Don’t you just hate it when you’re in the middle of cooking up a fabulous meal and you’re out of one of the important ingredients? There isn’t a substitution for everything, but often you can cobble together something that will do the same job so that you can serve up your gourmet meal without having to run to the store. Here are some handy substitutions to keep in mind when you cook. They’ll save you at least once or twice.
Are you working on a fabulous layer cake or a batch of tasty muffins for breakfast? It’s very hard to bake without baking powder. In fact, most baked goods require some amount of baking powder, so you might be freaking out to see none in your cabinet. You can make a baking powder substitute by combing ¼ teaspoon of baking soda with 5/8 teaspoon cream of tartar for every teaspoon of baking powder your recipe calls for.
I cannot even tell you how many times I’ve needed breadcrumbs for meatloaf and found out I was out of them. You don’t have to worry because there are lots of things that you can use instead. Crushed crackers, potato chips, cornmeal or oats will work in much the same way. You can also use any of these things for breading when you make chicken nuggets or fried fish.
There’s something about fresh garlic that really brings out the flavor of a dish. If you run out, don’t worry about rushing to the store. Raid your spice cabinet and use garlic powder instead. You’ll need 1/8 teaspoon for each clove of garlic the recipe calls for. You can also use ½ teaspoon of granulated garlic for each clove if you have that.
Maple syrup is used in some baked goods and certain marinades and sauces too. Did your kids use it all on their waffles this morning? Been there, done that. Instead of getting upset, make your own syrup by combining 2 cups of sugar, 1 cup of water and 1 teaspoon maple flavoring in a saucepan and boiling until it reaches the desired consistency. You can also just sub 1 cup of honey for every 2 cups of syrup your recipe calls for.
Cornstarch is often used as a thickener, but it certainly isn’t the only thing that works. If you’re right in the middle of making stir-fry and find out that you have no cornstarch, you can sub something else that you probably do have on hand. For each 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, sub in 2 tablespoons of flour or 4 teaspoons of instant tapioca.
Sometimes I forget to buy fresh herbs or they spoil without me realizing it. You can easily sub in dried herbs instead. For each tablespoon of fresh herbs, you can use 1 teaspoon of dried herbs. This works for just about any herb your recipe calls for.
I use vinegar to prepare homemade salad dressings and marinades, but it’s easy to forget to replenish my supply when I get groceries. Never fear! You can use lemon or lime juice instead because they are both acidic in similar ways and will add loads of flavor to your recipe. Sub the lemon or lime juice one for one with the vinegar called for.
What other handy kitchen substitutions can you share? Will any of these save your life sometime soon?
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