Tips & Tricks

Kitchen Life Hacks Vol. 1

(a normal title because I’m really effing tired okay)

So I’m certain all 5 of my ardent followers have noticed my absence this last week or so, and the reason for that is because my happy ass went on vacation this last weekend. Me and the hubby went with my best friend and HER hubby to what I like to affectionately call ‘Baptist Vegas’. Branson Missouri isĀ like Las Vegas, but without as much cocaine and fewer hookers. I say ‘as much’ because there are probably still SOME.

But for the most part, Branson is a really chill sort of town. You shop, you eat, you see a few shows, and above all else, you visit Silver Dollar City. It’s like the holy grail of family theme parks, because there really is something for everyone. Shopping, and a shit ton of food, and rides (I rode a couple of roller coasters and for some godforsaken reason, the log ride)

sdc2
why? I kept asking myself, why?

So while I have been quite busy, I have not been blogging because I can’t be arsed (threw that one in for my Brit friends.)

sdc3
see, I’ve been entirely too busy.

But in the meantime, I’ve been compiling a list of all the things I’ve learned that help make things easier in the kitchen. Like, way easier. I’ve given you a few of them, but now here it is time for another edition of:

Jules’s Best Kitchen HacksĀ (patent pending)

  • A can of cheap-ass spaghetti sauce, with a pinch of salt, a generous bit of basil, oregano, and rosemary, and just a pinch of sugar can be every bit as good as a homemade sauce. Throw in a pound of ground beef with 3 cloves of garlic, browned and drained, and you’ve got a restaurant-quality meat sauce.
  • If you wanna make whipped cream that is better than any Cool Whip or canned whipped cream out there: take a pint of heavy whipping cream in a mixing bowl, and beat it till it forms ‘soft peaks’ (where it will come to points when you pull the mixer out, but falls back in on itself). Then add a half teaspoon of vanilla, and about 1/3-1/2 a cup of powdered (confectioner’s) sugar. Beat the shit out of it some more till it makes ‘firm peaks’ that don’t fall. Add some more sugar and beat some more if necessary.
  • For boxed cake mixes that taste like homemade, add an extra 2 eggs, and use butter instead of oil.
  • Instead of trying to smear frosting out of a can onto your cakes, just microwave the (unsealed) tub of frosting for about 15 seconds, or until you can stir it really easily, then just pour it over your (cooled) cake.
  • Turkey tastes best and is the most juicy when cooked in a roasting bag. It also takes waaaay less time. Like, 3-3 1/2 hours, usually. Forget that frying nonsense.
  • Broccoli only stinks if you over-cook it. Like 6-7 minutes is plenty, believe me.
  • Do not fry eggs in butter.
  • Similarly, don’t try to finish under-cooked hard boiled eggs in the microwave unless you cut them in half first. They will explode and be hot and it hurts.
  • Also never fry bacon without a shirt on.
  • You can cook bacon in the oven and not have to flip it. 400 degrees on a baking try for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • None of those avocado-ripening hacks work.
  • If you have a can of crescent rolls, a jar of peanut butter, and a jar of nutella, you have an amazing dessert. Just spread a glob of the PB and the nutella on your crescent rolls, roll them up, and bake according to directions. I also like a little sugar sprinkled on mine.
  • If you buy a rusty cast iron skillet: preheat oven to 400, sprinkle some sea salt or coarse salt into your skillet (about 2 tablespoons or a little more), take a potato cut in half (width-ways not length), use the flat edge of the potato to scrub the shit out of the pan. When you’ve got it thoroughly scrubbed, use a damp paper towel to wipe out the salt, then pour in 1-2 tablespoons of cooking oil, like vegetable or canola. Use a DIFFERENT paper towel to wipe it all around the inside, and over the edges and any handles. Make sure it’s a thin coating of oil, and wipe out any excess before you pop it in the oven for an hour. Congrats, your skillet is now seasoned.
  • Never use soap on your cast iron, and always season after cleaning. It’s always easiest to clean your cast iron immediately after use, while it’s still hot, which brings me to my next point.
  • Clean as you go. That massive pile of dishes in the sink after you’re done can be really daunting, but if you clean between tasks it’s not so bad.

I am certain I’ll think of more as I go, but for now, this is Kitchen Hacks #1.

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