So, pay attention to the following food hacks if you want to make your weeknight’s meals easier or your date night’s dinners classier!
Use Water When Reheating Pizza in the Microwave
How do you make your leftover pizza taste fresh, even in the microwave? Pop a microwave-safe mug of water into the microwave with it! What will this do? As the mug of water heats up, the water will evaporate and will moisten the leftover pizza without making it soggy.
So, don’t despair if all you have in your fridge is days-old pizza, it can still be a tasty meal.
Yes, you read that right, you’re not the only one who could use a massage every once in a while. It may seem like super strange advice, but if you are preparing raw kale, it’s best to take a little olive oil (and lemon juice if you want some added flavor) and work it into the leaves until they soften.
Kael often has such stiff leaves, massaging it helps it blend better into the dishes you are using it for, not to mention it makes it easier to eat. So go on and massage that kale!
Get the Cheesy Flavor without Cheese
“How can I add some cheesy flavor without cheese?” you may ask. Nutritional yeast is the answer! Now for your follow-up question: “What is nutritional yeast?” It is, in fact, yeast (which may sound unappealing at first) but the yeast is not “alive” like the yeast used to bake bread or make beer.
Instead, this yeast is heated, washed, and dried so it can be used directly as a food product that has a salty, cheesy flavor. And, studies show it can have a number of potential health benefits.
Upgrade Your Iced Coffee
Iced coffee is a summer staple and, even throughout the year. But there's one problem: The ice melts and your coffee gets weak and watery. But did you know there’s a clever hack to not only keep your coffee from getting weak but to make it stronger too?
Just grab an empty ice tray, fill it with cooled, brewed coffee, and pop it in the freezer. After a few hours, add the ice cubes to your cold coffee so it remains strong, even after they melt.
Burnt Doesn’t Have to be Bad!
Does your kitchen smell like a failure because you just burned most of your recent batch of cookies? Do not fear and don’t throw them in the trash! Instead, grab a cheese grater and gently scrape off the blackened parts.
And, if you still have some darkened edges or are worried your friends will see that they were in the oven a bit too long, simply cover them with frosting or melted chocolate. Problem solved.
When Life Gives You Lemons
Have you ever had a recipe that called for a lot of lemon juice, and it felt like a waste to buy so many lemons? Well, there’s a way to get more juice for your money!
Place your lemons in the microwave for twenty seconds on high. This will soften the citrus fruit, making it easier to squeeze and get nearly all of the juice out. So, when life gives you lemons, get to squeezing!
The Perfect Bananas
Bananas. It seems like they are either overripe or under-ripe, but it’s hard to find them when they are perfectly ripe. Well, let a banana hanger help you out!
This simple kitchen contraption allows the bananas to hang (separate from other fruits that can expedite the ripening process) so that the entire fruit is exposed to the air and ripens slowly and evenly. So, not more suddenly brown bananas!
Easier Mashed Potatoes
Let’s face it, as delicious as mashed potatoes are, they can be a bit labor-intensive to make. If you’re used to preparing them with a handheld potato masher, get ready for a simple switch-up: The hand mixer.
After boiling your potatoes so that they are pretty tender, toss them in a sturdy bowl and get to mashing with a hand mixer. It will reduce some of your hand fatigue, get the job done quicker, and produce lump-free mashed potatoes.
Extra Savory Gravy
Gravy is a major staple of meat dishes and adds a rich savoriness to a meal. But, there's a way to make your gravy even tastier. You may be used to adding the juices of the meat you cooked to your gravy to enhance the flavor, but if you also roasted some vegetables, add that leftover juice too.
The juice from both the meat and the vegetables will make a super savory gravy.
Keep Fresh Herbs Fresh
There’s nothing like adding fresh herbs to your dishes. While dried herbs last for a longer period of time, it’s the fresh herbs that really add that extra kick of flavor. But how can you keep your greens fresher for longer? Keep them in water.
As soon as you bring the herbs home, plop them upright into a container with approximately 2 inches of water. As long as you change the water frequently and help them avoid direct sunlight, this will keep them fresher for longer.
An Easier Way to Make Meatballs
Making meatballs can be a messy business but there’s a way to make it easier and a little less...messy. Just grab one of your trusty ice cream scoops! After you prepare the meat and spices, use the ice cream scoop to scrape up the meat mixture and easily create a ball shape.
This leaves you with nearly perfect-sized and shaped meatballs while your hands stay a lot cleaner.
Simple Mango Prep
Mangoes are delicious but can be intimidating to cut, at least in a way where you will not waste any fruit. But there’s a way to make it easier. Slice the mango in half, cutting around the large seed in the center. Once you have two halves, slice a grid pattern into each half.
Next, take each half and push on the skin side so that the mango cubes you just cut, pop out. Now you can easily cut out all of the fruit.
