These 45 easy cooking tips would love to be shared! Thanks!
Big and small, these easy cooking tips will help you live better and save money every day and that's what being pennywise or living frugally is all about.
Well, plus having fun.
We're starting you off with some random choices from our collection of cooking tips. Tips, or life hacks, can make everything you do go so much easier - true blessings for anyone who does "most of the cooking" in a household. When they save you time, that means you've got more time to spend elsewhere in your day.
1. If you regularly use salt and pepper in your cooking, you can save time by having one shaker filled with a mixture of salt and pepper. Make the mixture to your taste or approximately ¾ cup salt plus ¼ cup pepper. Keep it ready to hand to either shake into what you are cooking or to measure out by measuring spoon.
2. Add a few rice grains to your salt shaker to keep it flowing freely.
3. If milk boils over, sprinkle the spill with plenty of salt. It will help to overcome the smell of burnt milk and be easier to clean up with a cloth without burning yourself with hot milk.
4. Would you like to stretch your butter and make it easier to spread? Pour 1 ¼ cup/450g boiling milk over 1 lb./450g/ 2 cups butter in a large heat proof bowl. Let it all cool down then beat well until a creamy consistency. If you’re buttering a large number of buns or bread, you’ll find this will spread much easier. Plus go a little further.
5. Want to cut back on eating high fat mayonnaise – or maybe you just ran out. Try plain yogurt with seasonings. You might enjoy mixing in a little paprika and lemon juice (common ingredients in mayonnaise), or blending the yogurt with cottage cheese for a more substantial salad dressing that is great for a veggie dip, or come up with the seasoning of your choice.
6. To keep pre-made sandwiches fresh for a big party, you can cover with wax paper and a clean, cold damp cloth. Keep cold. Or, you might want to save the liners from cold cereal boxes. Keep them as a bag and place the sandwiches inside. Stand the bag up to fill with buns or lay it flat with the opening at one end to place the sandwiches flat, stacking only 1 to 3 high. Then wrap in the cold towel. The sandwiches will fit in a refrigerator easier when they are in a bag with less worry about them sliding off a plate.
7. To cut bread really thin, use a bread knife and keep dipping it in very hot water and then drying the knife before using.
Save the ends of your bread loaves, dry them and pulverize in a blender for no cost bread crumbs. You can mix them with crushed cornflakes, mix breadcrumbs with shredded coconut, or even add in leftover Homemade Croutons.Add seasoning as you like.
A medium lemon yields about 3 Tbsp/60ml juice, while a medium orange yields about 5 Tbsp/100 ml of juice.
1. Grate the rind of lemons, limes or oranges if you only need the juice behind your juice the fruit. Dry it in an oven and keep for flavoring. Store in an airtight, preferably glass, container, or in the freezer. This is nice to add to breadcrumbs when dredging chicken or fish and, of course, to add to cookies or cake recipes.
2. If you only need a small amount of juice pierce the lemon with a kitchen skewer, thin knife or even a clean knitting needle. It seals up afterwards if the hole is small enough.
You can add a few squeezes of lemon juice to:
- Cooking water for cauliflower or onions.
- Cream to thicken it for use as sour cream.
- Fresh milk to turn it into buttermilk or soured milk.
- Mushrooms for enhanced flavor. Oh, yummy.
3. Sliced lemons cooked in a package with chicken or fish is delicious. Do it on the grill or in the oven. Use lots so there is a good layer of lemon slices over the meat.
I first tried this 35 years ago after seeing Canadian actor, Bruno Gerussi, prepare Lemon Chicken wrapped in foil on his afternoon show Celebrity Cooks. (It came on mid-afternoon which worked out to be the perfect time for quiet time with my toddlers.)
4. Rub lemon juice over chicken skin before roasting to make the skin crisp.
5. Add it to fish when you are sautéing it in a pan for fresh and delicious flavor.
6. Frustrated with having the lemon gratings stick to your grater? Next time, try this trick. Run the grater under cold water first and the gratings should slip off easily.
7. Use lemon juice instead of vinegar when poaching eggs. It helps to keep the eggs firm.
8. Add lemon juice to the water when cooking vegetables like sweet corn instead of salt. Add it just before taking the pot off the heat. The colour of the corn will be better - and besides salt tends to toughen the corn. Especially good if you’re trying to cut back on salt.
9. Add lemon juice (or white vinegar) to old potatoes when cooking them to prevent them going black. Add about 1 tsp/5ml lemon juice halfway through the cooking time.
In the Spring when the potatoes are old and the mint is young, add a sprig of mint to the cooking water of the potatoes, just for the last 5 minutes. The flavour will be delicious.
You'll have top notch potatoes with these easy cooking tips:
1. For mashed potatoes: If the potatoes are very watery after they’re re cooked, sprinkle with dry powdered milk instead of adding fresh milk.
