Category Archives: Quick Tricks

Little secrets that can make cooking, cleaning, and party planning a little easier.

Stop Spillovers

When the pasta water is about to boil over, don’t just stand by helplessly watching. Lay a wooden spoon across the top of the open pot, allowing yourself the time necessary to lower the flame, reduce the temperature and avoid disaster. Since exposure to steam can warp wood, choose a spoon that’s expendable.

I learned this valuable tip recently while watching a Today Show series called “Kitchen Hacks.” I don’t know the scientific reason that it works, but just a few days later it prevented an awful mess from occurring in my kitchen.

The big pot of beets that I was boiling suddenly threatened to overflow, but lowering the flame and laying a wooden spoon across the pot immediately stalled the eruption. I can’t wait to try this trick with long-cooking oatmeal, which seems to boil over no matter how vigilantly I monitor the heat.

Put an Egg on It!

To turn leftover roasted cauliflower and a side dish of quinoa mixed with scallions and fresh tomato into a nourishing and delicious lunch, I needed a protein. So I decided to scramble some Egg Beaters as a topping. The result was delicious and reminded me that an egg-especially a real one that’s been poached or fried in butter or olive oil-can take an ordinary dish to new heights.

Now that egg prices are coming back in line after soaring due to the Avian Flu epidemic, it makes sense again to suggest adding an egg. Doing so dresses up simple dishes, making them extra special for company. The commonplace summer appetizer of steamed asparagus becomes something extraordinary when sprinkled with grated parmesan and topped with a fried egg.

A homey hash of finely diced sauteed potatoes, onions and mushrooms or zucchini is glorified by topping it with a sunny-side-up fried egg. What’s especially nice about this idea is that you can prepare the base in advance and rewarm it, if necessary. Then you can fry the eggs just before serving for a stunning presentation.

Never Out of Eggs

In the hopes of making meatloaf today using Egg Beaters that had expired more than a month before, I was researching the meaning of “Use By” dates. The results weren’t definitive, so I ended up borrowing an egg from a neighbor rather than risking food borne illness or driving the eight miles to town, but I did come across a valuable tip that may prevent me from being caught again in that situation: You can freeze Egg Beaters and, by the way, you can freeze fresh eggs, too.

According to the manufacturer’s website (, Egg Beaters may be frozen for a year. They must be left in their original packaging unopened. According to a neighbor, the package offers freezing and defrosting instructions. You can thaw in the refrigerator or in the microwave.

Fresh eggs also can be safely frozen for a year, according to an FDA website ( freezing, the eggs must be removed from their shells and whisked to combine the whites and yolks.