1. Clean as you go!I know it’s totally annoying, and sometimes I’m so guilty of not doing this, but it makes cooking and baking much more fun and stress-free when you’re not surrounded my messy clutter or have to deal with it ALL after you’ve finished!
2. Save your Parmesan rinds! They add excellent flavor to soups! Keep them in a zip-lock bag in the freezer and toss one in whenever you’re making a soup!
3. Chop everything, open all the cans…have all your prep work done! Before you turn on that stove! It will make cooking sooo much easier, when you’re not scrambling to chop things up or while you’re opening and rinsing your beans, while not burning what’s already cooking! A lot of time I get most of the prep work out of the way earlier on, then when it’s time to make dinner, I just add and go..plus if you only need one hand to stir, you have a free hand to sip on a glass of wine! 😉
4. Grate Ginger and whole Garlic Cloves…with a micro-plane instead of mincing! It takes half the time!
5. Roll lemons and limes across the counter with force to release all the juices before slicing them. Especially if they’re hard, it’ll give you so much more juice! (Sometimes microwaving for 10-15 seconds helps too!)
6. Read the whole recipe and instructions…all the way through before anything else. You may miss a marinating time or overnight rise…
7. Take your meat out of the fridge at least 30 minutes, longer if you have the time, before cooking it. The closer you can get it to room temperature, the more even it cooks. With that..
8. Always rest your meat…whether off the grill or out of the oven, let it rest before slicing into it so you don’t lose all the juices.
9. Lengthen the life of your greens….wrap the ends about 5 inches up with a damp paper towel and stick them in a ziplock bag. Store them in the fridge…this easily adds at least an additional week to all my greens..everything from herbs to lettuce, it works!
10. Test meats like meatballs, meatloaf’s, and sausage first…take a small portion and fry it up in a skillet first and taste. Adjust seasonings accordingly! Nothing worse than going through all the work of cooking it to have it come our sub-par.
11. Don’t be afraid of salt!
12. Save your bacon grease in a mason jar in the fridge! It is excellent for added flavor later on when sauteing veggies or making eggs. OR…
13. Bake your bacon in the oven 375° for 12-15 minutes…perfectly crisp, and no grease splatters!
14. Buy a pizza stone..it’s worth every penny and will change your homemade pizza making, life. Serious. Perfect crispy crust every time.
15. Buy pre-peeled garlic, not pre-minced, pre-peeled! Some may not agree with me here, but peeling garlic is one of my most hated duties..and it takes time and the peels stick and go everywhere. Buy it pre-peeled and all you have to do is snip off the end and start mincing or grating away! (If you’re completely against purchasing it that way, then crush your garlic with the side of a chefs knife first, and the peel will come off a lot easier.)
16. A good blender will be your best friend…don’t get me wrong, I love my food processor, but if I had to keep one or the other, I’d stick with my blender. Not only does it make my smoothies or margaritas ;), but I use it to puree my soups (if you don’t have an immersion blender), to make sauces, pesto, salsas, etc. The list goes on..if you have a good blender, it can do anything.
17. Taste as you go! It’s the only way to know if the seasoning is just right or if something is off and needs to be fixed.
18. Sharpen those knives! It makes ALL the difference in the world. I promise. A super sharp knife is actually safer, and will literally cut down on your prep and chopping time. It’s life changing. Nothing is more frustrating than working in a kitchen of someone who only has dull knives.
19. Run your onions under cold water before chopping them, it will help your eyes! Peel your onions, chop off the ends, then wash them under cold water. It helps to eliminate the tears!
20. Combine butter and olive oil..using the two together at a 50:50 ratio, brings out big flavors!
21. Don’t overcrowd the pan..for so many different reasons. The food will steam instead of crisp up or caramelize because there isn’t enough air circulating and the temp of the pan drops. Basically you’ll sacrifice a lot of flavor, so leave room.
22. Turn your music up, pour a glass of wine, and always have fun in the kitchen! Even if something doesn’t turn out as planned, it’s ALL a learning experience!
What is your most valuable kitchen tip or trick? Tell me in the comments below!!