What my degree in IPE didn't teach me about baking, DIY, fitness, and life…
There are a lot of things in the kitchen that take a lot of time and effort. Some of them are worth the blood, sweat, and tears, and some of them aren’t. Of those, some you can’t avoid, but there are others where a good tip could save you lots of unnecessary hassle. For this post, I’ve tested a few of those tips. Hope it helps you!
Shredded chicken is super useful. It can be added to almost any casserole, used for chicken salad, enchiladas, a last minute potluck offering, even dfdsh. It can be served hot or cold. In short, it’s great… but getting to it can be a pain. Most of the time you get the same instructions: Step 1 – cook your chicken (roast, poach whatever) Step 2- get out your two forks and get pulling. These instructions typically note how easy and quick this process is, but I tend to disagree. Maybe I’m doing something wrong, but I find it to be time consuming and tiresome. By the end, my wrists are normally complaining from the unnatural repetitive movement. I don’t want to exaggerate too much, I mean it’s not brick laying or chopping wood, but it’s not easy either.
Happily there’s another way. All around the blogosphere, I’ve been seeing posts about shredding chicken with your mixer. I have to admit I was skeptical. How would the same simple, handheld mixer that I used to mix up cookie dough fare with chicken?
The answer???? Surprisingly well. I cooked several frozen chicken breasts by simmering them in a pot of chicken stock – so easy btw. Only takes about 15-20 minutes. Then I drained the stock, got out my mixer, and in the same pot shredded my chicken. It took less than a minute to shred the chicken into pretty perfect and uniform pieces. To be honest, it yielded better results than I’ve ever gotten with my two forks. (People do it with their stand mixers too, but I don’t yet have one. So I haven’t tried that.)
I give this tip a big thumbs up!
It’s that time of year. Actually, it seems that it’s been that time of year this year for the last two months. Half the recipes out there seem to call for pumpkin. I’m not complaining mind you. I love pumpkin and am slowly working my way through (and constantly adding to) my pumpkin bucket list. These recipes can be made in a flash if you have canned pumpkin around, but if you’re starring at whole uncooked gourd (and live in a country where canned is simply unavailable) then these recipes can seem quite daunting (and let’s face it, fresh is almost always better than canned anyway).
Anyway, time to cook your pumpkin. In a lot of recipes I read (especially the savoury ones for some reason) they suggest peeling, then cubing your pumpkin, and then either steaming or roasting the cubes, after which you can puree it. This sounds like a ridiculous amount of unnecessary work and to be honest, I’ve never done it. I’ve always borrowed from my mom’s butternut squash technique – cut gourd in half, scrape out seeds, roast (for about an hour, until fork pierces easily).
And it’s worked great! But recently a friend told me about an even better tip, which saves the work of fighting with the stringy material to get rid of the seeds. She suggested just roasting the pumpkin whole. So I tried it. I grabbed my pumpkin, dug my knife into to create holes for the steam to escape, covered my roasting pan with foil, and in it went. About an hour later a fork went through with ease, so I took it out. While it was cooling on the counter, it split all by itself. The seeds were a snap to separate, as baking had released their ties to the pulp. (You can save the seeds to roast later or discard them.) And the pulp was already in a perfectly pureed form, ready to be used for all those mouth-watering recipes -score. This tip gets a big thumbs up!
What kitchen tips do you love? Share a comment and start the conversation! =)