Most casseroles can be made up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerated. Be sure
and add 15 or 20 minutes to the cooking time to compensate.
Foods: To chill foods quickly put them in your freezer for 20 to 30 minutes
rather than longer in the refrigerator.
Stains in Plastic Storage Containers: Use a baking soda paste (baking soda and
water) and rub into the stain. You can then rinse with vinegar (optional) and
wash normally. Another method is to place container outside on a nice sunny day
and the sun actually bleaches the stain out. To avoid stains in the first place,
spray container with cooking spray before putting things in it that stain i.e.
Food Odors: Next time you fry foods, try placing a small cup of bleach nearby.
The bleach absorbs much of the "fried" odor (that would otherwise
linger for days!) Be sure to clearly mark the cup and keep it out of the reach
Gravy: A small amount of baking soda added to gravy will eliminate excess
Your Cutting Board From Slipping: Place a thin layer of damp paper towels
underneath to anchor the board to the work surface.
Pans Means No Scrubbing: Line baking pans with aluminum foil before you cook to
avoid scrubbing pans afterwards. To line pans easily, turn pan upside down and
press a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil around it. Remove foil. Flip the pan
over and drop foil inside. Crimp edges of foil to rim of pan.
Temperature: To find out if oil is the proper temperature for frying foods: For
deep-fat frying, drop a cube of white bread into the hot oil. If it browns
evenly in 60 seconds the oil is 350-365 degrees, in 40 seconds, 365-382 degree,
20 seconds, 382-390 degrees. For shallow frying, the oil is hot enough if it is
shimmering and rippling along the bottom of the pan. The most reliable way to
gauge the temperature is to use a deep-fat thermometer.
Spattering While Sauteing: To prevent spattering and burns while sauteing, tilt
the pan away from you to pool the oil every time you add more food, then lay the
pan flat again. You can also add a few sprinkles of salt to the pan to prevent
Remove some of the fat in soups by adding a lettuce leaf to the pot. Remove the
leaf after fat removal. Place a raw potato in salty soup. The potato will absorb
the extra salt.
Soups & Sauces: To thicken soups or sauces, try one of the following
methods. Reduce the soup or sauce by cooking it longer. This will result in a
thicker mixture with stronger flavor. OR Add arrowroot, a tasteless powder
available on the spice aisle. Arrowroot will thicken your dish, but does not
perform well at high temperatures. OR Add a mixture of cornstarch and water.
While this thickens well, it can produce a chalky taste. OR Add roux. Cook equal
parts of butter and flour until the mixture reaches a golden brown color. Add
the mixture to your soup or sauce for added richness and thickness.
Cooking: Don't stir ingredients as you add them to a wok. You'll cool the wok
and make the food greasy.