Start the New Year off on a healthy note by making meal preparation and clean eating a top priority for your family. Although many people have the best intentions in terms of preparing homemade meals for the family, often times they also lack the confidence and inspiration in the kitchen. Planning and organization are a must, from stocking the fridge and pantry with a wide variety of foods, to prepping ingredients ahead of time and pre-planning meals. It also doesn’t hurt to learn some quick and easy tricks of the trade to facilitate the transition to a healthier lifestyle.
With the top 50 kitchen hacks you can rest assured you’ll save time and energy in the kitchen, and be well on your way to preparing healthy, delicious meals for the family.
Roll lemons/limes on your cutting board with the palm of your hand before cutting to release the juices.
Remove shells off canned chickpeas by rolling them in a clean kitchen cloth then discard the shells.
Soak leafy greens/ fruit in 1 part vinegar : 3 parts water to remove residue and pesticides.
When baking, put oil in the measuring cup before liquid sweeteners so they pour easily.
Have mise en place ready (i.e., items washed, chopped, and set out in front of you) to save time.
Clean as you go and save yourself the hassle of cleaning the entire kitchen after a meal.
Cook foods with other meals in mind (i.e., make an extra batch of quinoa and add a different condiment).
Use separate cutting boards for veggies,fish, meat, etc to avoid cross-contamination.
Use some “convenience” foods, such as canned lentils,pre-chopped veggies to cut down on prep time.
Cook pasta 1 minute less than suggested cooking time. Finish cooking it in the pan so it continues to cook in the sauce.
Do not rinse pasta! Rinsing washes away all the starches which help the sauce cling better to the pasta.
Add Parmesan cheese to pasta before adding the sauce to help it stick better to the pasta.
Rub hands on stainless steel to remove odour of garlic after chopping.
When making burgers/meatloaf, make a small patty and fry in a pan, taste it and adjust seasoning.
Taste as you go and adjust seasoning as you cook so the flavours have time to develop.
Smash garlic cloves in a small plastic bag so your knife, fingers and cutting board won’t smell.
Sprinkle salt on garlic before mincing or finely chopping and the pieces won’t stick to your knife or cutting board.
Rehydrate defrosted food by adding broth (to savoury foods) and milk (to sweet foods).
Always let meat “rest” once cooked. Cutting it while it’s hot will let all the juices drain out and result in a drier texture.
Stock up on fruit during peak season then freeze to use during off-season for smoothies, etc.
Instead of chopping asparagus, simply hold on each end, bend and the stem will snap off on its own.
Rinse berries right before eating them. Rinsing then storing them in the fridge allows for mold to grow.
Prolong lifespan of leafy greens by wrapping them in paper towels. Store in the fridge in a reusable plastic bag.
Check temperature of frying oil by flicking water off your fingers or sticking a toothpick in center of the pan.
To keep an onion together while chopping do not remove the root.
Store leftover avocado in the fridge with the pit in to prevent browning.
Instead of throwing away overripe fruit, add them to smoothies.
Use leftover veggies in the crisper to make vegetable broth. Store in the freezer in an air-tight container for up to 6 months.
Make your own buttermilk by mixing 1 tbs. of white vinegar in 1 cup milk. Let it sit until it curdles then remove the curdled milk.
Adding a pinch of sugar to tomato sauces balances out the acidity.
Adding a pinch of salt in baking recipes balances out sweetness and brings out the flavours.
Make a fruit salad with leftover overripe fruit. Cut off bruised parts, add honey and orange zest for added flavour.
Store dry spices in a cool, dark place. Humidity, light and heat will cause herbs/spices to lose flavour.
When chopping herbs, toss a little salt onto the cutting board to prevent them from flying around.
For best results when baking, leave butter/eggs at room temperature overnight.
Do not use oil in cooking water when boiling pasta. It will prevent the sauce from sticking to the cooked pasta.
Add cheese rinds to broths, soups and stews for another dimension of flavour.
Plunge vegetables in ice water after boiling them so they maintain their bright colour.
Season all of your food from start to finish. Seasoning in stages brings out the most flavour out of all the ingredients.
Use good oil when cooking, If it doesn’t taste good alone it won’t taste good in your recipes.
When cooking pasta, always remove some of the cooking water before draining the pasta. Add to the sauce with the pasta directly in the pan. The starches in the water will help amalgamate and thicken the sauce.
Freeze leftover wine in cube trays and add to soups, stews or gravy for added flavour.
To stop an egg cracking when boiling, add a little vinegar to the water. It helps seal the egg.
To remove excess fat from soups, stews or sauces, drop in 3 or 4 ice cubes. The fat will congeal around them as they melt then scoop out the fat with a spoon or ladle.
To prevent dough from sticking to your hands when kneading, coat them with olive oil.
To keep rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan, spray it with vegetable spray before you add the water or rice.
If you have difficulty opening a jar, put on a pair of dishwashing gloves to get a better grip.
Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to prevent ice cream drips.
Line your grill pan with kitchen foil that can be thrown away after use to save on cleaning the pan.
Recipes are only a guideline! replace ingredients with similar ones that YOU like and create a “new” recipe!