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4 Kitchens Hacks for a Day’s Worth of Delicious Meals

Time Inc. Books

Justin Chapple and the Editors of Food & Wine are the authors of Mad Genius Tips: Over 90 Expert Hacks + 100 Delicious Recipes

From the new book 'Mad Genius Tips'

Here are four recipes from Justin Chapple and the Editors of Food & Wine for creative meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.

Breakfast: Use a Mason Jar to Make PB&J Overnight Oats

PB & J Overnight Oats Beauty + Justin Chapple + A160328 Food & Wine + Mad Genius Tips Book 2016
John Kernick

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I love to eat something healthy, like oatmeal. But who on earth has time to make it in the morning? Read on for a trick to prep a no-cook oatmeal that’s ready when you wake up.

Combine oatmeal ingredients in a Mason jar. Shake, then refrigerate overnight.

Total 10 min plus overnight soaking; serves 1.

This oatmeal is a healthy way to satisfy your PB&J cravings. I flavor the oats with peanut butter, then swirl in strawberry jam when I’m ready to eat, but feel free to use your favorite jam or jelly.

  • ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. chia seeds
  • 2 tsp. flax seeds
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • Strawberry jam and coarsely chopped peanuts, for serving

In a 1-pint Mason jar, combine the almond milk with the peanut butter, honey, chia and flax seeds and the salt. Close the jar and shake until well combined. Add the oats, close the jar and shake again. Refrigerate overnight. Serve with strawberry jam and coarsely chopped peanuts.

Ingredient Swaps:

  • Milk in place of the almond milk. Swap in another nut milk, such as cashew or hazelnut, or use soy milk or regular milk.
  • Nut butter instead of peanut butter. Use almond butter, then garnish with sliced almonds instead of peanuts. Or try Nutella with chopped hazelnuts. May not be as healthy, but it’s so good!
  • Juice instead of milk. Add a fruit juice, like apple. Omit the honey if you go this route.
  • Shake up your oats with ground cinnamon. Then garnish with apple chips and sliced almonds.

Lunch: Use a Baking Rack to Weave Bacon for California BLTs

Christina Holmes
Christina Holmes

The BLT often misses its shot at greatness due to one flaw: There isn’t bacon in every bite. Now, with the help of this tip, it wins my award for Most Amazing Sandwich. I weave uncooked strips of bacon into a tight lattice, then bake until crisp, so I get crunchy, smoky bacon throughout.

Step 1: Cut bacon slices in half crosswise.

Step 2: On a parchment-lined baking sheet, weave 6 strips of bacon, 3 in each direction, to create a lattice.

Step 3: Lay a baking rack upside down on the bacon lattices to keep them flat. Bake until browned and crisp.

Total 45 min; Serves 4.

  • 12 slices of bacon, halved crosswise
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped tarragon
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 8 slices of multigrain sandwich bread, toasted
  • 1 Hass avocado—peeled, pitted and sliced
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
  • 4 small Bibb lettuce leaves
  • ½ cup mixed sprouts, such as radish, sunflower and alfalfa

1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. For each lattice, weave 6 strips of bacon, 3 in each direction, on the prepared baking sheet.

2. Set a baking rack upside down on the bacon to keep it flat. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until browned and crisp. Remove the rack, then transfer the bacon lattices to paper towels to drain.

3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the tarragon and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Spread the tarragon mayonnaise on each slice of toast. Arrange the sliced avocado, cucumbers and tomato on 4 slices of the toast and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with the bacon lattices, Bibb leaves and sprouts. Close the sandwiches and serve.

Dinner: Use a Bundt Pan to Bake a Pasta Pie

Pasta Bundt Loaf Beauty + Justin Chapple + A160328 Food & Wine + Mad Genius Tips Book 2016
John Kernick

Mix the pasta pie ingredients in a bowl, then bake in a Bundt pan—its grooves give you more crazy-crisp edges than a plain rectangular pan.

Active 25 min; total 1 hr 20 min; serves 8.

This pasta pie is a fun riff on mac and cheese. I use three types of cheese here: Fontina and cheddar, which melt beautifully, as well as Parmigiano-Reggiano to create the crispest edges.

  • Unsalted butter, for greasing
  • 1 lb. spaghetti
  • 6 oz. Fontina cheese, shredded (2 cups)
  • 6 oz. sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • ¾ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 ½ tsp. pepper
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt

1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Generously butter a 10-inch Bundt pan. In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain well.

2. In a large bowl, mix the pasta with the remaining ingredients. Scrape into the prepared pan. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling, 35 to 40 minutes.

3. Transfer the pasta Bundt loaf to a rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Invert the loaf onto a platter, cut into wedges and serve.

Dessert: Use Floss to Cut Layers in a Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Buttercream

Chocolate Layer Cake with Strawberry Vanilla Frosting Beauty + Justin Chapple + A160328 Food & Wine + Mad Genius Tips Book 2016
John Kernick

Use floss to make the most precise cuts for beautiful layer cakes.

Step 1: With a ruler, measure the center of the cake. Insert six toothpicks in the midpoint evenly around the cake.

Steps 2 and 3: Wrap floss around the cake using the toothpicks as a guide. Cross the floss and pull the ends through the cake.

Active 1 hr 15 min; total 3 hr plus cooling; serves 12.

Cake:

  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed, plus more for greasing
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 ¾ cups whole milk
  • 3 ½ oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Frosting:

  • 1 lb. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar (1 1/4 lbs.)
  • One 12-oz. jar strawberry preserves, at room temperature
  • Pinch of kosher salt

1. Make the cake Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and line them with parchment paper. Dust the inside rims of the pans with flour, tapping out any excess.

2. In a large bowl, whisk the 1¾ cups of flour with the granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk just to a simmer. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate and 6 tablespoons of butter. Let stand for 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Whisk the warm milk mixture into the dry ingredients until just incorporated, then beat in the eggs and vanilla until fully incorporated.

3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans, then invert them onto a work surface. Peel off the parchment.

4. Using unflavored dental floss, slice each cake into 2 layers. Transfer the layers to baking sheets.

5. Make the frosting In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the butter with the confectioners’ sugar at low speed until just incorporated, then beat at medium speed until smooth. Add the strawberry preserves and salt and beat until fluffy and smooth; scrape down the side of the bowl as needed.

6. Set 1 cake layer on a plate. Spread the top with ¾ cup of the frosting. Top with the second layer and another ¾ cup of the frosting. Repeat the layering one more time and then set the final cake layer on top. Spread 1 cup of the frosting over the top and side of the cake in a thin layer. Refrigerate until the frosting is firm, about 30 minutes. Spread the remaining frosting all over the top and side of the cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before slicing.

Excerpted from Mad Genius Tips: Over 90 Expert Hacks + 100 Delicious Recipes, copyright © 2016 by Justin Chapple and the Editors of Food & Wine First hardcover edition published Nov. 1, 2016, by Time Inc. Books. All rights reserved.

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