Cooking and baking — two things that moms do A LOT! Whether it is breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, or snacks, moms are always in the kitchen working on meals for our children and families. There are many times where I am in the middle of some food preparation or clean up and I think, “there has got to be a better way to do this.”
So, after thinking kitchen hacks I like, I reached out to other moms to see what things they do to help save time, money, and effort in the kitchen. Below are the kitchen hacks that I hope will help you as well:
What the heck is an Ulu you ask?! Well, I wondered the same thing when I was first introduced to it. The Ulu is an amazing cutting device that helps save time and reduces mess! I use my Ulu to cut tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, etc., pretty much anything that requires a lot of food being cut and diced. It. Is. Amazing. And if you can get your hands on one, you should! You can learn about it more here.
The Pizza Cutter
Who knew this essential kitchen utensil had so many functional uses? Other moms chimed in saying they use a pizza cutter to cut sandwiches, waffles, pancakes, brownies, and more. Also, some moms have bought their children a small pizza cutter so they can cut their own foods at dinner. What a fun and genius way to teach your kids how to cut food.
The Crock Pot
The crock pot is a staple appliance in most kitchens across America. I own four different ones, in four different sizes. I have always sprayed the pot inserts before I put the foods in, but have learned there is something better: crock pot liners! I had never heard of these before, but am told they are phenomenal! I can’t wait to use crock pot liners in my own crock pot. Talk about no after dinner clean up!
The Wine Opener
I had never seen one of these until my sister bought one. How many of us use those waiter corkscrew or basic corkscrew bottle openers? Hand raised! BUT, there is something so much better and easier, which is also a time saver. This video will show you just how easy it is: Wine Bottle Opener.
Parchment paper is great for baking and is useful in making clean up a breeze after baking. You can buy parchment paper in rolls or individual sheets which you can then cut down to size. I use the roll and put it on the cookie sheet when I bake cookies, biscuits, or vegetables. The bottoms of the foods don’t burn and the paper keeps mess from the pan.
Other moms introduced me to Silpats, their favorite kitchen hack. Silpats are reusable baking sheets made out of silicone. Just wash and air dry your Silpat when you’re done. Sure, there’s a little more ‘work’ to be done, but Silpats don’t create trash as parchment paper does. The choice is yours to make but either is better than scrubbing a cookie sheet.
Let’s get real here: every good cook needs a set of good quality knives. There is more than just one type of knife and I like to choose my knives based on what I am cooking. In addition to the set of awesome knives my husband bought me a few years ago, I also have a Pampered Chef tomato knife. This is a must-have if you eat tomatoes a lot. We grow tomatoes every year and I can many of them. Canning, cooking, baking, grilling, etc., ALL require a good quality knife. Without a good knife, you’ll spend time and effort just trying to eat that delicious meal you prepared.
While I rave about the need to have good quality knives in your kitchen, some believe that the most important thing to have are kitchen shears. I had not heard of kitchen shears until I saw my in-laws used them to cut lettuce. Apparently in Korea, kitchen shears are the primary cutting tools used; they are great for cutting vegetables and meats. I used them while on a trip to Alaska and found they were both easier and sometimes faster to use, especially when cutting chicken.
Now on to the really good stuff — FOODS!:
How many times have you had to boil and shred chicken? Hand raised! You have to allow yourself time to boil, then cool and eventually shred the chicken. So, what is the hack? Shred the chicken right after cooking it, with your KitchenAid mixer! I have a KitchenAid mixer which I use for baking and had NEVER thought about using it for shredding meats. This hack is a great time saver and something that I will definitely be doing.
Yes, bananas! Didn’t you know there were hacks for them? One of the most popular hacks for bananas is to freeze them when they get too ripe to eat. Freezing bananas is great for later use in smoothies and milkshakes. And if you want to make some banana nut muffins or bread, just thaw the bananas and mix as you would a non-frozen banana — your baked goods will be tastier as you’ll have the banana juices adding extra flavor and moisture to your mix!
I had to save the best for last: bacon! Who can live without this deliciousness?! Over the years, I have made bacon on the stovetop or in the microwave. I even bought the precooked bacon because it is so much easier to clean up after because…grease…what a mess! However, I have learned that the best way (and much less messy way) to cook bacon is to bake it in the oven, on aluminum foil. Not only is the bacon crispier, there is less to clean up, which is also a great time saver!