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What's Up Magazine

10 Easy Kitchen Tips You Wish You'd Known Before (and a weekly menu)

Jun 07, 2011 08:48PM ● By Anonymous

1. The only fruits you should refrigerate are berries.

2. Grow your own herbs. At least grow basil  -- it's easy and invaluable in so many dishes.

3. Read the WHOLE recipe before you start to cook. 

4. To peel ginger, just scrape the skin away with a spoon.

5. Don't let garlic brown while sauteing it. 

6. Thicken sauces quickly by adding 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to 1/2 cup of water and whisking it together. Pour it into the sauce, and voila! It's thick.

7. To avoid a greasy mess, bake your bacon at 350 degrees until it's reached your desired level of crispiness (at least 15 minutes)

8. If a jar lid is stubborn, bang it on the kitchen floor a couple times, and the top will twist right off.

9. Put rock-hard brown sugar in the microwave for 15 seconds, and it will be as soft as the day you bought it.

10. If you buy a good cut of steak, don't marinate it. Just sprinkle it with salt and pepper, and grill it (either outside or on a grill pan). It will never taste better than that.

What are your favorite cooking tips?

My Weekly Menu

Monday: Whole-wheat thin spaghetti with meat sauce, steamed broccoli
I had ambitions to make Kale Braised in Red Wine last night, but after an hour-long training session at the gym and a vet appointment, all I could do was put some frozen broccoli in the microwave.

Tip: I used ground pork instead of ground beef, and added some red wine, pepper, and red pepper flakes to jarred spaghetti sauce. It really jazzed up the flavor of the sauce.

Tuesday: Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos, Cilantro-Lime Rice, sauteed zucchini
Yum. The taquitos are this week's featured recipe on my food newsletter, and tonight I'm going to try them with flour tortillas.

Wednesday: Slow Cooker potato and double-corn chowder, biscuits
We now go bowling every Wednesday at 7, so we need dishes that will be ready when we get home. Thank goodness we got a slow cooker for the wedding!

Thursday: Italian Meatball Burgers, roasted sweet potatoes, salad
Check out next week's food newsletter for the recipe for the burgers!

Friday: Basil pan-seared Scallops over whole-wheat pasta, braised cucumbers and radishes
I meant to make this dish a long time ago, and it never happened. Now I have scallops on sale at Giant and basil growing in a container in my kitchen: It's time.