Miser in everyday life: tips to make cooking fun and worthwhile | family

I remember my grandmother saying, “If we didn’t need food, we’d all be rich!” That may be true, but then life without food would be a little less comfortable. Still, there are so many ways to make good food cheap, perishable foods perishable, and the grocery budget stretches like nobody’s business.

Enjoy today’s tips full of practical wisdom for practical solutions to make cooking fun and rewarding for you and your family. Enjoy your meal!

When I first started cooking, making the perfect grilled cheese sandwich seemed to elude me. Either my sandwich was toasted with unmelted cheese on the outside, or the cheese was gooey but burned on the outside. Then I figured out the old fry cook’s trick: put the lid on! Once one side is grilled to perfection, flip it over and cover the pan with a lid or baking sheet. You’ll never settle for a sub-par grilled cheese again.

Skinning the chicken can be difficult when it’s slippery because it’s difficult to get a good grip. Solution: Dip your fingers in flour first and the skin will peel off immediately.

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If you love coffee like me and have never tried a gadget called the Aerobie (everydaycheapskate.com/aerobie) from AeroPress, you’re in for a delicious surprise. Aerobie is manual and is the cheapest, easiest, and fastest way to brew a truly great cup of coffee. And yes, I mean just one cup of perfectly brewed coffee at a time. Aerobie is small enough to keep one in your desk drawer at the office and another at home. Can’t break the $4 a day Starbucks habit? This might do it. To me, Aerobie makes such an excellent cup of coffee that breaking the habit is a breeze.

Tired of that first morning cup of steaming hot coffee cooling you down too quickly? Do this: Fill your coffee mug with water and heat it in the microwave while your coffee brews. Pour the water into a dirty bowl or pan that needs soaking and replace with hot coffee. You will be amazed at how long the coffee stays hot.

Used in abundance by top chefs, this clever move keeps dishes that tend to set up quickly — like risotto or creamy pasta (including macaroni and cheese) — nice and fluffy: Serve on warm plates. Use your oven on “warm” to heat plates.

If you’re sautéing onions and they’re getting too brown, throw in an ice cube to quickly chill the pan. The water will quickly evaporate and your onions will be saved.

If you’re craving a hunk’a but don’t want to wait an hour or more for the meatloaf to cook, divide and conquer: Divide the meat into individual portions in a muffin tin and bake at 450 F for 15 minutes.

To determine if an egg is fresh enough to eat, plunge it into a saucepan of cool, salted water. If it sinks, it’s fresh; If it rises to the surface, throw it away.

If eggs are on sale, stock up. In a freezer-safe container, break the eggs and whisk well to combine. Freeze. If you need an egg in a recipe, use an ice cream scoop to portion what you need like you would scoop ice cream. One scoop equals one egg.

To get more cheese into the recipe and less sticking to the grater, lightly spray both sides of the grater with cooking spray before grating the cheese.

Contact: mary@everydaycheapskate.com or www.everydaycheapskate.com

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