Kitchen Tips - January 2009

  • When cooking for one or two, a recipe for lasagna can be overwhelming! For single-serving portions of this favorite Italian entrée, make it in foil 5 3/4 x 3" mini loaf pans. Standard lasagna noodles fit perfectly if cut in half after cooking. Divide all ingredients among the pans, wrap in foil and slip into zipper closure freezer bags. When you want to enjoy fresh lasagna, remove from the freezer and defrost in the refrigerator before baking the desired number of pans.
  • Picking the leaves from a bunch of Italian flat leaf parsley or cilantro can be time consuming. To save time, hold a bunch of clean, dry parsley or cilantro in one hand and use the other hand to comb the tines of a dinner fork through the herbs to pull off the leaves. Sort through the leaves to remove any remaining stems.
  • To prevent splattering when pouring spaghetti sauce or soup from a pot to another container, place the backside of a large metal or wooden spoon under the pouring stream to deflect the liquid into the container.
  • If you don't want to throw out leftover coffee that you have brewed from expensive beans, why not freeze it in ice cube trays for later use in iced coffee drinks? To serve, pour fresh-brewed, cooled coffee over a few of the frozen coffee cubes for a great iced drink that won't get watered down.
  • To tenderize a less expensive cut of meat, use fresh papaya. Simple peel off the skin of the papaya, scoop out the seeds and puree in the blender or food processor. Spread the pureed papaya over the meat and refrigerate, covered, for three hours. When ready to cook meat, scrape off the puree and prepare as usual.

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