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AK Home Cooking SolutionsSmart Substitutions: Other Ingredients

  1. To make 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, process 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cornstarch in a food processor until sugar is fine.

  2. Here's an easy solution if you don't have tomato juice for a recipe: Use 1/2 cup tomato sauce mixed with 1/2 cup water for each cup of tomato juice called for.

  3. Don’t have a can of sweetened condensed milk? Mix together 1 cup nonfat dry milk powder with 2/3 cup sugar, 1/2 cup boiling water, and 2 tablespoons melted butter.

  4. When a recipe calls for 1 cup light brown sugar, use 1/2 cup dark brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar, or 1 cup granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons molasses.

  5. Instant coffee granules may be substituted for instant espresso powder. Use about twice as much coffee granules as espresso powder in the recipe (for example, 2 teaspoons coffee granules in place of 1 teaspoon espresso powder).

  6. Out of sugar? Use an equal amount of light brown sugar instead. The flavor of the dish will be a bit deeper and, in the case of baked goods, the texture will be moister.

  7. In recipes calling for 1 cup maple syrup, use 1¼ cups granulated sugar flavored with 1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring. In recipes for baked goods, reduce the amount of liquid called for by 1/4 cup.

  8. Out of salt? If you're making something savory (not sweet), use a little soy sauce to add salty flavor.

  9. Arborio rice is traditionally used to make creamy risottos. If you can't find it, use medium-grain rice. The final dish won't be quite as creamy but it'll still be good. Check for doneness often—medium-grain rice cooks quicker than Arborio.

  10. Many Asian stir-fry recipes call for frying in peanut oil—its high smoke point makes it perfect for the high temperatures required. But if you don't have peanut oil, it's okay to use canola or vegetable oil instead.

  11. No champagne vinegar? Use an equal amount of white wine vinegar or rice vinegar, then add a pinch of sugar to cut the acidity a little bit.

  12. If you run out of ketchup for cooking, use 1 cup canned tomato sauce, 1/4 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons cider vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt (this isn't a good substitute for spreading on hamburgers or hot dogs).

  13. One standard slice of bread will make about 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs or 1/3 cup dry bread crumbs. Finely crushed crackers, cornflakes or crisp rice cereal may also be used in place of dry bread crumbs.

  14. Use 3/4 cup dark brown sugar dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water for each cup of molasses called for in a recipe. The flavor will be milder but still deep and rich.

  15. Don't worry if a recipe calls for old-fashioned oats and all you have are quick-cooking—they can be used interchangeably. Do not use instant oats, though; they won't produce the same results.

  16. You can use lemon juice in recipes calling for vinegar. Simply add twice as much lemon juice as vinegar called for (for example, 1 teaspoon vinegar equals 2 teaspoons juice).

  17. If a recipe calls for 1 cup orange juice, you can use 1/3 cup orange juice concentrate mixed with 2/3 cup water instead.

  18. Out of honey? For each cup needed, blend 1¼ cups sugar with 1/4 cup water until sugar dissolves. (The flavor of the dish will be altered somewhat.)

  19. Many dried fruits can be used interchangeably, although the end flavor of the dish will be different. If you're out of raisins, try using dried cranberries, blueberries or cherries (chop the fruit smaller if necessary).

  20. In most recipes calling for grated lemon peel, it's perfectly fine to substitute orange peel. And in the case of lemons and oranges, ½ teaspoon lemon or orange extract can be used in place of 1 teaspoon grated peel.

  21. To make tomato sauce, blend 1/2 cup tomato paste with 1/2 cup water or puree 1 cup canned tomatoes in a blender until smooth, adding some of the canning liquid to thin out if necessary.

  22. If you're out of Worcestershire sauce, use 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice,1/4 teaspoon sugar and a dash of hot sauce for every tablespoon Worcestershire the recipe calls for.

  23. There are many varieties of rice available that can add interesting flavor to dishes. Try using jasmine or basmati rice whenever a recipe calls for long-grain white rice. Follow package instructions for cooking times as different varieties can vary slightly.

  24. If a recipe calls for kosher salt and all you have is table salt, use half the amount called for in the recipe. For example, 1 teaspoon kosher salt = ½ teaspoon table salt.

  25. Mafalda pasta looks like bite-size lasagna noodles with ruffled edges. If you can't find it, any small pasta will work fine. Try corkscrews (rotini) or penne.

  26. Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. If you don't have it on hand, you can get a similar flavor with toasted sesame oil. A little goes a long way so start with a teaspoon and adjust to taste.

  27. Honey may be used in place of maple syrup in many sauce and vinaigrette recipes. The flavor of the dish won't have a maple taste, but the recipe will work fine.

  28. Matzo meal is an ingredient often used in kosher cooking. If you don't have or can't find matzo meal, plain saltine cracker crumbs make a good (but non-kosher) alternative.

  29. Canned chipotles in adobo sauce give dishes a spicy, smoky flavor. Look for chipotles in the Latino section of grocery stores. If you can't find them, use chipotle chile powder, but only use half the amount—the chile powder is quite hot.

  30. Dried tart cherries are a good substitute for dried cranberries. Because cherries tend to be larger than cranberries, chop the cherries a bit before adding to recipes.

  31. In many cases, different types of vinegar can be used interchangeably. For instance, if you don't have sherry vinegar, try using red wine or cider vinegar with a touch of sugar.

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