Supersize Family Kitchens

Click here to edit subtitle

HANDY KITCHEN HINTS


How to seed a zucchini:

If you have a young zucchini with small, tender seeds, you don’t have to worry about seeding it. But if it’s a large zucchini with big, tough seeds, you can easily get rid of the seeds by first cutting the entire zucchini in half lengthwise. Hold the zucchini in one hand, then, using a large metal spoon, start at the end closest to you and dig the dig seeds out in one long sweep from one end to the other. Repeat with the other side and then throw the seeds and pulp away.

How to toast hamburger buns:

It’s easy to toast buns and bread to golden perfection. Start by preheating an iron skillet to medium-low on the stovetop (my burner is perfect on 3). While it’s heating up, butter the bread or cut side of bun. To tell if the skillet is ready, fling a few drops of water off your fingertips. The water should sizzle. Drop the bread, butter side down, into the skillet, only cooking one or two pieces at a time so they’re not crowded. Don’t be tempted to turn the burner up higher. You want the bread to brown slowly and evenly till it’s a crisp golden color.

How to quickly thaw frozen veggies:

For this one, you’re going to need a large microwave-safe bowl. I use an ice cream bucket. I put my veggies (around two pounds of frozen broccoli, for instance) in the bucket and cover with a paper plate, then DEFROST in the microwave till the veggies are crisp-tender. It will still be cold and maybe have ice particles, but it certainly won’t be frozen solid. The cooking time will vary for each veggie. Completely frozen broccoli florets defrost in my microwave in about 10 minutes.

How to divide filling among tortillas:

I have two recipes in this book that call to divide a large amount of filling between 16 tortillas. First divide the entire lump of filling in half, then take one lump and divide again. Divide both of those pieces in half to make 4 lumps, then each of those in half to make 8. Repeat with the other lump of filling.

How to make fake buttermilk:

If you need buttermilk for a cake or cookie recipe but don’t have any, try this handy hint. For each cup of buttermilk you need, place 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in a measuring cup and add enough milk to make 1 cup. Stir gently, then set aside for about 5 minutes. The milk will thicken a little and have a slightly curdled appearance.

Cooking with raw sugar:

When I bake at home I usually use raw sugar, although you can use white sugar and it will turn out exactly the same. We prefer deremara or turbinado when possible because it’s healthier than refined sugar and also has a slightly richer taste. You probably won’t want to make drinks with it because it will affect the color (although it’s fine in sweet tea!) We buy Wholesome brand deremara in 50-pound bulk bags at a local grocery store. Smaller amounts are available at health food markets, your local grocery store, or at Walmart. Look for the brand “Sugar In The Raw.”

How to tell when baked goods test done:

Many of my cakes and pies say to bake until it “tests done.” This means to insert a toothpick in the middle of the baked good and slide it all the way to the bottom. Remove the toothpick. If it has gooey, shiny food particles clinging to it, this means it’s not cooked through. When done, the toothpick should be dry and have only cooked crumbs clinging to it.

When using glass baking dishes:

If a recipe specifies using a glass dish, cook exactly per the directions. But when a recipe says to use an unspecified cake pan or baking dish, lower the oven temperature 25° if you use a glass pan. Glass gets hotter than metal and the bottom of food can burn if you don’t lower the temperature a bit.


KITCHEN TOOL BASICS


13 x 9 metal and glass plans (also called baking dishes and cake pans)

8 x 8 or 9 x 9 metal and glass pans

Cookie sheets

13 x 18 and 10 x 15 shallow pans with sides

Large mixing bowls (a 1-gallon or 5-quart ice cream bucket will work in a pinch)

Plastic or glass measuring cups and spoons (Get a whole set at the dollar store)

Wire whisk, cookie spatulas, heavy-duty metal spoons and forks (I like the old ones found at estate sales. They’re tougher and better-made than most utensils today.)

Sharp knives (steak knives, paring knives, bread knives,

Pastry cutter (also called a pastry blender)

Plastic storage containers with lids (You can buy really good ones at any Walmart. I also save the containers and lids from deli products like potato salad if they’re good quality.)

