To some people, the kitchen is a daunting place. After all, it’s full of sharp objects and things that can start fires. If you are one of those people, or you’re proficient in the kitchen but want to learn some more tricks to make life a little bit easier, you should try the following 10 kitchen hacks.
10. Use Mayo on Grilled Cheese
What in life is better than a grilled cheese sandwich? It’s pan-fried carbs with gooey melted cheese and if that isn’t the definition of delicious, then what is?
Yes, the thought of hot mayo may make you want to throw up in your mouth a little bit, but mayo only goes bad if you let it sit out at room temperature for a long time. If you cook it, it’s fine. It’s just like meat. You wouldn’t eat chicken sitting at room temperature for six hours, but you would if you cooked it.
There are several reasons why mayo is great for grilled cheese and the first is that it’s easier to spread, so won’t be tearing up the bread with that hard, cold butter anymore. Mayo also makes the bread a golden brown when it cooks and adds a little tang to the sandwich. Once you try it, it will be hard to switch back to butter or margarine.
9. How to Clean Blackened Pots and Pans
Vinegar can be a great ingredient for recipes, but it’s also a versatile and strong natural cleaner. You can mix it with water and use it to degrease the range hood in your kitchen. It’s also great for descaling your coffeemaker and instead of using something like Jet-Dry, you can use it as a rinse aid in your dishwasher.
One of the best things that vinegar is great for cleaning are burned or scorched pots and pans. If you blackened the bottom, add some water so that the bottom is covered. Then pour a cup of vinegar and bring it to a boil. Then remove it from heat and add two teaspoons of baking soda. If you remember those science fair experiments with the volcanoes, you’ll know that vinegar and baking soda causes a chemical reaction and the water and vinegar will start to fizz. After the fizz dies down, pour out the contents of the pan or the pot and then scour it. If the black still isn’t coming out, add a bit more dry baking soda. After a few minutes of scouring, your pot should be as good as new.
8. Onion Hacks
Onions have been eaten for thousands of years and are grown around the world. Of course, one of the biggest problems with onions is that people cry when they are being cut. This is because the onions release a chemical that makes our eyes produce tears.
There are a few hacks on how to cut the onions without crying. One way is to spray the cutting board and the knife with lime juice. Another is to put the onion in the freezer for about 15 minutes before cutting it. A third is to chop off both ends, peel the outer skin, and then soak it in water for 15 minutes. Of course the best way to avoid crying from cutting onions is to convince someone else to do it for you, but that’s totally on you.
A second onion hack involves leftover onion. If want to save it for later, smear some butter on the exposed onion and then store it in the fridge.
7. How to Quickly Peel Potatoes
There’s a reason that peeling potatoes is treated like a punishment in TV shows and movies about the military and summer camp, and that’s because it’s a boring and time consuming task. The good news is that there’s an easy way to peel potatoes without too much hassle.
Simply boil a pot of water big enough to hold all the potatoes you want to eat. While the water is boiling, using a sharp knife, cut a line around the entire potato. Then drop the potatoes into the pot and let them cook. When they are done, put them in a bowl of cold water with ice and let them cool to the touch. Then, the skin will simply peel off in two pieces. This will cut your potato peeling down to just a few minutes.
6. How to Re-Heat Pizza
When it comes to re-heating cold pizza, there are several schools of thought on what is the best way. Some think it’s best just to put it back into the oven at 350 degrees. Others swear that cooking it in the frying pan is the only way to go. By cooking it in a frying pan, it uses the grease that is already in the pizza and it makes the slice crispy.
While both of those are viable methods, one of the easiest ways to reheat pizza is to microwave it. Of course, by microwaving it, the texture of the pizza will change and of course, it’s never an improvement. A way to make it taste like fresh pizza in the microwave is to fill a ceramic mug two-thirds full of water. Put a piece of parchment paper on a plate and then put the pizza on the parchment paper. Put the mug in the microwave and place your plate with the pizza on top of it. Then using one minute intervals, heat up your pizza at medium heat.
The water will evaporate, creating steam, which will heat up the plate, warming it up from the bottom. The parchment paper is used absorb moisture, ensuring your pizza doesn’t come out a soggy hot mess. Some people also think that it doesn’t need to be that complicated. They swear that if you just put a cup of water beside the pizza, it will make the pizza taste fresher.
