Recipes & Cooking
10 Surprising Thanksgiving Cooking Hacks Using Everyday Objects
You don’t need pricey, complex cooking tools to speed up your meal prep. All of these makeshift kitchen tools are already in your home.
Apples can absorb salt in soups and stewsAfrica Studio/Shutterstock
Salting to taste is one thing, but it is possible to overdo it. When you find yourself getting heavy-handed with the saltshaker, simply drop a few apple (or potato) wedges in your pot. After cooking for another 10 minutes or so, remove the wedges along with the excess salt. Who would have guessed there’d be so many ways to use apples besides eating them?
Cheesecloth can help remove turkey stuffing with easeIrina Burakova/Shutterstock
Following the best preparation tips for your Thanksgiving turkey can make all the difference at dinnertime. To keep turkey dressing from sticking to the bird’s insides, pack the dressing in cheesecloth before you stuff it into the turkey’s cavity. When the turkey is ready to serve, pull out the cheesecloth and the stuffing will slide out with it.
Scissors can easily cut herbsnatalia bulatova/Shutterstock
Use clean household scissors to snip fresh herbs (preferably ones that you’re growing in your own garden) and green onions into salads or mixing bowls. Scissors are also perfect for cutting steam vents in the top crust of a pie about to be put in the oven.
Use a baster to pour perfect batterBW Folsom/Shutterstock
To make picture-perfect pancakes, cookies, and muffins, simply fill your baster with batter so that you can pour just the right amount onto a griddle or cookie sheet or into a muffin pan. Then, wash and reuse it for these other unlikely ways you can use a baster.
Nonstick spray can keep your grater cleanER 09/Shutterstock
Put less elbow grease into grating cheese (or any other food you never knew you could grate) by using a nonstick cooking spray on your cheese grater for smoother grating. The spray also makes for easier and faster cleanup.
Dental floss can cleanly cut cakesADragan/Shutterstock
We know apple pie is America’s favorite dessert, especially on Thanksgiving, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have cake to celebrate the holiday! Use dental floss to cut cakes, especially delicate and sticky ones that tend to adhere to a knife. Just hold a length of the floss taut over the cake and then slice away, moving it slightly side to side as you cut through the cake. You can also use dental floss to cut small blocks of cheese cleanly.
Use a vegatable peeler to slice slivers of cheese or chocolatecliplab pro/Shutterstock
When you need cheese slivers that are thinner than you can cut with a knife, or you want to decorate a cake with fine curlicues of chocolate, reach for the vegetable peeler. This tool can also soften hard butter fast. When you need to soften cold, hard butter in a hurry, shave off what you need with a vegetable peeler. You’ll have soft butter in moments.
An ice cube tray can store leftover wineChanwoot Boonsuya/Shutterstock
Here’s what to do with that half-drunk bottle of red or white wine: Freeze the wine into cubes that can be used later in pasta sauce, casseroles, or stews. And if you need a pick-me-up after a day of cooking, freeze coffee ice cubes for the ultimate iced coffee hack.
Use an ice cream scoop to make butter ballsPaket/Shutterstock
At your family’s gathering, scoop out large globes of butter or margarine to serve to your guests. A smaller scoop or melon baller can create individual-sized balls of butter. You can also try this pre-scooped ice cream hack to serve dessert faster: Place several scoops of ice cream onto a wax-paper-lined cookie sheet, spaced apart. Place the sheet with the scoops back in your freezer to re-harden. Remove the scoops from the wax paper and pile them up in a self-sealing plastic bag. Now, all you need to do is place a scoop next to your pumpkin pie—and make sure you serve the ice cream at the right temperature. Plus, the next time the kids want a scoop of strawberry ice cream, they can help themselves.
A coffee filter can degrease gravyMarie Shearin Images/Shutterstock
Beef and poultry drippings from a roast make the most delicious, flavorful gravy base, but they’re often small grease bombs. Save the flavor and kill the fat by straining the cooking juices through a paper coffee filter. Now that you have the proper cooking utensils, use these Thanksgiving cooking hacks to make your meal taste even better.