Cook's Exchange: 5 Helpful Tips from Readers

Home cooks share their top tips for recipes, substitutions, food prep and more.

Bread pan coating
When making French bread recently, I discovered I was out of cornmeal that was needed to coat the baking sheet before setting the dough on it. I tried using raw cream of wheat cereal instead, and it worked just as well. - Anita Schlom, Gerber, CA


Stock solution
I love making homemade stock from the carcass leftover roast chicken but hate picking out the bones when the stock is done. To solve the problem, I tie the carcass in cheesecloth before putting it in the pot. When the stock is finished cooking, I just lift out the tied bundle with tongs and let it drain over the pot. - Susan Pire, Ivoryton, CT

Smart labels
For quick and easy labeling of food storage containers, keep a roll of fabric-type medical tape handy. It stays put as long as you need it to, yet it peels off with no sticky residue left behind. To make it even easier, look for a roll with a built-in cutter. - Nicole Schmidt, Fayetteville, NC

Picturing dinner
I like to photograph meals that we have and then store the photos in an album. Once or twice a week, I have my son pick a meal that he wants from the album. He can see what it is, and it’s fun for him to help make it look like the picture when we prepare the food. - Lenae Crumley, Boise, ID


No-mess measuring
When I need to spoon out flour or sugar from my canisters into a measuring cup on the countertop, I slide a piece of waxed paper underneath the cup. I level off the cup and any spilled flour or sugar falls onto the paper and can be easily poured back into the canister. - Linda Terrill, Sandston, VA


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