kitchen gadgetsWho said a colander has to be restricted to straining pasta? Or that a rolling pin's sole purpose is to prepare pie crusts? With a little ingenuity, your kitchen tools can easily handle multiple tasks, allowing you to save time, energy, and money when preparing your favorite dishes. Get creative in the kitchen and maximize your cooking tools' functionality with these helpful suggestions! 


Image via Thinkstock

Use tongs to squeeze a lemon 1

Use tongs to squeeze a lemon

Image via Sarah Cady/Flickr

Do you feel like, no matter how hard you squeeze with your hands, you're not getting all the juice out of your lemons? Then get an assist from a pair of metal tongs! Simply hold a lemon half in your non-dominant hand and a pair of metal tongs in your dominant hand, insert the closed tongs into the pulpy lemon, and twist them until all the juice pours out of the fruit.

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Crush nuts with a rolling pin 2

Crush nuts with a rolling pin

Image via Granny's Kitchen/Flickr

Hoping to top off a cake with finely chopped pecans or to sprinkle crushed almonds and walnuts into your salad? Try placing the nuts inside a plastic bag, sealing it shut, then running a rolling pin over the bag several times.

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Make adorable pancakes with cookie cutters 3

Make adorable pancakes with cookie cutters

Image via litlnemo/Flickr

Want to put some love on a breakfast plate? Then grab some heart-shaped or any shape cookie cutters and place them atop your skillet, then pour pancake mix into the confines of each cookie cutter. Once you begin to see the batter bubbling, remove the cookie cutter shapes and turn your pancakes over.  In a matter of minutes, you'll have the cutest batch of pancakes!

Bake tortilla bowls in a muffin tin 4

Bake tortilla bowls in a muffin tin

Image via Thinkstock

Love the almost sculptural shape of tortilla bowls but have no idea how to create the shape? Well, turn a muffin tin upside down, then grab four warm flour tortillas and mold each into a loose bowl shape, tucking it in between the cups built into the tin. The tortilla's center should be placed so that the bottom, top, left, and right sides are all touching one of the cup forms. Pressing down along the middle of the tortilla to create a flatter bottom. Next, bake at 425°F for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.

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Steam vegetables with a colander 5

Steam vegetables with a colander

Image via mystuart/Flickr

If you're craving crisp veggies but don't have an electric steamer handy, get creative and turn to your handy colander! Place the vegetables inside the colander and hold the colander atop a pot filled with water. Make sure the water reaches just below the bottom of the colander. Once the water warms up and steam rises, your veggies will start cooking. In less than 10 minutes, you can chow down on steamed broccoli, spinach and green beans! 

Roll dough with a wine bottle 6

Roll dough with a wine bottle

Image via Chip Smith/Flickr

If a rolling pin is nowhere in sight and you want to whip up a batch of homemade biscuits, chef Damian Sansonetti suggests using a wine bottle to roll the dough. Simply remove the label from the outside of the bottle, clean the bottle thoroughly and fill it with water to give it some weight.

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Use a waffle iron to make hash browns 7

Use a waffle iron to make hash browns

Image via Joe/Flickr

Not only is using a waffle iron a time-saver, but it also allows you to eliminate all the oil needed when cooking hashbrowns in a skillet. Also, cooking hash browns with a waffle iron will help you achieve the desired texture: crispy on the outside but soft in the center.

Slice corn off the cob using a bundt pan 8

Slice corn off the cob using a bundt pan

Image via Christa/Flickr

Want to slice all those corn niblets off the cob with greater accuracy and ease? Reach for your probably neglected bundt cake pan and tuck one end of the cob inside the hole at the center of the pan, so that the cob is standing upright. The bundt pan will keep the cob perfectly centered, allowing you to slice off the corn bits without it rolling all over the place.  An added bonus: the pan will hold all the kernels you slice off!
 
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Beat your eggs inside a cocktail shaker 9

Beat your eggs inside a cocktail shaker

Image via Tobias Abel/Flickr

If you're preparing scrambled eggs and can't find your trusty whisk, simply break the eggs into a cocktail shaker, close the container tightly, and shake vigorously. 
 

Serve pasta with a carving fork 10

Serve pasta with a carving fork

Image via Amazon.com

To serve a neat bowl of pasta, Chef Ryan Hardy suggests using a carving fork. Hold a large spoon in your left hand and grasp a carving fork with your right hand, then scoop up noodles with the fork and spin them around its tines. Deposit the perfectly twisted pasta atop the spoon and serve!