Food blogs are my favorite place to read about how cooking can be made easier. I grew up in a large extended family so have always cooked for an army. But now that I live alone, I have had to learn how to cook on another level. I like this new way better as I don’t have a refrigerator full of half-eaten food. Some tips and tricks for today:
1. From Chocolate and Zucchini (10 years old): “How to Organize Your Multimedia Recipes” :
- There’s a slew of free apps that offer variations on the theme of one-stop organization, the best of which have app components so you can use them on laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Pepperplateand Tastebook are both food-centric; as Mar says, “you can download recipes from various food websites and also enter recipes manually.”
- Evernote doesn’t have a food focus, but Pegeen loves it because, like the others, it’s free and multi-platform — plus she can use it to store scanned handwritten recipes along with her typed online recipes. For those she hasn’t scanned, she still makes a quick Evernote entry with a note on where to find it: “That way, the recipe title shows up alphabetically, and tells me to go look in the paper file.”
- Multiple members are fans of Eat Your Books, which helps you search through recipes in your own collection — especially helpful if you have a sizable stockpile of cookbooks.
- LE BEC FIN prints everything out, stores each recipe in clear plastic sleeves, and files them away. In addition to protecting recipes from sauce spatters, the sleeves protect scraps of paper until you have time to type them up. Diana B does something similar, increasing the font size beforehand so her recipes are easier to read when she’s “dancing around the kitchen.”
- Savorthis uses a similar system, using a huge binder as a recipe catch-all: “While I love what digital can do for so many things in life, I am still much more fond of this food-splattered binder. And when in a real pinch, I don’t often have trouble finding the recipe online.”
- Whenever Pegeen cooks from an online recipe, she prints it out and “tapes the printed sheets in a row along the front of the kitchen cabinets so I can read continuously without the recipe taking up room on the counter.”
2. From A Couple Cooks: “Get Your Snack On”: Some great healthy snack recipes–
- 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1½ teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat your oven to 375F.
- Rinse and drain the chickpeas. Place them on a towel and pat gently to dry. Remove any loose skins. (If desired, you can remove skins from most of the chickpeas, but we tried both ways and didn’t find a large difference in the final product.)
- In a medium bowl, stir together chickpeas with 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1½ teaspoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon cumin, ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika, and ¾ teaspoon kosher salt.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour on chickpeas and spread them out so that they are in a single layer. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until crispy and dry, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes.
- Allow to cool. Store in a sealable container in a dry cupboard; keeps for about 1 week.
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 cups roasted almonds (unsalted)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Scant ½ teaspoon cayenne
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Place 2 tablespoons honey in a small, microwave-safe bowl or pitcher and microwave for 15 seconds.
- In a bowl, mix the honey with the remainder of the ingredients.
- Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the mixture on the baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. Allow to cool fully, then break apart almonds gently.
3. From Inspired Taste: “Classic Banana Bread Recipe”:
- 1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour (we use Gold Medal)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 medium bananas (heavily speckled or even black bananas are best)
- 1/2 cup (113 grams or 1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (50 grams) walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped, optional
- Center a rack in the oven and heat to 350º F. Butter and flour an 8 1/2- x 4 1/2- x 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Place the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked on top of the other.
- Make Batter: Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together, set aside.
- In the bottom of a medium bowl, mash bananas into a chunky paste. Whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla into the bananas until blended.