Cooking Tips!

As you may have suspected, this, too, is a work in progress!  If you have a tip to share, please send it to  and watch for it to be posted on this page.  WE THANK YOU!


Bless Mikemax’s heart!  She shares this bit of wisdom:
You can *probably* salvage limp lettuce by placing it in cold water for awhile, then drying thoroughly and storing in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator. I won’t guarantee this will re-crisp the lettuce, but it almost always does.

Dry your lettuce quickly and thoroughly by arranging the leaves on top of a clean bath towel. Fold the edges over to make a packet, and fold the packet in half. Put the folded towel in your washing machine and turn on the SPIN cycle. At the end of the cycle, the lettuce is dry! This is a great tip for when you have to wash lettuce to make salad for a crowd.

Place a paper towel or (better yet) a terrycloth face cloth in a plastic bag. Dump the lettuce in the bag and seal it with a twister tie (unless it’s a zippy bag, of course). Store in the fridge. Your lettuce will keep a long time this way! And, if it was limp to start with, this should crisp it. If the towel inside the bag gets very wet, wring it out. Lettuce seems to need an odd combination of dryness along with humidity to stay fresh.

If you are using head lettuce, cut out the core with a plastic knife. It won’t be as inclined to turn brown. Just a plain old disposable picnic knife works great, if it has a slightly serrated edge.   ~Mikemax



Tasha Halpert was kind enough to send this our way.  Tasha has recently downsized, so knows the value of having the right tools and using them in the most helpful ways:

“A couple of tips for you, with thanks, Love Tasha
Purchase a canning funnel, this will insure that your leftovers will not spill as you pour them into containers and most especially things like soup and Iced tea will all go safely into their jars.
When baking with butter, use the paper the butter is wrapped in to grease your pans.
Parchment paper is well worth the money in time and effort.
Crush stale corn chips as well as bread and storein jars in the freezer or fridge  to use with casserole toppings and such.”


Thanks, Tasha!


Wisdom from MikeMax, formerly known as Maxine:

Boneless/skinless chicken breasts usually sell for the same price as chicken tenders, which are just smaller pieces of breast (white) meat. Since b/s chicken breasts tend to be much larger than I care to serve as a portion, I usually buy the tenders instead and allow a couple per portion. As a bonus, the tenders are thinner and cook faster.

If I’m in a hurry, I just flour, season and fry the tenders exactly as I would fried chicken. Great homemade chicken strips in about 15 minutes with almost no effort!


MikeMax, formerly known as Maxine, offered this goody:

Here is a brown sugar tip: If your brown sugar has dried out or is rock-hard, soften it by placing in a covered container with a slice of bread. I don’t know why this works, but it does–usually within a day or so. A slice of bread will also soften stale cookies–not that I’ve ever had any cookies long enough for them to get stale, LOL.

Rock-hard brown sugar can also be used to make pancake syrup. The standard recipe is to boil 2 cups sugar to 1 cup water, adding 1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring and 1 teaspoon vanilla-optional. Use brown sugar for part or all of the sugar.



Leanne Ely shared 3 chicken recipes with us today:

Chicken Tacos with Fruit Salsa
Serves 6

The Salsa
1 cup cubed fresh pineapple (or use frozen)

4 nectarines, pitted and chopped (or use frozen peaches)
2 mangos, peeled and chopped (or use frozen)
2 large tomatoes, chopped finely
1/2 cup diced red onion
2 limes, juiced (use only juice)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon  sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cracked black pepper
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped finely

Combine all ingredients in a bowl tossing gently. May store in fridge for up to 24 hours before serving. You may also process, prior to chopping, in a food processor to desired consistency.

The Tacos

4 large boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup lemonade
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, peeled, smashed
2 green onions, chopped finely, including green part
1 (12 ounce) package corn tortillas
1 container Greek yogurt  *use like sour cream

In a large skillet over medium high, heat oil until hot, then add onion and garlic and cook until onion is clear. Add chicken, cooking until outside of chicken is white and center is almost done. Now add the rest of the ingredients, cover, turn down and simmer until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear. Wait about 15 more minutes. Remove lid to cook down liquid if necessary.

While cooking the chicken, warm the tortillas in the oven until soft. Once chicken is cooked transfer to serving bowl, place chicken mixture into tortillas, wrap. Add yogurt and Fruit Salsa as desired.

Variations:  Use lettuce greens of your choice, pita halves for the shells. Put all ingredients out and let each person make their own. You can also use great big Romaine lettuce leaves in lieu of the tortillas for a truly low carb meal.

