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.

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: 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: 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: 10 Easy Tricks to Make Store-Bought Pasta Sauce Taste Homemade

There's nothing better than real, homemade tomato sauce, but to really develop the flavors, it usually has to simmer for a few hours. And while it's totally worth doing if you have the time, some nights it's just not an option. That's where the pre-made stuff comes in. Jarred pasta sauce certainly doesn't taste the same, but it's really easy to dress up when you need something quick. If you don't want anyone to know your "secret recipe," here are 10 ways to make store-bought spaghetti or mari...

How To: Ripen Bananas Faster with These 3 Simple Tricks

A trip to any grocery store's produce section will quickly reveal that bananas are often picked from the tree well before their prime—which is necessary for them to arrive at our local store without going bad. In fact, bananas are refrigerated en route to our supermarkets in order to stave off the ripening process... which makes sense, since they travel quite the distance (from the Tropics around South America or Africa to our proverbial doorstep).

How To: Turn Spaghetti into Ramen

Ramen has always been a go-to meal for frugal foodies, college students, and anyone else who loves a soothing, cheap, and easy meal. And while instant ramen is delicious (and can easily be improved), making a simple homemade ramen is even better, and nearly as easy.

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: The Easiest Way to Smoke Food Without a Smoker

There's something primal about the smell of smoking food. Somewhere deep in the recesses of our souls, we remember a time when humans only ate by the fire. Or perhaps that's just something I tell myself. Either way, it's hard to smell smoke and food and not feel like you should be eating. And, as chef Edi Frauneder said in a recent Saveur article, "Grilling is convivial. There's something about this act of coming together over an open flame that just says vacation."

Better Than Brita: Water Filters with No Plastic Parts

I used a plastic water filter for years. Who wouldn't? It cuts down on buying bottled water, which, as it turns out, is pretty much the same as unfiltered tap water. Plus, bottled water is terrible for the environment and your wallet, too. Water that costs only pennies a day and actually was purified as opposed to just saying it was? That's a no-brainer.

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.

Velveting Meat: The Best-Kept Chinese Restaurant Secret

One of my favorite things about American Chinese food is how easy it is to eat: the pieces are bite-sized, the flavors are addictive, and the meat is always tender and easy to chew. But if you've ever tried to replicate any of your favorite takeout in the kitchen, you've likely noticed that the high heat required for most recipes thoroughly dries out the meat that you're trying to cook.

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: Remove Old Food & Drink Stains with This Cheap, Easy Homemade Solution

I own two aprons—a cute one for company, and another for the hard-core cooking duties, like cutting up chicken and making stock. The sad truth is that I almost never remember to wear either of them. So, much of my clothing ends up spattered with grease, liquid, and bits of fruit and vegetable. While stain-removing sprays, sticks, and pens are all effective to a certain extent, they have two drawbacks—they're expensive and sometimes I need to use them in large quantity, like when a piece of eg...

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