Blog Archives - Percolate Kitchen

12 Cooks Reveal Their BEST Butternut Squash Recipes for the Holidays

I love making butternut squash recipes in the winter and fall, especially for the holidays! this is a great roundup. She's even got a cool tip about how to slice a butternut squash- i was so scared the first time, but her idea really worked!

I’ve always had a thing for finding new butternut squash recipes; especially for the holidays! There’s something almost addicting about their slightly nutty, slightly sweet, creamy texture and flavor.

Butternut squash is at its best between the months of September and March; part of why it’s such a great recipe to have in the fall.


“The only problem I can find with butternut squash is that I can’t stop eating it!”, says Jessica from Coffee and Crayons (her delicious recipe for 5 Ingredient Oven Roasted Garlic and Herb Butternut Squash is below!)

And I have to say, I 1,000,000% agree. You can find butternut squash on our table most nights throughout the fall and winter.

So when I started planning my Thanksgiving menu for the year, my eye kept turning to butternut squash. I love it for its simplicity; one of my all-time fave ways to eat butternut squash is cubed and roasted with olive oil and salt.

Which reminds me: have you ever found yourself trying to cut a ginormous butternut squash and it feels like an impossible task? Me, too! Sometimes I feel like I’m gonna cut my whole arm off along with the squash.

Here’s one of my favorite kitchen tips for slicing a hard-to-cut butternut squash: pop it in the microwave for 10-30 seconds first! This will soften the skin enough so that the knife slips right in.

Of course, that’s not so easy when you have a jumbo sized squash on your hands inside a teeny tiny kitchen with a small microwave to match, but oh well. it’ll work in most instances #tinykitchenproblems


Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Thanksgiving Turkey With Herb Butter Seasoning

This is How To Store Your Fall Produce

So now that you’re armed with some easy-slicin’ squash, let’s get to some fab recipes that feature it, ok? Ok!

Oh, but first: if you’re trying to get your Thanksgiving plans in order, I’ve got a Survival Guide for that! Click here to check out the detail on my awesomely comprehensive Thanksgiving Survival Guide, packed full of recipes, cheat sheets, charts, lists and more, so you can be on top of your Thanksgiving planning this year.

(If you’re even the slightest bit overwhelmed by cooking for Thanksgiving, you need this guide in your life!)

All right! On to the recipes!

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Feta, from Jenn at Peas and Crayons

I love the pop of color that cranberries bring to this dish! Plus, everything is better with cheese. Salty feta is a great balance to the creamy butternut squash and the tart cranberries. This would look fab on a holiday table spread! Click here for the recipe.

Easy Garlic Herb Roasted Butternut Squash, from Katie at Healthy Seasonal Recipes

Garlic and herby butter coat roasted butternut squash cubes here. It’s a simple dish made by first roasting butternut squash in the oven, then tossing it with garlicky butter and freshly minced herbs. This seems like the kind of recipe that would be even better on Day Two (and so perfect for a make-ahead power hour side!) Click here for the recipe.

Easy Butternut Squash Skillet, from Tiffany at Eat at Home

Disclosure: I’m a huge fan of Tiffany’s. She shares not only simple, easy-to-follow recipes, but she’s a meal planning genius as well. Her newsletter always has tons of great value. And I love this easy, simple butternut squash skillet side. It’s cooked in the cast iron pan, one of my must-have kitchen items! Click here for the recipe. 

5 Ingredient Oven Roasted Garlic and Herb Butternut Squash from Jessica at Coffee and Crayons, guest posting for Rachael at Eazy Peazy Meals 

Only 5 ingredients!? Sign me up, seriously. Jessica at Coffee and Crayons guest posted on EZPZ Meals with this incredibly simple butternut squash recipe, and I fell in love at first sight. This is an easy recipe to make on the side when you’ve got something a little more complicated cooking, like a full Thanksgiving meal. It shows that you really don’t need to get all detailed and crazy to have a good side dish! Click here to get the recipe.

