I Love Cooking Tricks….

You know — tricks.  Short cuts, kitchen-y secrets, stuff grandma taught me….  Tricks.

Like — Covering chicken parts (in a container) with salt water brine for an hour (in the fridge) before cooking them will make them both butter tender and yummy.

Or — salting veggies after they are cut (and laid out on paper towels) will make them give up much of their natural water, so they can be coated in seasoned flour and fried — without as much “popping” or splattering, AND they won’t turn out mushy.  😉

Or — Adding 1/4 c of buttermilk to a pan of ground beef to make it melt-in-your-mouth tender in whatever recipe you are browning the meat for.

Or — browning that same ground beef on a low setting for 1 1/2 hours or more — until it is actually brown and not gray — to make it as tender as the brisket you would cook on low in the oven over-night at 240.

So here’s the latest –>  I make cake/muffin mixes in my bread machine (for several reasons: I can’t mix cake batter by hand any more because of my torn-up thumbs; and because my oven is broken….) Until these last few months when my hands have gotten so much more &%$*@!, I also made scones regularly — which are slightly harder to mix by hand, and so were the first of my baking projects to drop away.  But I have some kick-ass recipes and some other favorite scone mixes (mostly from King Arthur) that I really miss.  — But I found a conversion recipe to take some of those yummy King Arthur Scone mixes and transform them into QUICK BREAD!

Here’s the conversion:

Instead of following the package instructions, combine these ingredients:

1 pkg King Arthur scone mix — any flavor
1/2 t salt
1/2 c canola oil or butter
1 1/2 c milk
1 lg egg

Put all but the mix in the bread machine pan, then dump the scone mix in and set the bread machine to mix for 7 minutes, and then bake for 62 minutes.

Most of the time when I make a conversion like this, I also add an extra 1/2 t (or slightly more) of baking powder — just to be sure and boost the batter to the muffin fluffyness/volume.

Hahahahaha!  I love it.


I also found me a cooking pot.

So what? you say.  Pots and pans are no big deal….  Well


And here’s why –> Until this year, I used cast iron for almost everything I cooked.  My soup pots, casseroles, frying pans, pizza pans, water kettles — you name it.  Either Lodge cast iron, or Le Creuset enameled cast iron.

Obviously — my hands won’t pick up cast iron very easily any more.  I’ve given most of it away, and what’s left are very small pieces, or things my husband picks up and moves for me.

I can’t grasp frying pan handles.  I can’t pick up a pot of boiling spaghetti and pour it through a colander to drain the pasta.  I can’t move a pan from the burner if it’s about to boil.  Frustrating frustrating frustrating.

This pan —>

is made by the Demeyere Company, and called the  Resto MASLIN PAN is substantial stainless steel, with a thick, even heating bottom plate.  It holds 10.6 quarts — perfect for chili, soup, chicken and dumplings, pasta sauce for a crowd — and even big enough to cook a pot roast or chicken.  It has a bail handle — that I can pick up with just my four fingers — and a handle to steady it, or to TIP it to pour the contents (as in draining pasta) and NO THUMBS REQUIRED!!!!

It’s light weight.  I can make it half full.  Or fill it to the brim.  Or I can just put some oil in it and fry up some chicken.

And my husband / son don’t have to get it out of the cabinet for me, or move it to the sink for me when all the cooking’s done.  No handles.  No cast iron weight.  The lid fit’s perfectly.

Technically, a maslin pan is for making jam.  It’s a jam pot.  That’s why it’s wider at the top — so the jam can “cook down” (reduce) and will be thicker and jammy-er.

Ask me if I care what it was designed for.

hahahahaha!   I love finding solutions.



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