1. Save an overly salty dish with lemon.
Some people think adding a potato will solve the problem, but potatoes don’t really absorb salt. Instead, use lemons. The acidity helps balance out over-salted dishes. Mild vinegars work too!
2. Get a stuck cake out of its pan with a wet dishcloth.
First, dip the cloth in cold water. Then, wring out the cloth and wrap it around the base of the hot pan to create a steaming effect. The steam will help loosen the cake from the sides of the pan.
3. Add dairy, like yogurt or heavy cream, to a dish that’s too spicy.
Casein, which is one of the proteins found in dairy, helps break the bonds capsaicin (responsible for the pungency in peppers) forms on your nerve receptors—effectively washing the heat away.
4. Turn gluey mashed potatoes into a delicious gratin.
Spread a thin layer across a baking dish, dot with butter, cheese, and breadcrumbs, and bake until it’s crispy on top.
5. Add breadcrumbs to thicken a thin stew.
Breadcrumbs dissolve almost instantly when added to hot liquid. Add unseasoned crumbs a little at a time until your soup has an ideal consistency.
6. Add olive oil to dips that are too thick.
Just a drizzle of olive oil will do the trick to thin out a dip that’s become hard or is too thick.
7. Put overcooked vegetables in ice water.
The ice water will shock your overcooked veggies and help them firm up a little. At the same time, the ice water will stop the cooking process.
8. Salvage mushy rice by extending cooking time and leaving the pot uncovered.
Rice gets mushy when too much water is added. Lower heat and leave your rice pot uncovered until the extra water evaporates.
Another option is to transform your dish into fried rice with this recipe.
9. Place a paper towel on top of sauces and gravies that are too oily.
The paper towel will absorb the excess fat and oil that tends to separate at the top.
10. Saute overdone pasta in a pan with olive oil or butter.
This method will make mushy pasta firmer and even slightly crisp at the edges. Or, opt to make spaghetti pie instead with this recipe.
11. Soak dried, overcooked meat in broth.
Try soaking steak and dried out turkey in broth, marinade, or even prune juice overnight! Rehydrated meats are great in wraps, soups or sandwiches.
12. Add salted butter to dry scrambled eggs.
Just melting a teaspoon of butter should soften dry eggs and make them taste better (because everything’s better with butter, right?!). This also works for dry steak.
13. Add tomato paste to dishes with too much wine.
The acidity in tomato paste helps level out the intensity of wine. Chicken or beef broth works too.
14. Smooth out lumpy sauce with a blender.
For sauce that’s just too thick, add some milk or stock and puree in a blender. Voilà, problem solved.