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash from Karen at 365 Days of Slow Cooking

We were discussing the idea of using our slow cookers for holiday cooking over in my Facebook group, Busy Mamas Cooking in Tiny Kitchens, and afterward, I fell down a Pinterest rabbit hole of holiday dishes made in the slow cooker. That’s how I found this deliciously simple butternut squash in the slow cooker recipe! Our general consensus during that Facebook chat was that yes, using a slow cooker is an awesome way to free up stovetop space and have a hands-off approach to holiday cooking. So this recipe from 365 Days of Slow Cooking fits right in with that! Click here to get the recipe. 

Butternut Squash Homefries from the Stacie and Jessica at the Real Food RD’s

How genius is this idea!? I love a good plate of crispy, creamy, fried potato homefries, but subbing butternut squash in place of potatoes blew my mind when I saw this. It’s such a great idea, saves calories, and tastes incredible! Click here for the recipe

Farro, Kale and Butternut Squash Gratin from Land O’ Lakes 

I love the chewy texture of farro and it’s one of my favorite additions to add into holiday and seasonal salads. That’s why I got so pumped to find this butternut squash gratin dish, and even more thrilled that it also calls for kale! I think the nutritional benefits of farro, squash and kale balance out the butter and heavy cream. Eat this one in good health. Click for the recipe. 

Butternut Squash with Wilted Spinach and Blue Cheese from Whole Foods

This is another deceptively simple recipe that calls for only a few ingredients but delivers huge flavors. I love the pungent blue cheese mixed with creamy roasted butternut squash, and the wilted spinach adds heft to the dish. Click here to get the recipe.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Kale and Almond Pecan Parmesan, from Angela at Oh She Glows

Kale, almonds, pecan, parmesan cheese, skillet cooked, roasted butternut squash… this recipe is everything I love about a fall dish AND include cheese. It’s a keeper and I plan on putting this one into some serious rotation. Click here for the recipe. 

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Beets, from Julia at the Roasted Root

Maple roasted butternut squash for sweetness and flavor, roasted beets for color and health benefits, the whole thing together for maximum tastiness and a gorgeous presentation. I love this combo of roasted goodness from Julia, and her funny take on why we need more beets in our lives was an entertaining read as well. Click here for the recipe. 

Oven Roasted Butternut Squash, from the Sonia at the Healthy Foodie

Sonia keeps it real and proves that a great dish is found in the quality of the ingredients and the use of good technique. She roasts her butternut squash to perfection but makes sure it browns nicely in the oven, getting a great caramelized crust in the process. She says, “Caramelization really is the key with this dish. You’d be surprised what it brings to the squash in terms of depth and flavor.” Click here to get the recipe. 

Roasted Bacon and Butternut Squash Side Dish, from Tracy at Baking Mischief

Everything is better with bacon, isn’t it!? Tracy ups the tasty factor to 11 by adding crispy, salty, delicious bacon to roasted butternut squash. It’s a perfect balance of texture and flavor and I can’t wait to try it out! Click here for the recipe.

There you have it; 12 of the BEST butternut squash recipes for your holiday table!

Which one do you think you’ll make first this year?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and anxious about cooking evvvvverything for Thanksgiving this year, check out my gotta-have-it Thanksgiving Survival Guide!

Each guide is packed with traditional recipes, meal plans, grocery lists, worksheets, timelines, and more.

It’s all you need to get you totally large and in charge of your holiday feats this year, minus the rushing around and the overwhelm. It’s a huge help!

How to Survive Cooking Your First Thanksgiving In 6 Important Steps

Thanksgiving Survival Guide | Percolate Kitchen (click to read the full post!)

Cooking your first Thanksgiving can be nervewracking. It’s a big day with SO MUCH pressure, it can feel overwhelming!

So you’re the person in charge of Thanksgiving dinner this year. Lucky you!

Except…. not. There are so many moving parts to Thanksgiving, how can you keep track of them all!?

Maybe you’re freaking out about cooking your first Thanksgiving because you’ve never cooked for these many people before?

Or, last year you cooked and it was a disaster. Cold turkey, chewy mashed potatoes (how!?), and a dinner that finally got on the table 3 hours after you meant it to.


Or, your mom/grandma/aunt/uncle has always cooked an AWESOME dinner but they’re not able to this year, and the pressure is on!

