Cooking New Uses for Old Things
Microwave as Lemon Juicer
Squeeze juice from lemons with less effort by first warming them for 20 seconds in the microwave.
Colander as Flour Sifter
Avoid overly dense baked goods by sifting flour through a fine mesh colander.
Cereal Box as Sweets Carrier
Attention, PTA members: Here’s a practical Transport Alternative for the bake sale. Tape a cereal box closed, then cut away the front or back panel to create a tray for those top-selling brownies. Best of all, you can just "donate" the box.
Fork as Pouring Helper
Use fork tines to poke holes in the foil seals of oil and syrup bottles to better control the way (and the amount) they pour.
Ketchup Bottle as Dessert Decorator
Run an empty plastic ketchup bottle through the dishwasher, then fill it with your favorite sauce or condiment. Drizzle some rosemary-scented olive oil across a bowl of white bean soup, a squiggle of fudge or raspberry sauce around the rim of a dessert plate. (If calligraphy is not your strong suit, practice on a paper plate or stick to abstract designs.) You'll have a five-star-chef presentation in less than five minutes.
Colander as Splatter Blocker
When frying, top the pan with an upside-down metal colander to protect yourself from burns while still allowing heat to escape.
Chip Clip as Bookmark
Attaching a chip clip to each side of your cookbook will not only keep your place while whipping up dinner, it will also help keep the book open. Submitted by: kriehl5
Tic Tac Box as Spice Holder
Pack small amounts of your favorite spice (red pepper flakes, anyone?) in old Tic Tac boxes, to season food on-the-go.
Turkey Baster as Pancake Shaper
Use a baster full of batter to squeeze custom pancakes onto the griddle. Start with easy letters and shapes, then work up to more complicated designs, like these leaves. (The trick is to draw the outlines and veins first, let them brown, then fill in the gaps with more batter.)
Button as Apron Hook
Cooking up a storm? For easy access, attach a button to the front of an apron so you can hang a pot holder or a looped dish towel from it.
Colander as Knitting Assistant
To prevent balls of yarn from tangling, string the end of each through a colander hole.
Felt Pads as Cutting Board Anchor
Anchor a cutting board’s corners to make prep work easier and safer.
Bowl as Garlic Peeler
Peel garlic. Place cloves in a bowl, cover with another bowl to form a sphere, and shake. The peels will flake off.
Buttons as Appetizer Stand
Here's a fanciful and fun way to serve cubed cheese, cherry tomatoes, and more: Place large buttons on a tray, spear the hors d'oeuvres with toothpicks, then anchor the toothpick ends in the buttons' holes.
Soda Bottle as Pasta Measurer
Said good-bye to soda? Fill the mouth of a dry 20-ounce bottle with uncooked spaghetti; the opening holds enough for a hearty single serving.
Melon Baller as Jar Scoop
Scoop and strain from a narrow-mouth jar at the same time by using a melon baller. Works especially well for foods like capers and pimento. Submitted by: KimEH1
Cocktail Shaker as Egg Scrambler
Whip up fluffy omelets by adding eggs, milk, and seasonings together in a cocktail mixer. Give it a few shakes and it's ready for the skillet. Submitted by: suziegirl
Cereal Bag as Crumb Maker
These durable bags can take a beating. Fill one up and give it a whack with a rolling pin to make crumbs out of crackers, cornflakes, or candy. Remember to twist the top closed to prevent flyaways.
Straw as Ketchup Unclogger
Insert a straw until it reaches the bottom of the glass bottle. Shake the bottle, then pour, leaving the straw inside. The airflow provided by the straw breaks the condiment-stopping vacuum.
Coffee Beans as Pie Weights
When prebaking a piecrust, use beans to keep it from puffing up or shrinking into the pie plate: Line the bottom and sides of the cold dough with foil and fill to the brim with beans.
Aluminum Foil as a Piecrust Protector
To prevent a piecrust from burning while the filling cooks, make a foil collar to deflect heat. Take a piece of foil about 25 inches long, fold it into thirds lengthwise, and fasten the ends with a paper clip. Halfway into the baking, slip the collar over the crust (as shown). Leave it on until the pie is done.
Aluminum Foil as a Funnel
Fashion a funnel of foil to neatly transfer salad dressings or condiments from tacky plastic bottles to pretty carafes or back again. Place it in the bottle and pour away.
