Make faster, healthier meals with genius tips and top-tested product picks from our Kitchen Appliances, Cleaning and Nutrition Lab pros.
Reach for nonstick. The coating on these skillets releases sticky foods like eggs and crepes with minimal effort (and oil). Plus, they’re easier to clean and maintain than stainless steel or cast iron. GH lab pick: Zwilling Forte Nonstick Fry Pan, $130, williams-sonoma.com
Shop during off-hours. Going for groceries first thing in the morning or at the end of the day means prime parking and short checkout lines. Use Google’s “Popular Times” feature to find out the store’s least-busy hours.
Outsource meal planning. With the new GH meal plan powered by eMeals, you’ll get seven fast, fresh dinner ideas a week delivered right to your smartphone — plus the option to have groceries brought to your door! Sample it FREE for 14 days! Sign up at emeals.goodhousekeeping.com.
Try the paper plate trick. Stash a paper plate close to the microwave to use as a cover when reheating. It’s sturdier and catches splatters better than a paper towel, and makes for easy (or no) cleanup. Afterward, just wipe away light soil and reuse.
Grate butter for baking. If you need room-temperature butter but don’t have the time to let chilled sticks sit out, use a grater to soften them quickly.
Coat the cup. Before adding a sticky ingredient like syrup or honey, rinse your measuring cup with hot water or coat it with nonstick spray. Things will slide right into the bowl, and you won’t be left scrubbing any mess.
Make it a potluck. Next time you entertain, ask guests to pitch in. Hosting a bring-your-own-dish party is less work for you, and you’ll feel good knowing there’s at least one food for everyone to love.
Eat fall flavors. In-season ingredients naturally taste better — no need for much seasoning or elbow grease. Try these easy, delicious ideas:
- Pumpkin: Toss into your favorite chili recipe!
- Apples: Roast and pair with pork tenderloin.
- Kale: Swap out romaine in your next Caesar salad.
- Cauliflower: Dress up with parmesan and pine nuts.
- Beets: Roast and serve with arugula and goat cheese.
- Pears: Blend with cinnamon and Greek yogurt in a smoothie.
5 ways to prep like a pro
Wash, chop and portion ingredients ahead of time so meals come together in minutes
1. Rinse once. Place all fruits and veggies in a colander and rinse together instead of washing one at a time as your recipe calls for them. Work in batches, and put what’s clean on towels to dry.
2. Chill before you chop. Put cookie dough or raw meat in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes to make cutting it up prior to cooking or baking easier. Use the time to get other ingredients ready.
3. Slice smaller. The more finely foods are cut, the faster they’ll cook — true for both vegetables and meat! So rather than doing a hasty chopping job, take the time to create smaller pieces to speed up roasting or sautéing.
4. Sharpen knives often. A sharp knife does a better, cleaner and more efficient job of slicing and dicing. Cutting with a dull knife is slower and requires more force, so it’s unsafe. GH Lab pick: Chef’s Choice Pronto Diamond Hone Knife Sharpener, $40, chefschoice.com.
5. Cool faster. Spread cooked grains, sauces or vegetables on a baking sheet to chill them quickly. This trick is especially helpful when a recipe directs you to cook something, like potato salad, then wait for it to cool before serving or moving on to the next step.
ON ANOTHER MATTER …
Ready, jet, surprise! The only bad thing about a great vacation is planning it. Want to skip all the tedious details and cut straight to check-in? Try the new book-and-reveal vacation trend — you literally don’t know where you’re going until you get to the airport. How it works: You fill out a quickie online form detailing your budget and available travel dates, and maybe even take a travel personality quiz (e.g., Do you like hole-in-the-wall eateries or upscale restaurants? Beaches or mountains?). A travel agent crafts a custom trip and sends you a sealed itinerary a week before your departure. Sure, you could peek, but you’d spoil the surprise. (Psst! Research shows that being surprised lights up the pleasure centers in your brain and gives you a nice shot of dopamine, one of the pleasure hormones, so you’ll be even more amped for your trip.)
Up for the adventure? Try:
Pack Up + Go. Perfect for a weekend getaway, these three-day, two-night trips send travelers across the U.S. via plane, train or car: packupgo.com.
Magical Mystery Tours. Venture nearby or far away with this service that books mystery travel domestically and internationally: magical-mystery-tours.com.
The Vacation Hunt. The fun twist here: Clues about your destination are posted to social media so you can share the suspense with family and friends: thevacationhunt.com.
The following products and vehicles were recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Unless otherwise indicated, discontinue use of the products immediately and return them to the store where purchased for a refund. For more information about the products, call the manufacturer or CPSC’s toll-free hotline, 800-638-2772. Only some cars or trucks recalled are affected. Contact a dealer for your model to see if it is included in the recall. The dealer will tell you what to do.
Allure and Allure Pro hair dryers, sold online at Amazon.com, eBay.com, Walmart.com, Xtava.com, Groupon.com and other websites from October 2014 through August 2018 for between $15 and $60 when sold separately, and for between $20 and $80 when sold as part of a hair care kit.
The hair dryer and power cord can overheat and catch on fire, posing fire, burn and electrical shock hazards. Consumers should immediately stop using the hair dryers and contact Xtava at 877-643-8440 or go online at www.xtava.com and click on “Product Recalls” to receive a free replacement hair dryer.
2019 Subaru Ascent SUVs
Spot welds may be missing on or around the B-pillar, compromising vehicle strength, increasing the risk of injury in a crash. Dealers will inspect the vehicle to check for missing spot welds and, if any are missing, replace the vehicle for free. Owners can call the automaker at 844-373-6614 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 to learn more.
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—GOOD HOUSEKEEPING REPORTS: Ultimate kitchen hacks–