No, not the kind you give to your server, whose name is Brandy. And, by the way, where did that whole thing start? “My name is Brandy and I’ll be taking care of you today!” Too chipper? Decidedly so.

These are tips for the kitchen. I just subscribed to Cuisine at home and they sent along this great bonus magazine with all kinds of tips. I love tips. Some of them in this magazine are kind of silly, like if you want whipped cream and you don’t have electricity, put cream in a chilled glass jar with a tight lid and shake it for five minutes. Well, now. If you don’t have electricity how are you going to have a chilled glass jar? And if you don’t have electricity aren’t there bigger issues to worry about than making whipped cream?

However, some of them are really good. My personal top 10 from Cuisine at home:

1. Easy-peel eggs: After boiling eggs, put them immediately in a bowl of ice water for several minutes. The eggs shrink away from the shells, making peeling easier. (Having peeled a dozen eggs for some funeral food egg salad a few weeks ago, I wish I had known this one.)

2. Freezing bacon slices: If you aren’t going to use a whole package of bacon at once (as I have, many times!), lay the remaining raw strips about 1/4-inch apart on parchment or waxed paper. Cover the strips with another piece of paper and roll them up. Freeze and just take a slice or two of bacon as needed.

3. Meatloaf burgers: When you mix a batch of meatloaf, take some of it and shape it into burgers for the freezer. They make a great last-minute meal and are unusual, especially cooked on the grill.

4. Easy thawing: Put one pound of ground meat in a large freezer bag and then flatten it like a pancake. It stores better and thaws in half the time.

5. Flavoring flour: Sprinkle 2 cups of all-purpose flour on a baking sheet and bake it at 325 degrees until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Cool and transfer to a glass jar for storage. The flour adds a rich, smoky taste when you use it to thicken gravies.

6. Lasagna noodles: When making lasagna, alternate layering the noodles. First lay them “east to west” and in the next layer, place them “north to south.” The lasagna holds its shape better and the filling doesn’t ooze out.

7. Muffin ready: When making muffins, make some extra batter and freeze it filled in muffin cups on a baking sheet. When solid, put them in plastic freezer bags and store. To bake them, put in a muffin tin and bake, adding 10 minutes to the time.

8. Paste portions: Take the leftover tomato paste from a can and portion it using a tablespoon on a plate. Freeze and then transfer your perfectly portioned paste to a plastic freezer bag and return to the freezer.

9. Easy rolling: When rolling out pie dough, place it between two sheets of freezer paper. The dough doesn’t stick to the paper and you don’t need extra flour. I will say that I already knew that one, but I use plastic wrap and get the same effect. A bonus is that you can take the top layer of paper or plastic wrap off and easily flip the dough into the pie pan.

10. Hot handle alert: Put an oven mitt or kitchen towel over the handle of a hot pan as an easy reminder not to get burned. I will also say I figured this one out, too, after blistering my hand on a cast iron skillet.


  1. Susan
    February 27, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    So excited about your blog. Great tips!! Thanks.

  2. Les Kerr
    February 27, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Now that’s “news you can use!”

  3. Dee Thompson
    March 2, 2011 at 11:58 am

    I have two more tips. As much as I love to cook, I have never made a pie dough in my life and I don’t plan to. Ready-made pie dough is just fine with us. I served a homemade pecan pie using ready-made dough to my cousin at Thanksgiving and she said I was a fraud! (This from a woman who considers making mashed potatoes from actual potatoes instead of a box a lot of cooking.) My attitude is, if Pillsbury makes something that tastes OK, then that’s OK with me. I also like their frozen bisquits. That’s two extra tips right there… LOL

    • the south in my mouth
      the south in my mouthReply
      March 2, 2011 at 3:07 pm

      I love Pillsbury’s frozen biscuits. Better than I can make. I love to make pie crust because it was a fear I had and I wanted to conquer it. I always use Pillsbury cookie dough.

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