Thursday, June 2, 2016

Various Kitchen Tips

Today I'd like to mention a few tips, that makes life in the kitchen a little easier, and sometimes helps our pocketbooks (do other people still use that word?).
I don't know about you, but I am all for things that makes life easier and saves me money.
I know I sound like a "tight *ss" sometimes - but I just want to make sure I get the most out of my money.  If I can save in some areas, that allows me to splurge in others.
It all seems so common sense to me - but others often don't 'get it'.

  • Recycle your food.  When you have items leftover, use them for another meal or turn them into something else.  Soups, casseroles and omelets are fantastic ways to recycle food
  • Should you buy large or small size?  That is the question.  It depends - the answer is not always the same.  Unit price items by the ounce or pound - to see what is the best price.  It may be one large package that you will divide at home, or it may be lots of smaller ones.
  • Buy in season.  This is always a money saver.  Hopefully you all have gardens, so you won't have to worry about buying veggies this summer or fall!  ISN'T THAT JUST THE COOLEST THING?
  • Use water instead of milk in scrambled eggs.  Water will make the eggs fluffier, milk makes them watery.
  • Egg extender - if you have only so many eggs and a lot of people to feed - crush up saltine or cheesy crackers and add to your scrambled egg mix before cooking.  These are yummy and no one can tell it's not all eggs.  We used to do this every time we camped.
  • Go light on the meat and heavier on the fillers.  Most people tend to eat too much meat - 3 oz. is a good meal size.  Add cheaper foods, veggies, rice, potatoes, pastas, to fill in.
  • Dip bacon in cold water before frying.  It keeps your bacon from curling and shrinking so much.  I do this all the time.
  • Combine a little butter with your cooking oil to prevent the chances of burning
  • Keep the water from boiling veggies to use in soups.  If you don't have the space to keep - let it cool and use it to water houseplants and/or garden plants - it's full of vitamins. (Same with boiled egg water)
  • Don't buy gourmet coffees.  make your own - add a little vanilla or almond extract - add a little cocoa or hot chocolate mix.  There are lots of options.
  • Freeze any leftover coffee (if that ever happens!) in ice cube trays.  It will work great for cooling that extra hot cup of coffee and won't water it down.  Good to use when making mocha cakes or cupcakes.
  • Save the leaves from celery and dry.  These can be combined with salt to make your own celery salt
  • DON'T buy husked corn.  It has lost it's flavor.  ONLY buy with the husks on.
  • Freeze fresh herbs in ice cubes.  Once frozen remove and place in labeled bags in freezer.  Plop them in whatever you are cooking for that fresh taste
  • Fresh lettuce from the garden is a favorite at my house.  I pick, place it in a sink of salted water (to kill any buggies), then rinse, and I lay it in single layer on clean towels and roll up to remove all liquid.  After and hour or so, I place it in a gallon zip lock bag with a damp paper towel.  It stays fresh for days.
  • Don't store apples and bananas together.  Ethylene from the apples makes the bananas brown quickly
  • Freeze fresh berries on a cookie sheet in a single layer before placing them in baggies.  They won't stick together.
  • Use instant potatoes as a soup thickener.  This works great.  I love it for 'cream of' soups.
  • I also add 1/4 cup of instant potatoes to a can of salmon, along with eggs and cracker crumbs.  It extends the salmon a bit, but it takes away that real fishy taste.
  • Reheat day old pasta but sautéing it in butter.  it's yummy that way - maybe add a bit of garlic or onion salt
  • When rice is boiling add a bit of lemon juice - it will keep your rice pretty and white
  • Instead of heating up the oven to make a meat loaf, mix up ingredients and then make patties and fry.  I do this all the time - tastes just like meatloaf, but no hot oven in the summer!!

That should be enough ideas for today.  Hope it gets you to thinking.  I plan on adding more ideas next week.
Do YOU have any great kitchen tips for making life easier or stretching a dollar?  If so, PLEASE SHARE.  We are all here to learn.
Have a great day!


  1. I think I may be just as tight as you are. ;) Thanks for the tip on the bacon and water. I have never heard that one before.

    I'm like my mother in that I save my bacon grease (on those rare occasions where I buy pork and not turkey bacon) and use that to fry potatoes in. Yum! I always try to bake extra potatoes so that I have them on hand for baked potato salad, hash, and filling for frittatas for my family members that enjoy eggs.

    1. Oh yeah I love my bacon grease. It makes great fried veggies.
      I never heard of baked potato salad - recipe please! I love hash.
      Good ideas.

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  3. Recylcing food has now become second nature! the coffee grinds to the compost along with veggie trimmings and peanut shells from nighttime snacking; the paper goods to the paper bin; the bones to soup broth. For that I like the fat on top to keep it in the fridge in a canning jar for months without having to fire up the canner.

    1. Same here - I don't even think about it - it's just what we do.
      I have always kept bacon grease, and just recently started keeping ground beef grease, figuring there must be something I can do with it.
      What do you think?