5. How to Peel Garlic Quickly
Trying to get the last little bits of skin off of a clove garlic can be time consuming and annoying. The good news is that there are a few easy ways to get the skin off. The first is to put the cloves in a sealed Tupperware container, or between two bowls, and then just shake it. Eventually the clove will become dislodged from the skins. Another option is that you could also microwave the cloves for 20 seconds or dry roast it in a skillet, and then the skins will just slip right off. A third way is to put the clove under the face of the knife and then press down on the knife with the palm of your hand.
All of these techniques have their benefits, like dry roasting the garlic smells amazing, but essentially, it comes down to whatever works best for you.
4. How to Soften Butter
Cold or frozen butter has probably ruined a meal for everyone because of how unspreadable it is. Sure, you could microwave it, but that isn’t always the most effective method because it can make some of it liquid, while the rest of it remains hard. Luckily, there are a few tricks to make butter soft in just a few minutes.
The first is to take some butter and put it on a plate. Then fill a glass with hot water and let it sit until the glass itself is hot. Then pour the water out, dry the glass and place it over the butter. This should soften your butter in just a few minutes.
Another trick, which works when the butter is really hard, is to use a cheese grater and grate the butter. This will make the butter softer faster and you can also use the grated butter immediately on things like toast and bagels without tearing them to shreds. This trick is also great for adding butter when baking.
3. Make Yogurt Popsicles
If you have yogurt cups in your fridge that are nearing their expiration date, but you know you won’t have a time to eat to it, don’t throw them out. Instead, punch a plastic spoon through the lid and freeze it. Once it’s frozen, you have a yogurt Popsicle that you can enjoy anytime. This little trick will save you from wasting food, which ultimately is just like throwing money into the garbage. But they’re also a tasty and healthy treat to eat when you want or need a cool snack. It’s just important to remember to eat the Popsicles within a month or two of freezing.
It’s also important to remember that this only works when the yogurt cups are larger at the top than the bottom. If it’s bigger at the bottom, you won’t be able to get the Popsicle out of the cup.
2. Don’t Pour Pasta Water Down the Drain
A lot of times when cooking pasta, people pour the pasta and the water into a strainer and the water goes down the drain. However, by doing this, they are wasting a unique type of water that has a bunch of different functions.
Starchy pasta water is great to give to plants and flowers because the water contains vitamins that the plants need. It’s also great for human food. For example, it works as a bonding agent in pesto, and if you use it for homemade pizza dough it adds a new depth of flavor.
Another use is that the starchy water is great for cleaning dishes. One would think that the starch would leave film on the dishes, but it doesn’t. The starch acts like a natural cleaner and dissolves grime. You just have to let the dishes soak first, which means you get to sit down and relax after your pasta dish. The good news is that if your feet are tired from slaving over your pasta dish, heat up some pasta water and put your feet in it. The minerals in the water will help relax your feet.
Finally, if your hair doesn’t have the shine it once had, try soaking it in pasta water for about 10 minutes and it will reinvigorate the luster of your hair.
1. Egg Hacks
Eggs can be great at any meal and there are several life hacks that will make prepping and cooking them much easier.
The first hack is testing to make sure the eggs are good or past their prime. Simply fill a bowl full of water and drop the eggs in. If it sinks to the bottom and lays on its side, then it’s a fresh egg. If it sinks to the bottom and stands, then it’s fine to eat, but you should do it soon. Finally, if it floats to the top, then don’t eat it. Instead, chuck it at people you don’t like (just kidding, please don’t throw rotten eggs at anyone except for Martin Shkreli).
The reason good eggs sink to the bottom and bad ones float is because egg shells are porous, so this means that the liquid inside the egg evaporates and is replaced with air, making them float.
Another quick option to check to see if the egg is okay to eat is to shake it and listen. If you don’t hear much, then the egg is good. If you hear the yolk shaking around, toss it out. It will make noise for the same reason it floats to the top; there is too much air inside.
The second hack involves scrambled eggs. If you want your scrambled eggs to be nice and fluffy, instead of adding milk, put in a tablespoon of sour cream for every two eggs. This will make them richer and fluffier. This is a trick used by restaurants that serve brunch, especially those that have buffet style breakfast.
Finally, the third hack revolves around one of the most beloved breakfast items of all time – McDonald’s Egg McMuffin. If you want to make your eggs look just like they do it, the key is steam. First, you’ll need some type of egg ring. Egg molds are pretty inexpensive, but if you don’t feel like buying one, lids from mason jars work as well.
Then simply crack the eggs into the molds. To cook them, pour a little bit of water in the pan, but outside of the rings, and put a lid on the frying pan. This will create steam, which will cook the eggs and make them fluffy, just like on an Egg McMuffin.