10 Solutions for Cooking Disasters

Who hasn’t had a few kitchen mishaps? No need to panic when you have a disaster. The most common mistakes are also the easiest to fix.

10 Solutions for Cooking Disasters

Overdone Pasta

Put in ice water or run under cold water for a few minutes to stop the cooking process and contract the starch. Then reheat in tomato sauce-the acid will perk it up further.

Sticky Noodles

Drain and cool immediately. Then return the pasta to a sauté pan, add at least one tablespoon of olive oil, and toss while reheating.

Overcharred Steak

It’s all about spin, says John DeShetler, professor and chef at the Culinary Institute of America.  Rub it with a mix of ground pepper, chili powder, and garlic, then present as “blackened.” Or slice it up as is and use in stir-fries, salads, or fajitas.

Oversalted Soup

For clear soups, add some uncooked pasta or a raw, peeled potato to the pot. The starch will absorb much of the salt. Discard the pasta or potato after 15 to 20 minutes.

Dry Fish

Brush with a butter-and-lemon mixture, then sprinkle with chopped cilantro, marjoram, or savory. The sauce will add moisture, and “cool” herbs like these, flavor.

Overcooked Vegetables

Cool as quickly as possible, in ice water, just like with pasta, then reheat briefly in hot stock and squirt on some acid (lemon, lime, or even orange) before serving.

Stale Rolls

Wet your fingers and flick some water on them, then microwave in a microwave-safe cooking bag for no more than five seconds, or wrap in foil and heat in a 250-degree oven for ten minutes.

Limp Greens

Bathe them briefly in a bowl of very cold water (no ice, which will bruise the leaves), then wrap in a damp towel and refrigerate.

Overripe Fruit

When it’s too far gone for even fruit salad, use for smoothies, purees, sorbets, or ice cream.

Burned Bread

Scrape off the worst, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and present as crostini; or use for croutons.

Get more home and gardening tips when sign up for our weekly newsletters.