Basil wilts so qickly, but it perks up if you set it in cool water for about 30 minutes. Then blot the leaves dry and store them at room temparature in a ziploc bag- if basil is stored in teh fridge, it turns black.
If chopping onions irritate your eyes so much that you avoid using them in recipes, light a candle nearby before getting started. The flame from the candle neutralizes the sulfuric fumes form the onions, keeping your eyes clear and dry!
When boiling potatoes for salad and want nicely shaped pieces, use a bamboo skewer to test the potatoes instead of a knife or fork. This way, the potatoes aren't as likely to fall apart, and you get a better feel for the doneness of the potato.
Herbs can be snipped quickly in a glass using kitchen shears (scissors). Place the herbs in a glass, stick your shears inside, and cut the herbs into the size you want without bruising them.
Here's a method for cooking large pasta (like shells or manicotti) so they won't rip or tear. Boil water; place pasta in water and return to boil for 30-40 seconds. Cover; remove from heat. Let sit for 12 minutes; drain. And now you have perfect large pasta.
Freeze cooked brown and long grain rice to use later for stir-fries or a quick meal. Cook and cool rice, package in large resealable bags and freeze flat.Note: Short grain and wild rice get sticky so this is not recommneded for these types of rice.
Nuts should be purchased as fresh as possible. Because of their high fat content, they can turn rancid quickly. For that reason, nuts should be kept in an airtight container in a cool place. Shelled nuts can be kept refrigerated for 4 months or frozen up to 6 months.
To bring up the pecan flavor, first toast the nuts with a little butter on a sauté pan. The whole recipe will be richer-tasting.
Before adding dressing to macaroni salad, use your salad spinner to drain the excess water from the pasta. Spin it a couple of times, drain, then spin again. The noodles will be dry and ready for dressing- no runny salad!
Baking cups are great for keeping your muffin tins clean, but the paper still sticks to the muffin. So spray the inside of the liner with a little bit of nonstick cooking spray. Your muffin tins still stay clean and the baking liners easily peel away from the muffin.