Grilled Chicken with Fruit Salsa
Serves 6

Fruit Salsa(from above)
6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts halves
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper grated
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup lemon juice

Combine juice, soy sauce, ginger, pepper, and garlic in a plastic bag or bowl with a good seal, place the chicken inside, seal and shake to coat, marinate for at least one hour, but no more than four, turning each 30 minutes or so.

Prepare grill or broiler. If you’re using the broiler, place pan one rung from the top. If you’re using the grill, use a medium direct heat. Remove chicken from bag, and discard the marinade. Grill chicken on s grill rack, or in a broiler pan, lightly oiled with olive oil. Cook 5 minutes on each side or until center of chicken is done. Serve with Fruit Salsa over chicken.

Chicken Taco Salad

1 head lettuce of choice, shredded *not Iceberg; no nutrition
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cups tortilla chips, crushed
Grilled Chicken, cut into cubes
Fruit Salsa
Greek yogurt

In a large bowl mix all in ingredients except Greek Yogurt, separate into four to six servings, and top with a dollop of Greek yogurt.



Anita Brown sent these household hints and cooking tips to the Club House.  I thought it would be fun to share them here:

Household Hints:
~~Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store.
If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.

~~Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminum foil.
It will stay fresh much longer and not mold!

~~Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating. Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.

~~Add a tsp. of water when frying ground beef. It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.

~~To really make scrambled eggs or omelets rich add a couple of
spoonfuls of sour cream, cream cheese or heavy cream in and then beat them up.

~~For a cool brownie treat, make brownies as directed. Melt Andes Mints in double broiler and pour over warm brownies. Let set for a wonderful minty frosting.

~~Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic and at the end of the recipe if you want a stronger taste of garlic.

~~Leftover snicker bars from Halloween make a delicious dessert. Simply chop them up with the food chopper. Peel, core and slice a few apples. Place them in a baking dish and sprinkle the chopped candy bars over the apples. Bake at 350′ for 15 minutes!!! Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream. Yummmmm!

~~Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat til warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza. I saw this on thecooking channel and it really works.

~~Easy Deviled Eggs – Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash til they are all broken up. Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg. Just throw bag away when done, easy clean up.

~~When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You will eat less sugar and calories per serving.

Thanks, Anita!



Compliments of Jill and Tawra from

Need a quick cooking tip? Here are a bunch of little things you can do to save a lot of money in the kitchen!

  • Put flour in an old spice bottle to use when flouring cake pans.
  • Unsure what a Dutch oven is? It’s just a 6-8 quart saucepan or large pot.
  • Having leftovers again? Serve them by candlelight with tablecloths or place mats. A tablecloth and candles make even plain meals look special.
  • This is an unexpected canape and a handy little finger food. Take your favorite cream cheese dip and roll about 1 teaspoon full into a ball. Press it between two walnut halves. Lay on a platter to serve.
  • Save dry cereal odds and ends to add to your Chex mix when you make it.
  • Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting it in the fridge. It will keep much longer.
  • When you have one hot dog, hamburger, sausage patty, or slice of ham left over, put it in a container in the freezer. Use these leftovers to make a meat lover’s pizza or to add a little more zip to a regular frozen pizza.
  • Add a few of your favorite spices to a frozen pizza or add extra cheese and toppings.

Mix and match any of these:

  • Bread and honey butter. This is an old fashioned easy stand by. Place some soft, fresh bread on a plate and honey butter in a bowl for something that is good and couldn’t be easier. (Make honey butter by mixing a little bit of honey into regular butter.)
  • Sliced fruit of any kind. Cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries, kiwi and others work well.
  • Sliced veggies of any kind. Try tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots or celery.
  • Sandwiches of every kind. You aren’t committing a sin by serving your family easy sandwiches on a hot summer day. Combine them with fresh fruits or veggies and you’ve got a meal.
  • Salads – Jello, fruit, veggie, pasta or potato salads make great summer fare.
  • Desserts – Ice cream, ice cream and more ice cream. Make it into floats, banana splits, brownie sundaes or regular sundaes, milk shakes, ice cream pie or ice cream sandwiches.
  • If you have leftover brownies or cake, add a few pieces to the bottom of a dish and then top with pudding and whipped cream.
  • Keep a bag or container in your freezer to store that 1 or 2 pieces of coffee cake, donuts or other baked goods that are sometimes left over (which doesn’t happen often in my house ;-). Then when you get enough for your favorite bread pudding recipe (hopefully one that is in the Dining on a Dime Cookbook, use them instead of bread.


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