These Brilliant Tips Make Cooking More Fun and Rewarding

I remember my grandmother saying, “If we didn’t need food, we’d all be rich!” This may be true. But then, a life without food would be a little less pleasurable.

Still, there are so many ways to make great food cheap, make perishable food last, and the grocery budget stretch like nobody’s business.

Enjoy today’s tips, filled with practiced wisdom for practical solutions to make cooking and brewing coffee fun and rewarding for you and your family. Bon appétit!

One lovely cuppa

If you love coffee as much as I do and have never tried a gadget called AeroPress you are in for a delicious surprise.

Aerobie is manual and the cheapest, easiest, fastest way to make a really great cup of coffee. And yes, I do mean just one cup of perfectly brewed coffee at a time—or up to three cups.

Aerobie is small enough to store in your desk drawer at the office and another at home. Can’t break the $4-a-day Starbucks habit? This could do it.

Heat the mug

Tired of that first morning cup of steaming hot coffee cooling off too quickly? Do this:

As your coffee is brewing, fill your coffee mug with water and heat it to boiling in the microwave. Pour out the water into a dirty dish or pan that needs to be soaked, and replace with hot coffee. You’ll be amazed by how much longer the coffee stays hot. 

Leftover rice

You can keep cooked rice delicious in the refrigerator for a long period of time if you do this, odd as it may seem:

Store a slice of toast on top of it before applying the lid. The toast will absorb moisture and keep the rice fluffy and fresh.

Put a lid on it

When I first started cooking, making a perfect grilled cheese sandwich seemed to elude me. Either my sandwich was toasted on the outside with unmelted cheese inside, or the cheese was gooey but the outside burnt. Then I figured out the old fry cook trick: Put a lid on it!

Once one side is perfectly grilled, turn it over then cover the pan with a lid or baking sheet. You will never settle for a sub-par grilled cheese again.

RELATED: The Art of the Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Slippery chicken

Pulling the skin off chicken can be tough when it’s slippery because it’s difficult to get a good grip. Solution: Dip your fingers in flour first and the skin will pull right off.

One good egg

To determine whether an egg is still fresh enough to eat, immerse it in a pan of cool, salted water. If it sinks. it’s fresh—if it rises to the surface, toss it.

MORE: How to Cook Perfectly Boiled Eggs Every Time

Freezing eggs

When eggs are on sale, stock up. Break the eggs into a freezer-safe container and whisk well to blend. Freeze. When you need an egg in a recipe use an ice cream scoop to portion out what you need, as you would scoop ice cream. Once scoop = one egg.

Grease the grater

To get more cheese in the recipe and less stuck on the grater, spray both sides of the grater lightly with cook spray before grating the cheese.

Good to the last drop

You can stop throwing out condiments like sour cream, mayonnaise, ketchup, and yogurt (because you didn’t use the contents before they went bad) when you do this:

As you use the item and the contents dwindle, transfer to a smaller container. This exposes the condiment to less air and fewer bacteria and keeps the fridge tidy, too.

Super stock

When making a large batch of soup or stock—more than you need at the moment, pour what remains into plastic bags and place them in the freezer so they lie flat.

Once frozen, stack them on top of one another for optimal storage to preserve valuable freezer space. You’ll be able to see what you have, too. Hint: If you portion each bag to hold 1 cup, you can defrost only what you need.

Post Updated: 3-8-19

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13 replies
  1. Betty Thomas
    Betty Thomas says:

    I do the same with my husband’s coffee thermos. Fill it with boiling water to preheat, when the coffee is ready pour water out over dirty dishes and pour the coffee in a hot thermos. Stays hot a lot longer.

    Reply
    • anonymous
      anonymous says:

      And I do the same with my pottery serving bowls. Right before I finish cooking the food, I fill my serving bowls with hot water and let them sit a minute while I finish cooking. This works well for things like scrambled eggs or noodle side dishes that would cool down too fast otherwise.

      Reply
  2. Linda Pries
    Linda Pries says:

    I despise coffee, we don’t even have any in the house, but I use a mug warmer for my tea at the computer and a thermal mug for tea on the go and yes, preheating the mug is a great way to help retain the warmth.

    Reply
  3. Linda Pries
    Linda Pries says:

    I don’t like to prepare grilled cheese on the stove, I use my toaster oven. I prepare the sandwich just like a stovetop one, then place it on a pan and put it in the oven. One has to check it frequently as the bottom tends to brown before the top. My mother made grilled cheese this way because there were so many of us (8 kids) and stovetop would NOT have been efficient. That’s the way I learned to do them and the way I still prefer.

    Reply
    • tboofy
      tboofy says:

      I make mine in the toaster. I cut a piece of parchment paper the same width as the bread and fold it around the sandwich like a sling with the edges sticking out of the toaster. Easiest way ever!

      Reply
  4. Sandra
    Sandra says:

    Heating the cream I’m putting in my coffee helps warm the mug. Pouring the coffee into the cream means no spoon to stir then clean. Most of my serving dishes are preheated, as well, the plates for the table…at least, in the winter for hot foods.

    Reply
  5. Suzy
    Suzy says:

    It’s not always appropriate to cover a grilled cheese sandwich; it totally depends on the cheese. If you cover a grilled cheese with a soft cheese, the cheese will liquefy before the bread has a chance to brown.

    Reply
      • Suzy
        Suzy says:

        In my experience, if you crisp it first, then cover it for the last minute (with hard cheeses only), the bread stays crisp.

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