No doubt this pandemic has kept us inside for quite a long time now, and it looks like it’ll take a while to get back some sense of normality. The once normal routine which had all of us going to the office, meeting friends and relatives whenever we felt like it, eating out, travelling, visiting our neighbourhood parks has now got to be rewritten. However, while navigating this pandemic, it has also given us an opportunity to try various hobbies to keep us entertained—something we never had the time or inclination to do. One of them is trying our hand in the kitchen and turn into a Masterchef (or at least try). As we all step into our kitchens to whip up some miracles, we’ve listed some easy kitchen and food hacks to help you cook better. It doesn’t matter if you are an expert or a novice (like most of us), these quick and easy hacks can help save time, money and hassle.

Also read: 8 quick and easy recipes to try from around the world

Here Are Some Food Hacks To Make Cooking Easier

1Overripe Bananas Make The Best Banana Bread

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Delicious homemade banana bread with chocolate chips

If you haven’t gotten on board with the trend of baking your own banana bread, here is your chance. Those black and brown bananas you might be reluctant to eat can be used to make the best banana bread. Those are easy to mash into the batter and are sweeter. In some cases, you can even skip the sugar.

Also read: 20 super easy baking recipes to try 

2Rescue Split Hollandaise

Making hollandaise sauce from scratch can get a little tricky. One of the biggest hurdles is the sauce curdling. If that happens, there’s a way to save it from going to waste with this amazing food hack. All you have to do is whisk a fresh egg yolk in a separate bowl with a blob of butter and a little warm water. Keep whisking until smooth. And then, very slowly whisk it into the curdled sauce. 

3Try Mug Cakes

Not everyone can get a hold of various baking utensils, so try this quick and easy alternative—MUG CAKES. When it comes to food hacks, this one takes the cake (no pun intended). There’s no end to the variations you can experiment with. The best thing? There are different flavours and the best part? You can get a little bit of cake with a fraction of the effort, ingredients and time.  

Also Read: Easy Dessert Recipes From Around The World You Can Make Yourself

4Use Pasta Water

Rather than draining water off the pasta, store it. Mix it into the sauce for your pasta as you make or simmer it on your stove on low heat. Keep adding a ladle or two of pasta water — it gives your sauce a rich, silky texture.

5Waffle Iron: Not Just For Waffles

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Have some fun with your waffle iron and use it to cook omelettes, quesadillas, even burritos but – best of all – hash browns. Do remember to grease the iron first and make certain that any raw ingredients, such as whisked egg or grated potato, are cooked thoroughly.

Also read: 25 delicious breakfast dishes from around the world

6Sauce Bottles For Pancakes

Food Hacks

Scooping pancake mix into the pan can be a messy business. So to save your kitchen from pancake wreckage, take an empty plastic sauce bottle and use it to squeeze out the batter into circular pancakes. Be a little creative while using the bottle and create animals, shapes or numbers out of the batter.

Also read: 35 delicious types of pancakes from around the world

7Grate Your Butter To Spread It Better

If you are having a hard time cutting or spreading your cold butter, worry not! Just use a grater to soften it up to the perfect amount and spread it on your toast. This will help you to spread butter evenly without destroying your loaf in the process.

8Don’t Throw The Vegetable Stock 

Just like the pasta water, water from boiling vegetables or meat can be used again. Filled with nutrients and taste, the water can be added to any gravy, making it more flavourful, thicker and packed with flavour and vitamins.

9Bacon In Microwave

To have a quick breakfast with bacon, try using a microwave. While the smell and look of sizzling bacon strips on a frying pan is enviable, microwaving bacon is faster and easier to make. Just lay a paper towel on a plate (microwavable) and put strips of bacon on it. Make sure they don’t touch each other. Cover with another paper towel and cook on high for approximately three minutes. Then shift the bacon to another paper towel for a few seconds to absorb the grease and allow it to cool before eating.

10Keep Your Vegetables Crisp And Green

Blanch your vegetables and keep them green for a longer period of time. First, cook them in boiling water for a few minutes (depending on the type of vegetable), and then dunk them into a bowl of ice water. This will help the vegetables from overcooking so they can retain their texture and colour. Blanching will also seal in the flavour and remove bitterness from certain vegetables.

11Microwave Pizza With A Mug Of Water

If you want to heat up last night’s pizza, all you need to do is microwave it with a mug or bowl of water. As the water evaporates, moisture will fill the microwave and rehydrate the dry crust of your leftover pizza. An alternative is to soak a paper towel with water and place it in the microwave—it has the same effect. You will have a gooey, cheesy pizza slice once more. This trick works for any other bread item where you want the texture to be soft instead of crisp.

12Use An Ice Cream Scoop For Meatballs

Meatballs preparation using ice cream scoop, easy trick

For those who create more mess and fewer meatballs while trying to shape them, use an ice cream scoop to portion the meat evenly and efficiently. This way you won’t have sticky fingers or misshapen meatballs and a perfect sphere every time.

So, Which Of These Kitchen Hacks Will You Try First?

As we all are counting days to when we will be allowed to step out and eat at our favourite restaurants, nothing is stopping from creating our favourite dishes on our own! Cooking is one of the most basic life skills you can pick during this period of time. With a few tips and hacks, you can also take a chance to try different culinary techniques. Start off with these basic food hacks and improve your skills slowly by tweaking sauces or methods in the recipes. Whether you are an expert who can chop onions like a pro or a newbie, some recipe hacks can go a long way. Share your experiences and any other food hacks that you may know of in the comments below.

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