When the recipe calls for "1 cup cake flour" don't buy special flour. Just take one cup of regular flour and remove 2 TBS and replace it with 2 TBS corn starch. Sift it all together.
If you want to thicken up your gravy or even sloppy Joes, use extra fine corn meal.
You can also use instant mashed potatoes to thicken sauce or gravy.
Instead of adding salt to your water to boil pasta, add a little lemon juice. It really brings out the flavor.
Why buy expensive breading mixes? For fish, chicken, pork chops or virtually anything you want coated try this: 1 cup flour, 2 tsp. salt, 2 tsp sweet paprika - all sifted together. (To actually cook the food, wet the item and press in this mixture. Lay it into a well-sprayed pan - only I layer deep. Melt ½ cup oleo and pour over meat or fish. Cook at 250 degrees. If you are making something like chicken that you want to brown, only keep it covered the first half hour of cooking)
Mix a little powdered sugar with your flour when you are rolling out dough for cut outs. It will keep your dough "tender."
Mix corn starch with powdered sugar to roll cookies that require rolling in powdered sugar. (like snow balls). This will keep them white. Approximately 3 TBS cornstarch to 1 cup powdered sugar.
For not-so-sweet icing: 1 cup powder sugar, ½ cup flour, ½ cup shortening (butter or oleo), 2 TBS flavoring (lemon or vanilla) or whatever you choose, ¼ to ½ teaspoon baking powder helps save on sugar but can add more powder sugar use your own judgment.
Here's an easy flaky pie crust recipe: 3 cups flour, 1 t salt, 1 1/3 cup shortening cut together. Mix 1 egg with 1 T white vinegar, 5 T cold water add to flour - remember to mix flour, salt shortening first. Mixed cut in before add liquid. With this you won't need to worry about how much flour is on the board.
Confused when a recipe call for 1 onion or 1 pepper? Maybe this will help. What size depends on what your making how much you like: 1 large Vidalia onion 13" in diameter = 2 cups chopped, 1 bunch celery chopped = 3 ¼ cup, 1 (12") diameter green pepper = 2 cups, 1 large carrot shredded = 1 cup, 16 oz (1# box) macaroni cooked = 4 cups.
Add crumbled ginger snap cookies to BBQ sauce for little zing and texture.
If your brown sugar gets hard, cut an apple into quarters and place in plastic bag or sealed container. Sugar will soften.
Cookies can get to hard too. Just add a slice of bread with the cookies in a sealed container. Cookies will soften, bread will get hard.