Tuesday, November 22, 2011

kitchen tips

I've been cooking since I got married 7 1/2 years ago. In the beginning all I could do was follow a recipe. And my repertoire was wanting. I mean, it was pretty sad. We're talking spaghetti, steak and mashed potatoes, chicken tenders and a really easy gumbo recipe that Ben loved. End of list.

Over the years, I've paid close attention to cooking shows and the recipes I use. Not only have I added more recipes to my list, but I've picked up different tips and tricks. Some of them I've borrowed from others. Some I've developed on my own.

I have to say though, I'm pretty proud of all that I've accomplished in the kitchen over the past 7 years. I've gotten particularly good at whipping up a dinner from almost nothing (although I try to avoid that by meal planning): What meat do I have in the freezer? What's in the pantry? Any veggies that are about to go bad? Add it all together and many nights, they end up being our best dinners!

But enough of me tooting my own horn. I want to share with you some of my favorite recipe tips:

1. Mix your pancake and waffle batter in a measuring glass measuring bowl. It's easy to simply pour the batter right in the waffle iron or skillet. No ladel required, which means fewer dishes for clean up.

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2. Buy bulk cheese and divide into smaller baggies to freeze for later use (my mom's trick). Buying larger bags is cheaper than the small ones. Especially when there's a good sale. (Of course, you could buy block cheese which is even cheaper, then grate it and freeze).

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3. Here's an easy iced tea recipe.

4. My favorite way to cook chicken is boiling in water with spices. Simply place the chicken breast in a pot (frozen or thawed), sprinkle your favorite spices (salt, pepper, garlic salt, dried onion), cover chicken with water and bring to a boil. Keep the lid on and allow the water to boil for 45 minutes or so. You can also let it simmer for longer. You can use the chicken now and the broth later. You can also freeze the broth for later use.

5. When your fry pans are small and the bacon is too long, cut bacon into smaller strips. It's always good to have kitchen scissors and this is a good use of them. I think we end up eating less bacon at breakfast time too.

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6. Add chicken broth to refried beans to make them creamy. This one I learned from my dad. Ever notice how sticky and thick refried beans are right out of the can? Even after you heat them on the stove? This is an easy and tasty way to make them creamy.

What are your kitchen tips??

7 comments:

  1. These are great...and the pancake batter being mixed in a measuring glass...GENIUS! :)

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  2. These are great, Im def. going to be mixing my batter in a measuring cup that way I wont drip all over the place=)
    Xo.Mrs.S

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  3. These are very clever ideas, and several I have not heard before!!

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  4. great tips! you are encouraging me to not be so intimidated by cooking and to branch out of my normal 5 recipes :) xo

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  5. Great tips! My mom uses milk in refried beans and uses a masher to mash them more.

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  6. these are great, jessi! i often cook my chicken in my crockpot the same way, but now maybe i will just boil it!

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  7. What a great idea about the batter!! Smarty pants!

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