Culinary Inspiration

Life isn’t always simple. Kids get sick, cars break down, last-minute meetings are scheduled. With all that life throws at you, wouldn’t it be great if mealtime could be simple? Sometimes you just need a little help — We get it. But unless you have a sous chef at your disposal, it can take some real creativity to save time in the kitchen. Luckily, these simple hacks and California walnut recipes can help you cut corners by using ingredients and things you most likely have on hand.

Freeze Pasta Sauce in an Ice Cube Tray

Everyone loves a homemade sauce on their pasta. But there’s not always time to make one from scratch. Or maybe you made too much and don’t want it to go to waste. To solve this dilemma, fill an ice cube tray with that extra walnut pesto pasta sauce, and freeze it for future use. When mealtime comes, just pop the cubes in a saucepan, heat and top your favorite pasta or veggies.

Paint Scrapers as a Baking Tool

Want to feel like you’re on an episode of The Great British Bake Off? Use a paint scraper to evenly frost a cake like a pro. Try smoothing on the cream cheese frosting of this Cinnamon Zucchini Walnut Cake for a dessert that looks sleek and is sure to impress your party guests.

Slicing a Cake with Dental Floss

Once you’ve used your paint scraper to perfectly frost your cake, you’ll want to maintain that beautiful work when it’s ready to serve. To achieve smooth, even slices, take a piece of unscented dental floss and use it to expertly slice the cake. This method works great on denser cakes, too, like this Walnut Chocolate Peppermint Bundt Cake.

Chop Fresh Herbs with a Pizza Slicer

Cutting fresh herbs can be a tedious process. It takes time and effort to get them just right! So, next time you’re prepping ingredients to season a dish like these roasted vegetables, do yourself a favor and use a pizza wheel to quickly cut the herbs. Keep the stems, or remove them if you prefer, then just roll the pizza wheel over them, going back and forth. It’s so simple, you’ll wonder why you never thought of it!

Use Beans to Keep Spices Fresh

Did you know that when spices are exposed to moisture, they can go bad? To protect your spices, so that you can use them on all of your favorite snacks, simply add a few beans to the bag. The beans attract moisture, keeping your spices nice and fresh.

Use Chopsticks to Keep Fingers Clean

Some of the best snacks can be so messy to eat. Anything with a delicious coating on it, like these poppable Carolina BBQ Walnuts, can tend to leave your fingers with an unwanted residue. For cleaner snacking, especially when you’re on the go, keep a pair of chopsticks handy to pick up messy finger foods.

Use Paper Towels to Keep Spinach Fresh

Help spinach last a little longer in the refrigerator by adding a paper towel to the bag. The towels soak up the moisture, extending the life of your spinach.

Cut Strawberries with an Egg Slicer

Ripe strawberries sweeten up so many meals. Whether you’re topping a bowl of granola, or sprinkling them on a spinach walnut salad. Skip the hand slicing and use an egg slicer. Your strawberries will look perfect every time. Bonus tip: Remove the strawberry core before you slice them by pushing a straw through the middle of the berry from the bottom!

De-seed Squash or Melon with an Ice Cream Scoop

Whether you’re preparing spaghetti squash for dinner or slicing up melon for an afternoon snack, removing those pesky seeds can be a time-consuming process. Next time you crack open a melon, reach for the ice cream scoop to easily clear your fruits and vegetables of seeds so you can get right to the good stuff.

Chop Walnuts with a Hammer or Meat Tenderizer

If you need some chopped or crushed walnuts for your baked goods, sauces, salads, or to sprinkle on any delicious meal, use a hammer or meat tenderizer to break up your walnuts. It’ll be a lot faster (and more fun!) than chopping them by hand.

Make Perfect Pancakes Using a Turkey Baster

Who said turkey basters are only useful at Thanksgiving? Break yours out the next time you’re preparing Apple Walnut Pancakes. Fill the baster with pancake batter and release it into the pan or griddle in even amounts to make equally-shaped and sized pancakes!

Use a Cheese Grater on Veggies

We’re all about finding multiple uses for your kitchen utensils, so upgrade your cheese grater to a vegetable grater. Try it to make riced cauliflower, or to shred carrots for Walnut Carrot Cake Cookies. Your grated veggies can also be used in various salads, soups, pasta sauces, and breads. Bonus tip: This is a great way to sneak veggies into just about anything without the kids ever finding out!

Peel Ginger With a Spoon

If you’ve ever tried to peel ginger with a standard vegetable peeler, you know it’s not an easy task. And, the tough skin on ginger isn’t great for the longevity of your peeler, either! But don’t let that deter you from including ginger in your favorite smoothies and dishes. Simply use a metal spoon to peel your ginger. Scrape the edge of the spoon along the ginger’s skin. Once the ginger is peeled, you can easily grate it to make a Walnut and Ginger-Pomegranate Vinaigrette to toss on a salad. These kitchen gadgets take up valuable real estate in your drawers and cabinets, so make the most out of them! For more ways walnuts can make mealtime simple, check out our collection of recipes.
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