Good Food, Good Mood: 45 Invaluable Kitchen Hacks To Save Time And MoneyBy Harpreet K
As Julia Child once said, “people who eat are always the best kind of people.” In our opinion, people who cook so that others can eat are the cream of the crop. Whether you’re a skilled chef or an amateur cook, there are always new and exciting tips to try out on your upcoming kitchen adventures. However, if you’re anything like us, you don’t have six hours of free time to cook up Child’s famous beef bourguignon. The forty-five quick and clever kitchen hacks listed here are sure to free up some of your schedules and change your life for the better. We scoured the internet searching for the most scrumptious and innovative ideas, and we’ve come up with an impressive list. From unique ways to FINALLY quit crying while cutting onions to the versatile ways you can use an ice cube tray, we know that everyone will find something new in this article to level up their game.
Here is the first of many fantastic hacks for you. We know that peeling ginger can be time-consuming. Once you step into the kitchen, there is no extra time to spare, or else you run the risk of burning your food.
With the help of a simple kitchen item that we know everyone has, your days of struggling over ginger are over. Just grab a spoon! Yes! You heard that right. Take a spoon and press it against the ginger root while carefully scraping away at the peel.
Kids can be extremely picky eaters. For some reason, hotdogs seem to be a universally accepted child-friendly meal. For parents who want to spice up the aesthetic of their children’s food or have kiddos tired of eating the same thing every night, this is a fun trick that you can slice up in no time.
The next time you cook hotdogs, insert a skewer into it and slice your knife along the side while turning the baton. Make slight slits but do not cut entirely through the meat. Once you are done, ask your mini sous-chef to help you stretch the hotdog along the stick and watch their amazement as they notice the spiral forming.
Ripe, Ripe Baby
We know it can be irritating to wait for produce to ripen. Sometimes we have a sudden urge for bananas or avocado but can’t seem to find one ready to eat at the market. If you are impatient or have pregnancy cravings, the waiting game can be challenging.
All you will be needing is a paper bag, and your job is done. We are not kidding. That’s all you need to do. Store your unripe produce inside that bag and secure it nicely. It won’t become instantly ready, but it will quicken the ripening process.
Teddy Shaped Pancakes
Pancakes are an absolute breakfast favorite. Aren’t they? Just in case your kids are bored of the classic round pancakes, or you are looking for a fun activity to include them in, we have a much more creative way of making them for you.
Go to the store and buy some of those inexpensive cookie cutters. Place the cookie cutters on the pan and pour your batter carefully inside them. Without making any mess, you have for yourselves a perfectly made and fancy-looking breakfast treat.
Refreshing and No Longer Complicated
Now, we certainly love ourselves some watermelon, especially in the hot summer months. We bet that you do too. They are refreshingly tasty and sweet, but no one can ignore the fact that cutting them is a tiresome job.
We are here to make your life easier. So, rather than giving up on the watermelon you desire, start by cutting it in half and then slicing the red parts with the knife, horizontally and vertically. You can see in the photo above just how easy it is to eat now.
Guacamole on Taco Tuesday
Did you know that the Aztecs of Mexico were the ones who invented guacamole? It is now known worldwide as a staple dip, spread, or salad, whatever your preference. It is also effortless to make. But, what if we say we can make this even easier for you?
Well, that’s precisely what we are saying. Next time you want to mash those avocados, use a potato masher instead of a spoon and see how the dip will be prepared in no time. And, that consistency, ahh, smoother than butter.
For The Fitness Enthusiasts
Some people like the egg yolks, while others prefer the egg whites. They have their reasons, obviously. But, if we talk to fitness enthusiasts, they prefer to eat the yolks as they have a higher protein count.
Separating yolks from eggs can get tricky, especially when making meringues. This hack needs only a plastic water bottle to make your life easier. After you crack the egg and put it into a shallow dish, place the mouth of the bottle gently on the yolk and squeeze the bottle to create a suction that will grab the yoke inside.
Extreme Heat Warning
You don’t need to be a skilled craftsperson to see the benefit of recycling egg cartons. Store and utilize old egg containers for all your cooking and storage needs. Reusing and recycling are two of the most important ways to save our environment.
Usually, egg containers are constructed from a paper maché of recycled material. These cartons can be used to ignite a fire quickly. Add a few coals into the spots that used to hold eggs to promptly have a blazing fire underneath the grill traveling faster, stronger, and hotter.
