1. You can make popcorn in the microwave with just kernels, a microwave-safe bowl, and a microwave-safe plate.
If you want, you can add olive oil and salt to the kernels before microwaving. Cook on high for 2 minutes, 45 seconds (or until the popping is close to stopping). Yes, you can cook it on the stove, but this way requires less cleanup, is healthier because it doesn’t need oil, and is still really damn tasty. See details here.
2. A simple way of measuring rice-to-water is to fill up the water to your first knuckle.
Your first knuckle is the first line below the tip of your finger. Regardless of finger size, this method generally works for most when cooking white rice. Basmati rice might need a little less water and brown rice would need twice the amount. See more here.
3. To easily cut meat into thin and clean slices, freeze it for 1-2 hours before cutting.
More precision, fewer meaty juice explosions. Instructions here.
4. Froth milk without making a mess using a mason jar and a microwave.
Add milk to the mason jar, shake the jar vigorously for 30 seconds, and microwave it for 30 seconds. Full recipe here.
5. Spray your measuring cup with cooking oil before measuring out sticky ingredients.
Everything comes out smoothly, which makes the clean-up so much easier.
6. Toss your fruit in some flour before adding to the batter to avoid soggy fruit clumps and stained pans.
Especially when using frozen berries, do not defrost them first. Just toss them straight into some flour before adding to the batter. Instructions here.
7. Cut your vegetable and meat at an angle to make them cook faster.
11. Place a damp paper towel over your food when re-heating in the microwave to prevent it from drying out.
The damp paper towel helps your food retain moisture, so food like rice or noodles don’t come out hardened and rubbery. Also, transferring food (like rice) to a plate helps the rice heat faster because of the increased surface area.
12. Make insanely easy pancakes or muffins in a blender.
Literally zero clean-up.
13. Use a panini press to quickly and easily make an omelette.
You don’t need to use oil, and it leaves zero mess. Instructions here.
14. Boil water faster by using a bigger pot or pan, covering it, and salting the water.
Use less water (you don’t need to fill it all the way up), cover it with a lid, boil in a bigger container (greater surface area to transfer heat to the water), choose aluminum over stainless steel (aluminum is a better conductor), and salt the water. While salting the water brings the water’s boiling point to a higher temperature, your food cooks faster.
15. Microwave your potatoes before frying or baking to quicken the cooking time.
Poke the potatoes with a fork first, microwave them for about 4 minutes, chop it up, and then fry for a few minutes to make them insanely delicious and crispy.
16. Microwave two bowls at the same time by placing them at different levels.
17. Wash and clean as you cook.
As something’s cooking, clean your cutting board and prep bowls. Also, keep a towel in your back pocket to wipe up any spills while you cook.
18. Set some container aside to collect garbage scraps.
Reduce the number of trips you have to take to the garbage can with a separate bowl, or this side scrap bowl.
20. If you’re OK with waiting longer, you can cook dry pasta directly in the oven.
With this method, you don’t have to go through as many steps such as boiling the water, draining the pasta, and cooking the sauce separately. Here’s a simple recipe that involves pasta, sauce, water, and cheese.
21. Leave one corner uncovered when storing hot foods in the refrigerator.
This brings the temperature of the food down to a safer temperature more quickly, which not only keeps your refrigerator from working so hard, but also prevents your food from spoiling.
22. Use a solution of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle for cleanup.