Most of us have some level of stress and anxiety about bringing a meal together. After all, there are a ton of moving pieces: chopping, cooking, seasoning, timing, running back and forth. It’s a lot to keep track of, and a lot to manage.
Here, we compiled 5 cooking shortcuts that will save you time, money, and energy. With less to worry about, you can relax a bit and begin to enjoy being in your kitchen.
1. Use an Empty Water Bottle to Separate Egg Whites and Yolks
Crack an egg into a shallow bowl, then hold the mouth of the bottle near the yolk and gently squeeze. When you release the squeeze, the yolk will be sucked out, and you can deposit it into another bowl.
2. Cut Corn with A Bundt Pan
To remove corn from the cob quickly, stand the cob upright in the center of a Bundt pan. Holding the top of the cob steady, stroke a chef’s knife downward along the sides to remove kernels. Scrape the cob with the back of the knife to release juices. Kernels and juice collect in the Bundt pan—meaning one less mess for you to clean up.
3. Skip the Pasta Rinse
Rinsing noodles washes away flavor and natural starch, which helps the yummy sauce stick. It’s why some recipes suggest saving pasta water to use in the sauce. Instead, skip the wash and spread the drained pasta on a pan to cool.
4. Cook Rice Like Pasta
Rice cookers take all the guesswork out of making rice, but they take up a lot of valuable counters and cabinet real estate, and sometimes your rice can come out gummy or crunchy.
Now the “pasta” method. Boil water in a pot, as much as you’d like. Add rice, as much as you’d like. Boil the rice until it tastes done. Usually, it takes half the normal time. Drain the rice in a strainer (like this), return to the pot, and cover with a lid until you’re ready to eat.
That’s it! No stressing about how much water or rice, finding the right temperature to keep the rice at a simmer, worrying about overcooking the rice and burning it. Plus, with this method, you’re rice will cook so much faster! It’s truly amazing.
5. Keep Counters Clean with A Baking Sheet
Place all ingredients on an empty baking sheet prior to prepping them. (This will help you catch spills and avoid wasting time hunting for an item as you cook.)
6. Pizza Wheels Chop Herbs
Turn in the chopping knife: Instead, roll over herbs like parsley and cilantro with a pizza wheel for quick and safe slicing. A pizza wheel also effortlessly chops foods like pancakes and pasta for small children.
7. Use a Countertop Bowl for Easy Garbage
As you cook, toss scraps, eggshells, and other garbage into a large bowl. This will contain messes and save time if a trash can isn’t readily accessible. Line the bowl with a plastic bag to make cleanup even easier.
8. For Easier Hard-boiled Eggs, Salt is Your BFF
Want the shells of hard-boiled eggs to come off in big chunks instead of a million tiny pieces? Add a teaspoon of salt to the cooking water before putting in the eggs.
9. Clean a Blender Sans Sponge
Fill it one-third full with warm water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid, recommends Woman’s Day. Run it for 10 seconds. Rinse and dry.
10. Whip Up Gourmet Bread Crumbs in A Pinch
Got an extra burger or hot dog buns? Tear into pieces and freeze in a zipper-top bag. Ten to 20 pulses in a food processor will transform them into ready-to-use bread crumbs—no thawing necessary.
11. Halve Cherry Tomatoes Fast
Save time on your next salad: Find two similarly sized storage container lids. Place cherry tomatoes on top of one, then firmly hold the other lid on top of the tomatoes. Use a very sharp knife to slice through the entire bunch at once.
12. Soften Ice Cream Hard as a Brick
Heat a sharp knife under warm water, then use it to make one-inch-deep cuts in a grid formation, spacing the lines about an inch apart. This increases your ice cream’s exposed surface area, speeding up the thawing process (similar to the beef trick). Run a scooper under warm water, and easily serve up each section.
What’s your favorite cooking shortcut? Let me know in the comments!