Monday, December 15, 2008

Cooking Tips -Tips, Shortcuts, Substitutions & Other Helpful Things

I really love old cookbooks. But, sometimes it can be hard to decipher the ingredients list. Like when it states that you need two No. 300 cans! What exactly does that mean??

No. 300 = 14 to 16 ounces (1-3/4 cups)
No. 303 = 16 to 17 ounces (2 cups)
No. 2 = 1 pound 4 ounces (2-1/2 cups)
No. 2-1/2 = 1 pound 13 ounces (3-1/2 cup)
No. 3 = 3 pound, 3 ounces (5-3/4 cup)
No. 10 = 6-1/2 pound to 7 pounds 5 ounces (12 to 13 cups)

1 (t) teaspoon = 1/6 fluid ounce
3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon

1 (T) tablespoon = 1/2 fluid ounce
1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons
1 tablespoon = 1/16 cup
4 tablespoons = 1/4 cup
5 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon = 1/3 cup

1/2 cup = 8 tablespoons
1 cup = 8 fluid ounces = 1/2 pint = 16 tablespoons
2 cups= 16 fluid ounces = 1 pint
4 cups = 32 fluid ounces = 1 quart
8 cups = 64 fluid ounces = 4 pints = 1/2 gallon
16 cups = 32 fluid ounces = 1 quart
4 quarts = 128 fluid ounces = 1 gallon
1 gallon (gal) = 4 quarts
16 ounces = 1 pound
Pinch = Less than 1/8 teaspoon

Kosher Salt Conversions:

If you're around here any length of time, you'll notice that I prefer to use kosher salt versus talbe salt overall in most of my recipes. For a teaspoon and under you can generally use them spoon for spoon. While that can vary among different brands here's a conversion chart for the brand that I use the most.

*Shrimp Counts - What size shrimp for what type meal?

Small – 41+ count
Medium – 26 – 40 Count
Large – 16 – 25 Count
Jumbo – 8 to 15 Count

For stewed dishes like gumbo and shrimp creole, skillet meals and casseroles, the small and medium sized counts are the best choices. Large can also be used in many of those preparations, and medium and large are the best size for boiling and frying. Large and jumbo are best for smoke BBQ cooking, charcoal and gas grilling, and in preparing New Orleans Style BBQ Shrimp.

*How Many Cups is One Onion?  Onion Math:

1 small onion = 1/3 cup chopped onion
1 medium onion = 1/2 cup of chopped onion
1/2 of a medium onion = 1/4 cup of chopped onion
1/2 of a large onion = 1/2 cup of chopped onion
1 large onion = 1 cup of chopped onion
1 large red onion = 2 cups chopped onion

*How Much is One Pepper and Other Veggie/Fruit Math:

1 cup of chopped bell pepper = 1 large pepper

1 (10 ounce) package of frozen, chopped broccoli = about 1-1/2 cups

1 (10 ounce) package of frozen, chopped spinach = about 1-1/2 cups, cooked
1 pound of fresh spinach yields between 10 and 12 cups of torn leaves = about 1 cup cooked.

1 cup of grated raw carrot = 1 large carrot
2-1/2 cups of sliced carrots = 1 pound raw carrots

1 large or 2 small to medium sized ear of corn = about 1 cup of corn kernels
1 (10-ounce) package of frozen corn kernels = almost 2 cups corn kernels
1 (15.25 ounce) can of whole kernel corn, drained - about 1-1/2 cups

4 cups of cooked green beans = 1 pound fresh beans

4 cups of sliced potatoes = 4 medium potatoes


1 large sized tomato is about 8 ounces on average = to about 1 cup of chopped tomato
1 medium sized tomato is about 6 ounces on average
30 small cherry tomatoes = about 2 cups of chopped tomato

1 pound of tomato = about 1 cup of chopped tomato

1 (6 ounce) can of tomato paste = about 1/4 cup
1 (15 ounce) can of tomatoes is about 1 cup of drained or 2 cups undrained tomatoes
1 (28 ounce) can of tomatoes is about 2 cup drained or 3 cups undrained tomatoes

Tomato Sauce Substitute - One small (6 ounce) can of tomato paste mixed well with 1-1/2 cups of water will fill in for a 14.5 ounce can of tomato sauce.

