Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Kitchen Tips

Moms are busy but know that homecooked meals are good for the family and the budget, so shortcuts and tricks are a treasure! This is probably my favorite subject to collect ideas on. I love finding the boxes on the sidelines of cookbooks that give you helpful hints. So, I'm hoping for some comments here, but here's a few I've picked up:
1. Line measuring cups with saran wrap before filling with peanut butter or shortening- I hate the impossible to clean mess that these foods leave behind and was so excited to find this tip!
2. Leave a chopstick in your flour to level the top of your measuring cup
3. Cut up raw chicken into cubes and cook, then seal in baggies and freeze (I have a food sealer that is great). This way you'll have cooked chicken ready for quick recipes.
4. Cook ground beef, spread on cookie sheet and freeze. When frozen, remove the beef from sheet and store in bags.
5. Double the recipe when you make cookies and freeze the extras (individually) on cookie sheet, then store in bags. Then you can have warm cookies another day without the dirty bowls to wash (great for last minute visiting teaching). Note: Adjust the oven temp. and time when cooking frozen cookies. Crosshatch pb cookies before freezing.
6. Buy bags of frozen chopped onions for easy (tear-free) cooking- great discovery because I can't handle chopping onions
7. Wash Gerber 'lil Entree bowls and reuse for toddlers- normally my cheap self wouldn't pay for a namebrand product I can make myself but the plastic bowls have 2 compartments and are great for adding a side to meals.
8. Bibs with sleeves and ties- my toddler (like most) is a mess and pulls off velcro bibs. So I bought him one with sleeves and a tie so his whole shirt is covered and he leaves it on.
9. Those thin plastic cutting boards also work great as placemats for messy children and clean up easily.
10. Use a pizza cutter to cut bite-size pieces of anything (like waffles, pancakes, and noodles). So much faster.
11. Keep your plastic cups, bowls, and plates in a bottom cabinet so your kids can get their own stuff and help set the table.
12. Spray tupperware with non-stick spray before adding red sauce
13. After getting home from the store, wash and cut up celery and store in tupperware or bags for easy snacking. I also wash my grapes and pull them from the vine to store.

What tricks do you use to make your kitchen more effective and simplify your meals? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.


Jodi Jean said...

great tips ... i'm all about utilizing my freezer, i always cook mass amounts of chicken and cut it up and throw it in the freezer (same for ground beef) and i agree ... frozen chopped onions are lifesavers!!

i also triple my meatloaf when i cook it and freeze the other 2 ... easy meals all i have to do is defrost/heat in the microwave and mash up some potatoes and cook up some frozen veggies ... EASY!!

Real Momma said...

For a less-mess way of cooking bacon- try this. Instead of using the stove-top, set the oven to 400 degrees. Place a wire cooling rack in a half sheet pan. Spray the wire cooling rack with non-stick spray. Set the bacon slices on the wire rack and cook for about 15 minutes or until desired doneness. Using the cooling rack helps the bacon fat drain off- thus giving you crispier bacon.
Use an old card (membership, library etc.) as a crumb scraper for counters and table

lindy cannon said...

Thanks for the ideas. I have a harder time chopping onions and peppers now that I'm pregnant. I'm going to start buying them chopped and frozen! I also like ideas about freezing meat for recipies. Cooking is more of a chore for me then it used to be as my son usually needs lots of attention (soon I"ll have another little one to add to the mix) Any time saving tips are much appreciated!

shayla said...

Some more kitchen hints...

- It's easier to thinly slice meat (or trim fat) when meat is partially frozen.

- If you must chop onions, try cutting them under cold running water or briefly placing the in the freezer before cutting.

- Perk up soggy lettuce by soaking it in a mixture of lemon juice and cold water.

- Put over-ripe, peeled bananas in the freezer for use in breads and/or smoothies.

Jodi Jean said...

oh yeah ... i agree with shayla about frozen bananas ... i also use 'em for baby food (who needs to buy banana babyfood when you can mush it up yourself?