Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Some helpful hints

Here are a few things that I do to make life a little easier.

For dinner prep:
  • Cook a whole bunch of chicken ahead of time, slice or chop it, and store it in an airtight container (or zip-lock bag) and store it in the fridge.  I bake about 8 chicken breasts on a foil-lined baking sheet with sides, sprinkle it with sea salt and pepper (or seasoning salt or whatever seasoning sounds good), and bake it at 350* for 30-45 minutes (or however long it takes to cook all the way through).  Turn them over about 20 minutes into it, though, and season the other side (optional).  I like to slice mine into thin strips because I can always chop it up more later if necessary.  This is great for adding to casseroles, salads, soups, pasta with Alfredo sauce, or heating up with a little taco seasoning for a taco/taco salad fix.
  • Don't you hate using a rubber scraper to try and get the last of the pasta sauce out of the jar?  Just put a scoop or two of your cooked noodles in the jar, replace the lid, shake a few times, and dump everything out.  Viola!  An empty sauce jar without the hassle.
  • When I was about to have my third baby, I started thinking about how to simplify our meals even more since I knew the baby would be occupying most of my time and energy after the birth.  To create fast meals with variety, I put a few chicken breasts (sometimes cut up, sometimes whole) in gallon zip-lock bags, added our favorite marinades and seasonings, and popped them in the freezer.  In the morning, I would decide what I wanted to make, pull that bag out to thaw on the counter or fridge, and then when it was closer to dinner time I could throw the chicken in the oven (in an oven-safe baking dish, of course), cook up some pasta/rice/potatoes and vegetables, and dinner is done.   
Some of our favorite marinades/seasonings include Italian dressing (with rice), garlic and ginger with a little soy sauce (with rice), Montreal seasoning (it comes labeled like that in the spice aisle- served with potatoes), taco seasoning (in tortillas or with chips), and pesto (I buy it in the jar).

To remove stains:
  • Blood: Rinse out as much as possible with cold water and then pour hydrogen peroxide on what's left.  It will bubble and fizz like crazy!  You may have to repeat these steps a few times, but it works really well on fabric, upholstery, and fabric.  *DISCLAIMER: I cannot guarantee this method will not affect any color the fabric may have, but I haven't had a problem with anything getting bleached or faded.  
  • Ink on clothes: Spray the heck out of it with hairspray, soak it in detergent and water, and wash.
  • Crayon in the laundry: OK.  There are lots of methods for removing crayon, but this method worked for me the last two times a crayon went through the wash and dryer.  First, scrape off as much leftover crayon as you can (you know those brown Pampered Chef scrapers?  Those things are perfect, but a butter knife also works).  Don't forget to scrape out anything left in the washer and dryer, too.  Wash everything again on the hottest setting possible with lots of detergent.  Check everything for missed spots before transferring the laundry to the dryer.

1 comment:

  1. thanks! I really like the chicken marinade tip! I'll have to try that!