Hi there, I just wanted to share a suggestion that might come in handy when you need to alter a recipe to make it larger (or smaller). If the recipe is only a few ingredients this probably isn’t necessary, but if you are making something complex take the time to do it: calculate and rewrite the recipe amounts ahead of time, in the order listed in the original recipe.
I wrote out the ingredients for the cake batter and the frosting on post-its and stuck them to the cookbook.
Yes, this is a very simple tip, but it can save you so much time and keep errors from occurring during the actual cooking. If you are constantly referring back to the ingredient list and mentally doubling the ingredients as you go there is a good chance you could forget to double one or more items. It’s even more likely to happen if it is a recipe that uses a cooking technique you are not familiar with. While you are carefully reading the instructions for what to do next you may fail to do the mental math correctly on the ingredients. This also helps make sure you have enough of the ingredients on hand for the recipe!
I put this advice into practice this weekend as I made my son’s birthday cake. I decided to make a chocolate cake with buttercream frosting from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. I needed enough cake to fill an 11″x 15″ cake pan (half-sheet) so I had to double the recipe. The cake itself had a lot of steps but the buttercream frosting was more difficult because I had never made real buttercream before. I wanted to minimized the chance of error by writing out the doubled ingredients so I could concentrate on the steps. I couldn’t have a flop cake for my son’s party with 30 people coming over!
I’m a big advocate of Plan Ahead Cooking. When possible I like to make a double batch of whatever we’re having and freeze half of it.
After reading her Lady and the Tramp, Audrey insisted that we have spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. I went ahead and made a double batch and froze the extra.
STEP 1: Place the formed meatballs on a cookie sheet and put in the freezer (a level spot) for a couple of hours.
STEP 2: Transfer to a freezer bag labeled with the item, date and number of meatballs.
Frozen waffles (like Eggos) are super convenient for getting a hot breakfast on the table in the morning. But you don’t need to buy them. Just make them yourself.
The next time you decide to make waffles on the weekend make a double batch of batter. After everyone has had their fill cook the rest of the batter.
Place cooled waffles in zipper bags and label with the date. Pop them in the freezer.
When you are ready to eat them remove the quantity you need from the bag and place in the toaster on a low setting. My toaster dial goes from 1 to 8 and I reheat the waffles on 4. Run through a second toast cycle on low if you like them extra crispy.
They won’t be as perfectly uniform as store-bought waffles, but they taste better and you know exactly what they are made of.
I have been making pizza at home about once a week lately. I make the pizza dough from scratch using a recipe that doesn’t require rising. I also make the pizza sauce myself.
Pizza Sauce: 1 can (15 oz) of tomato sauce + 1 can (small) tomato paste + Italian seasoning + 1/4 tsp salt. Heat in a small pan, spread on pizza dough.
This recipe, if you can call it that, makes a good amount of sauce. I use what I need and spoon the rest into a small freezer bag. When it’s time to make pizza again I just pull it out and defrost in the microwave, which only takes about 2 minutes!
This technique can be used with all sorts of small amounts of sauces and ingredients: tomato paste, chipotle chilies, pesto sauce. Don’t let it go bad or just throw it away–save it in the freezer. And write the date and description on the bag!
Hard boiled eggs are not just for Easter! If you find yourself with an abundance of eggs you can use them up by boiling them. Here’s how to do it (and prevent the unsightly, but harmless green ring around the yolk):
- Put the eggs in a pot in a single layer and cover with cold water, so there is about an inch of water over the tops.
- Set heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.
- Remove pot from heat and cover. Allow eggs to stay in pot of hot water for about 15 minutes.
- Drain eggs and replace hot water with cold water and ice.
- Peel and serve immediately or promptly refrigerate any unused eggs.
- Eggs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week (in the shells). Do not store peeled eggs.
So now you have hard boiled eggs, how are you going to use them? Here are a few ideas:
- Peel and eat with a dash of salt and pepper
- Make egg salad sandwiches
- Use on a chef salad or spinach salad
- Make deviled eggs
- Make a potato salad