Freeze That Meat ASAP
You certainly have a grill on your lawn or patio if you are a meat enthusiast. On the other hand, do you find it difficult to chop a perfect slice of meat without causing a disaster? We are sympathetic to your situation.
Try placing the meat in the refrigerator for 30 min before slicing it next time. The pieces will be neater and firmer once they have been given the opportunity to cool. There is also less chance of waste when you do this.
Eggs And Their Shells
One of the reasons we sometimes shy away from eggs is because of their tough shell. When you are in a rush to get the job done, the last thing you want to see is an eggshell at the bottom of your pan or mixed into your cake mix.
Sticking your fingers into the egg white to get the bit of shell out is both unsanitary and ineffective. We’ve all been there, too many times to count. Dip your fingers through some cold water before dipping it in the yoke to guarantee that the shells come out easily.
Oven + Grill Rack = BBQ
For those of you who are BBQ enthusiasts but cannot get a grill because you live in an apartment building, you still deserve to enjoy that smokey taste. Don’t worry; we’ve devised a simple and enjoyable method for you to experience your BBQ indoors!
Set the cuts of meat on top of a small grill or drying rack. Place the rack into your oven and turn up the heat to grill mode. We strongly advise you not to try this hack in the microwave as you risk starting a fire.
Cheat Day Mayo Hack
For all of you who adore mayonnaise, this article just got even better! Adding a spoonful of mayonnaise to your ground meat will enrich the taste of your burgers. We never promised that every hack in this list would be healthy.
Introducing a little mayo to the beef keeps the burgers moist and keeps them from drying out. This is especially useful if you prefer your meat well done. It’s impossible to describe just how satisfying it is to eat a perfect burger with words.
Don’t Let Your Bowl Slip!
Everyone understands the struggle that comes with combining and whisking everything into one bowl, even for the best bakers and cooks out there. It might be aggravating if somehow the dish starts to slide about and onto, or even worse, off, the countertop.
Here’s a trick for you, and believe us, it helps! When you begin stirring, twist a moist washcloth in position around the base of your bowl. Once you lay it beneath your bowl, it will secure the dish in place, allowing you to mix as vigorously as necessary.
Don’t Underestimate The Ice Cube Tray
Do you still think that the ice cube trays are only meant for ice (or charcoal, as mentioned above)? Oh, you are so wrong! As usual, we have one of the most straightforward hacks for you that can help with different aspects of your daily life. Ice trays are always a good idea from feeding the baby to individualized fried onion portions for future use.
With this tip, you can store food and snacks for a much longer time than you could in a fridge. But don’t store them for too long, or you run the risk of getting freezer burn! No more pans to clean daily. You’re welcome.
The Perfect Taco Does Exist
This trick will be helpful for the folks who enjoy tacos but prefer the crispy kind over the soft version. In order to create the freshest taco shells, all you have to do is place the tortilla in the oven dangling over the grill rack.
Your tortilla is now fresh and ready to be filled with your favorite sauces, salsas, vegetables, and meat in just a few minutes. To enhance your taco shells, immediately after baking, remove the tortillas and sprinkle some cheese on top. The heat of the taco will make the cheese melt into a delicious additive.
Overflowing Pots And Emotions
Cleaning up is highly time-consuming. If you’ve already tried to boil water or milk on the stove, you know how quickly the temperature can ramp up, leading bubbles to burst and the liquids to spill over. However, there is an easy way to stop it.
The next time you leave food to boil unattended, lay a wooden spoon across the open surface of the pot. This simple technique prevents spills by restricting the fluids of the pan from rising above the wooden spoon. It works every single time; we guarantee it.
Every Day Is Pizza Day
Joey from Friends and the famous Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles love pizza- and we do too. Who doesn’t? We have to admit it’s not only bachelors who enjoy eating a slice or two for breakfast when leftover from the night before.
Do you have a glass of water? Excellent. The next time you put the slice in the microwave to warm it up, place the glass beside it, and it will stop your pizza from getting dry. Now, you can reheat your slice of pizza as if it was made fresh from the oven.
