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Ginny's Recipes
Cooking Tips

Experience is the best teacher...

Here are some of my tips and tricks to make cooking easier and your food taste better.

Please feel free to contribute your own cooking tips -- I'll post the best ones so everyone can see them.

Tip 1: Baking with Eggs

When baking, always bring eggs to room temperature first. Cold eggs may cause the batter to curdle, which could affect the cake's texture. To quickly bring eggs to room temperature, let them soak in a bowl of warm water for about a half hour.

Tip 2: Baked Meatballs

This is a great time saver when making meatballs. Instead of browning the meatballs in a fry pan, I bake them in the oven. I use a deep baking pan with a wire rack top (like a grill surface). Before baking, I add about 1/2 inch water to the bottom of the pan so that the drippings do not burn onto the pan. Not only is this faster, easier, and cleaner than frying the meatballs, it also allows all the grease and fat to fall away from the meatballs as they cook. I usually bake the meatballs at 350 degrees for about 35 min (more or less depending on the size).

Tip 3: Online Recipe Finder

Ihave had great success finding specific recipes on the internet using the standard search engines. I usually use Northern Light, but you may use any of the internet search sites. Search very specifically. For example, key in "Lemon Blueberry Cake recipe". You will get a list of "hits". I usually get exactly what I am looking for in the first few links.

Another tip, when you find the recipe you are searching for, take note of the site url. For example, if the url looks something like: "www.greatcook.com/baking/cakes/lemmonblue", backup the link to the first part "www.greatcook.com" in this example. Most always you will find a general site of interest that you will want to bookmark.

Here are some search site links to get you started:

Northern Light search

Lycos serach

Tip 4: Stretch Packaged Foods

Packaged foods are a great time saver, but I have found that they are often heavy on the sodium and sauce. I found that I can reduce the sodium content and also stretch the sauce by adding some fresh foods that complement. Here are some examples:

Packaged "Scalloped" Potato mix: Increase milk and water, add one or two fresh potatoes, sliced thin, to the mix before baking according to package directions.

Packaged Noodle or Rice Miexe: Increase water and add plain pasta or rice when preparing according to package directions.

When adding extra water, I judge the amount based on the amount of water called for with the original package mix. The additional water and pasta or rice should be in the same proportion.

I also add vegetables to packaged mixes as they are being prepared. Canned mushrooms, a small amount of frozen or canned peas, green beans, etc, work well with most packaged pasta or rice dishes.

List of Tips

Here is a list of the tips on this page:

Tip 1: Baking with Eggs
Tip 2: Baked Meatballs
Tip 3: Recipe Finder
Tip 4: Stretch Packaged Foods