Hot Food Hacks Posts

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: 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: Why You Should Always Save Parmesan Rinds

There are certain ingredients that chefs regularly use to elevate their food beyond the status of what us mere mortals can create. Shallots are one. Good, real Parmesan cheese is another. And the rind of that real Parmesan cheese just so happens to be one of the culinary world's biggest kept secrets.

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.

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: 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.

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: 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: What to Do When You Don't Have a Mortar & Pestle

We're all familiar with the sinking feeling that happens when you cruise through a recipe, only to arrive at an instruction that calls for a tool you don't have. Some of the best food hacks (and my personal favorites) exist to combat that problem. Why spend money on a kitchen tool—or worse, avoid a recipe altogether—when you could find a new way to achieve the same result?

Decoding Produce Stickers: The Hidden Meaning Behind Fruit & Vegetable Labels

Like Costco's price codes or the tags on your bread, the numerical codes printed on those sticky little fruit and vegetable labels can reveal a lot of information to us consumers. Once you understand the codes, you can look at that little label (also known as PLU, or "price look up" label) and know whether the produce you're about to buy or eat was treated with pesticides, genetically modified, both, or neither. Before we go any further with deciphering the codes on these labels, let's take a...

How To: 5 Surprising Uses for Your Coffee Grinder

During my time living in dorm rooms and small apartments, I would find myself in need of many different appliances—a food processor for making hummus, a blender for vegetable smoothies, or even a mortar and pestle for muddling mojito-bound mint leaves. Luckily, there was one tiny, inconspicuous tool that solved all of these problems: the coffee grinder.

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