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A few good cooking and baking tips

on August 17, 2012

The title of this one, pretty much, says it all. Most of these I’ve tried. The rest I’ve not but they look plausible enough to include until I can give them a whirl, myself. And, if you have any to add, please feel free – tips and hints are always better shared!

“Runza” or “Bierock” – a delicious yeast dough stuffed with hamburger, cabbage, onions, and cheese.

1). Getting yeast doughs to rise in the PacNW is nearly impossible in the cooler weather we typically have. However, I’ve found a solution: While you’re making your recipe, boil a pan of water. Put your dough in a bowl, cover it with a cloth/dish rag and place the dough in the oven along with the pot of water (DO NOT TURN THE OVEN ON…yes, I’ve heard of people doing this). The boiling water will warm up the small space just enough to get the dough to rise.

2). Before you start a recipe, get out all your ingredients. This way you will make sure you have everything on hand. As you add them to the recipe, put them away. If you get called away or distracted you’ll always know where you left off.

3). When baking and you need to “cut in” the butter, an easy way is to keep the sticks of butter in the freezer. When needed, use a cheese grater to grate the butter into fine pieces.

4). Use unwaxed Dental Floss to cut a cake that needs extra layers or refrigerator cookie dough rolls.

5). Put onions in the freezer for about 15 minutes before you use them. It’ll reduce the tears when you go to cut/chop them.

6). When you go to roll out cookie dough or pie shells, use a little powdered sugar instead of flour to keep it from sticking (no one likes a mouthful of flour when they take a bite and the cookies come out less ‘tough’). 

Slow Cooker Lasagna Soup

7).  Freeze leftover sauces and broths in ice cube trays. Pop them out, into a freezer bag when frozen, and you’ll always have it handy when you need it.

8). If you microwave a lemon for 15 seconds before you squeeze it, you’ll get up to twice the amount of juice.

9). If you don’t have cooling racks (for baked goods fresh out of the oven), get out the ironing board.

10). To check to see if an egg is still fresh, stick it in a pan of cool, salted water. If if sinks, it’s still good, if it floats, it’s ready for the worm bin.

11). To get the garlic smell off your hands use a stainless steel spoon — rub, vigorously, for 30 seconds or so (I’ve also heard of people who rub their hands on their stainless steel sinks and pots!).

12). If you need to stretch out that last bit of salad dressing, try adding some plain greek yogurt, whisking well to blend it.

13). Your baking recipes will turn out better if you leave your eggs and butter at room temperature for a few hours or overnight.

14). Use a hand-held cheese grater to peel potatoes.

15). Fresh herbs (and asparagus!) keep best at room temperature with their stems in a little bit of water.

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes with sour cream, cream cheese, minced garlic, and shredded cheddar on top.

16). When making mashed potatoes, after you drain the potatoes, return them to the hot pan, cover tightly and let steam for 5 minutes. This allows the potatoes to dry out so they’ll mash to a beautiful texture and soak up the butter and cream more easily (thank you, Wolfgang Puck!).

17). Taste your cooking oil before you use it. If it doesn’t taste okay on its own, you won’t like it in your food.

18). Make sure your cookie dough is thoroughly chilled before going onto the cookie sheets. It’ll keep them from flattening out too much in cooking.

19). Spray your measuring cups with non-stick spray before measuring anything sticky (honey, peanut butter, molasses), everything will come out much easier!

20). Take the time to read the whole recipe before you begin. This may sound silly but I’ve done this — started something, not realizing it needed more time than I thought, to prepare it.


4 responses to “A few good cooking and baking tips

  1. mydearbakes says:

    Great tips, thanks so much for sharing! =D

  2. Great tips linda. Especially like the top one about helping dough rise. The flat we are in is so freezing all winter – I’ve tried putting the bowl with a tea towel over it by the radiator but the heat just floats up to the ceiling! Hope I remember this one in the wintertime.

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