipated. Just be careful to not boil or scorch the honey.
Use Olive Brine For Pasta Dishes
Olive brine is the liquid that the olives are contained in when you buy a jar of them. It’s a mixture of vinegar, water, and salt. But, after marinating in the olives for a while, they liquid absorbs their flavor. It can actually add a strong flavor to anything you’re cooking. Which is why it’s a good idea to add it to pizza or marinara sauce that you’re making. It works especially well with vodka cream or spicy puttanesca. Just add a little bit at first to taste test to make sure you have the right amount of brine.