Most of the weird cooking tips you hear are bogus, but some weird cooking tips actually work! The only way to know for sure is to try them yourself, so here are 5 weird cooking tips that I can personally vouch for.
1. Instead of adding milk and sugar to your coffee, try adding a spoonful of vanilla ice cream. I learned this tip from a fan on the Wisconsinmade.com Facebook page. Ice cream does the job of milk, sugar, and an ice cube- adds creaminess, sweetness, and brings the temperature down to drinkable range. So next time you make a cup of coffee, head over to the freezer for some ice cream, you can even have a few bites, I won't tell!
2. Plain, non-fat greek yogurt as a substitute for sour cream. My husband was skeptical of this tip, but once he tried it he was hooked. Now we never buy sour cream and use greek yogurt to top baked potatoes, chili, and tacos. Greek yogurt tastes just as good as sour cream and has less than half the calories.
3. Broccoli stalks are tasty! Have you been throwing away the stalks of broccoli all of these years? Stop! Just peel the tough outer layer away with a vegetable peeler or remove it with a knife (like in this video), cut in to bite size pieces and cook along with the rest of the broccoli, or enjoy it raw with vegetable dip.
I spent my holidays as a guest at two different houses. One hostess in particular was amazing. In the blink of an eye she could prepare a big pot of chili or clean the entire kitchen. I took mental notes to try and figure out how she kept us all happy and full, and here are some tips I hope to take advantage of next time I have a house full of people.
Leave little bowls of munchies out. Nuts, M&Ms, trail mix, anything that is easy to munch on while watching TV or cuddling up with a book. This will keep your guests satisfied between meals.Wisconsin hostesses will love this gourmet cranberry trail mix.
Have a coffee maker that pleases everyone. Since this was a ski vacation I had frequent cravings for hot beverages. The Keurig machine saved the day since we didn’t have to boil water on the stove for every cup of tea or cocoa. Our hostess had every variety of K-Cups so we could enjoy whatever drink we wanted in no time at all.
Two words: double dishwashers. Ok, so this isn’t the easiest tip in the world since it involves major kitchen appliances and possibly even some construction, but holy moly, I love two dishwashers! Think about it- while one is running, you can fill up the other one. Since you don’t have to unload as often, you can just take the dishes out of dishwasher one as you need them. By the time dishwasher two is full and done running, dishwasher one is mostly empty since you’ve been grabbing dishes out of it. This makes hosting especially easy because there is always a “dirty” dishwasher for guests to load their own dishes in.
Make a big pot of something comforting. One misconception about soup or chili is that you have to let it simmer all day. Wrong! There are plenty of short cut recipes out there that just involve dumping some cans in a pot and the results are amazing. My favorite cookbook is the Soup Bible. It’s full of fast recipes with simple ingredients.
Don’t be afraid to order pizza. If cooking and cleaning up after a house full of people becomes overwhelming, pick up the phone and order some pizza!
One of the basic skills of cooking is knowing how to read a recipe. I have friends who want to start cooking more, but anything beyond heating up a frozen pizza scares them. Part of the reason people are uncomfortable with cooking is because there are certain rules implied in recipes that most people don’t know. My mom is an awesome cook and from the time I was little she taught me those recipe secrets. Today I’m sharing those recipe tips and tricks that will make you a better cook by breaking down the anatomy of a recipe.
Helen Myhre, Wisconsin farm woman turned restaurant owner and 13-time winner of the national pie-baking championship, gives these tips about cooking and baking pumpkin pies:
“As I must have said a million times in my life, tasting is the key to good cooking, and stirring up pumpkin is a perfect example. If you stick your finger in it, and it’s bitter, you know you’ve forgotten the salt. You can stand and add sugar till the cows come home, but if you’ve forgotten the salt, pumpkin’ll still have an edge of bitterness.
“Whatever you’re making, tasting can prevent a lot of failures; at the restaurant, I’ve even found lemonade in the gravy. One of the cooks reached for potato water when a same-size jug of lemonade was standing alongside, and in went the lemonade. No one realized it until I stuck my finger in. So even if you’re an expert, you gotta taste. And don’t underestimate salt when it comes to pumpkin.”
These cooking tips introduce Helen’s recipe for pumpkin pie in her cookbook: Farm Recipes and Food Secrets from the Norske Nook: The Midwest’s #1 Roadside Cafe. I prepared Helen’s recipe for pumpkin pie filling when my daughter and I embarked on a crazy project to create pumpkin pie cornucopias. In doing so, I discovered my own tips about cooking with pumpkin. To find out what I learned and to get Helen’s pumpkin pie recipe, click on “continue reading…”