Never Waste Leftover Tomato Paste Again (+ 14 More Clever Food & Kitchen Hacks)

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These food hacks can help you get the most for your money! 

holding up frozen tomato paste

It’s happened to all of us. You waltzed right into that grocery store or farmer’s market and bought those leafy green veggies and fresh herbs, and you had every intention of doing something with them.

And then, life happened.

You forgot about that head of lettuce and now it’s looking pretty pitiful. If this sounds like you, these kitchen hacks can help! I’ve compiled a list of clever ways to get the most bang for your buck – from keep your greens fresh for longer to keeping food chilled at a BBQ!

Hip2Save’s favorite food hacks:

how to freeze tomato paste for later

Consider freezing any leftover tomato paste!

Instead of having a leftover can of tomato paste go bad in the fridge, freeze it. You’ll want to start with a long 3 inch wide strip of parchment paper. Place a tablespoon-sized dollop on the paper, fold it over and smash it gently. Keep folding accordion style until you have used up all the tomato paste. Place this into a freezer storage bag to store in the freezer for 3-6 months.

opening frozen tomato paste

Then when you need just a tablespoon of paste, it’s already to go separated by the parchment paper into tablespoons. Plop some into your dish to cook. Easy peasy!

Another option is to buy tomato paste in the tube, although that product is typically twice as expensive.

Watch this amazing hack on YouTube!

hand grabbing handful of romaine

How to revive romaine lettuce. 🥗

Just remove the leaves, discard any brown parts, and give them an ice water bath in your kitchen sink. After 10-20 minutes, they should pep right up!

Extend the life of your herbs in the freezer.

This tip for extending the life of your herbs is one of my favorite kitchen hacks. Freeze herbs in butter, water, broth, or olive oil. This really is as simple as chopping the herbs and removing their stems, adding them to ice cube trays, and covering them with your liquid or butter of choice. For the cubes frozen in oil or butter, these are great to pop into a skillet to grease and flavor the pan when sautéing.

steak with veggies and herb butter

Or if you prefer, you can mold the butter into a log shape and double-wrap it in plastic wrap and/or parchment paper before freezing. Simply thaw when it’s ready for use! Pads of the flavorful butter go great over cooked veggies, or a sizzling steak. Try our sheet pan steak with veggies and herb butter recipe.

When you’re freezing leafy greens, blend with just enough water or olive oil, add to ice cube trays, and freeze. This method is by far my favorite, and it’s one I’ve used for many years. Once the cubes are frozen, pop them into a sealed bag or container and keep them frozen for later use.

The uses for these frozen herbs and veggies are endless and that’s why this is one of the best food hacks. I’ve used herb and veggie cubes to cool off soups, stews, and chili. They can be stirred into pasta, rice, mashed potatoes, and couscous. I’ve even blended them up into smoothies and juice. I’ve also added a layer of veggies in casseroles, stir frys, stocks, and to make over-the-top grilled cheese sandwiches and countless other things.

For heartier leafy greens you plan to cook, like kale, spinach, collard greens, and chard, just place them in a large, resealable bag and toss them right into the freezer. I’ve experimented with freezing the leaves flat on a sheet tray first and then bagging them, which turned out to be pretty pointless.

Another option? Just cook these greens and freeze them so they’re ready to go when you are.

You can also place herbs and most leafy green veggies, stems, and all, into a resealable bag, squeeze out all the air, and freeze.

Or, if you plan to use them within a couple of weeks, just store them in water like flowers in your fridge. You can also cover them loosely with the produce bag they came in or a plastic baggie.

Think outside the box for more use.

Want to really get creative with your veggies? Try making gummies! This requires a little more effort on your part, but it basically consists of making juice using your blender or juicer (like the baby greens and blueberry juice pictured above), adding gelatin powder, and allowing enough time for things to firm up in silicone molds. This is one of the popular kitchen hacks on Pinterest. Check out Pinterest for tons of ideas!

Another resourceful method is pickling past prime vegetables. If you have leftover pickle juice from a jar of pickles, add the stems of the greens of veggies you’d normally throw out, and after they brine for a day or two, they’ll be ready to eat! I suggest first boiling these stems for 30-60 seconds and then plunging them in ice water to stop the cooking (aka blanching). This makes them absorb the salty pickle juice better and a little more palatable.

