50 Kitchen Tips, Tricks & Recipes: {Revisited}

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These goodies were posted previously as features to other sites and have been languishing in the archives…I’ve moved them all here into one handy list, enjoy!

There's Always Room For Another Kitchen Tip Or Two In Your Bag Of Tricks

There's Always Room For Another Kitchen Tip Or Two In Your Bag Of Tricks

  1. Hidden Feature On Foil & Plastic Wrap Boxes?: I did not notice this! Push the tabs in to lock the rolls in place so they don’t bounce out of the box while you’re using it. Such a handy little feature yet hardly noticed! As soon as I read this I checked my boxes right away–nothing. But I just had no-name Canadian brand stuff on hand, maybe we didn’t have it here? I checked with a friend in the U.S., they were on her boxes (she hadn’t noticed them either). I then checked at Walmart here–slim pickings on the shelves btw–and yup, it’s a 50/50 mix but those tabs are definitely on the ends.
  2. Make Your Own Frozen Dinners: Bohemian Revolution recommends not freezing in compartmentalized containers and freezing food dishes separately instead since not everything reheats in the same amount of time. Freeze in portions and then pick and choose the items that you want (especially handy with families–each person can choose their own items).
  3. Pick The Perfect Color: Handy Food Coloring Tool: This little tool is actually pretty cool. You first pick the type of food you want to color (colored eggs, cakes/cupcakes, icing), then you use your mouse to slide the color drop around the color wheel to find the perfect color you want. The chart to the right of the color wheel shows you what food coloring colors are needed and the amount of drops it will take to make that color.
  4. Homemade Chai Tea Recipe: I love recipes like this that you can treat yourself with but also prepare batches of for special gift giving (see more ideas here for gifts in jars). This will be a nice hot drink to enjoy on the cool nights heading our way this Fall and over Winter.
  5. How To Make Flavored Compound Butters: Features a how-to video, recipe card downloads and a twist to flavored butter that may be new to you.
  6. How To Close A Bag Without A Bag Clip: Video…Give the top a few folds then fold each end a bit to tuck the ends up into the folds–then fold under, watch the video to see what I mean. (video source changed since the original was no longer available).
  7. Herb Seasoning Salt: How nice would it be to have a ready supply of crushed garlic, onions, herbs & seasonings at your fingertips, whipping up batches only once a year? This bulk recipe is from Pink Bites and includes usage tips.
  8. Use A Reward Card As A Pot Scrubber: Every reward card I have I use so they wouldn’t be useful for this job, but I do get various plastic cards in the mail that are part of promotional advertising (such as credit card apps, buyers clubs, etc.). Now I can actually put those junkies to good use!
  9. How To Make Dandelion Syrup: You need 250 dandelion tops to make this (wow!) and you’d want to pick them from a location that you know has had no chemicals or pesticides sprayed on them. Enjoy a bit of the syrup in tea, drizzled over fresh fruit, on top of pancakes or waffles and maybe even a bit on icecream and plain yogurt.
  10. How To Make Skittles Vodka: This actually couldn’t be easier to make, and who knew you could do such a thing!
  11. Make Your Own Apricot Brandy: For the apricot brandy, it’s so easy I think even I could manage it. You just need a gallon jar filled with cleaned apricots, sprinkled with sugar on top, and a bottle of cheap vodka thrown in. Flip the jar over every day for 3 months and then you’re set. Kansas A has a few more “homemade spirits” recipes on her site if you’re interested.
  12. Infused Water Recipes: A few of the tips you’ll find: You can invent your own recipes for fruit-infused water…You can also infuse with herbs and even flowers…If you’re watching calories or carbs (fruit calories are mostly carbs, so it’s the same battle either way), be aware which fruits are more or less sugar dense than others.
  13. Ketchup Bottle As Pancake Dispenser: A turkey baster works great too, but with this idea you can keep leftover pancake batter in the ketchup bottle–snap lid shut–and refrigerate (use within days). The pancakes won’t turn out as nice as those made with fresh batter, but still good.
  14. 10 Strategies to Masterful Food Preparation in Minimal Time: Many people feel swamped with the immensity of their daily tasks, and often cooking is seen as a ‘luxury!’ The good news is that sitting down to a home cooked meal even on the busiest of days, isn’t impossible. With a little planning, you and your family can maintain a healthy diet while keeping your active schedule.
  15. Kick Up A Casserole With Herb Crusts: If your casseroles are getting a bit tired, try adding a layer of herb crust to the top to give a little crunch and bonus flavor. The crusts are simple to make and a great way to use up those kitchen herbs. Other dish suggestions for adding herb crusts include: fried fish and meats, baked dishes, roasted veggies.
  16. Use The Finger Test To Check The Doneness Of Meat: She does have a good tip when just starting out: keep using the meat thermometer but do the finger test at the same time until you trust the method and are comfortable that you know what you’re doing. Good photos included, visit the site for all the details.
  17. Three Hour Hearty Bean Stew: Marguerita has a recipe and a few tips for making this stew.
  18. Homemade Multigrain Energy Bars: Ingredients include slivered almonds, toasted sesame seeds, dried tart cherries, currants, blueberries, apricots and more yummy things…what a tasty (and healthy) treat!
  19. How To Cook For A Vegetarian Guest: This really is a nice post to read if you’re shaky on how to make sure your non-meat eating friends will enjoy themselves at dinner.
  20. 12 Twists on Instant Hot Chocolate: The added treat ideas include caramel, ice cream (wow!), peppermint sticks and more. For an extra chocolatey treat, try Chocolate Dipped Spoons.
  21. Homemade HP Sauce: Ingredients include apples, plums, onions, vinegar, sugar and spices. Nothing better than HP sauce, bbq steak and sauteed mushrooms and onions! Ok. Who’s hungry now?
  22. DIY Microwave Popcorn: Learn how to make your own without having to buy pre-packaged.