Aluminum Foil as a Grilling Helper
Really hot grill bars equal dramatic grill marks on your porterhouse. To concentrate the heat and keep it from escaping, lay a sheet of foil over the grill for 10 minutes. Peel the foil off just before cooking, scrunch it into a ball (it cools fast), and use it later to scrape any residue or ash from the bars.
Bundt Pan as Vertical Roaster
For a juicy bird that’s crispy all the way around, first layer potatoes, carrots, and onions on the bottom of the pan. Then season the chicken and place in the pan with the cavity over the center hole. Set the dish on a cookie sheet to collect any drippings and roast as usual.
Can as Biscuit Cutter
Most biscuit cutters make overly wide biscuits, anyway―more beret than top hat. Use a tomato-paste can to achieve the proper size. First, scoop out the paste and freeze it in Tupperware or a storage bag. Then remove both the top and the bottom with a can opener and wash the interior. To prevent sticking, dip the can in flour before each cut.
Cast-Iron Pan as Recipe Board
Hang a skillet on a kitchen wall and you’ll have a convenient magnetic spot to display recipes, important reminders, and anything else your brain is too, well, fried to remember.
Chopsticks as Flour Leveler
Use a chop stick to easily level flour in a measuring cup. Leave it in the flour canister and you won't have to rummage for a clean knife.
Coffee Filter as Yogurt Strainer
For a dip that doesn't taste watered down, strain your yogurt before using it. Secure a paper coffee filter over the mouth of a deep cup or jar with a rubber band then pour in some yogurt. Any liquid in the yogurt will drain through the filter.
Cola as Ham Marinade
For sweet, juicy ham without the goopy stove-top glaze, pour a 20-ounce bottle of regular cola over a 10-pound precooked ham and roast for 2 1/2 hours at 350° F, basting every 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven, cut a hatch diamond pattern into the top, rub with a tablespoon of dry mustard, stud the centers of the diamonds with whole cloves, and pat with 1 cup brown sugar and 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs. Return to oven for 35 minutes.
Cork as Heat Protector
For a heat protector, slip a cork or two under a lid's handle and you'll always have something safe to grab.
Corn Flakes as Bread Crumb Substitute
For a new twist on a serial dinner favorite, add a layer of crunch to plain old mac-and-cheese. Top your child’s bowl with a sprinkling of flakes (even the bits at the bottom of the bag work). It’s easier and more kid-friendly than toasted bread crumbs.
Dish Towel as Rice Steamer
Steam perfect rice. Once the rice is tender, remove the pan from the heat, place a folded towel over the saucepan, replace the lid, and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes. The towel will absorb the excess moisture for great rice with no mush.
Egg Slicer as Mushroom Chopper
Cut mushrooms into neat slivers, all without a cutting board to clean.
Egg Slicer as Strawberry Dicer
Give this classic tool a permanent spot on your kitchen counter and―presto!―you'll have perfect slivers of your favorite summer foods.
Egg Slicer as Mozzarella Slicer
Slice perfect pieces of mozzarella―and cut out the mess that goes with it. The wires divide the soft cheese into equal segments without squashing it. It's a clean cut, any way you slice it.
Dental Floss as Cheese Slicer
Use floss to slice soft cheese, cake, and hard-boiled eggs. (Or try it as a substitute for kitchen twine to truss a chicken.) It's hygienic, neat, and cheap. Unwaxed works best, and of course you know better than to mix mint-flavored with a vintage Gorgonzola.
Dinner Fork as Garlic Press
To "puree" garlic hold the tines flat against a work surface, and vigorously rub a peeled clove across them. The result: A fine paste perfect for marinades, sauces, and vinaigrettes (and an end to hand washing the garlic press).
Garlic Press as Seed Crusher
Don't have a mortar and pestle? Crack coriander seeds (shown), cumin seeds, and peppercorns with a garlic press instead. When a recipe calls for "freshly cracked" or "coarsely ground" seeds, fill the chamber of a garlic press and squeeze to crush.
Gift Box as Cupcake Carrier
If the forecast calls for iced roadways, stabilize your sweet cargo by cutting X’s into the tops of gift boxes and inserting the cupcakes. (A shirt box will hold about eight.)
