This is an ongoing list of kitchen and cooking tips. It is occasionally added to and revised and is therefore still somewhat still under construction.
Kitchen and Cooking Tips
Have a small herb garden and use the fresh herbs with cooking whenever possible for added flavor.
- Place stale bread in a food processor and blender and use as bread crumbs and or croutons.
- Store cutting boards, baking sheets, etc. upright with dividing rods on kitchen shelves.
- Store long-handled spoons and similar utensils in a decorative crock instead of a drawer where it can be difficult to quickly find them.
- Store frequently used utensils on hooks or a pan rack above the stove.
- Do not store more than one magazine holder size of recipes. Many recipes can be found online and if you have not used it in a year you probably do not need the recipe. You can organize recipes alphabetically, by category, frequently used, family favorite, and crowd-pleasing dishes.
- Think about meals in advance. Have a weekly grocery and or menu list in kitchen that family members can contribute to.
- Always have a clean sink and wash and clean utensils and soon as possible or at least before bedtime.
- Keep frequently used utensils close to where you use them.
- Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Do not have too many high sugar items for breakfast and add fruits and nuts for flavor to oatmeal. Pre-make your own dry ingredient mixes (e.g. pancakes and corn break) and simply add the liquid ingredients maybe some fruit in season such as strawberries and blueberries. Also consider making your own cereal and granola mixes baking cornmeal, flour, oatmeal, chocolate mixed with a molasses or syrup mixture.
- When measuring liquids make sure to view the liquid amount from eye level.
- Pack brown sugar into the measuring cup/utensil using your fingers or another utensil. Brown sugar should have the shape of the measuring cup/utensil when placed with the other ingredients.
- Chop fresh vegetables every week and use them in salads, soups, stir-frys, and or any meals made during the week.
- Make sure sugar and salt are labeled clearly. A mix up between the two can lead to a bad tasting cake.
- Make sure brown sugar is securely sealed or packed in an entirely airtight container. If the container is slightly non-airtight it can lead to a clump of brown sugar as hard as a rock and difficult to work with.
- Use mason jars and easy peel adhesive labels to label items for an organized and easier to work with pantry. Make sure the labels are easy peel or the sticker residue may remain.
- If cooking rice for dinner have at least 50 minutes cooking time.
- Prep and cook ingredients ahead of time. Ground beef can be cooked and placed in the refrigerator for about two days or placed in the freezer if going to use it over two days later.
- Use some of the make-ahead meals recipes at HeavenlyHomemakers.com/category/make-ahead-meals
- Instead of seasoning chicken with salt try the spices marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage and or tarragon.
- Instead of seasoning beef with salt try the spices bay leaf, garlic, marjoram, basil, pepper, thyme, and or cilantro.
- Instead of seasoning fish with salt try the spices curry powder, dill, and or parsley.
- To decrease the amount of salt you consume use less bouillon cubes, soy sauce, and ketchup. Use garlic powder and onion powder instead of garlic salt and onion salt. Use spices instead of salt. Season your food with herbs and spices such as pepper, cumin, mint, or cilantro. Buy fruits and vegetables for snacks instead of salty chips and salty crackers. Visit the American Heart Association website heart.org/sodium for more ways to decrease sodium in your diet.
- Use pink Himalayan salt as it is pure from nature and has no chemicals like table salt
- Consider a snack basket in the pantry and a make-a-meal bin
- Pasta or salsa in a jar lasts up to one year. Cooking oils and condiments such as mustard and ketchup can last up to two years. Dried spices can last up to three years.
- Fresh meats, cheese and bread tend to last about a week in the refrigerator. In the freezer they tend to last two months to a year.
- Have an aloe vera plant in the kitchen. It has benefits such as helping with burns and itches and more. Just break off a piece of the plant and apply to the harmed area. Use caution with the aloe vera plant though as it can grow large and be a hazard around children. The sharp leaves can damage a child’s eye and cut flesh. It may not be a good idea to have with children in the home.
- Extra virgin oil olive is the very first press of the olives and has the most fragrance and flavor. Use it as an addition at the table, when you cook with it all those qualities get heated up and leave. Cook with second press olive oil. The same applies to when wine and many spices are boiled during cooking, the smells and flavors leave. Cook with a medium priced bottle of wine.
Did You Know…?
“Yin cooking: boiling, poaching, steaming. Yang: Deep-frying, roasting, stir-frying” (as per the back of a Chinese restaurant soy sauce packet from Oriental Delicacies, Inc.) A google search on the topic brings up some great resources such as yingandyangliving.com.
- McCormick spices (mccormick.com) website has a “How Old Are Your Spices” tool to help if you are into avoiding using spices past their prime for the best flavor
- Spices and herbs have anti-inflammatory power
- Poultry, cheese, and bread have excess sodium that can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2012. Vital Signs: Food Categories Contributing the Most to Sodium Consumption – United States, 2007-2008. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (61), February 7, 2012.)
- Sodium is an essential nutrient that controls blood pressure and is needed to make nerves and muscles work properly, but you need the right amount. (Institute of Medicine. 2004. Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.)
- Even if you do not have high blood presssure a low sodium diet will help prevent the rise in blood pressure that occurs with aging and reduce the risk of other conditions such a kidney disease (Appel LJ, Frohlick ED, Hall JE, Pearson TA, Sacco RL, Seals DR, Sacks FM, Smith SC, Vafiadis DK, Van Horn LV. Circulation. 2011; 123: 1138-1143.)
- If you have fruit going bad you can cut it and freeze it and use to eat as frozen fruit in the summer and or add to water to drink or you can use it in as an air freshener by adding it to water with essential oils to simmer on the stove. See post Tips For A Great Smelling Home.
- Coconut oil can withstand higher heat than olive oil
- Honey and Grade B maple syrup make great substitutes for sugar
- Fermented foods boost your digestibility and immune system
- Cruciferous vegetables such as kale and broccoli and burssels sprouts are naturally detoxifying for your body
- Some good snacks are fresh juice, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and beef jerky.
- The Weston A. Price Foundation – westonaprice.org – community supported agriculture – membership appears to be a magazine subscription to cover nutrition paringt, farming, therapies and activism towards a campaign for real milk, etc.
- BakingForLife.com – came across this in a search for All Things Baking (which has a Twitter account and now a no longer active website). I found about this as it was advertised as part of a convention at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center, maybe in 2012. There are baking magazines such as Milling and Baking News and Baking Buyer and Baking and Snack. De Marle also was mentioned as a baking supplier.
- YouTube Videos
- HeavenlyHomemakers.com blog
- kitchen calendar from a local store
- personal experience
- literature from an American Heart Association table
- Toss Keep Sell! The Suddenly Frugal Guide to Cleaning Out the Clutter and Cashing In Leah Ingram (SuddenlyFrugal.com) Copyright 2011 Adams Media Avon, Massachusetts
- Craftsy.com class “Interactive Cooking”