  23. How To Make Orangettes: Orangettes are thin strips of orange peel boiled in water for a few quick minutes (rinse, repeat so they’re boiled twice), then simmered in simple syrup for an hour. (Simple syrup for this recipe is a 1:1 sugar & water ratio). The final step is to dip the orange strips (first cooled) in melted chocolate and allow to cool on parchment paper.
  24. How to Turn Cheap Choice Steaks into Gucci Prime Steaks: You’ll not only be firing up some great slabs of steak for your family, you’ll understand WHY they turned out so well.
  25. Incredible Spreadable Butter: Extending butter tip. Don’t let soft, fresh bread get roughed up by that bully, hard butter! And don’t pay extra for whipped, spreadable or light butter. Make spreadable butter yourself…save some dough on your grocery bill, and save innocent bread from destruction!
  26. Slow Cooker Goodies: How To Make The Best Chicken Stock In Your Slow Cooker: Along with the recipe, you’ll find four tips for making tasty chicken stock. Also see Crockpot Chicken Soup For The Soul: What a nice & easy meal for cold winter days! More easy crockpot recipes: Perfect Crock Pot Potatoes and Slow Cooker Mexican Meatloaf.
  27. Make Your Own Oven Fried Potato Chips: A suggestion in the comments was to use herb infused olive oil for more flavor and less chance of herbs burning up in the oven (great tip) and a tip to first soak the potato slices in water to get rid of much of the starch as well as making the chips crispier.
  28. How To Make Monster, Fluffy Omelets Video…these look fantastic! Also see this tip for making omelets in a bag.
  29. How To Remove Pin Bones From Salmon: Very quick video that shows you how to get the job done.
  30. How To Make Chinese Tea Eggs: I never could bring myself to try this, but they sure do look interesting!
  31. Perfect Fluffy Pancakes Every Time: The recipe has all the basic ingredients, the secret is in the preparation. Tip: For making pancakes in perfect circles, try using a turkey baster to squeeze the batter onto the hot griddle.
  32. One Pot Cooking Methods: You’ll find detailed instructions and recipes on how to cook one pot meals. It’s interesting, ingredients are prepared and cooked in layers. You’ll find recipes and instructions for rice based meals, pasta based and potato based.
  33. Make Your Own Hamburger Helper: These instructions are a healthier way (and more frugal) to enjoy a simple, hearty meal. You’ll find instructions for quite a variety of dishes, including Cheese Burger, Lasagna and Stroganoff (mmmm Stroganoff…).
  34. How To Make Beef Stock: Nothing better on a cold winter’s day than a simmering pot of homemade stock on the stove!
  35. How To Crack A Coconut: They’ve included a quick video to watch as well as more detailed instructions. They don’t stop there though, you’ll also find how to prepare a coconut for pressing milk and a coconut custard recipe–so be sure to visit their page for all kinds of coconut goodness.
  36. Tip: Use Mason Jars With Your Blender: Did you know that many, if not most, blenders can be used with a standard mason jar, or wide-mouthed mason jar? Make sure to read through the comments too, lots of tips! If you don’t have a blender that will work with this technique, keep your eyes open at garage sales–never fails that there’s an old blender or two to be had for just a couple bucks.
  37. How to Clean and Chop Herbs Quickly: Video…Basically the tip is to hold onto the stems then dunk the bunch of herbs up and down into a bowl of water and swish around like a washing machine. Shake off excess water then stick the bunch into a jar for the herbs to dry off naturally. If you need them right away, go ahead and chop them up. For quickly chopping herbs, she shows how to shave the leaves off the stems with a knife then chop them up in less than a minute. Notice the very sharp knife she uses to chop, yikes!
  38. Garlic Herb Rolls From Scratch: I’m a fresh bread and roll fiend myself but toss in some garlic, herbs, Parmesan cheese–I’m hooked!
  39. Garlic Tips & Techniques: (pdf download) This quick guide shows how to prepare garlic by using a chef’s knife or how to peel garlic with a rubber jar opener, how to mince garlic, how to puree garlic with a knife or a fork, how to sliver garlic and how to roast and toast garlic. You’ll find more tips here.
  40. How To Make Homemade Fruit Rollups: The entire process is easier than one might think, I love the idea of making your own fruit rollups with real fruit and minus all the additives and dyes.
  41. Lavender Lemonade Recipe: From Oprah.
  42. How To Tap Maple Trees And Make Maple Syrup (pdf download) You’ll find instructions for how to drill the hole, a chart to determine how many taps to use and how to position the tap and bucket. The report also includes sap preparation instructions to make homemade maple syrup. From the University of Maine.
  43. Homemade Ice Cream In A Bag: Pretty easy to do and a fun job for the kids! The larger bag is for the ice and rock salt, the smaller bag is for the food ingredients. Seal the small bag, put it in the larger bag, seal, then shake the whole shebang for 5 minutes or so until the mixture is homemade ice cream.
  44. The DIY Guide To Roasting Your Own Coffee Beans: Weary of overpriced, stale coffee beans? Wanna learn something cool? Love coffee? Curious about roasting your own coffee beans at home? This is the link for you!
  45. Learn How To Make Yogurt: Also offers a nice pdf download so you can keep the tutorial in your files.
  46. Smart Tip: Bulk Freezing With Individual Portions: With this technique you can freeze in bulk yet enjoy the convenience of individual frozen portions, and use less packaging while you do it. Less hassle and so simple to do–love it!
  47. Make Homemade Herbal Teas: Gardens, supermarkets, and health-food stores are filled with edible flowers, herbs, bushes, trees, even some weeds that, when steeped, make delicious and healthful hot brews.
  48. How To Use A Coffee Press Pot: The article includes some history as well as pictures and tips. Who knew there was such a science behind the use of a press pot!
  49. How To Meal-Stretch A Chicken: The Suggestions: Meal #1: The Chicken Itself…Meal #2: Leftover Pieces (ie. freeze for later meals & dishes)…Meal #3: Even the Waste Parts (ie. make stock for homemade soups).
  50. How To Make A Lego Cake: All you need is a cake mix, frosting and marshmallows (cut in half) to make this fun cake. The marshmallows are used to make the “peg thingies” on the lego (sorry, I don’t know what they’re called, lol), but when I first saw the picture I thought they were the bottoms of cupcakes. I bet you could use that if you’re not fond of marshmallows.