Chili Sauce Substitute - Combine 1 cup of tomato sauce with 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of white inegar, 1/4 teaspoons of cinnamon, and a dash each of ground cloves and allspice, for 1 cup chili sauce substitute.

Fruit in General

4 cups of sliced apples = 4 medium apples
1 cup of mashed banana = 3 medium bananas
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind = 1 medium lemon
2 tablespoons of lemon juice = 1 medium lemon
4 teaspoons of grated orange rind = 1 medium orange
1 cup of orange juice = 3 medium oranges
4 cups of sliced peaches = 8 small to medium peaches
    or about 1 to 1-1/2 pounds
2 cups of sliced strawberries = about 1 pint of strawberries
1 pound of fresh blueberries = about 2-2/3 cups of berries
It takes about 4 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries to make a pie.

*How Many Marshmallows? Marshmallow Math:

7 ounce Marshmallow Creme = approximately 1-1/2 cups

13 ounce Marshmallow Creme = approximately 3 cups

1 Regular Marshmallow = 13 Miniature Marshmallows

8 Regular Marshmallows = 1 cup

16 ounce bag Miniature = 8 cups

10.5 ounce bag Miniature = 5-1/2 cups

50 Miniature Marshmallows = 1/2 cup Miniature Marshmallows

5 Regular Marshmallows = 1/2 cup

64 Regular Marshmallows = 16 ounce bag

*How Many Strawberries? Strawberry Math:

Substitute 2 cups of sliced fresh strawberries for one large (approx. 20 ounces) package of frozen strawberries.

1 pint strawberries usually has about 16 to 20 medium size berries or 12 to 14 large.
1 pint strawberries = 2-1/4 cups sliced berries
1 pint strawberries = 1-3/4 cups pureed berries
1 pint strawberries = 2 cups whole berries

1 cup of strawberries weighs about 4 to 5 ounces

1 quart of strawberries weighs about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds

A flat of strawberries contains about 12 pounds of strawberries, or approximately 8 quarts.

To make a 9-inch pie, you'll need approximately 1-1/2 to 2 quarts of fresh strawberries.

*How Many Sweet Potatoes?  Sweet Potato Math:

Canned sweet potatoes are smaller in size than their fresh counterparts. Six to eight canned whole sweet potatoes are equal to about four medium sized fresh sweet potatoes.

2 medium sweet potatoes = 3 to 4 canned whole sweet potatoes = about
   1-1/4 cups cooked and mashed
3 medium sweet potatoes = 1 pound can = about 2 cups cooked and mashed
4 medium sweet potatoes = 3 quart cans = 2-1/2 cups cooked and mashed

*How Many Dried Beans Equal a Can, How Many Cups - Bean Math:

It really depends on the size of the bean but here are a few of the basics, generally:

1 pound of dry beans = about 2 cups of dry beans = about 6 cups cooked = or about 4 (15 ounce) cans
2 pounds of dry beans cooked = about 8 cans of beans
1/2 cup of dry beans = about 1 (15 ounce) can of beans = about 1-1/2 cups cooked

*NOTE:  All math counts are estimates.

1 cup of soft bread crumbs = 2 slices of bread
1 cup of bread cubes = 2 slices of bread

1 cup of egg whites = 6 or 7 large eggs

3-1/2 to 4 cups of chopped nuts = 1 pound of shelled nuts

1 fresh yeast cake (.06 ounce) = 1 (1/4 ounce) package of dry active yeast = 2-1/4 teaspoons of dry yeast

Pumpkin Pie Spice: Mix 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon with 1/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/8 teaspoon each of nutmeg and allspice for 1 teaspoon

Southern Flour (like White Lily) Substitute:  Well, in my little ole opinion, there just ain't a proper substitute for White Lily flour, but that said, I do realize a few of y'all live above the Mason-Dixon line and can't get it without ordering it on the internet, which I highly recommend if you do any amount of baking really. BUT... try this.  For whatever amount of White Lily flour, use half whatever brand of flour your have, plus half cake flour. It won't be quite the same, but it'll help.