Dry Meat? Just Grab Some Ice
Ice while cooking meat or chicken? Sounds pretty weird, right? But, take it from us. If you find your meat drying out on the grill, a quick rub of ice will do the trick. Once you start using ice cubes, there won’t be any going back.
You should always keep ice handy at a bbq for both your drinks and your grill. Try rubbing the cubes on the patty while you grill them, and we guarantee you will get highly juicy meat every time you cook. No complaints of dry beef anymore. Just finger-licking food.
The Plating Award Goes To… You!
You taste food with your eyes first. You have heard this saying, right? We often hear foodies say this. It is true in most cases. Most people are embarrassed to serve a dish that does not look appealing. They are afraid that no one will want to try the food if it’s not pleasing to their eyes.
Serve your chocolate, ice cream cake, or cheesecake like a pro with this simple hack next time. Put the knife you are using to cut the cake into warm water before each slice. You will be surprised at how easily the blade will glide through to create the perfect portion.
Ice Cream Scoop For The Fruit
You buy delicious fruits to appreciate, eat and savor. However, most of them come with complementary seeds or thick rinds, which are annoying to remove. It is unappealing and even more annoying when those seeds enter your mouth. Oh! You are so going to love us for this hack.
If you are still using that dull soup spoon to remove the seeds from your pumpkins, it’s time to make some changes. Throw it aside and grab an ice cream scooper instead. The perfectly round shape and sharp edges will make the scooping process easier.
Squish It Squish It
Peeling garlic bulbs can get irritating because of the time it consumes and the stickiness that you can’t seem to remove from your fingers afterward. We cannot deny that garlic enhances your food’s taste; we just don’t want to smell like it for the rest of the day.
Why put in the extra effort when you can do it within seconds. Grab a sharp knife and place it on top of the garlic, now put pressure from your hand onto the blade and tada! Watch how the peel comes off smoothly without even touching it with your fingers.
24. Rubber Band To The Rescue
Ugh! Those tight jars. We understand they can be challenging to open, especially when you are preparing food and have oil on your palms. You see, those rubber bands lying around? It’s finally time to make use of them.
Just grab a thick rubber band and place it on the jar’s lid, then get to twisting. Tada! Due to the better grip, the cover will open easily and quickly. Now, you won’t need another hand or to ask someone for help; you can do it yourself.
Crispy Lettuce Is Better Lettuce
Lettuce is the only vegetable that can go with anything, from healthy items like salad to less healthy items like a juicy burger. It is a pretty versatile leaf if you think about it. Then again, there has to be a catch; there always is.
Soggy lettuce is a disappointment. This hack is a sure shot at saving you when in a bind. Fill a ziplock bag with crushed ice. While serving, place the leaves onto the bag with ice to ensure that your lettuce stays fresh and crisp.
Magical Apple Juice
You will be pleasantly surprised after hearing about this next hack that we will share with you. Before writing this article, we had no idea about this feasible and straightforward tip. There are a few items that automatically enhance the flavor of your food, such as black pepper or garlic and apple juice, apparently!
We bet you would never have thought about using apple juice in any of your savory recipes. Well, you definitely should start! Begin by spraying a small amount of apple juice on your meat while cooking. It will keep the meat moist and add a bit of sweetness as well.
Tiny Pieces Of Plastic Never Seemed So Useful
Bananas are probably the handiest fruit to eat. They don’t require a peeler, a knife, or a plate. Moreover, it is tasty and has many health benefits. The only negativity against bananas is that they quickly ripen up and go bad.
If you are as fed up as us with tossing bananas because they have gone bad or sticking them into the freezer to rot in case you decide to make banana bread, this hack will be your absolute favorite. A small plastic wrap tied to the steam of the fruit can protect them from getting rotten. That’s all it takes!
Honey And Sticky? Nah!
Honey is a household staple. It’s not just tasty; it is healthy as well. One cup of warm water with honey in the morning can keep you fit and fine. Add some honey to your tea, and you are bound to soothe your sore throat.
Waiting for honey to drip or using a spoon to take it out of your container is a head-scratcher altogether that will leave you in a sticky situation. Spray some vegetable oil on your spoon and see how easily the honey scoops right out.
Skim That Fat With Ice
Making vegetable stock or stock of any kind is the easiest dish with an even easier recipe. You require water, a pot, and chopped veggies or chunks of meat. The time-consuming part only comes when you have to skim the fat.