Greens powder is so expensive. Why fork over all that cash when it’s so easy to make your own using your oven or food dehydrator?

To dehydrate herbs and greens in your oven:

  • Set your oven to 175° – 200°.
  • Lay your leaves out on a sheet pan lined with parchment or a baking mat.
  • Prop your oven door open slightly.
  • Start checking after about 30 minutes or so until the greens feel crisp and crumble between your fingers.
    *Note that heartier greens and younger lettuces will take much longer to dehydrate.

Once the herbs or greens have completely dried, pulse a few times in your blender or food processor, and press through a fine mesh strainer. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Want more easy food hacks?

Here are a few additional cooking hacks for herbs:

Make herb vinegar, olive oil, or salt by adding fresh herbs. Toss in citrus zest and your favorite spices to create a customized blend! The salt will be good to go right away, but for the best flavor, let the oil or vinegar infuse for a week or two before using.

Herb paste is a great way to extend the life of your herbs, and it’s much cheaper to make at home than buying those tubes you find in the produce department. Add a handful or two of fresh herbs to your mortar and pestle, food processor, or blender, along with a little olive oil. Pulse or mix by hand until the mixture forms a paste.

Side note: add cheese, garlic, and nuts, and you’ve got pesto! This mixture can be stored in the fridge for a couple of weeks or, yep… you guessed it, frozen for later use.

Freeze herbs with sliced fruit in water to cool down and add flavor to beverages.

Freeze rosemary, sliced citrus, and white vinegar to use as garbage disposal refreshers.

Make an herbal tea by steeping fresh herbs like mint or oregano in hot water with lemon and ginger. Then, freeze in ice cube trays or resealable baggies so when a cold or stomachache sneaks up on you, all you have to do is pop into a mug and reheat. You can also add honey and freeze it in Popsicle molds or blend it into a slushie to soothe sore throats.

Add fresh herbs with or without fruit to vodka, gin, tequila, rum, or whiskey. Let sit in a cool spot until it reaches the level of potency you’re looking for.

Infused sugar is as easy to make as adding fresh herbs to sugar. Just give the mixture a little shake whenever you walk by for a week or two – that’s it. Mint, lavender, lemon balm, thyme, and rosemary are perfect for this. I made lavender vanilla sugar and lemon thyme sugar a few years back to use in shortbread cookies, and they were a HUGE hit.

Make an infused simple syrup by simmering equal parts water and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, add herbs, and let steep until cool. You can then remove the herbs, or leave them in. Be sure to toss them if they turn brown.

Make a body scrub by combining salt or sugar, coconut, avocado or olive oil, herbs, and your favorite essential oils.

And yes, while you can usually regrow herbs and vegetables right in your own kitchen, that hasn’t worked so well for me thanks to this furry lady who can’t seem to keep her paws off of them.

veggie herb tips ideas hacks

So, there ya go! Giving new life to herbs and veggies is no big dill. 😏Just a few simple ways to make your hard-earned green go a little further.

adding riced cauliflower to skillet

Add a bag of riced cauliflower to stretch your ground beef budget! 

The next time you are making tacos, chili, or even sloppy Joe’s for the family, try adding a two-dollar bag of riced cauliflower instead of more meat. You’ll be able to add sauce and seasonings so the flavor blends in nicely with the dish. It’s a great way to save money and sneak in some veggies too as your family may not even notice!

making sloppy joes with cauliflower rice and ground beef

woman using food hacks to peel a potato quickly

This easy way to peel a potato is one of my favorite kitchen hacks.

Skip the tedious method of using a potato peeler on a raw potato. It takes FOREVER. Instead, use a knife to cut a slit all the way around the middle of the potato. Then, simply boil your potato until tender. Once finished. you’ll be able to pull the skin off quickly!

Just watch how fast Hip2Save’s Lina peeled her potato:


Peel potatoes like a pro with this simple hack! No more wasting time struggling with a peeler. #potatopeelinghack #potatohack #kitchenhacks #cookinghacks #lifehacks

♬ Strut – Kyle Walker

How to easily juice a lemon using a skewer.

