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"Secret" Techniques: How to Solve Common Cooking Challenges

Updated on December 1, 2007

Anyone who enjoys cooking runs into cooking challenges from time to time. The "secret" techniques presented here are all cooking tips and techniques that I have used at one time or the other to overcome challenges with my own culinary endeavors.

Oops, There's Too Much Salt in My Soup:

If you accidentally put too much salt in a soup, sauce, or other liquid base recipe, you don't have to throw it out and start over. Simply cut an uncooked potato into large chunks and let it sit in the mixture for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the potato prior to serving. It will have absorbed a great deal of the excess salt, so unless you really went overboard with the salt, this technique will help you get your recipe ready to eat and enjoy!

Oh No, I'm Out of Baking Powder:

If you start creating your favorite scratch baked goods and realize that you don't have any baking powder, you might not have to stop what you are doing and run to the supermarket. If you have baking soda and cream of tartar, you can whip up a baking soda substitute in no time at all. Simply combine two parts cream of tartar to one part baking soda, and you're ready to continue baking.

How to Cut the Fat in Dip Recipes:

If you love cold dip recipes that call for full fat versions of sour cream and mayonnaise, don't despair about the fat and calories. Instead, make lower fat versions of your favorite dips by using reduced fat sour cream and substituting plain, nonfat yogurt for the mayonnaise. Your favorite recipes will taste great when prepared with this healthy technique for cutting the fat.

How to Reduce Fat in Baked Goods Recipes:

When baking sweets, you can replace half the oil a recipe calls for with applesauce. This trick can significantly reduce the fat and calorie content of your favorite recipes. It also keeps your baked goods really moist and delicious. I have used this technique when baking brownies from scratch and from a pre-packaged mix that called for oil. I have also used it when baking banana bread, and the results were superb!

By the way, I actually came up with this technique because I really hate the smell of mayonnaise. The fat reduction benefit is just an added bonus to me!

Any Suggestions?

Have you encountered your own cooking challenges? If so, the rest of us can probably learn a lot from hearing about what you did to overcome them. If you have any ideas for solving common cooking challenges, feel free to list them in the comments section below!


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    Connie 9 years ago

    My skinless chicken breasts baked at 350 in the oven for 35 minutes were dry and stringy. They were in a chicken broth and olive oil. How do I prevent this in the future?