Pan Substitutions

Have a recipe that calls for a pan size you don’t have? No problem. Just use these charts to find other pans that you can use instead:

Pan Substitutions - Rectangular Pans

Print Rectangular Pan Substitutions Chart

Pan Substitutions - Round

Print Round Pan Substitutions Chart

Pan Conversion - Square

Print Square Pan Substitutions Chart

Baking Times:

If the substituted pan is the same depth as the one called for in the recipe, you shouldn’t have to adjust the baking time. However, if the substituted pan depth is shallower, (a 1″ pan, instead of a 2″), you’ll need to shorten the baking time. If the substituted pan depth is deeper (a 2″ pan, instead of a 1″, you’ll need to increase the baking time.

It’s also worth noting that foods cooked in a glass pan may take 5-10 minutes longer than those cooked in a metal pan.

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Use This Instead of Cheesecloth

Use Paint Strainer Bags Instead of Cheesecloth

There are lots of kitchen items that I love. Cheesecloth isn’t one of them. Don’t get me wrong; it’s useful when you need it. I use it to strain pumpkin puree and broth, to make spice bundles and – on occasion – to make cheese. But it’s awkward to work with, hard to clean and it wears out quickly. There has to be something better.

And you know what? There is. While walking up and down the aisles of my local hardware store the other day, I spotted paint strainer bags. They’re simple mesh bags designed to fit over a five gallon bucket, so you can – you guessed it – strain paint. But you know what? They work just as well in the kitchen. Because they have a wide elastic band around the top, they fit beautifully over a mixing bowl, and stay right where you put them (something cheesecloth never wants to do), and since they have a finer weave than cheesecloth, they do a better job of straining, too.

Strained Butternut Squash Puree

Liquid from Butternut Squash Puree

My husband used them to strain the butternut squash puree that he made last week (yep, he’s a keeper) …

Straining Ham Broth

Strained Ham Broth

and I used them to strain the ham broth that I made yesterday. They performed perfectly in both situations.

And since they cost just $1.50 a bag and are machine washable, I’d say they’re an all-round winner. Don’t you love when you find a better way to do something?

Putting Up Food in a Rainy Year

Putting Up Food in a Rainy Year

My town is currently 17.47 inches above normal for rainfall this year. If you’re experiencing a similarly rainy year and you like to can, freeze and root cellar, know that it’s going to affect all of your prep and cook times, as well as the shelf life of any foods that you plan to freeze or store. Here are some things to expect:

  • Tomato sauce, salsas and fruit butters are going to take longer to cook down. Consider doing them in the crockpot this year, so you aren’t strapped to the stove
  • Dehydrating is going to take longer, too. Don’t be surprised if you blow past the recommended drying times
  • Foods like onions, potatoes, apples, pears, winter squash and carrots aren’t going to keep as well in storage. I chopped and froze all of my onions this year because they were just too wet to store. Usually buying keeping varieties of fruits and vegetables is a sure bet for long-term storage, but it won’t be in a rainy year
  • Pumpkin and buttternut squash puree will need to be drained in a cheesecloth-lined colander before you jar and freeze it. I roasted a half bushel of squash the other night, and drained two large mixing bowls of water out of it!
  • The extra water content in fruits and veggies means they’re going to freezer-burn faster than usual. Take the time to towel-dry any foods that you have to blanche, so you aren’t adding more water to the mix
  • When you pull fruits and veggies from the freezer, you’ll probably have to extend the cooking time of the recipes that you use them in to cook off the extra water that they release

No-Waste Lunchboxes

No-Waste Lunchboxes

I pack my kids lunches to save money, so I’m not interested in dropping a bunch of cash on plastic sandwich bags, single-serving containers of foods and other things that are just going to get used once and tossed. With that in mind, I went to a no-waste lunchbox set up years ago. My kids get a healthy lunch from home, and there’s nothing to throw away when they’re done. Check it out:

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