8 Simple Kitchen Tricks from Ellie Krieger

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8 Simple Kitchen Tricks from Ellie Krieger
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8 Simple Kitchen Tricks from Ellie Krieger

Read on to learn insider secrets from Food Network's Ellie Krieger, author of Weeknight Wonders.

How to keep greens fresh

If you're having trouble preventing your lettuces and leafy greens from wilting too quickly, Ellie says you should store them in a sealed plastic bag with a slightly damp paper towel. This will keep them crisp. (She also does the same thing when storing herbs.)

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Food to always have on hand

Ellie always has frozen fruit at the ready. She suggests you take very ripe bananas, peel them, break them into pieces and freeze them. "They are the perfect ingredient to put in a smoothie because it makes them really frothy, and it has enough sweetness that you don't need to add any extra," she shares.

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The right way to add oil

Ellie always recommends measuring olive oil when you're adding it to the pan instead of just pouring it in, because you'll never know how much you're really adding if you don't. "You only need a tablespoon of olive oil to saute an onion for a recipe," Ellie says. "If you just [pour] it in, you can easily pour in four times that amount."

Ellie elaborates that each tablespoon of olive oil is 120 calories, so even if it is a healthy oil, you shouldn't be adding all those extra calories when it isn't going to affect the final taste of the food. "I always say, use the calories when they are going to count," she adds.

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Make a boring sandwich exciting

One way Ellie says you can breathe life into a "ho-hum lunch" is to add fresh herbs. Adding a few mint, parsley or basil leaves to your tuna, turkey, hummus or ham sandwich will boost flavor (without a lot of work).

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Trick to tell if fruit is ripe

How can you tell when a pear is really ripe? Ellie says if it yields to gentle pressure from your thumb at its neck, it's ready to eat. If not, you should let it sit a day or so. "The same goes for avocados, mangos and peaches," Ellie shares. "If they aren't ready, put them in a paper bag and close it."

Ellie also has good tricks for speeding up and slowing down the process. To get fruit to ripen more quickly, stick a banana in the bag with it. If you find a fruit is too ripe, put it in the fridge.

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Food to never put in the fridge

While Ellie recommends putting ripe fruit in the fridge when you aren't ready to eat it yet, there is one item she says you shouldn't store there: tomatoes. "Never put tomatoes in the fridge unless they are really going to go bad if you don't. It ruins their flavor and texture," she says.

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The best time to eat carbs

"Protein keeps you sharp and carbohydrates calm you, so I recommend eating a protein and veggie power lunch, and then focus on more grain-based meals at dinner—like pasta," Ellie says.

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Add nutrients to baked goods

"Substitute half the white flour in your recipe with whole grain pastry flour," Ellie says. "It has a mild flavor, soft texture, and adds fiber, minerals and antioxidants." Ellie adds that using whole grain pastry flour is great for when you just want a lighter taste for foods like cookies and muffins.

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As she's learned from cooking for her own family, Ellie Krieger, author of Weeknight Wonders, knows that home cooks need simple ways to make preparing food easier. Every week on Twitter, she shares tips and tricks that home cooks would benefit from with her #ellietip. "I probably have a hundred of them built up at this point," she tells us.

From the best way to keep greens fresh to a great way to liven up a boring lunch, Ellie reveals easy hacks every home cook should know.

Check out the slideshow above to learn Ellie's insider secrets.

Check out more of Ellie's story on MAKERS.

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