Kitchen tips for bachelors...

I got bored the other night at work (we had lightning within 5 miles – meaning we shut all the electronic equipment off to protect it from power surges/failure, and wait for the lightning to go away). While I was sitting there, I decided to make a list of important kitchen tips for bachelors. Some of these are based on personal experience:

[ul][li]The absorbent pad in the bottom of the meat package is not reusable. Throw it away.[/li]
[li]Never, EVER fry chicken in your underwear.[/li]
[li]It doesn’t matter how much that cut of meat cost you. If you left it on the counter overnight, throw it away.[/li]
[li]If you can’t identify an object you just removed from the refrigerator or freezer because it’s covered in green fuzz, it doesn’t matter what it used to be. Pitch it.[/li]
[li]Never fry anything marinated in fat-free dressing. It welds whatever was marinated in it to the pan.[/ul][/li]
That’s about as far as I got before we had to power everything back up and resume work.

Can anyone add to this list


Microwave Hints:

Be extremely cautious when removing the plastic film from a microwave TV dinner (post-heating), because that cloud of steam can really scald you.

Also, if the manufacturer says “pop a hole in the middle of this before microwaving”, they really mean it. If you don’t, it’ll explode all over the inside of the microwave. Try to get your girlfriend to clean THAT up. (Those Dinty Moore shelf-safe ones are particularly bad.)

Always put a piece of waxed paper over a plateful of something sticky that you’re heating up, like spaghetti. This keeps it from splattering all over the inside. Secret hint: you don’t have to buy the special “Microwave Paper” at double the price, you can just buy plain old waxed paper. Extra secret hint: The store usually stocks it way, way down on the bottom shelf, with the “special microwave paper” conveniently at eye level. Do they think we’re stupid, or what? (Don’t answer that.)

Visions cookware says not to use the casserole-type pans on top of the stove.Believe them.It explodes quite nicely.

Rice-a-roni can be prepared in a teakettle, but if it burns- it’s forever.

The flavor packets in Ramen noodles are intended for flavoring the noodles they came with.They do not make a good seasoning for steaks.

Powdered sugar will not do the same thing as cornstarch when making gravy.And some people keep their powdered sugar in an unmarked container;be certain what you are working with.

‘Blackened’ (as in ‘blackened cajun-style’) is not acheived with large amounts of black pepper.

I’m sure these nice folks will have plenty more for you.That’s all I’ve got for now. :slight_smile:

You can fry chicken in your underwear???

Never use a PLASTIC vegetable steamer (the kind you place in a saucepan of boiling water). If you become distracted, the water all boils away and the steamer melts to the pan.

The cheese powder that comes with Kraft Macaroni & Cheese makes an excellent popcorn seasoning.

If the top of the pepper shaker is clogged up, don’t try to unclog the holes by blowing into it hard, unless you like your eyes and nose full of pepper.

Be careful when heating milk in a saucepan. If it burns, you have to throw the pan away, plus your apartment smells like burnt milk for the rest of the week.

Once. Only once, and never, EVER again!

To keep the salt & pepper shakers from clogging, put a few grains of rice in them with the salt or pepper. The rice absorbs (some, perhaps insignificant amount of) moisture, and the rice grains knock little clogs out of the holes before they can become big clogs. If your shaker has holes big enough to pass rice grains, this tip probably won’t be much help.

Wash your hands after handling peppers, chiles, or anything else you wouldn’t put in your eyes.

When preparing chili (or some other spicy food) for a stranger, always err on the side of caution and have extra “heat” available at the table for those who can (and want to) take it.

“Non-stick” is an optimistic descriptioin. Use oil anyway, and be ready to scrub.


Either you’re really weird, or you’re missing the point.

Next time, try phrasing it: “Never, EVER fry chicken WHILE WEARING ONLY your underwear”

If you get home before you notice the hotdogs are made of chicken and turkey, load them up with saurkraut and onions.
Then chuck them. They still bite toads.

Don’t hang your favorite shirt on a plastic hanger over the space heater to dry.

Those white things in the kitchen sink with the dishes that haven’t been washed in a month ,Well, they aren’t left over rice.

Use paper plates

Use paper cups

The only “kitchen” tips I ever needed in my bachelor days were to always over-tip and be nice to the servers, so they don’t spit in your food.