Or, your kitchen is teeny tiny and you have zero space for a normal week’s groceries and gadgets, let alone the amount you’ll need for MORE.  

Fear not, my busy friend. I’ve been there, I’ve burned the mashed potatoes, and I lived to tell the tale.

You will, too!

But before that, here are 6 steps I learned from the ground up that can help you survive cooking your first Thanksgiving, whether you’re new to the game or just plain freaking overwhelmed.

Before we get into the 6 steps, download your copy of the Thanksgiving Game Plan! I’ve got a FREE packet for you, with 2 cheat sheets and a checklist for your Thanksgiving prep. Leave your name and email down below and I’ll send it to you!



This is the first, and possibly the most crucial step of the whole process of Thanksgiving dinner: get it all out on paper.

Start with an enormous list; include every single thing you’ll need to remember. Just get it all out, then work backward from there, breaking the list into smaller parts.

Write your whole guest list first.

As you’re figuring out the guest list, now is the time- before you decide on the menu- to find out who’s got allergies, who’s vegan, who’s able to bring their famous pumpkin pie along, etc.

Don’t forget the kids!

For example, do you have an uncle who likes to pour gravy all over everything, even his salad? Make a quick note of that on your guest list, so you don’t forget when you’re writing out your menu.

Then, write your entire menu.

This is the fun part! Keeping those with dietary restrictions in mind, figure out the recipes you’ll be making for the big day.

Cruise Pinterest, magazines, blogs, Google, ask your friends and family on Facebook for recipe recommendations. Keep it simple, but have fun!

If a recipe is super new to you, try to fit in a ‘practice’ run in the week or so before Thanksgiving. Being familiar with a recipe helps to take the edge off the stress of cooking on the day of.

Another important tenet of writing out your menu is deciding on what you can make ahead of time and chill or freeze until Thanksgiving Day; I’ll touch on the specifics of that later in the post. But it helps to, as you’re writing out your menu for the day, make a mental note of what can be made ahead to take some of the day-of pressure off.

How do I know what to serve at Thanksgiving dinner?

If you’re drawing a blank on what a typical T-giving day menu includes, no sweat. Here’s what I always make sure to have on the big day:

  • the turkey, turkey seasoning, and stuffing/dressing
  • gravy, made with the turkey drippings and extra gravy made ahead of time with chicken stock
  • mashed potatoes
  • salad
  • 1-2 casseroles/side dishes
  • cranberry sauce
  • bread rolls/biscuits/etc

THAT’S IT. Anything else is extra. Trust me on this one. You do not need to pull out all the stops!

Write a rough timeline

This is where the dirt meets the road, my friends. Once you have the particulars like guest list and menu figured out, your timeline (or ‘game plan’) will be the single most important process of the meal- before you start cooking.

I’d wager to say it’s more important than the actual cooking. With the right game plan, your stress load will be remarkably minimized! 

The trick is to start early. 

No matter how much more time there is between now and Thanksgiving, take a few minutes and write out everything that needs to be done between now and the morning of.

This includes grocery shopping. Turkey ordering. Booze procurement. Make-ahead items. The breakdown of cooking Thanksgiving day itself.

Still feeling overwhelmed? 

I’ve got a great download that will help you – and it’s FREE! Download this ‘Game Plan’ packet that includes three helpful cheat sheets: one to help figure out your overarching gameplan, one to figure out how much food to serve, and a Thanksgiving Day checklist. 



Accept the help!

I get it, I do. It’s hard accepting help. I struggle with it all the time.

But with a dinner like Thanksgiving, it’s okay to lean on people. When someone asks, “what can I bring?” be honest. Tell them!

Here are some suggestions you can ask people to bring
    whipped cream
    ice cream
    serving dishes and spoons
    napkins, cutlery, glasses, tablecloth
    side dishes

In all actuality, everything but the turkey can be brought potluck-style by someone else.

(And technically, the turkey can be brought in from somewhere else, too!)

What about the cleanup?

Don’t forget to figure this out! Try not to make it all on you; you’ll be doing enough that day!

Add extra plastic storage containers, cling film, and ziplock bags to your grocery list so that you store leftovers and send stuff home with guests.

