1. When measuring honey, corn syrup, or molasses, always measure the oil in the recipe first (or coat the cup with vegetable cooking spray); the sticky stuff will then slide right out.
2. Slip a wet paper towel under a cutting board or mixing bowl to keep it safely in place.
3. Before you toss a package of fozen veggies into your shopping cart, give it a shake; if the contents rattle, they're fresh. If they don't, choose another package.
4. When making a beef stir-fry, stick the meat in your freezer for 15 minutes. Cutting very thin slices will be much easier.
5. Press down on and roll citrus fruits under the palm of your hand before squeezing to get the most juice. Another juicy tip: Pop refrigerated citrus fruits into the microwave for 10 seconds to warm them; they'll release even more liquid.
6. Always insert a thermometer horizontally into the end of a piece of roasting meat for the most accurate reading.
7. For great flavor and even browning, heat your skillet and oil until hot before adding meat or poultry. This is especially important when cooking low-fat cuts like chicken or pork tenderloin.
8. Allow a roasted chicken (or any roasted meat) to rest at least 10 minutes before carving it. The meat will retain more juice, and it won't drip on the floor.
9. To remove a layer of fat from gravy or a sauce, drag a paper towel lightly across the surface of the liquid. Repeat if necessary.
10. Toast nuts in a dry pan for 3 to 4 minutes before using in a recipe. This brings out their best flavor.
Parents Magazine June 2005