Paper towel works better, IMO, just tuck the edges under the container so it doesn’t float off.

If you have broken both your hands and cannot remove a screw type lid (I am being careful not to impugn your masculinity) wrap one of those thick rubber bands from celery around the lid and you should be able to get it off fairly easily.

Garlic powder works well with almost anything as a seasoning, except anything sweet. This is also true of salsa, if you use good judgement.

NEVER microwave an egg in the shell! This is WRITTEN IN STONE!

Beer makes an excellent tenderizer for meat-poke a fork lots of times on both sides of the cut, then marinate overnight. If you use it on chicken, be sure to cut it with a little lemon juice and some basil, oregano and butter, and don’t poke the meat with a fork first. Actually, I use the lemon juice-butter spice mix for other meats also.

Ditto on the garlic powder. Excellent stuff.

Aluminum foil is your friend. When you make stuff in the oven, either line your metalware with foil or just wrap your food up in the foil alone. Makes cleanup SO much easier. It’s also better than plastic bags for keeping cheese from drying out.

It is possible to make a grilled cheese sandwich by wrapping the cheese and bread in foil and going over it with a heated clothes iron.

Regardless of what your girlfriend/wife tells you, it really IS easier to just let the grease congeal before you clean it up.

If you buy anything that has instructions for both oven and microwave cooking, go with the conventional oven. I know, it goes against all your instincts, but it’ll taste a lot better.

Here’s a hard one for most of us men;
Follow the Directions on the Package. 325 deg. for 30 min. does NOT translate to 650 deg. for 15 min.
Also, use a timer. I have an “Egg Timer” program on my iMac. Best investment I ever made.
Find a 24hr. eatery and develop a positive relationship with the wait-staff. Over-tip, as Feynman suggests.

You get spattered from chicken & steak cause of the way you put it in the pan. The part of the meat that is nearest to you hits the pan first, not the other way around.

Keep a large container of salt (not just a shaker) near your stove for putting out grease fires.

Do not attempt to put out grease fires with water

If you something is too salty, add a small raw potato to absorb the salt.

Instant potato flakes are great for thickening sauces and don’t leave things tasting bland.

Chicken parts + salsa – about ½ hour and you have a great dinner.

Fish fillets, lemon juice, garlic or ginger in a foil envelope. About 20 minutes in the oven – viola!

Tomato sauce will stain almost any plastic container.

More as I think of them

never ever fry bacon in the nude!!!

I think overnight is not a problem. Maybe 2 days on the counter, but one night shouldn’t be a problem. You might make sure all the meat is cooked well done, but that would be the only consideration in my opinion.

My tip is to be very organized. Find a place to put everything and if anything is out of place you know where it goes. I have the neatest house of anyone I know because I always pick stuff up and put it back where it belongs.

There is a problem with leaving something on the counter overnight, especially if it was only refrigerated (not frozen) in the first place. A general rule of thumb for meats & dairy: if its been at room temperature for 4 hours, it should go into the trash or be used immediately. Of course, 4 hours and 15 minutes shouldn’t make a difference, but when we’re talking overnight, we’re looking at anywhere from 8 to 12 hours. When a moist, protein based food (like meat & dairy products) is at room temperature, bacteria multiply rapidly, and after several hours, the possibility of a food-borne illness jumps up 100%. After 8 to 12 hours, you really seriously risk getting sick. Would you like to go to a restaurant that kept its steaks out on the counter all day before you ordered it?

Cooking to well done may save you from illness, but consider this–A well done steak needs to reach an internal temperature of 145°. To cook something out of the danger zone, it needs to be at 165° for a minimum of 15 seconds. Sounds like you’re going to be eating dry shoe leather at that point. If you like dry shoe leather, then I can’t help you. Chicken, on the other hand, must reach an internal temperature of 165° to kill off any salmonella, and if chicken was left on the counter overnight–I would throw it away, no matter what.

More cooking hints:

If you’re using a wine for cooking, don’t buy “cooking” wine. Buy a cheap bottle of something you’d be ok to drink a glass of–cooking wines tend to be salty tasting, and may ruin the dish.

Having a box of salt near your cooking area is an excellent idea–it stops grease fires, and if something drips in the oven and starts smoking–pour some salt on the drip and it will smother any smoking.