Golf Tees as Food Markers
Is that a blueberry or cranberry muffin? Eliminate all the guessing at your next brunch by using colorful tees to denote which is which. (Also handy when distinguishing medium-rare from medium patties at a cookout.)
Grater as Muffin Saver
Revive burned muffins and cookies by running the charred bottoms lightly across the grater to help them rise from the ashes. Your baked goods will look golden brown, even if you forgot to set the timer.
Hair Dryer as Cake Decorating Tool
To gloss the frosting on a freshly baked cake, lightly blow warm air over the top and the sides of the cake until the frosting melts a little. When it cools, the surface will stay shiny for a professional finish.
Aluminum Foil as Muffin Tin Liner
Shield a muffin tin from burned-on batter drips by laying a foil sheet across it, snipping an X over each cup, then popping in liners.
Aluminum Foil as Baking Pan
Need a pan in a pinch? Use aluminum foil. Rather than struggling to dislodge your rustic apple masterpiece from its (supposedly) nonstick pan, bake it on a cookie sheet, supporting its sides with a doubled-over strip of foil. Secure the foil with a paper clip.
Baking Sheet as Juice Collector
When slicing messy foods like tomatoes, place the cutting board on a baking sheet. It will contain any juices, and make it easy to clean up—simply rinse in the sink.
Bowl as Garlic Peeler
To quickly peel garlic, place cloves in a bowl and cover with another bowl, forming a sphere. Shake the bowls and the peels will flake off inside.
Candle as Tear Prevention
Stop the waterworks that normally accompany chopping onions with a candle. The flame burns off some of the fumes and carries away the rest.
Candle as Recipe Card Protector
Make your recipe cards spill-proof by rubbing a thin coat of wax over them.
Chopstick as Pie Crust Measure
To ensure a uniform piecrust, roll the dough until it is as thick as the widest part of a chopstick.
Citrus Peel as Brown Sugar Softener
Avoid rock-hard brown sugar and preserve the moisture by dropping a three inch-long orange peel into the bag.
Coffeemaker as Chocolate Melter
Soften chocolate for baking without having to drag out the double boiler. Instead, put the chocolate in an ovenproof bowl, set the bowl on the heating plate, and turn on the machine.
Dishwasher as Salmon Cooker
Yes, the internet myth is true, you can cook salmon in the dishwasher, but be forewarned, your dishwasher will reek afterwards. Bob Blumer's Dishwasher Salmon Recipe
Dental Floss as Cake Slicer
When a recipe calls for splitting a cake in two horizontally, use a two-foot piece of waxed dental floss to make a clean straight cut. Just make sure it's the unflavored type!
Grater as Citrus Strainer
Squeeze lemons, limes, or oranges over the grater to keep seeds out of the juice.
Ice Cream Scoop as Baking Measure
Dole out dry ingredients. Most standard ice cream scoops double as 1/4-cup measuring devices.
Lemon as Grater Cleaner
After shredding soft cheese or other sticky foods, go over both sides of the grater with the pulp side of a cut lemon to get rid of any residue.
Mesh Strainer as Egg Crumbler
Crumble hardboiled eggs for a salad topping by pushing them through a mesh strainer.
Need a quick refresher? Learn how to hard-boil an egg.
Photo Tree as Recipe Holder
Orchestrate a multicourse meal by displaying all the recipes you need on a single stand so you never miss a beat (or an ingredient).
Toothpick as Frosting Protector
Prevent plastic wrap from smudging a birthday cake by sticking toothpicks in the top before covering.
Zippered Plastic Bag as Funnel
To funnel peppercorns into a mill, fill a baggie with the spices, snip off a corner, and pour the pepper through the hole.
Zippered Plastic Bag as Frosting Dispenser
If you don't have a pastry bag, you can use a plastic bag to decorate a cake or cupcakes. Scoop frosting into the bag, seal it shut, snip off a tiny corner, and start piping.
Zippered Plastic Bag as Soup Saver
Stockpile soup by pouring extra portions into baggies, then laying them flat in the freezer. Once hardened, you can stack them up and save them for a rainy day.
Floss as Kitchen Twine
When you're out of kitchen twine (or if you never had any in the first place), unwaxed floss is a perfect stand-in for trussing a bird. Just be sure it's the unflavored wax you use!