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​Whether you're a newbie in the kitchen or waiting for the Food Network to knock on your door, one of the best parts of cooking is that there's always something new to learn. Here are eight of our favourite hacks to try next time you get cooking.

Don't bum out your blender—always add liquid ingredients first

Next time you whip up your morning smoothie, remember to add liquids first and solid ingredients second. It's easier on your blender and makes the finished product smoother and more consistent.

Let red meat warm to room temperature before cooking

Firing up the BBQ? Take your steaks or pork chops out of the fridge 20-30 minutes before cooking to bring them to room temperature. This will reduce cooking time and cook the meat more evenly. But remember—never let raw meat sit out for more than an hour to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

Reuse pasta and potato water to treat your houseplants

After boiling pasta or potatoes, don't throw that starchy water down the drain! Let it cool down and use it to water your plants. Starch is rich in nutrients and minerals that plants crave!

Stop playing peekaboo with your oven

If you're guilty of opening the oven door every five minutes to check on your food while it cooks, this one's for you! Every time you open the door, heat escapes and the temperature drops, adding cooking time and wasting energy. Setting a timer and using the oven light to look inside is much more efficient.

Use a wooden spoon to keep pots from boiling over

When boiling water on the stove, rest a wooden spoon across the top of the pot. If the water bubbles up too much, the spoon will start popping the bubbles and give you more time to turn down the heat before it pours over.

Check that eggs are still fresh with a glass of water

If you've thrown out the carton and can't figure out if your eggs are still fresh enough to eat, place one in a glass of water and see if it sinks. If it does, your eggs likely haven't expired. If it floats, you have some bad eggs on your hands.

Take advantage of seasonal produce and give your meal prep a boost

Stock up on fruits and vegetables when they're in their prime and turn them into soups and sauces to freeze and enjoy year-round. Summer is tomato time! Marinara sauce anyone?

BONUS: Even fresh herbs can be frozen in olive oil and added to a sizzling skillet when you need them.

Match pots and pans to the right size stovetop burner

Did you know that cooking with a six-inch pan on an eight-inch burner wastes more than 40% of the heat produced? Not only will it take longer to cook your food, but it also bumps up your energy consumption.

For more DIY home hacks, check out our blog and stay tuned to our social channels.

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