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75 Quick & Easy Secrets from the Test Kitchen

Cook better and faster with time-saving tips, tricks, and recipes from the Family Circle food editors.
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Techniques and Basics Three Techniques You Need to Know

You'll spend less time prepping once you've mastered these key how-tos.

1. Garlic Mincing
Garlic Mincing
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Charles Schiller

Cut thin vertical slices almost to stem end, slice parallel to surface, and cut across to mince. (Also use this trick on onions.)

2. Pepper Prepping
Pepper Prepping
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Charles Schiller

Hold pepper at stem end and slice down through about one-quarter of the pepper. Rotate and repeat slicing until only center is left.

3. Chocolate Melting
Chocolate Melting
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Charles Schiller

Place squares in a dry, microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high for 30 seconds to a minute; stir and heat another 30 seconds if needed.

Saute Basics

With this technique, you can turn chicken cutlets, pork chops, or thin steaks into supper in no time.

Brown and flip
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Charles Schiller

  1. Make sure the pan is hot (you have to pull your hand away after a few seconds). Add oil, butter, or spray.
  2. Pat cutlets dry. Coat in seasoned flour, shaking off excess. Add to pan in single layer; do not crowd.
  3. Do not move cutlets -- let them cook until edges begin to turn golden-brown. Use tongs to flip.

Suggested Sauce Combos

After the cutlets are done, remove and keep warm. Stir in wine, scraping up browned bits from the pan, then...

  • for chicken, add heavy cream, tarragon, and mustard, and cook over medium-high heat until thickened.
  • for boneless pork chops, stir in peeled apple slices, rosemary, and raisins, and cook until tender.
  • for thin steaks, simmer sliced mushrooms and onions until softened, stir in Worcestershire and beef broth.

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