From now on, take some ice cubes and place them in a thin cloth, then glide the cubes over the surface of the fat. This process will cause the fat to freeze and thicken, making it more convenient and easier to skim the excess fat.
Shake It Off
Pricey handheld mixers can whisk up a significant quantity of flawless butter in a short amount of time, but just because you don’t have one doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to make homemade butter. After all, it is the yummiest thing ever.
Take a tall glass jar and fill it with liquid cream found in the refrigerator section of your grocery store. Secure the lid and shake it up quite vigorously for a couple of minutes. Open it up when you are done to see a jar full of whipped butter.
Eggs of any type are a staple breakfast in many homes. However, as tasty as they can be, some of the recipes they’re more famous for are incredibly tricky to make—for example, poached eggs. There is a fine line between a properly poached egg and one that’s cooked too long and has a greenish hue.
With this simple hack, you are sure to make a perfect poached egg for your next breakfast. All you have to do is take a plastic bag and crack your egg open into it. Then, tie the top carefully and submerge the plastic egg-filled bags into the warm water slowly.
A Kid-Friendly Cutter
Urgh, the kids are giving you a difficult time in the kitchen and are adamant about chopping those veggies themselves? But, you being a responsible parent, obviously will not let them handle a sharp knife. Don’t stress out.
Look around your kitchen and pick up that pizza cutter in this scenario. It has more use than just cutting into your favorite pepperoni pizza. The handle on the knife can chop those herbs effortlessly and make it more sturdy for your children to hold.
Frothiest Milk At Home
No one knows why, but grabbing a coffee at your local cafe is much more satisfying than whipping up the same cup of java at home. It is normal to spot some differences between the dishes you eat outside in a restaurant and those you make at home. The chefs have their secret tips and tricks. Guess what? So do we.
With this hack, you can make frothy coffee at home with nothing but a jar. Pour milk into the jar and place it in the microwave to warm. Once that’s done, secure the lid tightly and shake it well, then add it to your coffee. Voila! Now, treat yourself to the frothiest coffee.
Just Flip It Back
Many of us can never have enough peanut butter. It gives us a wonderful nostalgic feeling of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut in half. The credit goes to its exceptional taste and health benefits; moreover, it can make you feel full with just a few scoops.
Peanut butter contains a lot of oil, especially the healthier options available now. When you open the lid, you often see a layer of oil resting on top. To solve this, you have to flip the jar upside down before storing it. Gradually, the oil will get mixed with the butter.
Optimum Utilization Of M&Ms
If you are a beginner chef, we understand it can get quite overwhelming to remember the recipes, the ingredients and the exact quantities required. It can feel even more challenging than solving a mathematical equation. Well, worry no more!
We have a fun way to keep track of the portions needed for any recipe. Make sure to have a stock of M&M’s lying around the house at all times. While prepping your workstation, arrange the candies according to the portions and ingredients you need to put in and simultaneously treat yourself every time you do it—one egg = one M&M, three tablespoons of sugar = three M&M’s, and so on.
It’s Jell-O Time
Jell-O is a fun food that is loved by all. From babies to grannies, Jell-O is an easy snack to serve up for everyone. It is prepared in a few minutes, it’s easy to swallow if you are sick, and there are low sugar options available.
This is a fantastic hack for Halloween or to pull a prank on your kiddos, Jell-O worms! We have an easy way to prepare them. All you would need are plastic straws and a prepared package of Jell-O. Pack the straws tightly and put them in a compact jar. Now, carefully pour the liquid into them and let them cool. Once they congeal, squeeze them out!
Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy
You probably assume that your hand-squeeze lemon juicer in your kitchen is your best bet for extracting lemon juice. Right? Wrong! In reality, it does not get out all the juice because your force is not balanced through the entire fruit.
Do you know a better way to squeeze all of the juices out? Use a pair of tongs! Put the half-sliced lemon between the tongs and press it well—no more lemon juice is wasted anymore, not even a drop.
Butter Makes It Better
Often, you decide at the very last minute that you want to have bread and butter for breakfast or alongside your soup. Then it strikes you that the butter is still in the refrigerator, making it rather difficult to spread.
For those moments, we have just the trick for you. After removing the butter from the fridge, cover it with glass. While you get the final steps prepared for your meal, the butter will have softened so that you can easily use it as a spread on your bread.