2. For extra special creamy mashed potatoes: Cook the potatoes in milk first before mashing.
3. To mash potatoes well, use a potato masher to break up the big pieces, and then use an electric mixer or a large whisk to really fluff them up. (Yes, the whisk does work – I’ve used it for years – and my parents used theirs for years before me!)
Use more onions. Those words fit right in with our easy cooking tips but are sound advice. Onions are so good for our health but tend to be under-used. They are usually very inexpensive (downright cheap!) so a very pennywise food to keep you right on top of your frugal living plan. Plain simple steamed or boiled whole onions are sweet and yummy. Kids love them with white (cream) sauce with or without cheese added.
Best of all, unlike most other veggies that deteriorate quickly after cooking, you can even precook onions then refrigerate in a tightly sealed container so they are ready to use with just a bit of reheating.
So let's go with these easy cooking tips that will help you love onions even more.
1. Soak onions in cold water for 30 minutes before slicing to prevent irritation to your eyes. Or peel under running water or in a bowl of cold water.
2. Before frying, soak onion rings in milk to make them extra crispy. Always drain well before adding to the hot oil.
3. Or dip them in egg-white or evaporated (canned) milk, drain, dredge lightly with flour and fry quickly.
4. If you want boiled onions to stay whole, cut a small x in the stem end of each one or stick them with a skewer (which might be easier). Three or four, slightly precooked on a skewer would make it faster to grill or broil them for a golden color and a bit more crispness.
5. Keep unused fresh onions in a tightly sealed glass jar in the refrigerator – it will keep fresh for several days and be ready to use in a flash!
6. Grated onion is nice for sauces or soups. Keep the tears to a minimum by freezing the onion before grating it. Or refrigerate it until well chilled.
7. One big onion problem now solved. You’ve been chopping onions and your hands, well, don’t smell too nice. Grab some sugar (or a little dry mustard but it’s more expensive, so why would you?) and rub your hands over the sink. Wash as usual, rinse well and your pinkies will be soft and perfectly sweet smelling.
A little dab of toothpaste works well, to get rid of the smell, too.
1. Before sautéing mushrooms, pour boiling water over them so they won’t shrink as much.
2. Sprinkle them with lemon juice a few minutes before sautéing for a nice flavor.
3. Use your egg slicer to slice fresh mushrooms. Turn them sideways and replace in egg slicer to “chop” in small bits.
4. Store mushrooms in a paper bag in the door of your fridge, not the coldest part. But - if you are buying them loose by weight, most stores provide a paper bag – but it weighs more than a plastic bag. So, use a plastic bag at the store and take the paper bag home with you to use there.
5. If you have a lot of mushroom stalks or stems left-over, chop them up for soups or stews or omelets. Good planning makes no waste!
Stuffed mushroom caps for the party on Saturday night and mushroom omelet for brunch on Sunday morning are perfect ways to use the left-overs.
1. Store garlic cloves in cooking oil and they will never dry out. Be sure to refrigerate the oil. When you’re finished with the garlic, use the oil for salads or cooking.
2. Use some of that garlic oil to flavor stale bread cubes for yummy croutons. Cut the bread into small cubes, and lightly saute until golden, then fry in garlic oil or butter.
Add them to soups or green salads and suddenly those home-y soups and salads will pop with flavor!
3. Here’s a good tip to add a bit of garlic flavor to your
salad. My parents used it for their famous Caesar Salads
way-back-when in the 1950's and 1960's at elegant dinner parties. As a child I loved the drama of this happening right at the dinner table especially my father being the one to prepare it while everyone watched.
Their salad bowl was wood (see the photo top and bottom of this page in our Pinterest Share? That's their famous Salad Bowl with servers) and so is mine. Wooden bowls are just the best for this.
Break a clove of garlic open (you don’t even have to take the paper-y wrap off it – and rub the inside of the salad bowl before you put the salad in. They used it for Caesar Salad, mixing the dressing in the bowl before the romaine lettuce was added, but if you think any other of your green salads need some garlic-y zing, then go ahead and try it.
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup best quality olive oil
1 cup fresh homemade croutons (see directions below)
1 large head romaine lettuce, washed and crisped
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 to 4 anchovy fillets, well drained and chopped
1/4 cup freshly ground Parmesan cheese, to be grated at table
Garnish with Homemade Seasoned Croutons.
1 tsp herbes de Provence or Italian herb seasoning (or 1/4 tsp each dry basil, oregano, thyme and marjoram leaves)
1/2 tsp Worcestershire
1 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, finely minced or pressed (unless you have used garlic oil)
7. Add toasted bread cubes, mixing lightly until evenly coated.
8. Spread on baking sheet, bake until crisp and lightly browned, about 30 minutes.
Let cool fully before storing. Store in a covered container at room temperature for up to a week or freeze for up to a month.
