Time is money, and money is time, so why would you want to spend all of your time and money in the kitchen? A stressed out chef is not a happy chef, and scientists are starting to find a relationship between anxiety and the bacteria that are vital for digesting what we eat. Basic kitchen skills can be a lifesaver when you’re a professional on the go, and combining some kitchen smarts with a handy dash of frugality can save both your minutes and dough. Not everyone can be a TV chef with a team of kitchen scientists and dietitians backing him up and making the magic of television a reality.
These hints with a generous serving of ingenuity can make your time in the kitchen more pleasant, or even enjoyable.
1. Cutting grapes or cherry tomatoes with ease
You’ll want to get out your serrated knife for this one as it will make quick work of the skins on both grapes or tomatoes. Cutting tomatoes with a serrated knife is just a good hint in general, as you don’t need to have a razor sharp knife in order to make the first incision in the tomato, especially the ripe ones.
To make this hack work, simply place your tomatoes between two lids, apply gentle pressure and slice smoothly. The longer the better when selecting your knife as well – I prefer a bread knife with a fine serration. The edges of the lid will work to keep your fruit of choice in place, protect your hand, and help to make an even cut through all of the little morsels.
2. A slice of apple or bread will keep your cookies or other baked treats from getting hard
This one is suuuper easy. Put your cookies in a container.
Then throw in a slice of bread. I’ve even used this trick to rejuvenate hard stale cookies. If you go with apple slices instead of bread, it will impart some apple essence to the cookie as well, another subtle flavor to your treat!
3. Banana Ice Cream
Dig out your food processor for this one, it’s time to use up some of those old bananas.
Really this is a good way to get rid of old bananas and some of that frozen fruit you bought 6 months ago when you were on that smoothie kick. Freeze a banana, throw it in your food processor, and pulse if a few times. When that is done, add in your favorite mix-ins and pulse a few more times. I won’t tell if you go with chocolate chips instead of raspberries. Add a dash of milk or soy-milk for proper consistency.
4. Bag up that Ice Cream
Once you have your ice cream ready to go, you better dig out that zippered baggy. Why, you ask?
Storing your ice cream in a baggie reduces the amount of air that comes in contact with your frozen confection, and keeps it softer for a longer period of time. Or you can just eat the ice cream and not worry about it going hard at all.
5. Batter Bagger Up!
Still have your baggies out? Good, it’s time to make breakfast for tomorrow.
Mix up your pancakes in a zippered bag for an easy clean-up breakfast. When you are ready to chomp down on some pancakes, cut a corner off of the bag and squeeze your batter onto your griddle. Go to town on some fun shapes as well.
Watch this free survival video and Learn How to Make the Ultimate Survival Food: Pemmican was light, compact, high in protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and if done properly can last anywhere from a few years (decades) up to a lifetime without refrigeration!
6. Healthy Pancakes?
Since you’re indulging yourself with pancakes, you might as well make them a little more healthy. I actually prefer my pancakes made with whole wheat, oats, and some wheat germ. Add some protein powder or dry milk powder to help your energy stick around past 10:00.
This hack can be done on other foods, too. Whole grains help slow digestion, and are loaded with the fiber you should be getting on a daily basis. Bonus tip: re-heat those pancakes in the toaster to return them to their crispy shelled grandeur.
7. Easy peel? Give it some time in the fridge
Fresh eggs are tougher to peel when hard boiled so try eggs that have sat in the fridge a few days
They are perfectly fine to eat but choosing your “older eggs” will save your fingers a lot of work! Another thing to try is making sure the water is already at a slow boil when putting the eggs in. Not too hot though, or the eggs will crack and you’ll be chasing whites around your pan, but that’s for a later hack.
If you simply must do it fast, a spoon makes fast work of shelling eggs.
This isn’t going to work for deviled eggs where presentation is half the battle, but if they’re just going into an egg salad or potato salad, grab a small spoon, crack some eggs, and scrape everything out of the shell.
9. It’s incredible and edible
Do you like eating poached eggs? Do you hate making poached eggs? Same here.
If you want to keep your poached egg from separating while cooking, soak it in vinegar for 7-10 minutes before cracking the egg. The vinegar reacts with the whites, forming a membrane around the egg that will keep it together while in the kettle.
10. Hash = Hurry
You should have started this before the poached eggs.
Get your waffle iron warmed up and put a serving of hash browns on it to cook while you’re poaching your eggs. A generous spritz of non-stick cooking spray will make clean-up easy. Much easier than when your waffles squeeze out the side of your waffle iron.
11. Top off that breakfast with a bacon weave
Actually, you should have started your morning with some creative weaving. Pre-heat your oven and put a cooling rack in a sheet pan, because it’s bacon time.
Cooking bacon in the oven helps keep it flat and cook more evenly, while cooking it on the cooling rack lets the fat drip away for healthier bacon. Because that’s what you’re thinking about when you want bacon. Why are we weaving it? Because pancake, hash brown, poached egg, bacon weave sandwich, that’s why.
12. Moving on from breakfast, right Herb?
Have some herbs from your window garden you want to keep for use all year?
Microwave them 20 seconds at a time, turning them over each time until they are dried out.
13. More herbs
If you don’t want to dehydrate your herbs, freeze some herbs in an olive oil base.
Use an ice cube tray to make portions you can save for later.
14. Don’t throw it back
Throw those herbs on some fish, and if you don’t want your fish to stick to your grill, cook it on some lemon slices.
15. Get some oysters out easy, too
If you’re having trouble shucking your oysters, pop them in the microwave.
Microwaving them for a short time (10-20 seconds) will loosen them enough to make prying them apart easier.
We can’t be putting those oysters on stale bread now, can we?
Run some water over your neglected loaf and throw it back in the oven for 5-10 minutes for a loaf that is just like fresh baked – crunchy outside, soft inside. This works best on baguettes.
17. Make enough for the week
While you’re at it, save some time and cook a few meals at once.
If you’re going to invest the time in cooking, cook like there’s three more of you. You’ll have some meals for the rest of the week, and not have to worry about paying for fast food. Win-win situation. Cook some potatoes, cook some rice. Mix and match with your entrees to keep your palate fresh.
18. It’s not just for teeth anymore
I remember my mother making cinnamon rolls when I was a child. The dough would rise, she’d roll it out flat, apply the cinnamon and brown sugar, roll it up, and go after a bit of fine string from her sewing kit. Since I don’t have her sewing kit around, I’ve found that dental floss is a suitable substitute.
To make this work, simply slide the floss under the food you wish to cut, wrap it around, and pull. It will cut right through, ready for the oven.
19. Time for dessert
Need yet another edible confection? Melt some chocolate, and fill a balloon partially with air.
Experiment. Try dipping the balloon repeatedly in the chocolate, or try drizzling the chocolate over the top. Your results may vary, based on the temps of the chocolate and the size of your balloon.
20. Time for a cold one!
Don’t tell me you left your beer out in the garage again. We can fix this super quick.
Wrap your tallboys with a damp paper towel and throw them in the freezer for a speedy cool-down. Just don’t forget them, or you’ll be chipping beer-cicles out of your chill chest. And no one wants that.
Your mileage may vary on these hacks, but they’re worth a try. Save time, save money. Have a beer. You can’t go too far wrong.
Are you ready to turn back the clocks to the 1800’s for up to three years? Our grandfathers and great-grandfathers were the last generation to practice the basic things that we call survival skills now… WATCH THIS VIDEO and you will find many interesting things!