Tomato sauce also makes an excellent marinade, and will soften up any tough piece of meat.

Spend the $10 and buy a meat thermometer. You might only need to use it a few times a year if you’re cooking chicken, but isn’t it worth the $10 to avoid getting salmonella poisoning?

Pineapple juice makes an awesome marinade for pork.

If you really burn the heck out of something, and your house smells like…burnt-whatever, roast a bulb of garlic by wrapping it in a little foil and keep it in a warm oven for about an hour… it seems to take that smell away. And, this time, use a timer to make sure you don’t forget.

If you’re making gravy, and it’s thin, don’t just dump a spoonful of cornstarch in it–it will lump right up. Take that spoonful of cornstarch and mix it in a little bowl with a spoonful of cold water. Then add it to the gravy. That should thicken it up, without lumps.

For a really great pasta sauce that takes very little thought: Take 6 to 8 fresh, ripe tomatoes, and remove the stem end and cut in half. Put into a casserole dish or oven-proof skillet. Add as many peeled, whole garlic cloves you want. Take 1 white onion, cut into quarters, tuck them in with the tomatoes. Drizzle everything with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Put the casserole dish into the oven at 250° for about 4 hours, stirring once after about 2 hours. After taking out of the oven, run this stuff through a blender, and add salt and other seasonings as you desire.

Actually, one can make a pretty good Grilled cheese sandwich by toasting the bread (in a toaster), then putting it on a plate, cheese in the middle, and nuking it.

A toaster oven & a microwave can do almost everything you need. but if you have a stove, get 1 good, nonstick, large pot with cover.

Master one dish, that takes some cooking. This impresses the babes, no end. Trust me.* :smiley:

All you REALLY need is Lawry’s seasoning salt, or a good copy, garlic powder, salt & pepper. If you want to impress people, get some paprika, too. Try it on your eggs, just a little.

  • I scored a 29 on the TM purity test, so TRUST me on this… :wink:

Don’t buy cheap cookware. You need a skillet and a medium-sized pot. Buy good ones. Make the skillet cast-iron, and it can go right in the oven. If you buy shitty cookware, you’ll be buying it again before you know it.

When you go to clean out the fridge, it’s often best just to throw the entire Tupperware container out rather than risking your health and sanity trying to clean it out.

If you live alone, never buy bread that’s on sale.

Keep a few empty bottles around–from beer, soda, fancy water, etc. Buy some of those pouring spouts at the liquor store. I keep a Bass Ale bottle of peanut oil by the stove for cooking–it’s much better than pouring it out of the bottle. They can also be used to hold flowers and/or salad dressing, if you’re being all fancy.

Learn to make pizza starting with the packaged crust. You could go all the way from scratch, but you don’t want to.

I don’t care if you’re out of flour–don’t try to make gravy with Bisquik.

Dr. J

Some kinds of soft Tupperware containers get stained from the green mold, so you have to throw them away anyway.

If you’re going to use macaroni & cheese powder for popcorn, don’t buy the Kraft brand, at 89 cents a box–go with the generic, sometimes you can find them for 29 cents.

Keep extra bread in the freezer–it won’t get moldy so fast.

Don’t try to cook Ramen noodles the same way you cook regular noodles, by boiling them in a big pot of water. They turn into disgusting mush.

How to make perfect Chinese restaurant rice that isn’t all gummy: Cook 2 or 3 cups of regular dry rice the same way you cook pasta, in a huge pot of water, for exactly 15 minutes after the water comes back to the boil. Then dump it all out into a colander in the sink and run water over it. This rinses off all the starch and then it won’t stick together. Cold water works better, but then your rice is cold, although if you’re just going to dump hot chop suey on it in a minute, it won’t matter.

To make perfect fried rice, you HAVE to start with cold, cooked rice. You can’t make fried rice with rice you have just freshly cooked the way your mother taught you, in one pot with a tight-fitting lid, “cooking rice–water’s twice”. Boil it like pasta and rinse it with cold water. The essential flavorings for fried rice are (1)tamari soy sauce, (2) garlic, (3) ginger, and (4) onion. Once you know this, you can dispense with all those $1.19 packets of “Fried Rice Seasoning”.

AFAIK, there is no federal requirement mandating the inclusion of scrambled eggs in fried rice.