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Mom's Helpful Hints for Cooking by RhondaLeigh

Updated on February 25, 2020
Rhonda L Stetson profile image

Rhonda blogs about all kinds of things pertaining to family, food, and fun. She has a plus size fashion blog, and a grandparents blog.

Mom's Helpful Hints for Cooking by RhondaLeigh

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Mom's Helpful Hints for Cooking, by RhondaLeigh

I'm sharing my little tricks with you! So here are mom's helpful hints for cooking. Enjoy!

Measuring Cups and Spoons:

I use two sets of measure spoons when I cook, one for wet ingredients, and one for dry. Wash the wet ingredient spoons after use, but wack the dry ingredient spoons and put them away.

Keep several sets of measure cups and spoons. One cup measure can be left in your flour canister. The half cup can go into your sugar container, and so on.

A little cooking spray inside the measuring cup releases ingredients, such as honey or peanut butter right into the bowl with no scraping the measuring cup.

When measuring shortening, use the water displacement method. In a two-cup glass measuring cup, pour in one cup of water. Then put clumps of shortening into the water, a spoon at a time, until the water line is up to two cups. Carefully pour out the water. Then you have one cup of shortening.

Crock Pots

I cook an entire 5 pound bag of potatoes in my crock pot, with the pealing on. That way, I have potatoes throughout the week, already boiled. I can make hash browns, potato salad, mashed potatoes or whatever I want, much quicker during the week. You can use them pealed or unpeeled. Peelings come off much easier and cleaner once the potato is boiled.

Boiled potatoes freeze well too, so you can make them up into mashed or diced or shredded measured quantities to have them on hand.

Use your crock pot to keep cocoa or cider hot for a crowd.

The easiest pulled pork or pot roast is done in the crock pot. Put your roast in with your desired spices, then pour in water or broth and let it cook on low of 8 hours. Easy and done.

Line your crock pot with foil and spray foil with cooking spray. Food comes right out, foil gets thrown away, and clean up is a breeze.

My Famous Baking Trick

I have never had any luck making layer cakes. They turn out lumpy and lopsided and extremely unappetizing. So I found a way to make beautiful cakes without any fuss or muss, and even I can do it. Bake the cake in a non-stick Bundt pan. Use plenty of cooking spray. Turn it out on your cake plate just as soon as it comes out of your oven. Get a tub of commercially available cake frosting, any kind. Open it and take off the foil seal. Put the lid back on, and microwave the frosting in 30 second intervals, stirring between each zap, until the frosting is a thick liquid. Pour the frosting over the Bundt cake. Let cool. You will have a lovely Bundt cake with beautifully dribbled frosting ganache, that looks like you have baking talent, even if you don't.

Prepping Fruits and Vegetables

I cut up ingredients on a dinner plate. It's a large surface, can be put into the dishwasher, and I don't have to worry about cross contamination from cutting meats on wooden boards.

Prep everything before you start cooking. This includes getting out the right pans, cutting boards, knives, can opener, dish towels, and anything else you need to cook with.

I use a couple of sugar bowls for salt and sugar when you only need measuring spoons full of either. But clearly mark them "Salt" and "Sugar" with a black Sharpee. This is an official apology to my son-in-law, Christopher, who got some salty coffee at my house that ONE time!

Buy an extra bunch of green onions. Put them into a jar of water and keep them on your kitchen window sill. Snip a few of them whenever you need a green garnish for a dish. Replace often, because they grow slower after a while.

Small Appliances

Toasters are messy things. They spew crumbs everywhere. I took an old cookie sheet and wrapped it in pretty contact paper, so it looks like an antique tray. I put my toaster on it. Now when I clean under and around the toaster, the crumbs go into the tray and not all over the kitchen.

Did you know that your electric can opener comes apart, and you can wash the lever and the blade in hot soapy water?

Put your mixer beaters through a slit cut into an inverted paper plate. Then put your mixing bowl in your empty sink. Turn on your mixer, and your batter spatters on the paper plate and in the sink, instead of all over your tile back splash.

Fridge

There's always a bunch of little things floating around in the fridge, like sauce packets, little bottles of maple syrup from Cracker Barrel, individual portions of things. I put them all in a small plastic container, then put them on a shelf in the fridge. Keeps them organized and keeps them from falling down into the fridge and getting lost.

I keep bigger portions of things, like yogurts, etc, in a 9x13 plastic container. This makes a "drawer" in your fridge that you can keep those portions organized.

Glad Press and Seal plastic wrap is great for lining the shelves and solid surfaces of your fridge shelves. If messes occur, you can peel up the plastic wrap and put a new sheet down. No clean up.

I always put meats into a secondary container when thawing them in the fridge. As they thaw, they will inevitably leak. The secondary container will keep the mess off your fridge shelves and out of your other foods.

