If there is one thing that makes me happy, it is finding ways to simplify my life. One of those ways is using parchment paper.
Maybe you’ve seen it in the store next to the aluminum foil. Maybe you’ve even used it to bake cookies. But I’ve found several uses for parchment paper beyond the obvious use of lining my cookie sheets to cut back on oil and save scrubbing later.
In fact, the thing that motivated me to first purchase it was not for baking cookies. It was for making lasagna.
Let me explain.
When making a lasagna, you are supposed to bake it covered. But unless you have a glass or metal lid for your casserole dish, you probably just use aluminum foil. But there is a problem. The acid in the tomato sauce eats at the foil. So unless you use a really deep dish or make a shallow lasagna, you need something to protect the foil.
I worked for a couple of months in a cafeteria, and I learned that they would cover the pans with plastic wrap before adding the foil. This effectively protected the foil, and it wasn’t hard to remove later.
So I did that. Until my husband pointed out that the hot plastic was probably just as bad as the aluminum.
This left me with few options. Until one day I had the brilliant idea of using parchment paper! I cut it to fit the top of the pan and covered it with foil, and presto, problem solved!
Of course, I started using the parchment paper to line my cookie sheets, and was pleased that I didn’t need to use the oil spray that my husband didn’t really like me using in the first place. I wasn’t so worried about cutting back on the little bit of fat, but those sprays are actually not good for you, being processed and refined and mixed with aerosol.
I also discovered that recipes for kale chips say to line the baking sheet with parchment paper. After making them, I can see why. Oh, and if you haven’t ever had kale chips, get some kale and make some! They are delicious. Even my son likes them! Too bad he is allergic to kale.
Here’s another use for parchment paper. I like making my soy souffle once or twice a month, but it is always a bear to clean the pan afterwards. Greasing the pan does nothing. It sticks something fierce, and no amount of soaking will make any difference in the amount of elbow grease required to remove it. And I hate scrubbing and scrubbing.
So I got creative. I decided to try lining my baking dish with parchment paper.
And you know what? It worked! Yup, by cutting the paper to fit and creasing it a little, I was able to make it sit in the pan while I poured in the batter. Then I baked it as usual. The result? I still have to wash the pan, but it takes about as much time as it does to wash a plate or bowl. See?
Have you ever tried parchment paper? Have you found any creative uses for it? Please share!