So many recipes call for using lemon juice. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were food hacks for doing this task? Luckily, there are! You can puncture the top of a lemon with a skewer to make it easy to juice. My coworker Lina tested it out and it truly works. Check out her video which is one of our favorite TikTok hacks:


We tried it and it really works! 🍋 #lemonhacks #howtojuicealemon #lemons #lifehacks #hip2save

♬ Let Me Blow Ya Mind – Eve

Hosting a party? Keep your food cool with this clever kitchen hack.

There is nothing worse than a cold dish getting warm sitting outdoors or on the counter. If you’re hosting a party and want to serve chilled fruit, veggies, dips, or desserts then this tip will come in handy. It’s one of the top cooking hacks that every good host should know!

woman using one of her kitchen hacks and placing ice in food tray which will cool the food placed on top of it

Buy one very large aluminum foil tray. Then, buy two smaller aluminum trays about half the size of the large one. On the day of your party, fill the large tray with water and place it in your freezer.

Placing food on top of a frozen food tray is one of the best food hacks to know

Meanwhile, fill up the smaller trays with your cold dishes. When you’re ready to serve the food. Place the two smaller trays on top of the large food tray that is now filled with ice. Voila! You have made a makeshift cooler that will keep your food chilled during your event!


Use this hack this Summer to keep your fresh food cold longer! 🍓🫐🥕🥦 #summerhacks #foodhacks #foodtrays #bbqideas #hostingtips #lifehack #hip2save

♬ original sound – Hip2Save


Talk about being the “hostess with the mostest!”

Need chocolate drizzle? Use a saucepan to heat up a Hershey bar!

If you’re on a crunch for time and need to make a quick dessert, this idea might just help! Buy a Hershey’s bar and some seasonal fruit. Heat up a saucepan and put the Hershey bar into it with the wrapper still on. Once melted, use tongs to remove the packet and use scissors to cut a small diagonal slit at one end.

Woman using clever cooking hacks to melt a Hershey Bar using a saucepan

Cut up your fresh fruit. Then, simply drizzle the melted chocolate right from the candy wrapper, using it like a piping bag.

Woman using a Hershey bar to drizzle chocolate over fresh fruit which is one of our favorite kitchen hacks

In just a few moments, you’ll have a yummy dessert that’s a crowd-pleaser!

Garlic lovers can make use of these food hacks…

Hip2Save’s Lina has a bunch of really great kitchen hacks for using garlic. One of my favorites is pureeing your garlic and then freezing it in ice cube trays. When you want a pinch of fresh garlic in your cooking, you won’t have to worry about buying any or peeling it. Just grab a cube from your freezer and throw it in your saucepan!

frozen garlic cubes in hand

Another great tip Lina shared is to invest in a silicone garlic tube. They currently cost around $6. Simply roll a clove in the tube and it will peel in just a minute!

using a garlic peeler to quickly peel garlic cloves is one of our favorite kitchen hacks

For more of Lina’s tips on using garlic, read her post about her favorite cooking hacks.

Make a quesadilla quickly using a toaster.

Do you love some good Mexican food? Check out one of our favorite TikTok hacks! You’ll be making yourself a quesadilla in the toaster in no time!


Upgrade your sandwich game with this easy toaster tortilla hack! 💯 Wrap up your favorite ingredients, pop it in the toaster, and enjoy! 🧀🥑 #foodie #easyrecipe #easylunch #tortillawrap #tortillatrend #wraphack #foodtok #hip2save

♬ Original Sound – Unknown

Cook multiple dishes in your slow cooker with this handy hack.

Only have one slow cooker but need to cook two or more dishes? No problem! Use tin foil and slow cooker liners to create multiple compartments within one slow cooker. This allows you to cook multiple recipes at once!


There’s something genius about this hack! :nerd_face: With just aluminum foil and one liner, you can make two dips (or any other apps/meal) in one Crock-Pot! Create a separator with foil and pop in the liner – so easy, so clean. :clap: Let us know if you use this life-hack! @crockpotbrand #crockpothack #crockpotrecipes #lifehacks #kitchenhacks #aluminumfoil #reynoldsfoil #hip2save

♬ original sound – Hip2Save

Looking for some yummy slow-cooker recipes to make? We’ve got you covered!

Making sandwiches for a crowd? One of the neatest kitchen hacks is this DIY sandwich dispenser.

