For the past year or so, I’ve written a weekly food newsletter for my job at Whatsupmag.com that is sent out to between 9,000 and 10,000 people. Every week, I include a tip to make your life in the kitchen a bit easier. Here’s a few of my favorites from throughout the past year and half.
Freeze Soup in Small Portions:
Fall just arrived, though with all the rain we’ve been having, it feels like it’s been here for weeks. Autumn means soup and stew season – chicken noodle, butternut squash, chili, minestrone … the options are endless! When you make a big batch of soup, it makes sense to freeze the extras for later; however, even when you break it down into small Tupperware bowls, it can take up a lot of space in the freezer. Instead, ladle the soup into a 12-cup muffin tin and put it in the freezer. In a couple hours, pop the frozen soup of the tins and put them in a large freezer-safe plastic bag, where they will take up barely any room at all. When you’re in the mood for a hot cup of soup, pull two or three of the soup rounds out of the bag and put them into a pot on the stove or a bowl in the microwave.
Extra Flavorful Rice:
Next time you make a pot of rice, skip adding the water. Instead, boil the rice in broth—it adds extra flavor to what can be a boring side dish. Just substitute an equal amount of broth for the water.
A Varied Salad on the Cheap:
Save money on your salads by purchasing small amounts of higher-priced items at the salad bar. Just fill up a container with artichoke hearts, olives, cheese, and roasted red peppers—or other delicious salad additions—and pay the price per pound instead of buying each item separately. Add it to a bowl of lettuce, and you have a meal that’s healthy economically and nutritionally.
If you’re tired of your eyes welling up every time you chop an onion for dinner, there are ways to make it a less tearful experience. Start by keeping onions in the fridge, as chilled onions release less propanethial S-oxide, which causes the tears. When chopping, use a sharp knife. This causes less damage to the cell walls, releasing fewer irritants. As soon as you cut an onion in half, turn both halves down on the cutting board, and leave the half you aren’t chopping unpeeled. Fewer irritants will be released into the air. When you’ve finished with one half, put it in a bowl and set it on the opposite side of the kitchen before chopping the second half. Finally, chop onions near the stove and turn on the vent hood, which will pull the irritants up and away from your face.
Easy Shredded Chicken:
Get perfect shredded chicken for tacos or barbecue sandwiches without ever touching the bird. Once the chicken breasts or thighs have been cooked, whether via boiling, slow-cooker, or roasting, put them in the bowl of your kitchen mixer. Attach the ceramic cookie paddle, turn the mixer on low, and let it go to town – you’ll have perfectly shredded chicken in an instant.