If someone asks how they can help, ask if they’ll chip in with cleaning and storing food after the meal. It’s a cheesy old adage, but it’s true: heavy hands really do make light work!


Check out the image below; I’ve created an easy primer for figuring out how much food you’ll need for each guest. Obviously, you can play around with this; kids will eat less, some adults will eat more.

And don’t forget the leftovers! Turkey sandwiches the day after Thanksgiving is one of my favorite parts of the holiday!

Click the image to enlarge. You can also fill in your email address in the box below the image to download this AND the gameplan primer AND a checklist for the day, all in the one go!


What’s your Thanksgiving game plan?

Think of a football coach in this way; you need to have a full ‘game plan’ mapped out ahead of time. This is what helps you create a clear path to Thanksgiving victory.

The best way to create a ‘Cooking Your First Thanksgiving’ game plan is to start big, then whittle it down to actionable steps.

Here’s what I mean by starting big, then whittling down:

BIG THING: grocery shop


Decide on the items you’re making (don’t include the dishes guests may be bringing).

Write down every single ingredient you’ll need, then check your cupboards and fridges to see what you’ve got and what you can substitute in.

Then, write your grocery list.

Clear your fridge for the onslaught of new items you’ll be bringing home.

Bring your list to the store (aside: Somehow, I manage to forget this every year 🤦 Don’t be like me. Remember your list!)

BIG THING: Cook Thanksgiving dinner


Decide the time you want dinner to be on the table, then work backward from there: How long will the turkey take? That’s when it goes in the oven.

Other questions to help figure out your timing: How long to prep the turkey before it goes in the oven? What items can be cooked beforehand and then reheated for dinner? What can be made in the ~20 minutes while the turkey rests after it’s out of the oven?

Tip: To avoid looking at your now enormous list of clear steps and getting overwhelmed, start with the smallest, easiest things first. Not only will it feel good to cross a handful of things off your list in a short period of time, but it will get the ball rolling in a ‘snowball’ effect; more things done means more momentum for the rest.

Need help organizing your thoughts? Here’s a game plan primer to download!

Click the image to enlarge; OR, leave your name and email below and get this game plan, plus the food amounts cheat sheet I mentioned in the last step and a master checklist.

You can do this!



Getting down to business on the day of Thanksgiving

Now comes the real balancing act: cooking (and reheating) everything on the day of Thanksgiving, and getting it all on the table at the same time.

This is the step that I struggled with for years! I would find myself frantically mashing potatoes while everyone else was sitting down to dinner, privately cursing my mismanaged time.

But I’ve gathered a few tips in the meantime that will help you not make some of the same mistakes I did early on! Click the images below to enlarge. You can also pin them to save for later!


It’s the least fun part of the day, but don’t forget the post-Thanksgiving dinner cleanup and storage.

Having a rough idea of how this will play out will make it go much smoother and faster. I personally kind of enjoy cleaning up after Thanksgiving, although I’m usually beat after all that cooking. But it’s a nice time to reflect and chat with people on a more casual, one-to-one level.

Plus, when you’re in the kitchen you’re located at the prime advantage point for sneaking another piece of pie or a glass of wine. Score!

When people ask if they can bring something to help, sometimes I’ll tell them not to bring anything but to plan on chipping in to wash dishes.

I also make sure to always clean as I cook, which cuts down on the anxiety-inducing pile of post-dinner casserole dishes.

And lastly, I make double sure that there’s plenty of big ziplock baggies, plastic storage containers, cling film, tin foil, etc to both store food easily and send people home with leftovers.

There you have it; the Six Steps to Cooking Your First Thanksgiving!

If you’re a veteran Thanksgiving cook, or you think I forgot something- I wanna hear about it! Do you have any extra tips and tricks you wish you knew before jumping into cooking a Thanksgiving dinner? Leave a message in the comment section below!

Don’t forget to download my FREE Thanksgiving Game Plan by entering your email in the boxes below. You’ll get access to a gameplan breakdown cheat sheet, a checklist for the big day, and my food amounts cheat sheet. It’s a really helpful little packet!