Who knew it was so easy to create your own sandwich dispenser? All you need is a loaf of bread and a bread buddy container. Take the bread bag and use it to line your bread buddy. Then, fill the bag with your sandwiches. When you’re ready to eat, just tug on the bag and your next sandwich will move to the top opening!

pointing to diy sandwich dispenser hack

This hack is perfect for those who like to go camping, go on family vacations, do meal prep, or are in charge of snacks for a kid’s sport. Lina made step-by-step instructions for those who would like to give this food hack a whirl!

See how Lina makes a HUGE salad that lasts all week!

About the writer:

Lina has a Bachelor's Degree from Northern Arizona University with 11 years of blogging and photography experience having work featured in, Martha Stewart, Country Living, Fox News, Buzzfeed, and HGTV.

Join The Discussion

Comments 29

  1. Bunny

    These are all fantastic tips Lina! Thanks for your hard work putting this together. Love the potato hack!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Yay! Thanks for the feedback, Bunny! SO glad you’re loving these tips! 🥰

  2. Pat Lavenz

    Awesome ideas. Thank you.

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      You’re very welcome! 🤗

  3. Lisha

    Thanks Lina.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      You’re welcome! Glad you liked this one Lisha!

      • Mom

        Hello Lina any tips to clean dirty pans

        • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

          Hey there! You might check out washing soda! We have a helpful post on how to use it to clean pots and pans here. Also, some Hip members have also had success with Bar Keeper’s Friend, if you wanted to check out this post. Hoping these might be helpful! 🤞💕

  4. keiferace

    Lina – I’ve never seen your little lady of the kitchen before, she’s just adorable! 💛🐈

  5. SusieV

    I purchased the small resealable baggies from Temu and used Sharpie to label each herb(basil, thyme, dill, etc.) I included one for chopped up green onions since I use often. They are stored in freezer door and have worked out great!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Awesome! Thanks for sharing how you’ve stored your herbs! 💕🙌

  6. Lisa

    Yes I have been using this ice tray-stack for years. Learned this from a fabulous PTA mom.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Glad that has been a go-to hack for you through the years! 🎉❤️

  7. bremoeller

    I am having a hard time viewing this post from my phone. I can view other posts just not this one.

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Sorry for the troubles, bremoeller! I opened this up on my mobile browser and desktop, and they both seem to be fine when checking. You might try to close out and re-open the post, to see if that does the trick. If you have any additional details on what is happening on your end with it, I can check into it a bit more or pass this along to the team. ❤️

      • bremoeller

        Thank you! I tried that an it worked. 😄

        • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

          YAY! So glad it was an easy fix! Thanks for the update! 🥰

  8. Deborah

    Game changer for me was to fry up all my ground meat with onions and freeze in one pound portions. I could grab one out of the freezer and make tacos, chili, spaghetti, burritos well you get the Idea.

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Great tip, Deborah! 🙌 Thanks for sharing what has helped you save time for prepping meals with ground meat in them! ❤️

  9. TS

    I’ve dried herbs by simply laying them out on a towel in my dining room. I turn them every few days until they are dry and then store in a mason jar.
    My favorite trick for making ground beef go farther is to stir in some rehydrated TVP. No one will know the difference. Bob’s Red Mill makes high-quality TVP. Rehydrate 1 cup of TVP with 1 cup boiling water. Then use it instead of 1 lb ground beef.

  10. Patti Smith

    Before squeezing a lemon 🍋, cut in half, heat in microwave for 20 seconds, you will get twice as much juice!

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      I’ll be using this tip often! Thanks for sharing, Patti! 🙌💕

  11. Pat Goff

    How do you puree garlic? Mash it?

    • Trish (Hip Sidekick)

      Hey there, Pat! You can puree it using a blender, food processor or even a sharp knife! Hoping this is helpful! 💞

  12. shinerpm

    I love everything Lina does and hate to be a Debbie Downer, but exposing the plastic wrapped chocolate bar to heat is probably not safe.

    I’m probably ultra sensitive since we’ve been getting rid of plastics, especially those exposed to high heat from our kitchen.

  13. LauraK

    I place my cilantro in a pint jar with a lil water in it and then a plastic bag “tent ” over the top. it easily keeps two weeks. I swear by it!

    • Trish (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks so much for sharing how you store your cilantro to keep it longer! I need to try this! 🥰

  14. Pat Goff

    Thank you. I do have a blender. Have a great week.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh sure! You too Pat!

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