For Oven's Sake!

Let's get cookin' …with kids!

Tips & Tricks

I plan on sharing specific tips and tricks here as I post recipes.  In other words, check back!  I’ll be adding more as time goes on!

Incorporate garlic without an overpowering taste…

Make a garlic “paste” using coarse salt and olive oil as I did for my Guacamole Sammie.  Click the link for steps!

Garlic taste without a big bite of garlic!

Garlic taste without a big bite of garlic!

Make perfect eggs for breakfast sammies…

Use the same thing you used to cut the biscuits!  In my case, a drinking glass.  Oh, and if you want a biscuit recipe, check this one out.

Spray a pie pan with cooking spray, whisk up some eggs, and bake at 350° until they set.

Spray a pie pan with cooking spray, whisk up some eggs, and bake at 350° until they set.

Slide the eggs out of the pie pan and cut with a glass or biscuit cutter.  Then, assemble your sammie!

Slide the eggs out of the pie pan and cut with a glass or biscuit cutter. Then, assemble your sammie for a perfect fit!

Make quick work of cutting up kid food…

Use a pizza cutter!  I witnessed my BFF do this for her girls while visiting them last summer… she’s always been a smart one, that Amy! 🙂

So easy you can do it with a baby on your hip.  So fast you SHOULD do it with a hungry toddler!

So easy you can do it with a baby on your hip. So fast you SHOULD do it with a hungry toddler!

Lower the carb count in your roasts and stews…

My mom is diabetic and when I asked her what she wanted for her birthday dinner, she said beef stew, hold the potatoes because they make her feel yucky.  I decided to search for a substitute and this is what I found…

Radishes!!!

Radishes!!!

I was skeptical, but people on message boards were raving about how similar to potatoes they are once cooked low and slow.

...but do you see those things that look like potatoes?  Those are the radishes!

Do you see those things that look like potatoes? Those are the radishes!  Not only do they look like potatoes, they taste like them, too!

Make whole apples more kid-friendly…

I want my kiddo to like the skin on his apples.  I think it’s the tastiest part and that’s where the fiber lives.  However, his little teeth aren’t so great at chewing it yet so I discovered a way to help him out a little.

Peel it, but leave small pieces on.  Coring it isn't necessary, but a nice touch.

Peel it, but leave small pieces on. Coring it isn’t necessary, but a nice touch.

Know when to flip your pancakes…

Look for the bubbles!

Look for the bubbles!

Make easy and tender shredded chicken…

This works really well for recipes such as BBQ Chicken Pizza, Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup, and Chicken Tacos!  Put frozen or thawed raw chicken in a crockpot with about a half inch of water.

Set it on low for 3-4 hours.

Set it on low for 3-4 hours.

Shred it with two forks, or dice it with a chef's knife.

Shred it with two forks, or dice it with a chef’s knife.

Get even dressing on every bite of your salad…

I worked as a server in a restaurant through college and that is where I learned this trick.  Put your salad ingredients (including dressing) in a bag and shake it!

Whether you use a lot (like me) or a little, this method gets dressing on each piece!

Whether you use a lot (like me) or a little, this method gets dressing on each piece!

Make a kid-friendly salad…

Lettuce is tough for little teeth to chew.  Leave out the lettuce and add more soft veggies such as tomatoes, peppers, and cucumber.  You can even peel them if necessary!

Bright colors and dressing make for veggies that kids want to eat!

Bright colors and dressing make for veggies that kids want to eat!

Make celery more tender and easier for little teeth to chew…

Peel it!  People don’t often think to peel celery but under the top layer, it’s actually fairly soft.

Get rid of the stringy stuff that is harder to chew!

Get rid of the stringy stuff that is harder to chew!

Check to see if your oil is ready for frying…

I believe I learned this from Alton Brown on Good Eats.  Then again, maybe it was Giada on Everyday Italian.  I feel like Alton would always use a thermometer… So I watch a lot of Food Network.  It’s a hobby, this cooking thing. 🙂  Anyway, put a wooden spoon handle in and if bubbles rise up, it’s ready!

