Bananas: Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.
Beef Ground: Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef. It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.
Bread: Store at room temperature. Storing in the refrigerator promotes staling. Use the date as a guide or use within 3 to 7 days. Freezing not more than six months. Over wrap well to prevent drying out; thaw at room temperature
Caramelising Sugar: Sugar is caramelized when it is melted into a clear golden to dark brown syrup, reaching a temperature from 320 to 350 degrees F. To start, add some water to dry sugar in a pot, stirring, until it reaches the consistency of wet sand. The acid from added lemon juice will help prevent recrystallization.Instead of using lemon juice, you could add acidity with vinegar, cream of tartar or corn syrup. Always start with a very clean pan and utensils. Any dirt or debris can cause crystals to form around it. Heat the pan over a medium flame. As the sugar melts, you can wash down the sides of a pan with a wet brush, which also prevents crystallization by removing any dried drops of syrup that might start crystals. As the caramel heats, it colors in amber shades from light to deep brown.
Eggs Scrambled: To really make scrambled eggs or omelets rich add a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream in and then beat them up.
Fruit Flies: To get rid of pesky fruit flies take a small glass and fill it half way with apple cider vinegar and 2 drops of dish washing liquid and mix well and you will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone foreber!
Garlic: How to get rid of the smell - Cooking with garlic can leave an offensive smell on your hands. A good way to eliminate this problem is to wear disposable rubber gloves. Remember that washing your hands in cold water removes the smell, whereas hot water tends to seal it in!
Garlic: Would you like stronger or lighter garlic taste? - Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic and at the end of the recipe if your want a stronger taste of garlic.
Gardening - Tricks to stop the weeds rom growing. - Start putting it in your plants, work the nutrients in your soil. Wet newspapers, put layers around the plants overlapping as you go cover with mulch and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic they will not get through wet newspapers.
Gardening - Keep the squirrels away. - To keep squirrels from eating your plants, sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper.The cayenne pepper doesn't hurt the plant and the squirrels won't come near it.
Lemon: What does 1 lemon yield? - One lemon makes about 3 tablespoons of juice and 1 teaspoon of zest.
Measuring Cup - Making it non-stick. - Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don't dry cup. Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out.
Pasta: It takes 4 ounces of dry pasta per person. A 1 pound package of pasta should yield 4 servings. Use plenty of water (at least 4 quarts per pound) so that it doesn’t stick together. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in the water. This avoids the pasta to stick together when it cooks. Add approximately 1 tablespoon of salt per pound of pasta. This will bring out the flavor of the pasta. When the water returns to a boil, add the pasta. Stir the pasta often to prevent sticking. One pound of spaghetti takes aproximately. 8 to 10 minutes to cook but check it frequently until it’s "al dente" (firm to the bite). As soon as the pasta is done, drain it in a colander. Combine the sauce and pasta in a bowl, mix well, and then serve.
Peppers - Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating. Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.
Pizza - Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza.
Potatoe Tips - (oven baked - quick and delicious). - Boil for 10 minutes in salted water and then put in oven 375 degrees for quick oven baked potatoes.
Potatoe Tips - (Less oil absorption?). - Boil the potato befor frying. This will seal the potato and will stop it from absorbing oil.
Sauté: Sautéing is cooking food quickly in the right amount of oil and/or butter over high heat. You can use a skillet or saute pan, but make sure it is big enough to comfortably contain what you are cooking. To preheat you need high heat when sautéing to cook ingredients quickly, otherwise the internal moisture tends to push to the surface and your ingredients won’t brown.
Sauté with butter or oil? Butter will give your food the best taste and a wonderful golden crust but burns more easily. Olive oil produces a nice crust and will not burn as quickly, but also doesn’t leave as rich a flavor or color as butter alone. So, the Reluctant Gourmet uses a combination of the two. What you cook and the amount you’re cooking will determine how butter and oil you use.
Tomatoe Tips - (How do you get rid of the acidity?). - Due to the high level of acidity the best method to neutralize is to add a table spoon of sugar for a serving of four.