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Quick Tips

I'm going to start posting quick tips that I have found (usually through trial and error) help out with cooking. They'll be divided up into topics accordingly as I add them.

Keep It Healthy!

  • Fat free chicken broth can be substituted for olive oil when you're using it to cook veggies in! Substitute equal amounts of the chicken broth for the oil.  This will cut down on fat, carbs, and calories.
  • Fat free plain yogurt can be substituted for olive oil when using it as or in a marinade.  Substitute equal amounts of the yogurt for the oil.
Cheese
  • Fat free cheese doesn't melt well when it is on top of a dish.  Mix it into the dish instead and then add some regular (or reduced fat) cheese for a topping.
Grilling
  • Turkey bacon does NOT turn crispy.  It will remain the same tan color that turkey is when packaged, so be careful not to overcook it!
  • Here's a reader's tip on grill cleaning! Thank you, Karly MittensMarch 15, 2013 at 7:44 AM
    A light coating of oil will prevent the racks from rusting. Just make sure the grill has cooled down completely. If you spray cooking oil on a hot grill, it could ignite and cause severe burns. If you don't have cooking oil spray, then simply wipe down the racks with a little bit of cooking oil and a paper towel. 
Preparation
  • "Minced" means chopping into tiny pieces.  Use a big chopping knife.
  • Buy slow cooker liners for your crockpot/slow cooker! They'll save you hours of soaking and scouring your crockpot and the messiness that comes with slow cooking.

Slow Cooker Liners
  • Chop ingredients when you have free time.  Combine ingredients that will go into the recipe together into foil packets.  When it comes to adding things step by step, just add in each packet individually! 
    • For example: my Harvest Rice called for the following to be added into the mix in groups, each spaced at different times.  
      • 1. Onions and brown sugar (3rd pack) then add  
      • 2. Mushrooms and dried cherries (2nd pack) lastly, add 
      • 3. Almonds and orange zest (1st pack).  
    • When I was making the recipe, I didn't have to spend time chopping and measuring, I just opened the pack and poured in the ingredients!
I grouped together the ingredients that I was going to add together in foil packets so I didn't have to spend time measuring and chopping in the middle of my recipe

All of my ingredients for Harvest Rice all packed up nicely and ready to go into the skillet, one packet at a time
Marinating
I came up with a new strategy to reduce dishes and increase efficiency. I found a bowl that fit with a large freezer bag inside of it, turned down. Then I added all of my ingredients in the bag. I mixed them with a spoon, so they could be mixed thoroughly.





Last, I added my chicken breasts. I simply lifted the edges of the baggie up, squished out the air, and zipped it closed. Then I just stuck the whole bag of chicken in the marinade in the fridge to marinate overnight! No mess to clean up- easy as pie! Well, easier, actually.

Veggies
  • Jalapenos: When cooking with jalapenos, make sure to get ALL of the white core and seeds out to reduce spiciness.  Do not run them under water while de-seeding, and the colder they are, the less the spice aroma will burn your eyes.
Fruits
  • Limes: One lime yields appr. 2 tbsp of lime juice.  If you don't want to roll and squeeze a bazillion limes, use the squirtable lime juice for a substitute.  
  • Avocados: Leaving the seeds in the avocados keeps the avocado from turning dark/brown.  After your guac is complete, plop the seeds back in the bowl to help keep the guac green if you're not serving it right away
    Spices

    • Cinnamon is a substitute for nutmeg.
    Fish

    • Freezing:  Dry off your fish as much as possible with a paper towel.  Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.  Put wrapped fish into a Ziplock bag and squeeze out all of the air.  Close the bag and place in freezer.


    Leftovers
    • Chicken broth keeps in the refrigerator for about 1 week.  It can store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
    Cleaning
    • Ball up a piece of foil and use it like a sponge to get off baked & caked on grease from metal.  Do NOT use this inside cookware, as it will scratch it.  But it works great for gas grill plates, the bottoms of pans, and old cookie sheets!