Soy Sauce on Popcorn
Yes, it sounds odd, but what if we told you that it also tastes fantastic? To add extra savoriness to your popcorn, mix a little soy sauce (since a little goes a long way) with some melted butter, pour over your popcorn and then stir to cover every kernel.
Or, simply pour a little soy sauce (again, making sure it’s a small amount so your popcorn doesn’t become soggy) over plain popcorn, which is just as tasty.
Ready To Go Breakfast Burritos
It may sound like a pain to make a bunch of burritos ahead of time, but making breakfast burritos on your weekends means much less work on busy weekday mornings.
After assembling your burritos, all you have to do in the end is wrap them up, pop them in the freezer and (when you need a breakfast on the go) defrost them in the fridge the night before and then put them in the microwave in the morning. Voila! Breakfast is served.
Make the Perfect Pancakes
Have you ever struggled to make pancakes without the batter getting everywhere and making a big mess? Well, there’s a hack for that! Next time you’re done with your favorite sauce ( that’s contained in a squeeze bottle of course), be sure to save the container.
This is because, after you clean it out, it can become a great pancake batter dispenser. You’ll end up with much less mess and you might be able to make some cool pancake designs too!
Don’t Throw Out Those Bananas
You may already be familiar with this kitchen hack for the best banana bread. When you see that your batch of bananas is going “bad” don’t throw them out just yet (unless they are oozy or moldy of course). The overripe bananas are extra sweet and will actually make a fabulous loaf of banana bread that will taste so fresh, you’ll forget that you almost tossed the bananas out.
So, instead of giving up on that blackened bunch, why not bake with them instead?
Save the Sauce!
Did you make too much of grandma’s secret pasta sauce? Not sure when you will use it next? Worried it will go bad before you can use it all? Have no fear! Simply grab an unoccupied ice tray and pour your leftover sauce in.
Then, pop your saucy ice tray into the freezer so that it will stay fresh for the next time that you want to use it. You can even do the same thing with minced herbs.
Sweet and Salty
What’s the secret to making the most flavorful savory dishes and the most delicious sweet treats? It might sound strange but, to make savory dishes richer in flavor, add a little sugar! And, to make sweet dishes a little sweeter, add salt!
Sugar will subdue the acidity in savory dishes while salt will often enhance sugar’s power in sweet, baked goods. See, being clever in the kitchen doesn’t need to be that hard!
Super Fast Smoothies
Smoothies are delicious and typically pretty healthy but, with all of their ingredients, they can be a burden to prepare. Want a way to make them faster to prepare? Chop up your fruits and vegetables ahead of time. Then, put them in a Ziploc bag (preferably individual serving-size) and place them in the freezer.
This way, when you want to make your morning smoothie, you just grab your single-serving bag of frozen goods, pour in a liquid of choice, and blend away.
No More Sticky Spoons
Honey. Maple syrup. Agave Nectar. Many of us love using these sticky sweeteners but they come with a downside. They are a major pain to remove from anything they get on. But, there is a tip to keep your spoons from getting super sticky after dipping them in your favorite liquid sweeter.
Before dipping it into the honey jar, either rub a little oil on the spoon or rinse it in hot water. The liquid barrier should help the sticky residue runoff.
Creative Way to Use Ketchup
Did you think ketchup was just for your fries? Think again! Ketchup is much more versatile than you think. Next time you are in the kitchen and want to add a sweet tangy taste to your dishes, grab ketchup.
In fact, it’s a great glaze for chicken or other poultry as well as a barbeque or rose sauce. You can open up a whole new culinary world with a condiment as simple as ketchup
Keep Brown Sugar Soft
Brown sugar adds not only sweetness but a subtle molasses flavor to baked goods. But how often have you struggled to break apart your now hardened brown sugar before baking?
Instead of wearing out your hands trying to knead out the hardened sections, place your brown sugar in a microwave-safe container, place a small glass of water next to it, and microwave for a few seconds. The moisture from the water will easily soften the sugar.
Wrapping it Up
There is typically a subconscious moment of dread before you break out the plastic wrap to cover your leftovers. The handy kitchen material can be a real mess to deal with, clinging as it tears away and sticking to everything but your actual food container.
To help make wrapping easier, you can keep the plastic wrap in the refrigerator. The cold temperature reduces the clinginess so you can better wrap up your food.
Peel Potatoes Easily
Potatoes: they are a global staple, versatile comfort food, and a great addition to nearly every meal. But they can be a burden to prepare with washing, peeling, boiling, and sometimes, mashing. Next time you have a lot of potatoes to peel, try blanching instead!
Take your potatoes and boil them for a few minutes, then carefully submerge them in ice water. This will help the tough potato skin separate and make peeling go faster.