Still nervous about cooking for the big day? I got your back, busy friend. Click here to buy my whole Thanksgiving meal plan, including recipes, grocery lists, cheat sheets, worksheets, storage and make-ahead ideas, and fully itemized grocery list. It’s insanely helpful and jampacked with info that will save you a TON of time planning, prepping and getting ready for Thanksgiving!

Ridiculously Easy Crockpot ‘Baked’ Ziti

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A decadent, melty-cheese, creamy version of the easy dinner classic, but ‘baked’ in the crockpot!

Baked ziti is one of our family favorites; it’s comforting and not exactly light in calories.

But you know what makes it even EASIER? A crockpot.

That’s not even the best part. You know what is? You don’t even cook the noodles first; they just go straight in!

Easy Crockpot 'Baked' Ziti
Prep Time
5 mins
Easy Crockpot 'Baked' Ziti This is a vegetarian version of the dish, but I also add crumbled sausage when we want to tup the protein. Brown 1 lb of sausage and mix with the marinara before using in the recipe.
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
  • 12 ounces ziti or penne noodles
  • 2 1/2 cups marinara sauce
  • 8 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 12 ounces shredded Italian blend cheese
  1. Line the bottom of the crockpot with aluminum foil.
  2. Place 1/3 of the dry noodles on the bottom of the pot, then cover and spread with 1/3 of the marinara.
  3. Dollop 1/3 of the ricotta cheese on top of the marinara, then sprinkle with 1/3 of the shredded cheese.
  4. Add the next layer using 1/3 of the ingredients, then top with the final 1/3, ending with the shredded cheese on top.
  5. Secure the lid and cook on low for 4 hours, or until the pasta has cooked all the way through and the cheese has melted.

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Creamy Weeknight 20-Minute Pumpkin Chicken Curry

I love how this curry is extra creamy with the addition of pumpkin puree! It's an easy sauce and goes great with chicken, and I love making it on a busy weeknight when I get home late. It's sooooo much better the next day too so I love reuing it for leftovers! Yum recipe! I love how this curry is extra creamy with the addition of pumpkin puree! It's an easy sauce and goes great with chicken, and I love making it on a busy weeknight when I get home late. It's sooooo much better the next day too so I love reuing it for leftovers! Yum recipe!

This creamy, 20-minute pumpkin chicken curry will be your new weeknight fave!

Curry is one of my definite go-to’s in the kitchen and it’s the bomb on a busy weeknight; just mix some stock and coconut milk with curry powder or curry paste, add in some veggies and protein, and serve over rice.

It’s also fabulous AS leftovers, too!  A huge pot of curry made at the beginning of the week makes for a few days of quickie, easy-pack lunches.

As a leftover lunch, this curry saves my life some days.

Since I work from home, I get a lot of work done in the quiet moments of naptime, early mornings, post-bedtime, and the three half-days a week that my kids go to the babysitter. This means that I have to capitalize on every moment they’re not with me and to be honest, there are a lot of days that i skip lunch or eat it super late.

Thankfully, those rushed lunches are best when there’s a leftover curry in the fridge. It reheats easily and tastes even better the next day or so after it’s made.

Picture this: it’s been a long ass day. You’re tired. You come home and you’ve got ingredients in the fridge… for a different recipe that you do not feel like dealing with right now. What happens next?

Ok, possibly takeout. But what if you don’t want to deal with that, either?

What if you could make something that takes roughly the same amount of time?

Something that uses those languishing ingredients in your fridge, and is stupidly easy to throw together?

The answer, my wonderfully busy friends, is a simple curry sauce.

Curry in a hurry is always the answer on a busy night. And this pumpkin chicken curry is quick and delicious!

If you’ve never made it before, don’t worry! You’ll be shocked at how simple it can be. The building blocks of curry store really well, so they’re an easy backup top keep around for busy nights. it takes as long as you need to cook rice in a pot, and dinner is served.

The best part? It’s even tastier the next day. Double duty bonus time.