Makes about 3 cups.
4. Make your own Garlic Butter. Rather than buying garlic bread premade at the store, buy a fresh French loaf, cut it in slices (as thin or thick as you want), butter it with Homemade Garlic Butter, wrap tightly in tin foil and warm in the oven until ready to serve.
It's easy to make! Soften butter and stir in peeled fresh garlic cloves. Let blend a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Remove garlic cloves before spreading on bread. Have at room temperature for ease of spreading.
You can make this ahead of time (a day or two) but do remember, the longer it is stored with the garlic in it, the stronger the flavor will be.
Store in a tightly sealed glass container in the refrigerator.
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1. Celery Curls Garnish: cut celery into 2 in/ 5cm pieces, slice each piece into thin long strips. Leave in cold water about 30 minutes to curl.
Dry the celery leaves on a pan in a very low slow oven. I place the celery leaves on a cake rack first to allow the warm air to circulate, unless I am using my dehydrator. They add a very nice flavor to soups and stews.
2. Carrot Curls Garnish: you’ll need a large carrot for ease of handling. Peel wide thin slices down the sides of the carrot using a vegetable peeler. Curl each piece and hold with a small skewer or pin or clip.
Store in cold water until needed.
If you used pins BE VERY CAREFUL to remove each and every pin, not just from the carrot curl but from the cooking area.
Watch Chef Jeff from Ehow show you how to make Carrot Garnishes
3. Tomato Rose Garnish: Using medium size tomato, starting at the top, carefully cut the peel away in a long continuous strip (as if you were peeling an apple). Take the long strip of peel, curl it tightly into a “rose” and place on a plate. Very pretty.
You can see Chef Jeff make a Tomato Rose here as well as a Chrysanthemum Blossom from a red onion and an green onion brush.
Best PennywiseTip: If tomatoes are a bit soft, firm them up by placing in salted iced water for a while. It might be easier to chill the tomato first or use one that is only just ripe but still firm.
What a great way to get some extra use of tomatoes that you were planning to peel for soup or sauce.
1. The stalks of cauliflower and broccoli are just as good as the tops, but not always as attractive. If you choose not to use them with the tops, shred them, mix them with grated or finely chopped onion and carrots and mayonnaise for a quick coleslaw salad.
You'll love to use them in green drinks and smoothies, too.
2. Curried Cabbage: add a bit of spice to your plain cooked cabbage by sprinkling it with a little dry curry powder after it is drained.
3. And speaking of curry, make your own curried beans from a tin of baked beans. Add in 1 tsp/5ml of curry sauce and some raisins to a large tin of baked beans. Easy peasy!
(I know, beans are Pulse, not vegetables but they just accidentally got in this section. Who am I to say, No?)
4. Beets: slice small cooked beets with an egg slicer. This makes preparation so much faster when you’re pickling beets but is also good for dinner plates. They look attractive and are way easier for little ones to eat.
5. Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers are delicious but they do tend to sag when they are cooked in casserole dish altogether. Here’s an idea: cook them in muffin pans and they’ll hold their shape better. Place the muffin pans on a cookie sheet to catch any spills.
6. Pour boiling water over frozen vegetables to freshen the flavor. It’ll wash the crystals of ice away that sometimes leave a funny taste.
Including a powerful but low cost food in your meals has extra purpose and value when it's something as healthy for you as parsley. This versatile herb can be easily grown even in an apartment.
Parsley is one of the best known diuretic, nutritious herbs. It contains large quantities of vitamins A, B, C and minerals calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium and magnesium. It’s very useful for kidney and urinary problems and water retention.
1. Parsley makes a good breath freshener! Chewing a piece of parsley after eating foods with garlic in them will leave your breath smelling sweet.
So don’t ignore that sprig of parsley on your dinner plate; it’s more than just a pretty garnish.
Here's an easy recipe using parsley:
1 Tbsp ground cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
1 tsp dried savory
1 tsp ground mace
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp ground dried grated lemon peel
Mix until well blended.
Use as you would any seasoning salt.
1 lb long grain rice
1 Tablespoon dried tarragon
1 Tablespoon ground celery
1 Tablespoon dried chives
1/3 cup dried minced onion
1/3 cup dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all together and store in an airtight jar.
Bring 1 1/3 cup water to a boil. Add ½ cup rice mixture to boiling water.
Simmer for 20 minutes, then fluff with a fork and serve.
NOTE: I prefer half wild rice or brown rice but white rice stores better so unless you will be using it up quickly or can store it in a very cool place, choose the white rice.
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Best Pennywise Newsletter (with more tips) and Your Best PennywiseTips! where you can share your tips to save time, money and help others to live frugally.
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