Upgrade You Home Cappuccino
Longing to make a rich and frothy cappuccino at home but don’t have the cash for a fancy milk frother? Getting a coffee-shop quality froth is simpler than you think. Take a small, heat-safe jar with a matching lid, pour in some milk about halfway, put the lid on and start shaking it vigorously.
Next, place the jar in the microwave for about 30 seconds. And there you have it, a perfect froth. The artistry is up to you!
Keep Boozy Beverages Cool and Classy
If you are running out of time to properly chill your white wine (or cocktail of choice) try this clever, classy hack. Take a bunch of ripe, juicy grapes (red or green, your preference), take them off the stems, place them in a container, and put them in the freezer for at least an hour.
Then remove, separate the individual grapes and plop them into your wine glass. Not only do they cool your wine, but they also look great too.
A Better Fruit and Veggie Cleaner
If you want to thoroughly clean your fruits and veggies without using just water and a harsh chemical cleaner, there’s a better way. Take some baking soda and water and make a mixture. Then, use it to scrub your fruits and vegetables and rinse thoroughly.
This way you don’t under-wash your fruits and veggies and you don’t have to worry about harsh or toxic chemicals. It’s a win-win.
Shortcut to Curly Fries
One of the many kitchen gadgets you won’t regret investing in? A spiralizer. The handy tool isn’t just for creative and colorful salads; they can also be your shortcut to the perfect curly fries.
Grab a spiralizer, spiralize the cleaned, uncooked potatoes, toss in olive oil and seasonings, and bake at 425 Fahrenheit (218 Celsius) for 20 minutes. Make sure to stir every few minutes so the fries bake evenly.
Simple Steak Fries
Now if you want to mix up your fry styles, there’s yet another hack for that! If you want thick-cut, crispy steak fries start by grabbing your apple slicer, that’s right, your apple slicer. Cut one end of the potato and place it down on a hard surface for more safety and stability.
Next, simply press down on the slicer like you would with an apple. Now you have ready-to-go- thick steak fries.
No More Stale Cookies
There’s nothing quite as comforting and tasty as home-baked cookies. But even the best cookies can go stale fast if they are not stored properly or eaten soon enough. The best way to keep your freshly baked cookies soft? Put a slice of bread in an air-tight container with your cookies.
The cookies will absorb the moisture from the bread and will keep them soft and fresher for longer.
Surprising Uses for Pickle Juice
Pickle juice is one of the underappreciated and underutilized items in your kitchen. Even after the jar is empty and the sour, tangy brine remains, and often, a lot of it. It’s far more versatile than you think.
Instead of pouring it down the drain, you can actually use it to: make your own pickles at home, marinade chicken, and even enhance the flavor of your next bloody mary.
More Than Waffles
They may not get quite as much recognition as pancakes but waffles have also become a breakfast (or really any time of the day) staple. But did you know you’ve been underestimating your waffle iron? It’s time to get creative?
This humble iron can do much more than just provide you with fresh, perfectly shaped waffles. You can also make falafel patties, grilled cheese sandwiches, and even brownies and cinnamon rolls!
The Nut Butter Secret
Peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, and nut butter are delicious and versatile spreads. But, when you first open a jar, you’re often faced with at least a couple of minutes worth of stirring the oil that’s settled on top.
It not only tires out your hands but can also be really difficult to fully stir in the oil so the butter is smooth. How can you avoid this? Store the jar upside down. This way, when you flip the jar over, the oil will be more evenly distributed.
Upgrade Your Butter
Butter is another kitchen staple that can add a lot of texture and flavor to many dishes. But there’s a simple way to make your butter even tastier and...even a little bit fancy. Add herbs and spices to your butter to make it even more flavorful.
For sweeter dishes, you can create honey butter with vanilla extract and honey and for savory dishes try adding chives or get a little fancier by adding lemon or garlic.
The Secret of Carrots
Tomato soup. Tomato Sauce. This versatile fruit is yet another kitchen staple, however, there is another food item that pairs quite well with tomatoes and that’s the humble carrot.
While it may not pair well with every tomato dish, carrots can balance out the acidity of the tomatoes and add a complementary yet subtle sweetness to tomato sauce for pasta and even tomato soup. So why not give it a try next time?
Soup Too Salty?
If you’re worried that you have ruined your favorite soup by accidentally adding too much salt, there’s an easy food hack to the rescue! Grab a potato or an apple, slice into wedges and plop them into your soup.
Next, simmer for ten minutes and then remove the potato or apple wedges that have now absorbed the excess salt. Your less salty soup is now back on track to being delicious.
Try A Homemade Broth
Store-bought broths often have a lot of added preservatives and sodium which is one of the reasons you may want to try making your own. Another reason? It can be very easy. You start by gathering your vegetables (garlic, carrots, leeks, mushrooms) and herbs and then simmering them all together in a large stockpot.
