6 Surprising Uses for Common Kitchen Items

Justin Chapple, test kitchen senior editor at Food & Wine and star of its award-winning video series, Mad Genius Tips, joins the Clever Cookstr to talk about surprising uses for common kitchen items from aluminum foil to Bundt pans, all from his new book Mad Genius Tips: Over 90 Expert Hacks and 100 Delicious Recipes.

Kara Rota
2-minute read
Episode #133

Here are six of Justin's tips for repurposing common items you already have in your kitchen. For more check out Mad Genius Tips: Over 90 Expert Hacks and 100 Delicious Recipes.

1) Those plastic lids left over from takeout soup are an undersung kitchen hero. Use them to cut 15-20 cherry tomatoes at once without them rolling all over the counter: Place one lid face down on your work surface, fill it with cherry tomatoes, invert a second lid on top of them, and use your knife to cut through the tomatoes between the two lids.

2) You can also use these lids to pit olives in a mess-free way: put olives between two lids, smash them with the palm of your hand or a meat mallet, and then pluck out the pits. The lids protect your cutting board from olive juice and oil. 

3) One more plastic lid hack: shaping burger patties! Place hamburger meat between two lids and smush it down—you'll end up with the ideal thickness and diameter.

4) You know that Bundt pan taking up valuable cabinet space? It's not just for making a beautiful cake once or twice a year. Take an ear of corn, put it into the tube of a Bundt pan, and cut the kernels off with a knife—they'll all land nicely in the pan.

5) You can also roast a chicken in a Bundt pan, using the tube as you would a beer can in beer can chicken. Wrap foil around the tube first, fill the bottom of the Bundt pan with roasting vegetables, and place the chicken on top. The juices will flavor the vegetables as the chicken cooks.

6) Having a party and want to serve punch? Fill a Bundt pan with water as well as seasonal ingredients like berries, then freeze it-- the resulting ice ring will be beautiful and melt more slowly than individual cubes, keeping the punch cool throughout the party. 

Author photo courtesy of John Kernick

About the Author

Kara Rota

Kara Rota headed children’s programming at Chicago’s Green City Market and studied food politics at Sarah Lawrence College. Kara has been a featured speaker at numerous venues including Food Book Fair, the Roger Smith Food Conference, and the Brooklyn Food Conference. She has written about food for Irish America Magazine, West Side Rag, Recipe Relay, and Food + Tech Connect, and is the former Director of Editorial & Partnerships at Cookstr.com.