Common Cooking Hacks!


It happens to most of us… one minute we’re happily cooking away and suddenly, out of nowhere, a common cooking mishap happens. Now, instead of throwing your food away, here are some useful cooking hacks to help save your meal!

cooking hack

Overcooked Potatoes

Mishap: If you were planning on serving well-cooked tender potatoes for your meal but, after draining the water, you realise that the potatoes are more mushy than tender, it can be disappointing. But this is a really easy fix – just make mashed potatoes!

Solution: Leave a little bit of water in the pot you used to make the potatoes, add some salt and fresh milk for taste, and begin the mashing process with a potato masher, fork or wooden spoon. The softer the potatoes, the easier they are to mash. You can also add a pinch of mixed herds for just a bit of colour, taste and aroma.

Burnt Rice

Mishap: If you prefer cooking rice on the stove versus using a rice cooker then you know you have to be quite attentive. But life is unpredictable and it may just so happen that you shift your attention briefly and the rice burns. No worries, this is also an easy fix.

Solution: If the rice is not all the way burnt through but you want to get rid of that burnt smell, place a slice of bread, white or brown, in the pot of rice and leave it there, covered, for approximately two to three minutes. The bread will absorb the burnt smell leaving the rest of the rice perfectly fine to serve. No one will ever know!

Stale Bread

Mishap: If you buy bread occasionally and it tends to go stale because you don’t eat it as often, you don’t have to throw it away. Unless it gets mould … then it’s better to toss it than risk it. Stale bread, however, can still be saved.

Solution: If the bread became stale from refrigeration, make French toast. Scramble some eggs, add salt to taste, have a pan with a bit of olive oil or butter ready and make yourself some fresh French toast. If the bread is too dry, toss it in the food processor and make some bread crumbs to add to your afternoon or evening salad. Sorted!

Overcooked Chicken

Mishap: If you were really excited about cooking some chicken breasts but somewhere along the line you just placed them in the boiler and forgot about them, don’t worry, you’re not the first and you certainly won’t be the last.

Solution: You can toss the chicken in the food processor, add some salt and pepper for taste, then add some mayonnaise. Now you have a chicken mayo mix that you can use for sandwiches, or you could prepare some pasta to add the chicken mayo to, refrigerate the combination for about 20 minutes and you have a chicken mayo salad!

Overripe Tomatoes

Mishap: Maybe out of habit you buy your tomatoes in bulk but don’t use them that often – sound familiar? As you make your way through the pack, the tomatoes become more and more overripe. No need to toss them in the trash, they can still be saved.

Solution: Cut your tomatoes into thick slices, place them on a foil-lined baking sheet, sprinkle some salt and herds on them for taste. Place in the oven, set at 90 degrees, roast or grill for two hours or more depending on preference. Once done, drizzle some olive oil on top before serving either with your savoury breakfast, lunch, dinner or braai.

*Extra Cooking Hack: If you find the acidity of tomatoes overwhelming while having your meal, the next time you cook a tomato-based meal, add a pinch or two of sugar to the tomatoes once in the pot or pan to neutralise the acidity.

Happy cooking!

By Cleopatra Shava

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