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Casseroles: Most casseroles can be made up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerated. Be sure and add 15 or 20 minutes to the cooking time to compensate.
Chilling Foods: To chill foods quickly put them in your freezer for 20 to 30 minutes rather than longer in the refrigerator.
Food Stains in Plastic Storage Containers: Use a baking soda paste (baking soda and water) and rub into the stain. You can then rinse with vinegar (optional) and wash normally. Another method is to place container outside on a nice sunny day and the sun actually bleaches the stain out. To avoid stains in the first place, spray container with cooking spray before putting things in it that stain i.e. spaghetti sauce.
Fried Food Odors: Next time you fry foods, try placing a small cup of bleach nearby. The bleach absorbs much of the "fried" odor (that would otherwise linger for days!) Be sure to clearly mark the cup and keep it out of the reach of children.
Greasy Gravy: A small amount of baking soda added to gravy will eliminate excess grease.
Keep Your Cutting Board From Slipping: Place a thin layer of damp paper towels underneath to anchor the board to the work surface.
Lining Pans Means No Scrubbing: Line baking pans with aluminum foil before you cook to avoid scrubbing pans afterwards. To line pans easily, turn pan upside down and press a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil around it. Remove foil. Flip the pan over and drop foil inside. Crimp edges of foil to rim of pan.

Microwave Filth: Food splatters all over the inside of your microwave and cooks itself on after time. To easily remove this mess, place a sponge soaked in water or just a dish filled with 1/2 cup water in the microwave. Cook on high heat for 2 minutes. The filth is now ready to be wiped right off - no scrubbing!

Microwave Odors: Keep a cup of baking soda in the microwave between uses to keep potatoes from smelling like bacon or other unusual combinations!

Oil For Frying: To effectively strain debris from used cooking oil, use a coffee filter placed in a funnel. (Submitted by NIKEITA)
Oil Temperature: To find out if oil is the proper temperature for frying foods: For deep-fat frying, drop a cube of white bread into the hot oil. If it browns evenly in 60 seconds the oil is 350-365 degrees, in 40 seconds, 365-382 degree, 20 seconds, 382-390 degrees. For shallow frying, the oil is hot enough if it is shimmering and rippling along the bottom of the pan. The most reliable way to gauge the temperature is to use a deep-fat thermometer.
Prevent Spattering While Sautéing: To prevent spattering and burns while sautéing, tilt the pan away from you to pool the oil every time you add more food, then lay the pan flat again. You can also add a few sprinkles of salt to the pan to prevent spattering.

Smelly Cooking Hands: Simply rub your hands over a stainless steel utensil under running water. This works especially well for the odor of garlic, onions or fish.
Soups: Place a lettuce leaf in a pot of greasy soup or pan of greasy gravy - it'll absorb the grease - then, remove the leaf from the pot and discard. Place a raw potato in a pot of salty soup - it'll absorb some of the salt - then, remove the potato from the pot and discard.
Stuck-On Food in Pots, Pans, and Crockpots: Fill the pan with water and place a fabric softener sheet in the water. Allow the pan to soak overnight. The food will wipe right out!
Thickening Soups & Sauces: To thicken soups or sauces, try one of the following methods. Reduce the soup or sauce by cooking it longer. This will result in a thicker mixture with stronger flavor. OR Add arrowroot, a tasteless powder available on the spice aisle. Arrowroot will thicken your dish, but does not perform well at high temperatures. OR Add a mixture of cornstarch and water. While this thickens well, it can produce a chalky taste. OR Add roux. Cook equal parts of butter and flour until the mixture reaches a golden brown color. Add the mixture to your soup or sauce for added richness and thickness.
Wok Cooking: Don't stir ingredients as you add them to a wok. You'll cool the wok and make the food greasy.

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