Rachael Ray’s Top 7 Cooking Tips

By: Mandy Major
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She's given fans 30-minute meals, killer sammies and, of course, "EVOO." Now the queen of weeknight cooking is dishing up a few more kitchen essentials. Read on for her best shortcuts.

1. Adding fresh lemon juice to a recipe? Squeeze the lemon cut-side up so the seeds don't fall into your food.

2. Measure spices into your hand, instead of over your mixing bowl or pan. That way, you’ll never have to fish anything out if you make a mistake.

3. After cooking fish, get that stinky smell out with a bit of booze: While the pan is still hot, douse it with a splash of dry vermouth and swirl it around. (Caution: It may flame.)

4. Cut down soaking time for dry beans by pouring boiling water over them first. Let stand for 1 hour, rinse, then proceed with your recipe.

5. For glossier homemade salad dressing, add an egg yolk while whisking (if you're OK with consuming raw egg). It'll add a nice luster and make the dressing a bit richer in flavor.

6. Add some oomph to Caesar salad by swapping romaine lettuce for wilted kale (stem and coarsely chop the kale, drop it in boiling salted water for a few seconds, then pat dry before using). Another flavor booster: Rub the inside of the salad bowl with garlic. Check out Rachael's Kale Caesar Salad recipe.

7. Create the quickest tomato sauce ever: Saute a handful of diced onion and a few cloves of garlic in EVOO with salt and pepper until softened. Add a small carton of washed grape tomatoes, put the lid on the pan, then let everything cook down on the stovetop for about 20 minutes, until the tomatoes burst. Toss with pasta or serve over fish.

Tune into the premiere of Rachael Ray's Kids Cook-Off on Monday, Aug. 24 at 8|7c.

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