When I can find timesaving kitchen shortcuts that can speed up a recipe, I am one happy woman. Why devote more effort than needed is my motto? If you feel the same way, then I know that you’ll appreciate these kitchen shortcuts that I find the most helpful.
Advance Partial Preparation for Recipes Is One of Those Favorite Kitchen Shortcuts
One of my favorite kitchen shortcuts is making my own chicken or beef stock to later use as a base for other recipes. I measure out the amount I need for certain dishes such as for rice pilafs and store in clean peanut butter jars that I saved and place in the freezer. In similar fashion, I pour some broth in ice cube trays and freeze for flavoring when I need less. After the broth hardens enough, I transfer the broth cubes to a zip-lock freezer bag.
Another of those handy ideas is preparing some vegetables in advance for cooking, especially onions and celery. Since I use onions practically in every main dish, I find it easier to always keep another peanut jar of finely chopped onions in my refrigerator. This little bit of advance prep for a recipe basic like onions accelerates the cooking process. It also helps me get dinner sooner on the table and have less mess cleaning up from chopping.
Altering Techniques Is Another to Simplify Cooking
Peeling garlic is never fun. To speed the task up, I use the back of a large knife such as my chef’s knife and press it. The pressure of crushing it makes the peeling of the outer skin so much easier.
How many times have you needed to separate eggs but didn’t leave them out at room temperature long enough to avoid problems with the yolks? My secret is to run the eggs under some warm water after you take them out of the refrigerator. If you remember to do this, chances are your eggs will separate perfectly.
If you do find some of the yolk dropped into the white, moisten a cloth with cold water and dab the yolk. Believe it or not, the moistened cloth magically grabs the yolk like a magnet to fix that mistake. Personally, I like this method better than trying to use the egg shell or a spoon to scoop out what dropped.
Timesaving shortcuts I use with eggs also extend to egg whites. To make egg whites beat quickly for a stiff meringue, I always add 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
If you want better results with your pasta, I have a few suggestions to reduce recipe preparation time that you may want to add to your repertoire. The first is adding one teaspoon of cooking oil to boiling water for the pasta. This prevents the pasta from sticking.
Furthermore, I always reserve some of that boiled pasta water to use to moisten the finished pasta. This really helps when your family isn’t on time for dinner. Adding some of that boiled pasta water will help keep the pasta from drying out.
I am fond of my crockpot for cutting down cooking time. The only thing that I don’t like about it is some foods are harder to clean when cooked in there. However, here is another one of my timesaving kitchen shortcuts that is worth to remember. Wrap your chicken breast or a piece of meat in aluminum foil along with some vegetables before placing in your crockpot. The foil locks in the poultry’s or meat’s juices to keep it more moist. At the same time, this step depositing the meat and vegetables will eliminate extra clean up. It also has most of your meal ready.
For baking, I discovered the value of using an ice cream scoop with the spring release for dropping the cookie dough onto the cookie sheets. The secret to this method is after loading your dough and dropping your batter that you dip the used scoop in some water. You repeat this after every cookie drop. The cookie dough slides out this way without sticking.
The type of scoop I use depends on the size of the cookie I want or a muffin. For giant cookie or giant muffins, I use the regular ice cream scoop. For small cookies, I use the small melon-ball scoop that has the same spring release design.
For speeding up cutting bar cookies, a pizza cutter glides through the baked cookies more smoothly than using a knife. The pieces come out more evenly as well without crumbling.
Greasing your baking pans is a sloppy process for hands. Another one of my favorite tips is protecting my hands before greasing the baking pans or a casserole dish by making a mitt out of a clean sandwich bag.
Here are few tips that I use for cake baking. Dusting the bottom of layer cake pans with flour is easier if you load up a salt shaker with larger holes with flour for this purpose for better cake removal.
Better yet, I also found measuring the bottom of the layer cake pan with a piece of wax paper to insert inside helps even more. Lay the pan upside down and cut before placing inside your greased pan.
What I shared with some of my favorite timesaving kitchen shortcuts is just the tip of the iceberg, but they are ones I regularly use and find helpful. If you have more to add, please share.
You also might care to read my earlier post of maximizing kitchen efficiency with some wonderful organizational tips.