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.
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...
Cheese is one of the most loved foods in the world, and there are hundreds of different types. Some prefer super expensive gourmet cheeses, others are fine with the cheaper processed stuff.
Most of us lead busy, work-filled lives, often clocking in a 9-to-5 five days a week. And when that clock signifies the hour to leave, the last thing on anyone's mind is: "Time to go to the grocery store to pick up more fresh produce!" (Well, to be fair... maybe more people are psyched about this, but I know with certainty that I am not one of them.)
The bread at your local supermarket will most likely always be fresh, but how do you know which loaf is the freshest out of the bunch? You can squeeze and inspect them like an annoying TSA agent, but there's actually a much simpler way to do it.
Poor chickens. Bacon fat is revered (and justifiably so), and duck fat is a staple at most fine grocers. Marbles of fat make a steak divine, and goose fat is the holy grail of fatty goodness. Yet chicken fat is usually thrown away.
The headline above may have some spice addicts shaking their heads, but, believe it or not, there are people out there who either don't like or can't handle a ton of spice.
Homemade ice cream is so good and you can make it with just a few ingredients and no special equipment. Most cookbooks and magazine recipes expect you to have an ice cream maker at home, but you can imitate the churning effect of an ice cream maker by shaking or tossing around the ingredients inside a tightly sealed ziplock bag.
Pumpkin carving and decorating is a favorite pastime during this time of year. After you've carved an amazing design or face into a pumpkin or two, you want to show it off through your window or set it out on your porch for the neighbors to see. Without knowing the tricks to save your holiday pumpkins, they can turn slimy, moldy, and mushy in as little as three days.
Unless you like boxed wine, your wine bottles are going to either be sealed with a cork or a screw cap, the latter of which should not be frowned upon, especially if it's white wine. However, most wineries still prefer corks over screw caps, and that means you'll need a corkscrew.
A lot of people rely on the date on the packaging to tell them when food has gone bad, even with eggs, but the sell-by dates are often somewhat arbitrary and are not expiration dates. If you've been tossing your eggs based on the dates on your carton—you could be wasting perfectly good food.
French fries, like mashed or roast potatoes, are the type O blood of the food world—they're compatible with just about everybody. That's why it's so sad to bring home leftover frites (that's French for French fries) and have to toss them out the next day because they don't taste as good when they're reheated. Warning: Do Not Ever, Ever Use Your Microwave
A fire snake, also referred to as a black snake or sugar snake, is a classic science experiment you can do right in your own kitchen using a baking soda and sugar mixture and a fuel to ignite the reaction.
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.
Instant ramen has been popular in the states for decades, and restaurants that serve the real thing in any variety you can imagine have been popping up everywhere in the last few years. But you don't have to go out or spend all day cooking to have a gourmet ramen experience.
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.
Once upon a time in America, there was coffee and there was decaf. That's it. No capuccinos. No espressos. And certainly no Starbucks. Coffee was just coffee, something that you bought at a gas station or donut shop. If you made it at home, it was either in a metal pot or instant coffee.
A flat soda tastes awful. It's almost as bad as drinking a room temperature milkshake. Of course, you can always opt to buy single-serving cans or 20 ounce bottles, but that's always going to be more expensive than 2-liters.
Even though I often end the workday exhausted and just want to wrap rotisserie chicken parts in a store-bought tortilla and shove it in my eating hole, I generally try and take a couple of minutes to warm up said tortillas before I begin my meal. But if you're starving, do you really need to take the time? Do warm tortillas really make that much of a difference?
Go to a chain supermarket, and chances are you'll see one type of garlic—maybe two or three if you're lucky. However, there's a mouthwatering slew of Allium sativum out there, far beyond those papery white bulbs most of us encounter at the nearest Stop 'n' Shop.
While seltzer water is commonly consumed as a beverage (and a healthier alternative to carbonated soda), it is less known as a fantastic addition to many familiar recipes. The bubbles in seltzer water expand when heated, and when added to certain foods, it instantly allows them to be lighter in taste and texture.
