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Baking, cooking takes instructions, time and practice

Baking, cooking takes instructions, time and practice

Baking or cooking is like any other skill. It takes instructions, time, and practice. Along the way we learn about hints or tidbits as to how to do something that is not regularly found in cookbooks. Here is a brief list of hints that might help you.


To help yeast dough rise, place filled bowl on a warm setting heating pad. Using milk instead of water in bread will make a finer textured product. Before scalding milk, rinse the pan in hot water first. To use when greasing baking pan, combine two parts shortening with 1 part flour; refrigerate. Sprinkle nuts on top of brownie batter to keep them crunchy. After taking bar cookies from the oven, lightly score the cookies. When cool, cut along the lines.

Use a potato masher to decorate the edge of pie crust or use on cookies. Nut meats will slip out of their shell if cooked 4 to 5 minutes. To get the last bit of shortening out of can, fill can with hot water and let it cool – the shortening will harden on top and can be removed.

When baking in a glass pan, reduce the oven temperature 25 degrees. Leave fresh baked cakes in pan 10 minutes before removing from the baking pan to prevent crumbling. Using a round pan instead of a square one eliminates over-cooked corners in baking cakes. If milk is slightly sour, add a pinch of baking soda and use like fresh.


Cheese becomes crumbly when frozen. Chop green pepper in pieces then freeze in ice cube trays; place in plastic bags and freeze. Do not completely cook casseroles before freezing; cooking will complete when baked later.

Do not refreeze food that has been frozen.

Make sandwiches with left-over meats and freeze; cut in half and mix two different types – may use ketchup or mustard on bread, but not mayonnaise.


Before slicing a cucumber draw a fork down all sides making parallel lines. Remove seeds by slicing in half lengthwise, then run a teaspoon down each middle to remove seeds. To rid cucumber of excess moisture, place slices in a bowl of salted water for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain on a paper towel.

Avoid cutting lettuce with a metal knife; tear the leaves rather than cut them. To keep salads cold when served, place on beds of ice cubes. Cut tomatoes should be placed in salad just before serving as they dilute salad dressings. Place salad dressing on bottom of bowl, add salad ingredients; mix when needed.

Remove inside celery leaves; wash and dry the leaves; chop and add to salads or place on a cookie sheet and put in the oven if you have a gas stove – the pilot light provides enough heat to dry them. If no gas stove, place in a warm oven to crisp. Remove and bottle for later use.

Lemon Juice or Vinegar

Fresh lemon juice will remove onion scent from your hand. To cut down odors when cooking cauliflower or cabbage, add a little vinegar to the water. A few drops of lemon juice added to simmering rice keeps the grains separated. To keep mushrooms light in color, sprinkle with lemon juice.


To cook a large amount of hamburger patties, line a pan with aluminum foil. Cover surface with patties. Add another piece foil, cover with patties. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 F. about 35 minutes.

Freeze homemade soup in ice cube trays and have whenever.


Adding several grains of raw rice to the salt shaker keeps salt flowing free.

To remove dropped egg shell when cracking eggs, use part of the remaining shell to remove it.

If using loose herbs for flavor and you will want to remove them after cooking, place in a tea ball holder before adding to your dish.

To quickly cook multiple eggs, place them in a tin with a few spoons of water. Bake on the top oven rack at 350 F. to desired doneness. Line the pan with aluminum foil for easy cleaning. If you want steamed eggs, add a little more water.


Boil vegetables that grow above ground without a cover on the pan. A bit of sugar added to water when cooking greens helps them retain their color. Soaking vegetables in water after slicing loses nutritional value. To avoid beans getting tough, add salt only after cooking time.

To quickly bake potatoes, place in boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes first; then pierce the skins with a fork and bake in a preheated oven. Use hot water and butter, instead of milk, for fluffier mashed potatoes. To keep oven clean when baking potatoes, place potatoes on pieces of aluminum foil.

Something to think about: “Hints always make our cooking or baking easier or helps recycle foods.” Marie 


1 cup cold cooked rice

3 eggs, separated

1/4 pound grated Cheddar cheese

2 Tablespoons butter

1/2 cup milk

Pinch of salt

Separate the whites of three eggs. Beat whites until stiff. Add the yolks to one cup cooked rice. Blend in milk, Cheddar cheese and butter. Mix well. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites, adding a little salt to taste. Place in a greased casserole. Bake in a 300 F. oven for 30 to 45 minutes, or until souffle is brown on top. 


2-1/2 pounds sliced rhubarb

2 cups sugar

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

1 cup cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon mace

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Sprinkle sliced rhubarb with 2 cups sugar and let stand overnight. Reserving the juice, drain in the morning and add water, 1 cup sugar, and cider vinegar to the rhubarb juice. Place in a kettle and add the spices in a tea ball. Boil until it forms a nice syrup. Add the rhubarb and boil until thick. Serve cooled with whipped topping. 


1 cup margarine

1-3/4 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 can blueberry pie filling – or your choice

Cream margarine and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time and beat well. Add vanilla and beat well. Combine flour and baking powder. Add to mixture and mix. Pour 2/3 batter into a greased and floured jelly roll pan. Cover with one can blueberry pie filling (or your choice of other pie filling). Drop the rest of the batter over the filling by spoonfuls. Bake at 350 F. for 45 minutes.

While still warm, frost with powdered sugar frosting.

The Prairie Star Weekly Update

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