There is nothing more comforting than sitting down to a nice, hot meal after a long day. It’s a great way to reconnect as a family and unwind, too.
Usually after a busy day at work, though, the last thing anyone wants to do is slave over a hot oven. Luckily, there are plenty of tips and tricks that you can use to make cooking at home a total breeze.
From perfect pasta every time to poached eggs in a snap, there are hacks for nearly everything…
1. If you love pasta but you hate waiting for that giant pot of water to boil, this hack is for you. Use a frying pan full of water instead of a traditional pot! The wider area of the pan means the water gets hotter much faster.
2. If you love eating pasta but you live alone and you hate the idea of having all those leftovers, you can easily boil pasta for one in your microwave. Cover the pasta in water and microwave it, pausing to stir every minute or so until it is just perfect.
3. Not sure if your pan is hot enough to start cooking? Test it by flicking a drop of water on the surface. If the water forms two dancing beads then the pan is ready for you to get to work. Make sure to wipe out the water before you start cooking.
4. Onions are often the base of so many of our favorite dishes. However, as we all know, they can be a hassle to prepare. That’s why this hack is so ingenious: Dice up a bunch of onions at once and save them in the freezer. Next time a recipe calls for some chopped onion, you’ll be ready.
5. Speaking of chopping up stuff and saving it for a rainy day, you can also put any leftover chopped scallions you have into an empty water bottle and store that in the freezer. They will keep for two to three months, which is plenty of time to use them all!
6. Poached eggs are a delicious addition to any breakfast or brunch. That said, they can be a real bother to cook. This hack solves all that! Pour a bit of white vinegar into the boiling water to make the egg easier to handle and to keep it from getting stuck to the sides of the pot.
7. This is a hack everyone who cooks needs to have in their back pocket. Moisten a paper towel and put it beneath your cutting board before you sit down to chop. The moist towel will keep the board from slipping around!
8. If you love cooking and eating a nice homemade dinner, but you feel like you never have time, look no further than this hack. Store chicken breasts in a bag of your favorite marinade and freeze them. Then, the next time you need dinner, just defrost and go!
9. This hack can turn any meal into a truly gourmet dining experience. Chop up some of your favorite herbs and store them inside of ice cubes trays filled with olive oil. These frozen herbs and oil will elevate the flavor of almost anything you make.
10. Microwaving leftovers is easy, but it can also be a real crapshoot when it comes to quality. To make sure last night’s dinner tastes just as good tonight, place a moist paper towel over your plate before microwaving it. The steam will make everything delicious.
11. Recipes that require sticky ingredients like honey or molasses are often delicious, but they are tough to prepare using measuring cups. Coating your cups with cooking oil or olive oil can solve that problem!
12. Working on a recipe that calls for you to crack a couple of eggs? Easy enough! All you need to do to avoid getting tiny bits of eggshell inside of your bowl is to make sure that you crack the egg on a flat surface and not on the edge of the bowl itself.
13. Accidentally drop a piece of eggshell into your bowl? In order to get out tiny bits of cracked eggshell from your mixing bowl, simply wet one of your fingers with water and gently touch the shell shard. It will easily stick to your finger!
14. In some recipes, you might be instructed to separate your egg yolks and your egg whites. You can do this using the egg shell itself, but that can be a real mess. How about trying this hack instead? Simply use an empty water bottle to suck up the yolk and transfer it to another dish.
15. Peeling garlic is such a hassle. The delicate outer skin sticks to everything—and that includes to the garlic bulb itself! If you want to peel garlic quickly, all you need to do is put the garlic in a bowl with a lid and shake it very hard. When you’re done, you’ll have naked garlic.
16. You probably already have salt and pepper mills in your kitchen, but to really up your culinary game, you’ve got to try investing in salt and pepper pots. These containers make it easy to grab pinches of spice to season as you cook.
17. Is there anything more frustrating than going to make a dish that requires softened butter, only to find that the only butter you own has been chilling in the fridge? Good news! Heating up a glass and covering the butter with it will soften it in a matter of minutes.
18. This is a delicious time-saving hack for anyone who loves whipping up a nice pasta. If you want to add some veggies into the mix, simply strain your pasta over frozen peas! This will cook up the peas quickly without adding an extra step to the cooking process.
19. Before you set out to chop up something very finely with your nice kitchen knife, wipe the blade with a touch of olive oil. This will help keep the stuff your mincing from getting stuck to the surface of your knife and getting in the way.
20. There are so many hacks out there that supposedly prevent your brown sugar from becoming hard, but this is the only method you actually need. Seal your brown sugar and store it inside of the refrigerator. It really doesn’t get any easier than that.
21. If you’re looking for ways to keep you chocolate chip cookies nice and fresh, try this hack. Simply pop a slice of bread or a marshmallow into your container of cookies to help keep them moist. It really works!
22. Hard-boiled eggs are a delicious and healthy snack. However, preparing them can make them ridiculously difficult to peel and keep them in just one piece! If you’re looking for a way to enjoy this snack without the hassle, try steaming your eggs together instead.
23. Preparing squash is a huge part of cooking in the autumn months. It’s delicious and so good for you! Unfortunately, it’s tough to cut into. If you want easier access to this squash, go ahead and microwave it first to soften it!
24. Cutting up bell peppers is so annoying! Sure, they are yummy and provide such a singular flavor, but those darn seeds get everywhere. However, if you lay the pepper on its stem and follow the rounded edges with your knife, you can free the edible parts of the pepper without sending seeds flying.
25. One of the best things about cooking with a cast iron skillet is how each meal you make helps season the pan over time. You don’t need to ruin your pan by using soap to clean it, either; just cover the bottom with salty water and let it boil. This will remove almost any food debris.
These hacks are all game-changers! Now you’re ready to head into the kitchen to make your next meal.
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