When signing up for HelloFresh, I knew I would save time on meal prep. I didn’t realize I would learn fancy cooking hacks! Throughout my 20+ recipes, I started to learn more and more hacks that transformed my meals at home into take-out-quality stuff. While I learned a lot, these are by far the most surprising hacks I learned that will help you win at mealtime too.
Top 10 Cooking Hacks I learned from my HelloFresh subscription
1. Instant Pickling for Fancy Add-Ons
Until HelloFresh, I thought it took time to pickle your veggies. But all you need to do is microwave your sliced veggies. I tried it with carrots, radishes, jalapenos, and red onions. Combine your veggies, lemon juice, a small teaspoon of sugar, and a pinch of salt. Microwave for 30 seconds to a minute while stirring occasionally. And voilà, instant pickles!
2. Cook Veggies Instantly
Instead of cooking your veggies on the stovetop and taking forever, HelloFresh has a great hack. Simply put your veggies in a microwave-safe dish, cover it with plastic wrap, and poke a few holes in the wrap. Heat the veggies in the microwave for 3-5 minutes. Take them out of the microwave and set them aside, so the veggies keep cooking and you can do other things.
3. Pan Sear Your Proteins for Extra Flavor
Always pat-dry your protein (steak, pork, chicken, or fish) before putting it on the skillet. When you use that high heat to sear your proteins, all the good stuff gets trapped inside, and the result is amazingly delicious food that feels like it just came out of a restaurant kitchen.
4. Elevate Your Sour Cream With Hot Sauce
Thanks to HelloFresh I got really creative with making crema. It turns out that mixing sour cream, garlic, lemon juice, a bit of water, and other items like hot sauce, roasted peppers, or tomato paste instantly transforms your sour cream into a showstopping crema that’s perfect for drizzling or dipping.
5. Charr Your Corn to Turn Up the Flavor
Corn can be a tad boring. But, charring corn gives it a delicious, smoky-sweet flavor like nothing you’ve ever tried before. I love charring corn for my burrito bowls, tacos, and other staples.
6. Fluff Your Rice for Perfection Every Time
Fluffing rice before serving is a simple (but essential) step. When you fluff the rice with a fork, it ensures each grain keeps its individual texture, avoids that mushy texture, and gives you lighter rice every time!
7. Dry Chickpeas For the Perfect Crispy Texture
If you’re roasting chickpeas for a Mediterranean bowl recipe, to have around for snacks, or to use as salad toppers, you need to try this HelloFresh cooking hack. Drain and rinse your chickpeas. Then, use a paper towel or a washcloth to dry your chickpeas entirely before seasoning. This step alone will guarantee faster cooking time and a crispier finish.
8. Test Your Oil Before Frying
I absolutely hated frying food at home until I tried this. Since I don’t have an oil thermometer at home, I had to figure out whether or not my oil was hot enough by throwing the food in. Not anymore! HelloFresh says it’s better to toss a drop of batter, a grain of rice, or a small piece of whatever you’re frying into the oil first. If it sizzles immediately, you’re good to go. If not, wait another 15-30 seconds and try again.
9. No More Broken Fish Fillets
Nonstick pan or not, it’s so annoying to cook fish fillets without having to scrap your pan. The key to a chef-like release, according to HelloFresh? Leaving them alone! Honestly, if you wait for the fish to develop a crispy crust, it will separate from the pan, and you’ll be able to flip it without problems. If you need some help, adding a few drops of water can also help.
10. Crispier Fries Every Time
If you’re oven-roasting your potatoes, you need to try this hack for the perfect crisp bite every time. Put your baking sheet in the oven before pre-heating it. The potatoes will sizzle and crisp when they hit the hot surface, giving you that perfect crispy exterior.
I learned a lot from using my HelloFresh subscription to cook my weekly meals. But, more than anything, I learned that the simplest cooking hacks were the ones that made the biggest impressions.