Cornstarch Substitute: For each tablespoon of cornstarch needed, use 2 tablespoons all purpose flour.

1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter generally contains at least 1/4 teaspoon of salt. When making a substitute for salted butter with a stick of unsalted, add in 1/4 teaspoon of salt with the butter, generally in addition to any other added salt. When substituting salted butter when unsalted is called for, make adjustments down in the amount of salt listed elsewhere in the recipe. 

1 tablespoon of flour = 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 cup of self rising flour = 1 cup sifted all purpose flour + 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder + 1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup of self rising cornmeal (homemade cornmeal mix) = 1 cup of regular cornmeal, plus 2 teaspoons of baking powder, plus 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Baking Mix Substitute: For each cup of baking mix called for, use 1 cup all purpose flour, 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon shortening, olive oil, or melted butter.

1 cup of buttermilk = 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar + enough whole milk to make up the full cup. Can also use 1/4 cup skim or lowfat milk plus enough sour cream or plain unflavored yogurt, well mixed, to make up one full cup.

1 cup of cake flour = 1 cup of all purpose flour MINUS 2 tablespoons. Replace the 2 tablespoons of flour with cornstarch and whisk together well.

Half and half - 1-1/2 tablespoons melted butter + enough whole milk to make up a full cup

1 teaspoon of vinegar = 2 teaspoons of lemon juice

A 1 pound box of powdered sugar = approximately 3-3/4 cups of powdered sugar.

Make 1 cup of powdered sugar by streaming 3/4 cup of granulated sugar into a blender on high speed

Use 1 cup of granulated sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon of molasses as a brown sugar substitute.

To make whole milk from low fat, use 1/4 cup half and half with 3/4 cup skim, 1% or 2% milk.

Need evaporated milk in a hurry? Substitute 2/3 cup of dry milk with 3/4 cup of water for 1 can of evaporated milk. Want to substitute evaporated milk in a recipe calling for whole milk? Since evaporated milk is just milk with the water removed, you'll need to reconstitute it. Use equal parts water and evaporated milk, so if a recipe calls for 2 cups of whole milk, use 1 cup of evaporated milk & 1 cup of water.

1 large (16 ounce) Cool Whip contains about 6-1/2 cups by volume.

1 package of prepared Dream Whip equals about 2 cups.

Substitute for boxed yellow cake mix:

The yellow cake I have is a little larger than boxed cakes though - you could try this one when subsituting for a box cake mix:

Dry mix for standard size (18.25 ounce) basic yellow cake mix - although that box size has actually shrunk the past couple of years:

2 cups of all purpose flour
1-1/2 cups of granulated sugar
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1/2 cup of non-fat dry milk

Mix and store in pantry. For a cake, add in:

3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs

Add water, vanilla, butter, and eggs to dry cake mix. Combine with an electric mixer then beat an additional 2 minutes. Pour into a greased and floured cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees F:

20 to 25 minutes for 8 or 9-inch cake pan
30 to 40 minutes for a 13 x 9-inch pan
12 to 15 minutes for standard cupcake sizes
45 to 50 minute for a tube or bundt pan

For other conversions.

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  1. Love love love the substitutions, especially the cake flour!! So glad to have found this section. I'm usually so busy drooling over the fantabulous recipes, I just don't get any further!!

  2. This is such an AWESOME website!!! Wish I had it when I first started cooking. Great recipes and easy go to help. Thanks!!!

  3. Thank you! I try to share info and recipes in a manner than anybody can make them, so I appreciate that. Hope that you hang around with us a bit - enjoy!

  4. Replies
    1. LOL Dana - don't know about that, but I do try to share these little tidbits in case it's helpful to anybody else & besides that... I know where to find them again since my memory doesn't work like it used to! ;)


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