Are The Eggs Rotten Or Not?
A classic insult from our days as a student was calling each other a rotten egg. To be quite honest, we don’t think we’ve ever cursed by actually smelling the odor that comes from a rotten egg. We would like to save you from such a situation yourself.
You can quickly check if your eggs are still good with this trick. Just take a glass of cold water and lightly drop the egg inside. If the egg sinks to the bottom on its side, it is still fresh. It is still okay to eat if the egg sits on the bottom with the top pointing up. If the egg floats up to the top, it is time to get rid of that egg.
Say Grilled Cheese
Perfecting the art of making a grilled cheese sandwich may sound easy, but it is not. In fact, most of these classic food staples like mashed potatoes, french toast, and macaroni and cheese seem easy to make but come with pretty high standards.
All your stress can magically disappear with only one appliance: an oven. Place some greased cooking sheets into your oven and preheat it. Once warm, put your sandwiches on the top of the sheet and return them to the oven. Using an oven instead of a frying pan leaves your grilled cheese crusty on the outside and soft on the inside, delicious!
A Pre-Made Meal
Do you know what can save your time if you have a jam-packed schedule? The answer is preparing a portion of your meal beforehand and sorting out your meal plan for an entire week during the weekend. A few hours on the weekend will save many headaches during the week.
Rather than buying a box of prepared pizza or chicken nuggets to warm up for dinner during the week, a healthier option for an easy weeknight meal is by way of food prep. Organize all of the ingredients required for a recipe and place them together in a Ziploc bag. Grab a permanent marker and write the instructions on the outside of the bag. Pop the bag in the freezer or fridge, and you are ready to go!
The Day Starter
Caffeine is a morning essential, and we completely get that. Even our day does not get started until we have our first sip or even an entire cup of a nicely home-brewed coffee. But, what about the days when you are running late?
We have got a hack for that as well. Fill an ice cube tray with brewed coffee and freeze it for the next time you’re in a rush. Grab a few ice cubs to go and wait for them to defrost into a delicious cold-brew beverage. These coffee ice cubes are also a great way to chill down your scorching hot coffee without diluting it with ice cubes made from water.
Let Them Eat Cake
Our favorite French chef, Julia Child, once said that a celebration without cake is just a meeting. Any child would be devastated to find out that there was no birthday cake waiting for them at the end of the party. But what do you do with the leftovers?
Are you relying solely on plastic containers to keep the cake fresh and fluffy? Unfortunately, the container won’t contain the deliciousness of the cake like before. To extend the life of the stored cake, consider adding two slices of bread along the edges to protect the exposed layers.
A Snack Tray
It’s annoying to know that we were unaware of this hack until now. If you find yourself thinking hard about innovative and practical party ideas, this one is for you. Charm your relatives and guests by presenting your condiments in a new and convenient way.
Cut down on cleanup after the party and create a new way of displaying your food to leave all guests in awe of how clever you are. Arrange sauces, chips, and other nibbles like cheese and olives on a muffin tray!
Whenever we turn the fish over on the bbq, it gets stuck to the grill. To get through this pain, we like to implement this little hack. Put a couple of lemon slices on the grill before cooking the fish, which will leave them juice and ready for a quick seamless flip.
Lemon pieces do not just keep the fish from adhering to a grill or skillet, but they also offer a touch of tangy flavor which most fish lovers will appreciate. This isn’t only a kitchen hack; it’s a whole new recipe!
Crying Over Onions
Human beings are widely regarded as the most intelligent species who have garnered the ability to express emotion with the help of communication, language, and science. But why, after all this time, do we still cry when we cut onions?
Cut the crying by freezing the enzymes in the onions. Store your onions in the freezer for fifteen minutes before chopping them. Another trick we learned is to avoid cutting right through the center of the onion. That seems to be the part that most affects our senses.
Whether it is for a fancy gala or just to entertain your little one, there are many hacks involved in fruit presentation. The insides of a clementine or tangerine are generally removed and then consumed. Just for fun, let’s transform an orange into a rolled-out carpet with pieces ready to be devoured!
To make this cute design, all you have to do is cut a thin portion of the tangerine’s top and bottom. After that, make one slice between the creases of the spherical sweetness. Then remove the skin carefully to unwind it beautifully in one piece.