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Cheryle Finley: Injury allows chance to hunt down kitchen tips |

Cheryle Finley: Injury allows chance to hunt down kitchen tips

I have decided that at my age, if I fall, I will break something. Proof: A little more than a week ago I fell on my front sidewalk. Bad news: I broke my ankle. Good news: no surgery. Four weeks in a boot is bad, but it could be worse.

Because it’s my right foot, my husband, Chris, has been driving me to and from work. I may soon be hitchhiking or relying on Uber. After a couple of days of playing chauffeur, Chris informed me that there’s a reason backseat drivers are in the backseat. It’s so the driver can’t put his hands around their necks. I have already worn out my welcome with a month left to be the passenger.

Today, I’m sharing things I have learned on the internet:

• For starters, save those butter wrappers. Freeze in freezer bags so they are ready for use. They are perfect for greasing cake pans, greasing skillets for light frying or sauteeing, and put between baked goods and burgers to keep them separated while frozen. The best wrappers to save are those taken from sticks of butter that are at room temperature that leave extra butter for later.

• Rid plastic containers of odor by storing with crumpled black and white newspaper (no colorful comics) to absorb the odor. Rinse container before using again.

• Burned gravy? Add 1 teaspoon smooth peanut butter for each cup of gravy to eliminate any burnt taste.

• When celery and carrots go limp, place them in a bowl of ice water with a slice of raw potato to make crisp again.

• Store your cottage cheese and sour cream containers upside down in the fridge to form a vacuum that will inhibit bacteria growth.

• Prevent mushrooms from getting slimy by wrapping them in paper towels before putting in the fridge.

• Keep brown sugar in the freezer to keep it soft.

• If your soup is too greasy and you don’t have time for it to cool, place a few ice cubes in it and remove them when the grease starts to stick to them. Or drop a big piece of lettuce into the soup and pull it out when greasy.

• A pinch of salt added to burned milk will temper the scorched smell and taste.

• A bay leaf stored in rice and pasta will help repel bugs.

I also learned that Prince Harry and his girlfriend held hands in public for the first time, so that made the internet search complete.

Thank you for the easy kitchen tips. Hope some of them were new to you and will be worth remembering and using. Let me know if you try the peanut butter in the gravy. Almost worth burning some gravy to see how it works. And please watch for me beside the road.

Fall makes me think of slow cooker dishes. So does summer, as it’s a good way to avoid turning on the oven. I guess slow cookers are always a good option. 

The hamburger hash recipe, from, can stay in the slow cooker all day and be ready to greet you when you get home that evening. gives us the easiest muffin mix just in time for fall activities. Dress them up with cream cheese frosting or a pecan crumble. 

Have a great week, and happy eating.

Slow cooker hamburger hash

3 pounds ground beef

1 (15-ounce) can tomato puree

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can French onion soup

3/4 cup water

1 (28-ounce) bag frozen O’Brien hash browns, thawed

4 medium carrots, diced

1 teaspoon salt

Cook beef in skillet until done; drain. Mix puree and mushroom soup in bowl; stir in onion soup and water. Spray 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Reserve 1 cup potatoes. Gently mix all ingredients in slow cook. Top with reserved potatoes. 

Cover and cook on low eight to nine hours. Will hold on warm for up to two hours.

Pumpkin muffins

1 yellow or spice cake mix

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin

Mix well and divide equally in 12 sprayed or lined muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until done.

Category: Skillets  Tags: ,  Comments off
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