Bubbles means it's ready!

Tiny bubbles means it’s ready!

Make homemade tomato puree…

See a step-by-step on how to do this here: Homemade Tomato Puree

Step 1: Cut out the stems and cut an

Step 1: Cut out the stems and cut an “X” in the bottoms.

Get the most out of your peppers…

I believe I learned this on Rachel Ray’s 30 Minute Meals but I’ve been doing it so long I can’t be certain.  Cut off the top, grab the seeds and pull them out, keep all the good stuff!

Slice off the top, like this.

Slice off the top, like this.

Keep all the good stuff!  In my opinion, the tops of peppers are way under-used. :)

Keep all the good stuff! In my opinion, the tops of peppers are way under-used. 🙂

Cut corn off the cob without it going everywhere…

After starting to cut corn off the cob and watching it travel all around the counter, I remembered that I saw Rachel Ray do this on 30 Minute Meals.  Put a small bowl upside down in a big bowl and rest the corn cob on top.  As you cut, the kernels fall into the big bowl.

Don't worry about washing two extra bowls.  It is faster than the time it takes to chase your corn kernels down!

Don’t worry about washing two extra bowls. It is faster than the time it takes to chase your corn kernels down!

Make a restaurant quality baked potato…

I learned this while working at a restaurant in college.  Preheat your oven to 350, then wash and dry your potatoes.  Rub them with olive oil and kosher salt.  Bake them for about an hour, depending on their size.

Your kid cook can help rub the potatoes with oil and salt.

Make corn on the cob that’s arguably better than boiling…

Though we still really like fresh, sweet corn simply boiled, I found another yummy way to do it here.

Have your kid cook sprinkle salt and pepper on the corn, then place the butter pats on top!

Have your kid cook sprinkle salt and pepper on the corn, then place the butter pats on top!

Make really easy ribs at home…

Just stick them in the crockpot!  Seriously!  Though I had been making ribs at home using the oven, I saw this idea here and haven’t looked back!

Wrap them around the sides, like this.

Wrap them around the sides, like this.

Extend the life of your produce…

This is something I learned from my dad growing up.  Stick a little piece of paper towel or napkin in a sealable container with your washed produce.  This works for things like uncut tomatoes and grapes as well as chopped peppers, lettuce, etc.  As for chopped carrots and celery, Grandma always put a little water in the container rather than try to keep it out!

Helpful during harvest time!

Helpful during harvest time!

Keep guacamole fresh…

I’ve heard of a few ways to keep guacamole fresh.  Some say to put the pit in with it, others say to squeeze lime juice on top.  I found that Creamy, Limey Guacamole stays fresh with a layer of plastic on top.  I’m sure all the lime juice in it doesn’t hurt!

Keep leftover guacamole fresh by covering it (literally touching it) with plastic wrap.

Make a BLT with bacon in every bite…

I got the idea here and have been making them this way ever since.

…and if you don’t like lettuce on it, you can call it a “Bacon Lattice” and Tomato. Hehe.

Cut bacon slices in half and then do the ol' over/under lattice work. Bake it in the oven at 350, flipping half way through.

Cut bacon slices in half and then do the ol’ over/under lattice work. Bake it in the oven at 350, flipping half way through.

Finished “bacon lattice” for the perfect BLT!


6 responses to “Tips & Tricks

  1. justapinch13 says:

    Some great tips here!!!

  2. […] it even easier by using canned.  However, if you do want to make it ahead of time, check out my Tips & Tricks page to see […]

  3. […] c cooked and chopped chicken (See Tips & Tricks for an easy way to do this in the crock […]

  4. […] First, I made chicken for the Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup and Beth’s Chicken Casserole.  I used the crock pot for this.  To see how, check out my Tips & Tricks page. […]

  5. […] Before dinner on Sunday, I’m going to make some shredded chicken in the crock pot to be used in a couple of the week’s meals.  Check out how on the Tips & Tricks Page. […]

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