Oddball Dishwasher Items: Cleaning Tip

Picture of Keyboard - Tipnut.comThis tip is from Plastic Bugs (plasticbugs.com — site no longer available) You CAN Put Your Keyboard in the Dishwasher:

Today, I can report that not only will the keyboard come out clean, but it will probably work once it dries completely. Every key on the keyboard works and feels just right – the Caps Lock light even works! This “hack” is not for the weakhearted, and I would probably avoid putting a $100+ keyboard in the dishwasher. But if you don’t have any other options, it’s a pretty good bet.

I do have a stack of tips about this collected years ago from old emails, but basically here’s what you do:

  • Unplug the keyboard
  • Place it keys down in the dishwasher (top rack)
  • Turn the dishwasher on and remove the keyboard when the dry cycle starts
  • Stand or prop the keyboard up and let airdry completely before trying to use again (usually 3 – 5 days, shake and rotate the keyboard occasionally while drying)

Some advise to pop off the keys before washing (just put them in the silverware basket), others advise to pop them off after washing (to avoid moisture being trapped).

Caution: Use at your own risk, this should only be used as a last resort. Also this is not safe for laptops or wireless or cordless keyboards.

A few more oddball things you can wash in the dishwasher:

  • Baseball caps
  • Hair brushes and combs
  • Bathroom soap dishes and toothbrush holders
  • Shoes, sandals
  • Plastic items such as toys, desk accessories and other containers

I’m not a big fan of washing these kinds of things with dishes so when I have a free load and several items ready to wash, I do fill the dishwasher with odd items in one load (without dishes).

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Published: November 4, 2010
Updated: September 11, 2012

What Readers Are Saying:
One Comment to “50 Kitchen Tips, Tricks & Recipes: {Revisited}”
  1. Bette-Lou Duncan says:

    Very helpful. My favourite is the homemade beef stock. Thanks


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