helpful cooking ingredient tips

Five Starr Helpful cooking ingredient tips

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I’m going to give you a few little tips that I have found to be very useful over the years for cooking. I started cooking when I was probably 12 or 13 years old.  Growing up we didn’t have a lot of money.  We had to do with what we had, so I became very creative.  One of the first dishes I remember cooking was potato soup. I would come home from school and make it pretty regularly.  We might not have milk or cream in the refrigerator but mom usually had powdered non-dairy creamer in the cupboard, therefore I would use that. 

As I got older I found out that I could preserve certain things to use at a later date. Just a couple tricks that I discovered was that I could freeze some fruits and herbs to use at a later date. When I bought certain items that weren’t really a necessity, I would try to preserve them to use at a later. Lemons, limes, cilantro, basil, rosemary, and parsley are just a few examples of things I would freeze.  I use frozen things when I’m cooking certain dishes because you can’t really tell the difference between a freshly zested lemon versus a frozen lemon. I always have a frozen lemon and cilantro in my freezer. When I have a recipe that calls for lemon zest I pull my lemon out of the freezer, shave some off with either a grater or a zester right into the dish. It works great.


cilantro and lemon next to a pitcher of yellow flowers


Cilantro is another one I always have in my freezer because I use it a lot in my recipes. I Wash it really well, cut the stems off and place the leaves in a baggie. I make sure I get as much of the air out as possible. Then when I have a recipe that calls for cilantro, I pull it out of the freezer, crumble a little bit in the baggie and shake it right into my dish.



Non-dairy powdered creamer works really great if I don’t have cream or half-and-half in my refrigerator.  For soups or creamy sauces, I just add some of this till I get the color I want.   It doesn’t have the same richness that half-and-half or heavy cream would, but it definitely works well in a pinch. Start slow when adding things, You can always add more but you can not take it away.

Some samples for uses:


  • Chili
  • Enchiladas
  • Soups
  • Salads


  • Cold salmon salad
  • Grilled salmon
  • Seafood pasta dishes
  • Casseroles

Powdered Non-dairy creamer:

  • Creamy soups
  • Gravy
  • Sauces

I know these tips sound odd but just try it, they work.  I hope these tips are something you could use in the future.  You don’t always have to have fresh ingredients to make wonderful food. Using some of these things will give you that same lovely flavor in your food.



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