Carla Hall's 6 Simple Tips to Improve Your Cooking

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Carla Hall's 6 Simple Tips to Improve Your Cooking
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Carla Hall's 6 Simple Tips to Improve Your Cooking

Read on to learn how to make dinner parties run more smoothly and other kitchen secrets from Carla Hall.

Use a Box Grater

"The box grater is such a great tool. The microplane is a great tool, too, but the box grater is great for frozen butter or [grating cheese after popping it in the freezer for 10 minutes]. Even if you have frozen bacon that you want to chop up, thaw it just a little bit [and use] the box grater. It is an under utilized tool. Onions work on the box grater too."

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When Entertaining, Use Ziplocs

"When I am entertaining, I run it like a catering job. I think about what I can do ahead," Carla offers. "When you are prepping things for a big party or a big dinner, cook things ahead and store them in the refrigerator in Ziploc bags so they are laying flat. That way, you are not stacking containers up so you can’t see and you don’t have room for them."

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Make a Turkey Four Ways

"Another big thing that I do is break my turkey down into pieces," Carla explains. "I started marinating and doing different rubs on different pieces, so if you have a small family, you could actually have one turkey with four different rubs. They are all divided so you don’t have to decide what the turkey is going to be this year."

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Best Quick Dinner

"I do an omelet and a salad. I always have eggs in the fridge or I’ll do pasta - sometimes [I'll make] pasta," says Carla. "Always have tomatoes on hand." Carla believes you can do anything with canned tomatoes.

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Replace Butter with Olive Oil

Carla, who finds Michael Symon's "5 in 5" segment on The Chew to be very valuable, also loves Mario Batali's olive oil mashed potatoes. "You usually think butter mashed potatoes, but olive oil mashed potatoes are so delicious. I started doing sweet potatoes and olive oil and a little bit of orange zest. It's so delicious. The idea works really well with root vegetables and herbs."

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Use Sticky Notes

Carla also recommends using sticky notes to label which food goes in which dish and knowing how many serving dishes are needed. She also keeps tubs to put the dirty dishes in and containers for the dirty silverware, a trick she learned from her catering days.

Image Credit: Getty Images


Carla Hall is not only a chef and the host of The Chew, but a former caterer and current baker. With wide-ranging experience in the food world, she has definitely picked up a few tricks along the way. We picked The Chew host's brain on her must-know tricks.

Check out the slideshow above to learn how to make dinner parties run more smoothly and other kitchen secrets from Carla Hall.

If you love Carla, check out her new cookbook, Carla's Comfort Foods: Favorite Dishes from Around the World.

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