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Kitchen Tips To Make Life Easier

Store breaded cutlets in the refrigerator for one hour before frying to help keep coating in place.

One of the key factors when baking a cake is making sure the oven heats to the correct temperature and remains constant. Check oven temperature by baking a white cake at 350F and watch how it bakes. If the temperature is correct it should rise evenly while remaining almost perfectly level on top.

Did you know that when butter is taken out of the refrigerator and put into the microwave, 80 per cent of the aroma and flavour of the butter is lost? For this reason professional chefs store butter at room temperature to soften it.

Tip: To soften butter in the microwave for non-baking purposes, select the defrost setting (30 per cent power). Check butter every five seconds so that it does not oversoften or melt completely.

To avoid being left with a greasy or sticky measuring cup after measuring shortening, butter, peanut butter, margarine or honey, place plastic wrap into the measuring cup beforehand, then just lift the plastic wrap and shake out the ingredient.

When slicing cinnamon roll dough, keep the filling intact. Place a length of dental floss (either waxed or unwaxed, not flavoured) underneath the roll of dough. Bring the back piece all the way forward and take the front piece to the back, gently pulling both ends until the floss cuts the dough. Much easier than trying to slice with a knife.

Store breaded cutlets in the refrigerator for one hour before frying to help keep coating in place. Remove cutlets, hold in your palm and press all sides lightly. The bread crumbs will stay in place and will cook nice and even.

Before putting tomatoes on a pizza, slice them in half and squeeze them over the sink to remove juices so that the tomatoes do not add liquid to the pizza.

Frozen concentrate juice cans make excellent cookie dough moulds for refrigerator cookies. Pack the dough in the cleaned-out can. When ready to use, push the dough out from the bottom or slice the can open lengthwise.

Make decorative sugar cookies by creating a paper stencil. Cut it out and place the exterior portion over the cookie. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of coloured sugar inside stencil. Remove stencil and bake. Tip: When the cookies are cool take two uniformly sized and shaped cookies; place 1 tablespoon frosting on a cookie. Put a Popsicle stick on the cookie like a lollipop stick; place the second cookie on top of the stick and frosting to create a sandwich-style cookie Popsicle.

Fill a pastry bag easily by opening it and dropping the bag inside of a tumbler. Fold the empty pastry bag outward so that it drapes over the cup around all sides. Fill the bag with icing.

For really tough stains on china cups, use one of the following cleaning techniques: Wipe the stain off with whitening toothpaste; or make a paste of baking soda (or washing soda) and water, scrub; or put 1 teaspoon citric acid and 1 teaspoon lemon juice and fill the remainder of the cup with hot water. Leave overnight.

To clean a pizza baking stone (if you can’t bring yourself to just wipe with water and store) sprinkle with baking soda and rub lightly with a damp cloth. Rinse well.

To clean graniteware or enamel pots and pans without scrubbing, spray oven cleaner on in a well-ventilated area, wait 30 minutes and wipe.

When moving to a new home, pack your plates with ease by purchasing a bunch of paper plates. Lay a paper plate in between each breakable plate.

Keep hot bread or rolls warmer longer. While the rolls are in the oven, line a bowl with aluminum foil, then place a cloth napkin over it and no one will notice, but they will enjoy warmer rolls longer.

Reena Nerbas is the author of the national bestsellers, Household Solutions 1 with Substitutions, Household Solutions 2 with Kitchen Secrets and Household Solutions 3 with Green Alternatives, available online and in stores across Canada. She graduated as a home economist from the University of Manitoba and speaks professionally on the subject of fixing life’s messes by using products behind everyone’s cupboard doors. As well as being a columnist, Reena can be heard on radio and TV programs across Canada and the U. S.

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