1 // Don’t rinse raw meat before you cook it – especially chicken! I always thought that you had to rinse the germs from the store off, but it turns out that cooking will kill those germs anyway and when you wash the meat there’s a really high chance that the water is just splashing raw meat germs all over your kitchen. Plus, dry meat browns better.
2 // You also shouldn’t rinse your pasta after you boil it unless you’re making a cold pasta salad. Rinsing hot pasta before add sauce won’t do anything but cool it off and make your sauce watery.
3 // When you’re baking, both butter and eggs do better if they’re at room temperature. If you know you’ll be making something, try to leave the butter and eggs on the counter the night before.
4 // Buy thin disposable gloves if you’re going to be working a lot with hot peppers. I made a tray of jalapeño poppers this year and even though they weren’t all that hot the skin on my hands burned for two hours afterwards. I had to soak them in milk, dish soap, shampoo, baby oil, and hydrogen peroxide before they stopped hurting. So not worth it! Those disposable gloves are cheap and they’re sold with the cleaning products at most stores.
5 // Use your Keurig for more than coffee and tea. I have a two-cup liquid measuring container near the Keurig at all times because I use it for hot water so often. It cuts down dramatically on waiting for water to boil when I make oatmeal or mac and cheese for Eva and when I want a quick lunch, I can toss some cubed tofu, a packet of Trader Joe’s instant miso soup, and the largest size Keurig setting’s worth of water into a bowl for the perfect portion.
6 // Don’t let your freezer become a burial ground for food you really did intend to eat. I’m a big make-and-freeze soup person, but I got into the bad habit of freezing food and then forgetting about it for months. Realistically, one month is the outside limit of time that absolutely anything should be in your freezer (including ice!) so don’t forget to check there when you’re thinking of things you need to eat before they go bad.
7 // Roll and cut out cookies on parchment paper and then just peel away the excess before popping the paper on baking sheet. Solves the moving-raw-dough-shapes problem!
8 // If you soak popcorn kernels in water for 15 minutes before you put them in the air popper, you won’t get as many that won’t pop. I don’t why, but I saw it on Pinterest and it works. (Oranges, on the other hand, make really crappy candles so don’t believe that popular pin.)
9 // If you have half a bottle of white wine left over after you use it to make a sauce (or, you know, you just aren’t at the full-bottle-of-wine age anymore) you can put the wine in your ice cube tray to save it. A cube or two tossed into quinoa or used to deglaze a pan after you make fish is really yummy. (Do not, however, use your microwave to try to heat the wine back up so you can drink it after you freeze it. Not that I tried that or anything. *cough*)
10 // Apples will ripen unripe bananas faster and somehow also keep potatoes from going bad too quickly. I don’t know how. It’s like the popcorn thing. It just works.