By Kelly Bogard

I love being in the kitchen. Cooking food that brings smiles is dear to me. But sometimes there’s a better way. From prep to leftovers there are everyday items that can help  make things easier.

1) Parchment paper.  From cookies to chicken breasts, I use this with anything I put on a baking sheet. Not only does it keep things from sticking, it keeps my pans clean. No worrying about baked-on crust that has to be soaked off. I even use it for brownies.

2) Ice Tray. Of course an ice tray serves a purpose in the kitchen. It is great for ice. But did you know you can also freeze other things in it. Leftover broth and most sauces, like tomato sauce, can be frozen and stored in ice trays. I like to freeze them in the trays overnight, then move them to a freezer bag for storage. It’s a great way to save time and money next time you need one of those staples.

3) Dental Floss.  I know, floss is something you do in the bathroom. But it’s also great for cutting a cake. Floss will slide right though most cakes to make a perfectly straight cut, without smashing the cake with the heaviness of a knife blade. Simply line the floss up from one side to the other of the area you want to cut and press down. The floss will slice through the cake and then you can pull it out from one side.

4) Drinking Straws.  Another handy item with a great use. They can come in quite handy with strawberries. Insert the straw in the bottom of the strawberry and push up through the top where the stem is. It will remove the entire stem, allowing you to enjoy the whole berry without losing any of the yummy fruit.

5) Lemons. I always try to keep lemons on hand in the kitchen. I use them all of the time in cooking and in my tea.But they also have a great use even after you squeeze them for juice. Cleaning the disposal. Yep, you can put half a lemon in your disposal and run with water to break down any build up and give your kitchen a nice lemony fresh smell. It will also work with limes and oranges but I prefer lemons since I always have them on hand.

I hope these inexpensive items can help you in your kitchen. I know they do in mine. What are somethings that make your kitchen simpler? I would love for to learn some of your tricks too. From all of us at Texas Table Top, enjoy!