Storage

Instead of buying the expensive pull out shelves in my cabinets, I made my own. I love those shallow boxes you get from Amazon that make excellent drawers. Cut off the closing flaps, and line and cover those boxes with pretty contact paper. This gives you a wipable surface, and reinforces the cardboard. Then use the box as your pull out drawer for items that go on your shelves.

Those closing flaps that you cut off the boxes can be used as drawer dividers. Cut them to size and cover them with contact paper, then put them in your drawer. Cute, cheap, and useful!

Use an empty wet wipe container to keep plastic grocery bags in. You can either just peel the label off it and use it as is, or you can put contact paper on it. Either way, label it with a Sharpee.

I have jars and cans of spices from just about every brand name, all in different sizes and shapes. I took an old metal 9x13 pan, covered it with contact paper, and put my spices in it. I keep the pan on a second shelf, up out of the way. When I need spices, I take the whole pan out of the cupboard, and Wah-Lah, I have all my spices right there and don't have to go digging through the cupboard for them.

Get magnetic white boards for your fridge and freezer. Keep inventory of the contents on the white board. You can make your grocery list at a glance when you see items crossed off.

Those plastic sandwich meat containers with a lid, make a great dish for your partial stick of butter. Put the unwrapped portion of butter on the inside of the lid, then use the bowl part as a dome to cover the butter.

Portion Size and Eating Low Fat

I am crazy about cheese, and I crave it often. So, I buy the string cheese sticks or the single portion cheese packages, and I freeze them. When I want cheese for a snack, I plan ahead and get one out of the freezer. This keeps me from going on a cheese binge, because I won't eat them frozen.

Snack bowls are the perfect size for a serving of fruit. Even if a recipe calls for a can of fruit, I get the snack bowl size, and use as many servings that would make up a can of fruit. This way I'm not tempted to eat the whole can of fruit, and I only use what I need in a recipe, and don't have partial cans of fruit to use up.

Fat Free ranch dressing makes an awesome topping for baked potatoes. It provides all the things you love about sour cream and chives, without the fat.

Pots and Pans

If you have a stubborn crusty stain or burnt food that just won't come off, soak the pan by putting about an inch of chlorine bleach in the bottom and letting it sit for 15 or 20 minutes. Dilute the bleach and pour it in small portions down the drain. Put the pan in a sink full of soapy dishwater, and scrub. The burnt stains will come right off. Be sure to wear rubber gloves and use bleach in a ventilated area.

Line your baking sheets with foil, then spray with cooking spray. It doesn't work so great with cookies, but when you're heating up frozen food, or roasting vegetables or meat, it makes clean up really easy.

Command hooks are super strong and can hang just about anything. I hang my pan covers inside my pantry door. That gets them up and out of the way.

Clean Up

You do a lot less scrubbing if you line the pans when you can. Use foil, plastic crock pot liners, and cooking bags where possible.

When dredging food for frying, such as chicken fried steak, use paper plates for your flour or crumb mixtures. When you're done, just throw the whole thing away. Use the Dixie or Solo brand, and you can also do you egg wash in them.

Make using your wet Swiffer part of your daily wipe down routine. The floor stays so much cleaner, and there's no scrubbing later. This saves you from having to wet mop as often.

Hope These Hints Helped

I hope that these hints helped fix a few of your cooking issues. And hopefully they inspired you to think of a few of your own little tips and tricks. I had fun thinking and writing about them, and I hope you had fun reading them. Now, go forth and cook!


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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    • lizmalay profile image

      Liza 

      4 weeks ago from USA

      Before I got married, I cooked because I want to eat but, over the years, I have become an expert, especially in traditional Malay cuisine. Thanks to my mother, I have learned so much from her. I'm happy to hear that your daughters are excellent cookers. By the way, I look forward to reading more of your story, Rhonda.

    • Rhonda L Stetson profile imageAUTHOR

      Rhonda L Stetson 

      4 weeks ago from Kremmling, Colorado

      Hello Liz, thanks for reading and commenting on my article. My mom didn't cook very well. I actually learned to cook from my sister, who learned from her college room mates. I vowed I would be a better cook than my mom, and I wanted to pass that on to my kids too. My two daughters are excellent cooks as a result. When you wrote about your memories of growing up in your mom's kitchen, that brought back a lot of memories of cooking with my daughters. Thanks for leading ME down the memory trail! I hope to have more of these articles, so please stay tuned. Thanks again for your sentiments! RhondaLeigh

    • lizmalay profile image

      Liza 

      4 weeks ago from USA

      I love reading your useful tips for cooking, Rhonda. I have to say that I enjoy cooking so much since I was young, and my mother is my mentor. I grew up watching her cooking in the kitchen. She lets me help her a lot and makes me appreciated the lesson she has given me. Thanks for sharing yours!

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