After simmering for about an hour, place a cheesecloth over a strainer and drain the vegetables, collecting your now-ready broth!
Preserve Your Roots
Tired of leftover ginger root going bad or shriveling up too fast? Try freezing it instead. As for so many food items, freezing also helps preserve the multi-purpose root.
So, the next time you slice apart some ginger root (which is typically a small amount) put the rest in the freezer so it will stay fresh for next time. But be sure to cover the root appropriately so it doesn’t get freezer burn.
Easy Shredded Chicken
Shredded chicken is delicious by itself or as a great accompaniment to a burrito bowl, salad, or sandwich. But, it can be a pain to actually shred the chicken by hand. Here’s another opportunity for your stand mixer to save the day!
After slow cooking your chicken so that it’s tender, cut it into smaller strips and then toss the pieces into the stand mixer and give it a whirl.
The Perfect Meatloaf
Meatloaf is a classic meal that pairs with other staples like salad and mashed potatoes. But there is an easy hack that can take your trusted meatloaf recipe to the next level. If you’ve been using an all-beef meat mixture, it can tend to come out a bit dry.
Instead, try a beef-pork mixture. The added fat from the pork will make the meatloaf a bit juicier and softer in texture.
You may think you have your oven-baked fish recipe down, but how about a flavor-enhancing hack? If you don’t have some on hand, go buy some parchment paper to wrap your fish in. Before you do so, add some herbs and perhaps even a few slices of citrus fruit.
This will add a subtle flavor infusion to your baked fish while the parchment paper will keep it moist.
More Uses For Your Egg Slicer
Sometimes food and kitchen hacks are very obvious and other times, they require thinking a little outside the box...or the egg. Did you think the egg slicer sitting in your drawer was just for slicing hard-boiled eggs? Think again!
An egg slicer is far more versatile than you may have realized and can be used to slice strawberries, mushrooms, and probably any other sliceable food you could think of.
Taco Salad Bowls
If you are looking for a way to enliven your taco salads, why not make an edible tortilla bowl? Grab some tin foil and shape it into a large ball, then take a large, flour tortilla and lay it over the ball so the edges surround it (you can also use a cake pan to lay the tortilla across).
You then simply bake the tortilla until crisp and there you have it! A homemade, edible tortilla bowl for your taco salad.
One Ingredient Ice Cream
Making ice cream can be a laborious process, even when you have the right ingredients. But what if you only needed one? Introducing the easiest ice cream recipe! And what’s the one ingredient you need? Bananas! Grab well-ripened bananas and freeze them.
Then, take them out, let them thaw for a few minutes, and toss them in the blender with your favorite toppings. The plus? This “ice cream” is actually pretty healthy.
Microwave Potato Chips
Did you know you can make potato chips in your microwave? Slice your potatoes very thin then briefly soak and rinse them in cold water. After drying the slices, sprinkle on your favorite seasonings and then microwave them on full power for 3 minutes.
Then, flip them over and microwave for half power for another 3 minutes. Remove the chips that are already crips and then microwave the rest for 1-minute intervals.
Hull Strawberries Easily
Strawberries are one of the most delicious fruits but removing the leaves at the top can be a pain. But a straw can take some of the labor out of the process for you. Take your sturdy plastic straw and place it at the bottom of the strawberry.
Then, push the straw through the strawberry from bottom to top, removing the leaves. It sure makes sense why they’re called “strawberries” now.
Avoid An Unpleasant Surprise
Citrus adds a lot of flavor to different foods and beverages. But are you tired of having lemon or orange juice squirt in your eyes and all over your kitchen when you cut into them? Before you cut into your citrus of choice, gently make a slit with the knife at the top of the lemon, lime, or orange wedge.
This will keep the juice from being pressurized and squirting everywhere.
Quicker Potato Pancakes
Potato pancakes are a savory addition to a meal, but with all of the grating and other preparation, making them can be pretty time-consuming. The best shortcut to the potato pancakes that you’ve been dreaming about? The blender on your counter.
Toss your roughly diced potatoes in the blender for a minute. Then, just drain the excess liquid and you can get to making your pancakes in no time.
Icing Made Easy
If you’re looking to make a beautifully decorated cake but don’t have the professional piping tools at home, all you need is to grab a plastic, Ziploc bag. That’s right, just a Ziploc bag. Fill the bag with your icing or frosting of choice and seal up the top.
Then make a small cut in the corner and begin squeezing the icing through. Once you’re comfortable you can really get fancy with your icing designs.
No More Brown Apples
Apples are one of the most popular fruits but they tend to be a little less popular when they start to brown (which can happen in just minutes). The best way to prevent your apples from going brown fast you ask? Lemon juice. Take your apple slices and soak them in a bowl of lemon juice.
Next, remove them and dry off the excess juice. Your apple should now stay whiter (and be tangier) for longer.