20-Minute Creamy Pumpkin Chicken Curry
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder or curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • for garnish: pepita seeds about 1/2 cup
  1. Combine the rice and 1 1/2 cups water in a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn the heat to low.
  3. Cook, stirring occasionally, 12-15 minutes or until the rice is cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside until serving.
  4. While the rice is cooking, heat the oil in a large saucepan until shimmering.
  5. Add the chicken to the pan and cook until the chicken has browned on both sides.
  6. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened and the garlic has become fragrant about 3-5 minutes.
  7. Stir in the curry powder or paste and ginger and toss to combine, then slowly whisk in the coconut milk, pumpkin puree, chicken stock, fish sauce, and lime juice.

  8. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally and let the sauce thicken slightly.
  9. Remove the sauce from the heat, cutting up the chicken into bite-sized pieces if desired.
  10. Serve the chicken sauce over the rice and garnish with pepitas.

Heck yes, that sounds awesome!

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Tips and Ingredient Substitutions To Make You a Damn Better Baker

I like how she lays out really easy to follow tips and ideas to be a better baker! I saved the pdf to my phone and it's super easy to use, with ingredient substitutions and little hacks i can use when I'm baking stuff like cookies or cake. Super handy!

I like how she lays out really easy to follow tips and ideas to be a better baker! I saved the pdf to my phone and it's super easy to use, with ingredient substitutions and little hacks i can use when I'm baking stuff like cookies or cake. Super handy!

I’ll ‘fess up: baking is not my strong suit. So over the years, I’ve hoarded all the baking tips, hacks and ingredient substitutions I could find, hoping they could help me learn to be a better baker.

And you know what? They’ve helped!

I’ve gone from making horribly rock-solid cookies, sunken cakes and dirty-tasting brownies, to making deliciously airy meringues and moist, yummy cakes.

I’ll probably always be on the lookout for sneaky tricks that make me be a better baker, but I’ve gotten a heck of a lot better than I was.

I’ve been keeping most of the hacks, tips, and tricks I find stored away in a big fat Evernote file.

Because I’m me and I’m obsessed with organizing my Evernote, I’ve got every tip tagged. That way, I can quickly search something like “butter substitution” when I find myself stuck.

(Which reminds me. The image below is one of my fave baking hacks, especially for when I suddenly discover I’m short on butter!)

In any case, I’ve got the whole list of all my fave hacks, tips, ingredient substitutions right here for ya!

Keep this list handy in your back pocket and you’ll maybe be a halfway decent baker like me someday (HIGH FIVE!)

Oh, and I have a bonus for you! I created a handy-dandy little printable of my fave baking ingredient substitutions. Print it out and hang it up, save it, or even just save the pdf straight to the home screen on your phone. It might come in handy!

Just fill out your email below to grab it!


»Take the chill away: Let your eggs and milk come to room temperature before using.

»Weight over volume: When possible, weigh your ingredients instead of using a measuring cup or spoon. It’s a lot more accurate!

»Turn them around: Rotate your baked goods in the oven halfway through baking.



»No peeking! Keep the oven door closed while your item is baking. This one I learned the hard way (it’s the number one cause of sunken cakes!)

»Make your own powdered sugar: pulse it in the food processor or blender until it’s super fine.

»Cold hands, warm heart, better bread. It’s way easier to knead with cool hands, but I tend to run hot in the best of situations (especially when I’m breakin’ a sweat kneading dough!) If my hands start to get too hot, I’ll run them under cool water for a bit. It helps the dough knead way easier.



That’s it! Go forth and bake like the badass you are.

Got more tips and ideas? I wanna hear them! Leave your favorites in the comments, or drop me a line on social media. My profile links are at the top of the page!


10+ Cooking Tips, Tricks and Hacks That Will Save You An Insane Amount of Time

10+ Cooking Hacks That Will Save You an Insane Amount of Time in the Kitchen | I never would have thought of some of these awesome cooking tips and tricks! Seriously, totally life changing. I can't wait to get into the kitchen and try out some of these; there are great cooking tips for beginners and i can use all the extra time i can get

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!


get access to more cooking hacks, meal planning tips, foodie discounts, recipe videos, and more, sent straight to your inbox each week.

Percolate Kitchen subscribers get a ton of cool stuff just like this, every week in the Percolate Newsletter.

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Spray a little PAM on the spoon or in the cup before you measure

Yep, the first one is ME! This is 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 and writing for Nicole at 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

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 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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