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5 unexpected ways to use a box grater

by Alessandra Bulow /  / Updated  / Source: TODAY

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The humble box grater is one of our favorite tools in the kitchen. But we're so used to just pulling it out to grate cheese that it's easy to forget about all the ways it can be useful.

"A simple box grater can do so much more than just grate cheese," says TODAY Food contributor Courtney Roker. "It saves me time, by not having to mince or chop anything with a knife, which can sometimes feel like you've been chopping forever. And it saves me from a big clean up, by keeping everything in one pile, under the grater....instead of it being all over my cutting board."

Watch the video to see these great ideas in action:

Spaghetti and Meatballs
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Hack #1: Garlic

Save time and your fingers (!) by mincing cloves on a grater instead of a knife. Then add it to crushed tomatoes for an extra-garlicky tomato sauce. Spear the cloves onto a fork to further protect your digits.

Mac and Cheese
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Hack #2: Toasted bread

Make super flavorful fresh breadcrumbs that are SO much better than the store-bought stuff. Simply grate toasted bread, then throw them in meatballs, sprinkle over mac and cheese and more!

Biscuits
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Hack #3: Butter

Freeze butter and grate it into flour for biscuits. The small pieces of cold butter will make your biscuits ultra flaky and super light and fluffy.

Grilled striploin sliced steak
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Hack #4: Charcoal

Trust us on this on. Grate a small amount of food-grade charcoal (you want the 100 percent hardwood lump charcoal, not the briquettes you use in your grill) and add it to a bowl along with salt and lemon zest. Stir to combine and then sprinkle the smoky salt on steak, chicken, veggies — whatever! — to add that delicious smoky flavor without a grill.

Now for dessert!

Grater, chocolate pieces and chips on a white background
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Hack #5: Chocolate

Melting a whole bar of chocolate using a double boiler seems to take forever, and microwaved chocolate never seems to taste quite right. Instead, to quickly melt chocolate without burning, simply grate a room temperature bar into a double boiler and stir. You can also garnish sweets with grated frozen chocolate for a beautiful and tasty finishing touch!

This article was originally published on September 26, 2016.

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