These quick and easy treats use a few store-bought ingredients to save you time in the kitchen. From frozen pie crusts to instant pudding and more helpful shortcuts, supermarket staples mean you can have a gourmet dessert any night of the week.
Sure, a microwave is great for reheating leftovers, but did you know your countertop appliance was originally invented as a quick-cooking replacement for the conventional home oven? Research on radiation during World War II resulted in the realization that microwaves could cook food faster than regular ovens. Most microwave recipes are developed for units with 800 to 1,200 watts. The higher the wattage, the faster things will cook, so if your microwave is super powerful, it will cook your food significantly faster. Of course there are definitely a few foods you should never experiment with in the microwave: whole eggs, grapes and raisins, and chocolate-hazelnut spread (the high fat content makes it spark), but there are also many things the microwave does incredibly well. These recipes and tricks will inspire you to use your appliance for more than just reheating.
Think outside the Easter basket this holiday and make a sugar-cookie bunny hutch to hold all your favorite candies and chocolates (thanks to a detachable roof). These step-by-step photo how-tos will make baking and building this cookie creation a fun activity for the whole family. Kids can help mix the dough, hold the paper templates on the dough while adults cut, and cut out the cookies with cookie cutters.
With the new season just beginning it’s time to start thinking about spring-cleaning, your kitchen included. Getting organized means less time spent searching through your cabinets for key utensils or ingredients. That means less time in the kitchen overall when you need to get dinner on the table on a busy weeknight. From spices to baking tools, Vivian Jao put together her top tips for getting the most out of your space.
1. Your Pantry
Make meal planning easier with a well-organized pantry. Assign designated areas for different kinds of food, like baked goods, breakfast items, boxed goods and canned goods. Label these areas or shelves as a reminder for when you’re unpacking groceries. Designate a section for quick-cooking meals, like mac and cheese or canned soup, for when you just need to grab something in a pinch.
Before you pick out a pasta for dinner tonight, think about what sauce you’re craving. Different pasta shapes lend themselves better to different pasta sauces, and these perfect pairings will ensure the perfect bite.
1. Flat Long Noodles
Think of fettuccine, linguine and tagliatelle as the flat, ribbon-like pastas that pair well with creamy sauces. The surface area of a flatter noodle means that it can stand up to a rich sauce. The wider the noodle, the heartier the sauce. A meaty Bolognese is best for wide pappardelle while an Alfredo pairs perfectly with fettuccine.
On March 17 you’ll likely be decked out in green attire, so why not whip up some green desserts to go with the theme? It’s been noted that blue was originally the color of St. Patrick’s Day; over the centuries this evolved based on the color of St. Patrick’s shamrock and the color in the Irish flag. Green is now the color of the day, and these treats are true to the Emerald Isle.
1. Shamrock Cupcakes (pictured above)
Make an old-fashioned boiled frosting that’s both creamy and fluffy for these cupcakes. Three frosted cupcakes plus a halved cupcake covered in green sanding sugar turn these hand-held desserts into shamrocks.
Nuts should be stored in the freezer. Their high levels of natural oils can turn rancid but cold temperatures will help to slow down the process. The darkness of the freezer will also protect the nuts from being exposed to light, which can cause them to go stale.
1. Canola Oil
The high smoking point of this neutral-tasting oil makes it your best bet for dishes like fried chicken or french fries. It’s also handy when making homemade mayonnaise.
2. Coconut Oil (Unrefined)
This trendy oil is praised as an all-natural vegan butter substitute. Use it for baking or quick sauteing, because of its low smoking point; use it as a spread for a hint of coconut flavor.
3. Corn Oil
This mild-flavored oil is inexpensive to produce and has a high smoking point for deep-frying but it’s refined, which means it is stripped of most nutrients.
Every cookware surface has its own set of rules to guarantee correctly cooking food and a long life on your shelf. Whether your cabinets are stocked with nonstick, cast iron or stainless steel (or you’re thinking about a set to invest in), these tips will keep your pots and pans properly cared for.
When cooking with nonstick pans use medium heat or lower. High heat on a coated pan will shorten its shelf life. Because temperatures can soar, don’t preheat an empty pan. Add food or even oil from the start. Keep in mind that foods prepared in a nonstick pan will not brown well, as high heat is necessary for a seared surface to develop. Foods won’t be able to adhere to the surface and form the browned bits that make up a golden crust.
Tiramisu is Italian for “pick-me-up.” It’s made with ladyfingers dipped in espresso that are then layered with a whipped mascarpone mixture and topped with chocolate shavings. Giada’s version will make enough for you, your sweetie and then some.