Enjoying food should be ultra-simple when it’s hot outside. That’s why we’re sharing our 10 favourite summer food hacks that make life deliciously easy.
1. Stem strawberries with a straw
Who has time to hull strawberries when the sangria needs to chill stat? Get the job done fast with a straw: Hold the strawberry stem-side down and poke a straw into the bottom of the berry. Push it all the way through until the stem pops out the other side.
2. Clean the grill with foil
No grill brush? No problem! Instead, turn off the grill and scrunch up some foil to about the size of a golf ball. Using tongs, scrape the foil ball over the hot grates to remove all the charred bits and greasy grime. Once you’re finished, brush the grill with oil so it’s ready to go for next time.
3. Make frozen fruit the new ice cubes
If you find your fridge is overflowing with summer berries, pack a few handfuls into zip-top bags and toss them in the freezer. Now you’ll always have something to keep your drinks cool—and colourful. Stash some Compliments frozen fruit in the freezer for even more variety. Bonus: These icy fruits double as a sweet snack when your drink is done. More sangria, anyone?
4. Grill frozen fries
Seriously! All you need is a large ovenproof skillet and a little cooking spray. Just heat the grill to medium-high, spray the inside of the pan, toss in the fries and place it on the grill. Cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes and then turn the fries over. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes. Uncover and toss the fries again, making sure to release the steam so they get crispy. Serve right in the pan and watch ’em disappear.
5. Pound chicken breasts for even cooking
By pounding boneless, skinless chicken breasts to an even thickness, you take the guesswork out of determining whether the thickest part is cooked through. Place chicken inside a large zip-top bag, squeeze out the air and seal it shut. Carefully pound it with a meat mallet until it’s even, about 3/4 inch (2 cm) thick. Bonus: You’ll end up with “larger” pieces of chicken, which you can halve to serve.
6. Keep your patties warm
If you’re hosting this year’s block party or family reunion, you’ll be flipping lots of burgers. Instead of placing them on a platter and covering them with foil—which always seems to slip off at the wrong moment—tape two disposable foil pans together along one edge. Voilà: you have an instant covered pan that’ll keep those patties hot.
7. Stay clean with cupcake liners
Punch ice-pop sticks through cupcake liners and—presto!—you’ve got instant drip catchers for frozen treats on blazing hot days. And to keep pesky bugs out of your drink, poke a straw through an upside-down cupcake liner and place it over your glass. No more swimmers!
8. Stir up an ice cream dream
Why have anything à la mode when you can combine dessert and ice cream into a whole new dish? Just crumble your favourite sweet—brownie, cake, pie, you name it—into softened ice cream. Stir to combine, pour into a baking pan and freeze until set. Get the recipe and then watch how it’s done in our Two Ice-Cream Pie video.
9. Transform leftover burgers
They don’t always have the same appeal the next day, but leftover burgers are still full of great barbecue flavour. Give them new life by crumbling them into other recipes: think taco fillings, salad toppers and homemade lasagna. Check out more tasty ideas in our how-to on using up leftover ground beef.
10. Turn extra buns into something special
So maybe your burgers were eaten up, but you were left with half a package of buns. Don’t toss them to the birds! Make pizza or croutons or breadcrumbs. We’ve cooked up a bunch more inspiration in our guide to using up leftover buns.