Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Kitchen TIp Tuesday: Hodge Podge of Tips

Today I have a variety of great tips that have lasted over the years. No particular theme today, just a hodge podge of great ideas!

Handy Clothespins: Forget the laundry, try using clothespins (the spring type) in the kitchen. they work great in place of twist ties for holding bread bags and chip bags closed. Pretty much any bag that needs closing, such as cereal or even frozen vegetables. Try gluing a magnet to the back of a clothespin and hang your shopping list on the fridge. Here's some fun decorated clothespin magnets you can make!

Easy Freezer Storage: Place a zipper freezer bag inside a coffee can or large mouth jar and fold the zipper edge back over the lip of the can or jar. Fill the bag with sauce, gravy or other food, this also keeps the zipper edge clean. Now, lay the bag flat in the freezer by placing on a cookie sheet, a flat pizza box, or anything else you have and let it freeze. Once frozen, this can be stood up and stacked in the freezer for better storage room.

Salad Shaker: If you're like me you don't like your salad drowning in too much dressing. Place your salad into a gallon zipper bag and add the amount of dressing that you prefer. Zip the bag shut leaving air in the bag. Shake the bag until your salad in evenly covered. This can also be done in a plastic storage container with a tight fitting lid.

Homemade Pasta Sauce: All you need for a basic pasta sauce is a 7.5 oz can of tomato sauce and a 6 oz can of tomato paste. This will serve 3-4 people. Make your batches as large as you want simply multiplying the ingredients by the number of batches you want. Combine the two ingredients and add 3 tomato paste cans of water (or 18 oz water). Add whatever seasonings you like such as basil, salt, and pepper. Play around to find your favorite, suggested herbs are oregano, basil, and marjoram. Onion and garlic are a common ingredient, and a teaspoon of sugar helps tone down the acidic nature of the tomatoes. Bring to a boil, simmer and separate into portions right for your family. Store in the freezer in zipper storage bags (use the flatten method above!) and thaw when ready to use.

Value Packs: Sometimes the value packs of meat at the grocery store can be a great deal. When you come across them, bring them home and immediately break them into meal sized portions. Freeze so they are ready to use when you are.

Lumpy Gravy: If you gravy has lumps, toss it in the blender for a few spins until smooth!

Homemade Pastry Bag: Fill a plastic zipper sandwich bag and squeeze out excess air. Push everything to one corner, twist the empty end of the bag and snip off the bottom corner of the bag with scissors. Voila - instant pastry bag!

Zest it First - Before peeling an orange or slicing a lemon or lime, zest off the rind first and place in a zipper storage bag. Pop the zest in the freezer to use the next time you need zest!

No Peel Mashed Potatoes: Instead of peeling the potatoes first, cook the potatoes in the microwave skin on, then cut in half and scoop out the pulp. Save the skins for a tasty appetizer. Slice skins into strips, spray with cooking spray or brush with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper and place under the broiler for a few minutes until crispy. You can also add shredded cheddar and bacon bits!

Do you have any great kitchen tips? We'd love to hear from you. To share, click on "Post a Comment" at the bottom of this post!

1 comment:

  1. I do the the value-pack meat one. Especially with beef. I cut them up in 1lb or 1lb+ sections-- which is what I usually need for a recipe.


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