Help Around the Kitchen
Ideas for July
With the weather heating up you’ll want to cool down your kitchen and take the cooking outside.
Kitchen shears are indispensable in a kitchen, as they're great for breaking down a chicken and snipping items like herbs, canned whole tomatoes (directly in the can, no less) and even quesadillas. They come apart at the hinge, making them easy to clean.
Use Them to Make Melissa's Pan-Roasted Chicken
When juggling items on a grill with varying cooking times, use disposable aluminum pans to cover items that may take longer to cook, such as bone-in chicken breasts or potatoes.
Great on the Grill: Honey-Lime Chicken
Summer means it's blender season! Use a celery stalk to stir up stuck items in a blender – and say goodbye to nicked kitchen tools.
Say Summer With a Smoothie
Happy 4th of July! Sixty-two percent of Americans will celebrate with a cookout or picnic. Label dishes to remove the guesswork for guests – plastic plates can double as mini dry-erase boards.
Pack Giada's Caponata Picnic Sandwiches
Dress pasta for a salad immediately while still hot. The pasta will absorb moisture from the dressing, which helps to meld flavors.
Warm Pasta Bean Salad
It's National Fried Chicken Day! Make the process easier and less messy by designating one hand for dredging the chicken in flour, and the other to coat it in the batter.
Celebrate With Bobby's Fried Chicken
Always bake a pie crust on a preheated rimmed baking sheet. The sheet will catch any drips and overflow from the pie, and the preheating helps to counteract a soggy bottom crust.
Heirloom Tomato Pie
Use a glass pie plate so you can actually see if the crust is baked through. If the top crust is browning too quickly, cover it loosely with foil as you finish baking.
Bobby's Peach-Blackberry Pie
Prune down your spice collection and be realistic about what you'll use. Then follow Paula Deen's lead and keep spice jars in eyesight and within arm's reach so they aren't forgotten.
Check Out Paula's Kitchen
In honor of National Pina Colada Day, serve them up with just the right consistency by blending big-batch drinks in a blender filled exactly two-thirds of the way full. Anything more and the ingredients are likely to get jammed.
Or Try Sandra's No-Blender-Needed Version
Dress up strawberries by tossing them sliced with balsamic vinegar and thinly sliced mint. Eat as-is, or chop and spoon onto waffles.
Strawberry Salad With Balsamic Cardamom Dressing
Grating semisoft cheeses such as mozzarella and Muenster can get a little messy and difficult. Freeze them for about 30 minutes before bringing to a box grater.
Orecchiette With Spicy Sausage
Here are the two most common secrets to amazing fries: 1) Soak uncooked fries in cold water to remove the excess starch before drying and frying. 2) Double-fry your French fries, starting on a lower heat initially to cook them through before frying again at a higher heat.
Make Bistro-Style Fries
Chop excess herbs and freeze in ice cube trays topped off with chicken stock so you can later add them to soups and sauces.
How to Buy and Store Herbs
Line meat platters with foil before placing raw meat on top to prevent cross-contamination. Once the meat’s on the grill, toss the foil and transfer the cooked meat back onto the clean, unused surface.
Porterhouse With Balsamic Steak Sauce
Stop foods from spinning around on a skewer when being flipped by threading the foods onto two skewers.
Pit cherries in a large plastic bag to prevent juices from squirting and staining. The bag will also collect the stems and seeds.
Chocolate Cherry Bombe
Rinse sliced raw onions – for foods like burgers and salads – under cold running water to remove some of their bite.
Make berry season last by spreading rinsed and dried berries on a rimmed baking sheet and freezing. Transfer to a resealable plastic freezer bag in marked quantities and press to remove the excess air.
How to Prep Fruit for Freezing
Store basil in a glass of water at room temperature – the chill from a refrigerator will damage the leaves and cause them to blacken.
How to Chiffonade Herbs
Line meat platters with foil before placing raw meat on top to prevent cross-contamination. Once the meat's on the grill, toss the foil and transfer the cooked meat back onto the clean, unused surface.
Porterhouse With Balsamic Steak Sauce
Pop open a bottle of champagne and use some to make a quick summer fruit gazpacho. Stir into pureed melon and add chopped fruits like sliced strawberries, blueberries or finely chopped plums.
Brush any sauces or glazes onto grilled meats a few minutes before pulling them from the grill – the sugar content found in most will otherwise burn if brushed on at the start.
Peach-Mustard Pork Chops
For flare-ups on the grill, quickly move the item to another part of the grill or shut the lid to starve the flame of oxygen. Don't use a spray bottle, as it could stir up ashes and grime from the grill and coat the food.
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The easiest way to tell if it's time to turn your food is by gently lifting it at one end-if it lifts easily, it's done. If it sticks, leave it for a few more minutes before checking once more.
Grilled Steak Salad
When making a fruit salad, toss with white wine or orange juice to keep fruit from browning.
Fruit Salad Surprise
Grill up burgers for dinner. Make a depression in the top of each burger patty before cooking — patties tend to puff in the middle as they cook.
Chile Relleno Burgers
Store tomatoes at room temperature'never in the refrigerator. The cold makes the texture mealy and can affect the flavor.
It's National Lasagna Day! Make a summer-worthy, no-cook version by layering shaved ribbons of zucchini with chopped cherry tomatoes, ricotta cheese and chopped basil. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with cracked black pepper.
Or Turn Your Oven On for Spinach Lasagna
In honor of National Cheesecake Day, bring home a store-bought cheesecake for dessert and top with a quick fruit compote made from fresh summer berries (strawberries should be quartered and hulled), sugar and lemon juice.
Or Make Ricotta Cheesecake From Scratch
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