Help Around the Kitchen - February 2013
Ideas for February
With a few holidays and events this month you'll want to have your kitchen in top shape for entertaining.
Freeze soup in a muffin tin for easy-to-use servings that won’t take up much space. Place the pan in an inch of hot water to loosen the frozen rounds and use a paring knife to pry them out. Store them in a resealable freezer bag.
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It’s Groundhog Day. Summon the good weather by pulling out the grill pan. Make cleanup a snap by boiling water in the pan afterward to loosen any greasy cooked-on bits.
Indoor Grilling Recipes
Nothing says Super Bowl party quite like a pot of chili. Pull all the spicy condiments from your refrigerator and pantry — think Sriracha, pickled jalapenos, chili-garlic paste — and place them on a serving tray so guests can experiment and spice things up on their own.
Churn Out These 5 Chilis
The only way to truly know if a jar of spices or dried herbs is fresh is by tasting it. If it’s not appetizing, it’s not worth adding to your dish.
Make Mexican-Inspired Chicken Chilaquiles
Stop tossing out leftover tomato paste. Use a can opener to open the can on both ends and push the paste out in a roll. Freeze the roll in a resealable plastic bag.
Watch Giada Make Pasta With Tomato Paste
Use the cut end of a halved lemon to clean a cutting board. For tougher stains, sprinkle with some coarse salt to scrub the board clean.
5 Ways to Clean a Cutting Board
Sign up for your local farmers' market newsletter to learn about upcoming farm stands and what’s in season. Use the information to plan meals and draw up a shopping list.
What to Cook Right Now
Eliminate static-cling in plastic wrap by storing the wrap in the freezer. Even a few minutes will help before tackling a pile of leftovers.
Wrap Up Paula's Spinach and Bacon Quiche
When you need minced garlic, run a big batch through the food processor so that you can freeze the extras in ice cube trays. Just pop them out once frozen and store them in a freezer bag or container.
How to Crush and Mince Garlic
What's a Grammy party without cocktails? Keep ice fresh by setting a colander in an ice bucket so that the water drains out.
Crush Ice for Award-Worthy Cocktails
When working with peeled potatoes, store them in water or covered with a damp towel to keep them from turning brown.
Make Fries at Home
Mardi Gras is as good an occasion as any to try your hand at making a Cajun roux, the foundation for classic New Orleans dishes like etouffee and gumbo. Time and patience are key ingredients, so double your batch and freeze half for the next time a Cajun craving hits.
How to Make a Roux
Soften butter in a hurry by filling a glass with hot water and letting it sit for a few minutes. Empty the glass, then turn it upside down over the amount of butter needed and it will soften without melting.
How to Cream Butter and Sugar
Happy Valentine's Day! Top off dessert with an easy chocolate garnish. Use a serrated knife to thinly slice a thick bar of chocolate into shards or, to make chocolate curls, microwave the bar to slightly soften and curl away using a vegetable peeler.
Make Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Stop your cutting board from sliding around the countertop by placing a wet paper towel underneath.
Learn to Slice, Mince and Dice
Never wrap gourmet cheese in plastic wrap. These indulgent wedges need to breathe, so if you’re not wrapping them in specialty cheese paper, use parchment or wax paper and store in an airtight container.
Make Your Own Cheese Platter
Soften hard brown sugar by microwaving it in a resealable plastic bag with a damp paper towel for about 20 seconds.
Robert Irvine's Orange Bourbon Cookies
Bake a cherry pie in honor of Presidents' Day — frozen cherries work fine. If your pie crust browns too quickly during baking, cover it with strips of foil.
Make an All-American Cherry Pie
When using plastic bags to store frozen food, press out as much air as possible to stave off freezer burn.
How to Prep Food for Freezing
Chalk up another use for the salad spinner. Rescue an overdressed salad by giving it a quick spin.
5 Simple Salads
Salt pasta cooking water so that it is as salty as the sea — this brings out the natural flavor of the pasta.
Spaghetti With Sausage and Mushroom Sauce
Need a pastry bag or a funnel for decorating? In a pinch, a few layers of wax paper wrapped into a cone will work — just snip off the tip to make an opening.
5-Star Cream Cheese Frosting
Dollop leftover whipped cream onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and freeze. Transfer the frozen whipped cream to a resealable freezer bag and use the puffs in hot cocoa and coffee.
Make Homemade Whipped Cream
It's the 85th Annual Academy Awards. Throw the easiest Oscars viewing party ever by hosting a potluck. Assign each guest a movie as a theme, and set out plastic containers and lids for DIY to-go bags.
Throw Bobby's Oscar Bash at Home
Ease into the week with a homemade breakfast. Freeze leftover waffles in resealable plastic bags separated by sheets of wax paper.
Skip the Mix; Make Waffles From Scratch
Ground snack foods like crackers or pretzels can fill in for dried breadcrumbs in a pinch.
Try It In Chicken Schnitzel
Freeze foods in portion sizes that match your household needs to avoid thawing more than you need.
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