Bottled water is a rip-off. Not only is it pretty much the same stuff that comes out of your tap for free, but plastic bottles are rarely recycled and thus account for a huge amount of the waste that's overflowing our landfills. Next Up: Water Bottles You Can Eat
The Holy Grail of chicken has just been found by an unsuspecting reporter of the Chicago Tribune. Yes, that's right: The secret 11 herbs and spices in Colonel Sanders' Original Recipe chicken has finally been revealed, and it looks legit as hell.
It's almost time for Halloween, which means that it's time for the nastiest-looking food and drink to make its appearance. Severed fingers, brains, vomit... everything that would normally make our stomachs turn at any other time of year makes us cackle with glee instead on Halloween night.
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.
Taco Bell's in the news for umpteenth time, and today the controversy is over their infamous beef taco meat. Gizmodo leaked a picture of Taco Bell's "Taco Meat Filling" and surprise, surprise— it's missing a lot of the "meat" that it claims in its advertisements. Taco Meat Filling Ingredients
Creamer, milk (whole or skim), sugar, or even butter—you've probably added at least one of these to your coffee to improve its taste at some point. If you're looking for something different, though, try a new twist with a dash of cinnamon. This sweet, sharp spice can do so much more than improve coffee's taste, and I've got 10 examples for you to consider.
You're in the middle of cooking and a car alarm, cute kitten, or neighborhood brawl made you step away from the stove for a few minutes longer that you should have. It happens to almost every home cook. Most of the time, nothing dramatic happens, but every now and then, you end up with something like this:
Baking powder and baking soda are two staples almost everyone has around that seem to last forever. But a lot of people don't know that they eventually start to lose their potency after enough time on the shelf. If you can't remember when you bought it, it's probably time for a new box.
Baking a cake is relatively easy... if you happen to have a cookbook or some boxed cake mix nearby. And though you can use the internet or your favorite cooking app, it can be nice to just cook without a recipe. That seems impossible with baking, which is such an exact science, but it's actually relatively easy.
Microwave popcorn promises so much—a tasty, relatively healthy snack that's ready in minutes—yet it rarely delivers. Most of the time you'll end up with a scorched bagful or a bunch of stubborn un-popped kernels, but it doesn't have to be that way. With a few simple tricks, it's easy to get perfectly fluffy, tender-crisp popcorn every time.
Knowing if your meat is cooked properly is both the difference between a delicious meal and an inedible one... and the difference between making your guests sick and keeping them safe.
Each flavor of sake, the national spirit of Japan, comes with its own fans, not unlike whiskey aficionados here in the States. While sake is often called "rice wine," it is more akin to a malted beverage like beer.
Creating a haunted house for Halloween was a big deal when I was growing up, and the neighborhood kids were always coming up with ways to try and out-do each other when it came to this frightful night. One beloved game was to blindfold the participants and play the Withered Corpse.
You've probably noticed artichokes at the front and center of your local grocery store or farmer's market recently, as spring is artichoke season; They may look like strange, complicated vegetables if you've never cooked them before.
How To: Brita Filters Costing You a Fortune? Use These DIY Methods to Clean Your Water for Half the Price
No matter what the clean freaks out there try to tell me, I still drink my Los Angeles tap water without a care in the world. I figure that I've already consumed much more heinous things in my lifetime. Street vendor "steak" burritos comes to mind.
It's a small but very real frustration: you want a chilled drink, but you open the freezer only to see nothing but empty ice trays. Fortunately, there's a simple way to make ice cubes quickly—use hot water. Yup, you read that correctly. Hot water freezes more rapidly than cold.
Like a lot of other fruits, mandarin oranges are delicious but annoying to peel. There are tons of tricks for peeling fruits and vegetables faster, but what if you don't want to peel them at all?
Juicing fruits and vegetables is very beneficial to your health. For some, it's a trend; but to me, it's a part of my morning routine.
If you're a sushi lover but not an expert sushi maker, you can still enjoy the flavors of sushi rolls at home with these deconstructed sushi dishes.