Here’s a secret: cooking dinner doesn’t always have to take so dang long.
Using sneaky cooking hacks can save you ridonkulous amounts of time!
Because let me be the first to tell you: Even though I love creating, developing and testing recipes, there is plenty of times in a normal week when I just need to get in, get out, and get dinner on the table. Preferably with as few children hanging off my legs as possible.
This need for speed means I also have a slight obsession with cooking hacks, tips and tricks! I love finding nifty little ideas that save me time and effort.
So for the times when you’re rushed, using a little cooking hack here and there means you won’t have to sacrifice time or flavor.
Plus? Having some cool cooking hacks up your sleeve means you feel like you CAN conquer your kitchen at the end of a busy day, instead of picking up the phone to order takeout again.
What’s a cooking “hack”, you may ask?
In the media today, “hack” can have kind of a scary connotation, I know. We’re always hearing it in connection with cyber attacks.
But really, when used lightheartedly, “hack” just means a cool tip or trick. It means using a move or idea that you don’t normally think of to produce a handy shortcut.
So here’s what I did: I went all through the interwebz, and i spoke to a bunch of other food bloggers, recipe developer, and kitchen peeps, and I assembled this list of their fave hacks!
I mean, what’s a better list than one filled with advice from people who spend a ton of time in their kitchen?
Check out what each had to say below, and click through to read the full posts! And, if you’ve got em, I’d LOVE to hear your favorite hacks or shortcuts in the comments!
Spray a little PAM on the spoon or in the cup before you measure
(This is mine!) Here’s my all-time fave cooking ‘hack’- if you spray a little cooking spray on, or even brush on a little oil, your honey or syrup will slide right off and give you an accurate measure, every time.
Cut yourself a break with pre-cut veggies
Olivia, from Howell Media House, saves her busy self extra time by buying pre-cut veggies and ingredients. “And I always buy precut onions and carrots!” she says.
When caramelizing onions, save some and freeze the rest
Such a smart idea from Cynthia, on the Percolate Kitchen Facebook Page! Caramelizing onions can take forever, but the flavor is worth it. Cynthia very smartly makes extra onions and freezes them so all she has to do is remove and thaw later on.
Freeze cooked rice to use at a later date!
Just like Cynthia does with her caramelized onions, Jayme, from NoRegretsLiving.com and writing for Nicole at MomSavesMoney.net makes more rice than she needs to and saves the rest for later. I love this tip! All you have to do is thaw and reuse.(hint: I even do this when we have leftover takeout rice!)
Got a Keurig 2.0? Hack the daylights out of it
This tip is less about saving time than it is a handy hack to have, but I’m including it because my husband and I have a Keurig 2.0 and it’s so picky with the brand of pods it uses! Rachel from MashUpMom has four awesome hacks to save the day though, all of which make it easier to use third-party cups in our Keurig 2.0. #happydance
Make yogurt in your crockpot
I’m so excited that this works! It’s such a handy tip, especially if you and your family go through yogurt at an astonishing rate. Kristen from Joyfully Thriving has the details on this awesome crockpot hack.
Cut into an onion without cueing the waterworks
We’ve all been there: we slice into an onion and then can’t seem to stem the flow of tears for the next 10 minutes! That’s why I’m loving this tip from Jenny at the Jenny Evolution, which is basically going to save your waterproof mascara from running down your cheeks.
Make ice cream without an ice cream maker
Got a hankering for ice cream but stuck at home without an ice cream maker? Here’s how you make it, plus two other handy kitchen hacks from Jessica at AllSheCooks.com
Make pasta and chase kids without burning the house down
Darcie, over at Naturbaker, shared this handy tip on her Instagram for effortless pasta cooking, and I had a total “aha moment” over it! I see a lot more pasta on busy nights that don’t require me babysitting the pot while it boils.
Cook beets in half the time with this simple hack
If you’re in the “love ’em!” camp for beets, this trick will help you immensely in the kitchen! They can take ages to cook, but Jacqueline from Mama’s Real Meals shared this with me the other day: “Beets have less cooking time when vinegar is added to the water! Just add 1 tbsp vinegar to a quart of beets and cook as normal. Also, cook them with skins on to keep color and flavor intact.” Freaking genius.
Make your own buttermilk substitute with stuff you’ve got already
The tang of buttermilk is not only crazy tasty, it’s essential to some recipes; but if you’re out of it and don’t feel like a special trip to the store, this simple hack gets you back to cooking in no time. Says Heather from The Messy Little Kitchen “(Just add) 1 tablespoon of vinegar or apple cider vinegar (sweeter, my preference) into a liquid measure and fill it up to 1 cup. Also, it works super well with coconut milk if you’re looking for dairy free!“
What’s your favorite hack to use in your kitchen?
This post on the Percolate Kitchen Facebook Page is what inspired pulling all of these together. If you’ve got a great idea, click on the post and add your own. I’d LOVE to hear it!
And that’s it- 10 (plus!) cooking hacks that will save you an insane amount of time in the kitchen.
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