(continued on next page)


6-quart stockpot

Saucepans and nonstick skillets in various sizes

Iron skillets (at least one 10-inch skillet, but larger ones too, if you can find them.)

Paper towels and paper plates (always have these around for cooking, eating, easy cleanup, etc.)

Handheld cheese slicer (somewhat rare these days but still available online. It’s t-shaped with a thin wire across the top to slice off a perfect slice of cheese.)

Ice cream scoops

Zip-top bags in snack, sandwich, quart, and gallon size (they’re invaluable.)


The Ultimate Grocery List


Freezer

Assorted berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries)

Assorted ice cream

Assorted sherbet

Cooked, crumbled bacon

Cooked cubed chicken

Frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts and tenders

Frozen ground turkey and beef

Frozen veggie blends (stew veggies, mixed veggies, California mix, noodle stir-fry)

Frozen veggies (corn, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans)

Frozen whipped topping

Lemonade and pink lemonade concentrate

Shredded hash browns

Tater tots

Uncooked bacon


Refrigerator

Applesauce

Assorted sliced deli cheeses (cheddar, Swiss, provolone, Colby-jack, mozzarella, American)

Baby carrots

Buttermilk

Cheese melt product (like Velveeta)

Cheese sticks and string cheese

Cream cheese

Crescent rolls

Eggs

Lemon juice

Milk

Mixed salad greens

Refrigerated biscuits and crescent rolls

Sliced deli turkey and ham

Sour cream

Stick and bowl margarine or butter


Canned and jarred goods

Assorted fruit (peaches, pears, fruit cocktail)

Assorted jam and jelly

Assorted pie fillings (cherry, blueberry, apple)

Chicken broth

Corn, whole kernel and cream-style

Cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, and cream of potato soup

Crushed, cubed, and sliced pineapple

Diced and stewed tomatoes

Diced tomatoes and green chiles (like Ro-tel)

Evaporated milk

Jalapeno and banana peppers

Maraschino cherries

Mushroom stems and pieces

Olives

Pie fillings

Pineapple juice

Pumpkin

Salsa and Picante sauce

Spaghetti sauce

Sweetened condensed milk

Tomato paste and sauce

Whole berry and jellied cranberry sauce

Fresh fruits and vegetables

Avocadoes

Bananas

Grapes

Potatoes

Season produce

Tomatoes

Zucchini


Bread, cereal, and crackers

Bagels

Corn flakes

Crispy rice cereal

Flour and corn tortillas (6-inch and 8-inch)

French and Italian loaves

Graham crackers

Hamburger and hot dog buns

Round butter crackers

Saltines

Sliced white and wheat bread

Tortilla chips

Boxed goods

Assorted cake and brownie mixes

Biscuit/baking mix

Chicken flavored instant stuffing mix

Chicken-flavored rice dinners

Instant pudding and gelatin mixes

Microwave popcorn

Ranch dressing mix

Taco seasoning mix

Spices and herbs

Cayenne

Cilantro

Cinnamon

Dried oregano

Garlic and herb seasoning

Garlic powder

Pepper

Salt-free seasoning

Salt


Cabinets

Assorted juice (apple, orange, grape)

Assorted pasta (macaroni, small and medium shells, rotini, cavatappi)

Assorted 2-liter sodas

Baking powder

Baking cocoa

Baking soda

Barbeque sauce

Brown sugar

Butterscotch, peanut butter, and white baking chips

Canola and olive oil

Chicken bouillon cubes

Chocolate, vanilla, cream cheese, and coconut-pecan frosting

Chocolate chips (semi-sweet and milk chocolate)

Chocolate drink mix powder

Corn syrup

Cornmeal

Cornstarch

Envelopes of quick-rise yeast

Family size tea bags

Flour, self-rising and all-purpose

French-fried onions

Graham cracker crusts, 9-inch

Grated parmesan cheese

Honey

Instant coffee granules

Instant white rice

Italian salad dressing

Marshmallow crème

Marshmallows, miniature and large

Nonfat milk powder

Peanut butter, creamy and chunky

Peppermint candies

Potato chips

Powdered sugar

Quick-cooking oats

Sugar

Sweetened flaked coconut

Vanilla and almond extract

Vegetable shortening

Walnuts

Yellow mustard