Feb 16, 2016

Five of My Favorite Kitchen Hacks

It's the first Tuesday into Lent and several of the people I know who celebrate Lent (Catholic and not - some just like the practice in gratitude and simplified living) are giving up eating out for the holiday, or even just eating dinner out on weeknights.

All joking aside, it doesn't have to be difficult to eat at home more.

Read on for five of my favorite kitchen hacks to help make eating in easier, quicker, and all-in-all more convenient!

1) Use parchment paper for easier clean-up.

Line cookie trays with parchment paper, or fold parchment paper envelopes for your salmon, to make clean-up quick and easy. This is perfect if you don't like washing dishes!

2) Microwave hard-skinned winter squashes first for easier slicing. 

I absolutely love roast kabocha squash, but prepping it can feel like a punishment.

It's so hard to cut through the hard skin!

It doesn't have to be so hard. Just wash the squash and microwave it for 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of the squash, to make cutting it much easier!

3) Curdle 1 c milk with 1 Tbsp vinegar for 5-10 minutes for a buttermilk substitute. 

Who has buttermilk on hand at all times? Not many of us! Vinegar and milk are pantry/fridge staples, however, and you can quickly and easily create a buttermilk substitute to use in your banana bread or other sweet quick breads.

Just combine them and let them sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before using the mixture as you would buttermilk in your recipe!

4) Tent quick breads, pies, etc. with aluminum foil if the crust is browning too quickly.

If you notice that the top of your pastry is darkening too quickly and the inside isn't nearly as close to finished, covering it with aluminum foil will slow the browning of the crust while allowing the inside of the baked good to catch up in the baking process!

This works perfectly every time - it's a priceless trick if you travel or move around a lot, like me, and often find yourself baking with a new oven.

5) Bake bread over a tray of boiling water for an artisan crust. 

The steam creates humidity and that hot, humid oven environment is perfect for creating the thick crust that makes an artisan bread perfect!

What are your favorite kitchen tips?


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