FAVORITE KITCHEN HACKS
Written by: Allyson Boan, recipe curator
Edited by: Allison Walker, registered dietitian
Over time, we all develop habits and routines in the kitchen. Oftentimes, we don’t even realize what we’re doing because we’ve always done it. Then, we observe someone else do it another way…a more efficient way…and our minds are blown! Suddenly, we feel revitalized as our recipe now takes a fraction of the time or effort.
For those of you who are new to the kitchen or those of us who have paced many pathways from cupboard to stovetop to refrigerator to sink to trash can, here are a few hacks that may help save time and effort. When you save time in the kitchen, you create more time for fellowship with your families!
Mashed bananas: Cut the ripe banana in half or quarters and use a fork to mash the pieces on a plate until very, very mashed. I used to try to get by with mashing in the bowl I was going to use, but a plate works much better and really isn’t that much more to clean.
Storing in the freezer: Just as we need to work to avoid using plastic to store and reheat warm foods, aluminum foil should be used with caution. My favorite kitchen hack is to wrap baked goods or even meatballs into 1 serving packs by first wrapping in parchment paper, followed by aluminum foil, and then putting all the packs in a labeled Ziplock bag. Then, when it is time to use a pack, pull one out to thaw overnight and you can use the parchment paper it is wrapped in to reheat in the oven or convection oven! This saves you the trouble of cutting off another piece, and it is so convenient.
Save the fat: When browning ground meat, make sure to save the residual fat. It not only saves money to reuse the fat, but it also gives wonderful flavor to sautéed vegetables!
When you roast, roast double: Whether you are into meal prepping or not, it is worth your time and effort to double any dishes that take a long time to cook. When I roast a chicken, I roast two. You may need to increase the amount of cook time by 10-20 minutes, but with all the preparation you do to roast, it is worth it to do two at once. Even with vegetables, roast a double batch and pop the leftovers into the fridge to reheat on the stovetop later in the week.
Make the most of your chicken: Speaking of roasting a chicken, while the chicken is in the oven, prepare your ingredients for bone broth so you can easily transfer the bones, connective tissue, and glorious gold drippings from your roasted chicken into the crockpot. Bone broth can be as simple as adding filtered water, 1 Tbsp sea salt, 2 Tbsp whole black peppercorns, 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, and the chicken parts to a crockpot and cooking on Low for 24 hours. Once the bone broth is complete, strain out the solids and discard, pour the broth into mason jars and allow to cool completely, then store in your refrigerator or freezer to drink, make soups, or reconstitute food as you reheat throughout the week.