Hot Food Hacks Posts

How To: 8 Tricks That Make Boxed Cake Mix Taste Like Homemade

Ask ten different people how they feel about boxed cake mixes, and you'll likely get ten different answers. Some baking purists will berate them and throw them in the same category as garlic presses and knife sets sold on infomercials. Many people will say that they prefer not to use mixes, but keep one in the pantry just in case. And I dare you to find a college student that doesn't sing their praises.

Polenta vs Grits: Why Grits Wins (Even When a Recipe Calls for Polenta)

Polenta can cause risotto-like anxiety for the most experienced cook. First of all, making polenta is time-consuming—it can often take upwards of 45 minutes (unless you use this shortcut). And in the midst of this long cooking time, you're constantly stirring to keep the polenta from becoming lumpy. Even after taking the utmost of care, the polenta can still turn out too loose, too firm, or too grainy.

How To: Thaw a Frozen Steak in Minutes

It's a basic law of cooking: whenever you're really craving something, you don't have it. All you want is a glass of wine? Chances are you finished the bottle while braising meat last night. Want nothing more than a sandwich right now? Yep, you finished the bread with breakfast. You'd kill for a steak? They're all in the freezer, and you don't want to wait while they thaw; you want your steak now.

How To: 10 Reasons Why Drinking Gin Can Actually Be Good for You

Alcohol isn't exactly considered a healthy lifestyle choice; more often than not, it's associated with empty calories and bad decisions. But that doesn't mean there aren't a few benefits to drinking in moderation. In fact, gin is a liquor with a wealth of potential benefits to offer. So read on, and discover ten ways in which gin might actually be a good drink for you.

How To: Dehydrate Food Without a Dehydrator

I grew up in a rural town, and that meant that we dehydrated a lot of food. Even with a hungry family of five, there was no way that we could eat all of the season's tomatoes before they molded, or all of the orchard's apples before they grew soft, or all of the wild mushrooms that we picked. And so our dehydrator was always getting a good workout.

How To: Ripen an Avocado in 10 Minutes or Less

Summer cookouts and barbecues come with a lot of delicious foods, but to me, there's nothing better than dishes heaped with avocados. From guacamole to simply eating an avocado right out of its skin, I devour this fruit constantly—but it's one that can be tricky to find perfectly ripe.

How To: Make Garlic-Infused Olive Oil & Vinegar at Home

Garlic—it stinks so good! It's one of nature's most wondrous foods, being both delicious and incredibly healthy. What's not to love? Well, it is kind of a pain to prep, whether you're peeling a couple of cloves for a sauce or a whole head and trying to mince it finely. One way to get around the whole peeling and mincing issue every time you want garlic in a dish is by buying pre-made garlic-infused olive oil, except that stuff is pretty pricey. Learn to make it at home and you'll get all the ...

How To: Skip the Oven—Microwave Your Fish

Fish are delicate, flaky, and can be damn tricky to cook; more often than not, you end up with a hard, dry block of flesh that makes your taste buds sad. And the best ways to cook fish that you know of—c'mon, who doesn't love a fried fish—take way too much effort for you to bother with on a weeknight. Or maybe you're looking for a healthier way to enjoy fish that doesn't require batter or frying at all.

How To: Don't Have a Special Cupcake Pan? Here's How to Bake Cupcakes and Muffins Without One

Love or hate 'em, you've got to admit that cupcakes really had their moment. They started rising in popularity back in 2003 with the opening of Crumbs Bake Shop in Manhattan, and quickly became one of the most annoyingly ubiquitous food trends to date. Seriously. Type "cupcake" into Google. While I wouldn't turn it down if you put one in front of me (red velvet, please), I can't say that I was particularly disappointed to hear that the cupcake trend is coming to an end. I'm more of a cheeseca...

How To: Make Easy Homemade Buttermilk, Sour Cream, & Crème Fraîche

Cultured dairy products are great for topping chilis and soups, stirring into dips, and adding tanginess to breads and pancakes. They're extremely versatile and often interchangeable, and they contain probiotics that offer a long list of health benefits. They're also super easy to make at home with just a few basic ingredients. Here's how to make your own buttermilk, sour cream and crème fraîche.

How To: 10 Key Things Everyone Should Know About Seasoning, Cleaning, & Maintaining Cast Iron Pans

Cast iron is one of the best surfaces to cook on, but taking care of it is a whole 'nother story. It's not as simple as just washing it in soapy water like all of your other pans, and everyone has different ideas about how it should be done. It seems intimidating at first, but once you learn the basics, you'll be making the best steaks, homemade pizza, and fried chicken of your life.

How To: 'Hot Chocolate' Balls = Next-Level Instant Cocoa

Winter—or any cold, gray day, for that matter—is the best time for a warm cup of something hot. For me, hot chocolate is my "warm cup" of choice: rich and milky, deliciously sweet, and oh-so-comforting. On super-cold days when I can't feel my face, a nice, large cup of hot chocolate warms my tummy and cheers me up. (And lucky for me, it's pretty healthy for me too!)

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