Cooking 101: How To Cook Like A Pro

Understanding how to cook can be an invaluable skill. Homemade meals are tastier, healthier and cheaper.

The prep work is a very important part of assembling a home-cooked meal for family or friends. Make sure you have all the ingredients ready. Put everything you need to cook the dish out the night before. Make sure you have all the cooking equipment and ingredients required. If you have everything ready, you won’t be as worried about preparing the meal, and it’s more likely to turn out well.

bake tart or pie crusts longer that you think they should be baked. Let the crust go beyond light tan to a deeper, golden shade. This is because the golden color lets you know that the sugar from the crust has caramelized, which give it that sweet, yet crisp taste.

If you want to slice meat into thin strips, freeze it partially before bringing it to the cutting board. This is ideal for Asian meals like Chinese or Thai dishes. By partially freezing meat ingredients, slicing is cleaner and the fibers do not stretch and tear as easily. Make sure that you let the meat thaw before cooking, so the meat is cooked evenly.

Preparation is key when cooking for family or friends. Gather all the ingredients beforehand. Plan your meal a day in advance to make sure you have everything you need. This means you don’t have to worry when time is short, which means your cooking will be better.

Do you experience a guilty twinge when you pitch out rotten fruit? Do you think it’s a good policy to cut off any moldy, rotten parts and save the rest of the fruit? You should never eat or keep a piece of fruit that has any mold on it. The bacteria that causes mold goes deeper than you think, so it’s always best to throw away food with even the smallest of mold spots.

Spices should be stored in a cool and dark place. If you leave them out somewhere, you will expose them to light, wetness, and heat, and it could ruin them. When spices are stored in an adequately dark and cool area, they tend to retain their taste and shelf life for greater periods of time. Make sure that your spices are fresh to add taste and flavor to any meal.

No matter what you are cooking, fresh ingredients are always much better than dried or frozen ingredients. The more fresh ingredients you use in your cooking, the better your dishes will be. Fresh ingredients have more flavor, and are less costly than frozen and canned ingredients.

Many apples are purchased for cooking in winter and fall, but they will rot in a short period of time if they are not properly stored. Store them in your fridge or basement, in plastic bags that are loosely tied, as they tend to spoil in dry warm areas. Remember the rule, one bad apple will spoil the bunch.

There are many things you can do ahead of time to save time during your meal preparation. Recipes should be examined and items that won’t spoil that can be prepared a day or two ahead should be done first. Much of the preparation can be done the day before it is needed. By doing this, your cooking task will be quick and easy – even for very complex recipes.

The overall quality of vegetables is affected by the length of cooking time. Using a slow cooking method is sometimes suggested, but the results are less nutritious and don’t taste as good. A plus is that faster cooking methods usually yield vegetables which are, generally, simply better for you health. The key to improving your vegetables is learning how you can cook them in the minimum amount of time.

Keep sauce easily by filling an ice tray with the leftovers and freezing it. You will then have it readily available for when you need to make a quick and easy meal. All that needs to be done is to warm it up in a pan. Do not worry, the sauce will still be edible after it has been in the ice cube trays!

Though you may not realize it, garlic tends to seep into the pores of your skin during meal preparation. After chopping garlic or other pungent foods, briskly rub your palms against the surface of your stainless steel sink. You will clean your hands and stop smells from rubbing off on other foods.

Sometimes when someone’s grilling a hamburger, it will get stuck to the grill which makes it difficult to get off the grill. To prevent your burgers from sticking, brush the grill with oil prior to cooking.

If you make sauce, freeze it into ice cubs to use later on. You can easily take them from the freezer when needed for a meal, and quickly reheat in a saute pan. Nothing to worry about as the sauce will be fine even after it’s been sitting in ice cube trays.

Optimize your efforts when making your own chicken stock. Make a giant pot and store what you don’t use in your freezer. Many great recipes including soups, casseroles and stews call for a base of chicken stock. Let your stock come to room temperature before you freeze it.

For a high-protein diet, meat isn’t the only source available. Tofu, lentils and beans are great protein substitutes. These can be found at most grocery stores these days. The tofu can be lightly seasoned and pan fried, which makes for a great alternative to meat. You can boil the beans with some herbs to have a flavorful protein packed meal, side or snack.

Add chicken broth to vegetables when you cook them. Add extra flavor to your vegetables and keep them from sticking by using chicken broth instead of water. Chicken broth can be found at almost all local grocery stores at a very cheap price.

When you do this, you can enjoy your favorite fresh fruits all year. In addition, you’ll get to enjoy out-of-season fruits when no one else can!

When you want to cook a roast, but you don’t have much time, consider cooking a bone-in roast. If you leave the bone in, the meat will cook quicker. This is due to the fact that once the bone is heated it will help cook your meat from the inside out. When your cooking time is up, you can easily make your cuts, while avoiding the bone, and serve as normal.

Prepare some of your food the night before to save time and headaches. Try slicing up some vegetables and onions, then make a sauce or marinate the meat before going to sleep. This way, your next meal will only require a modicum of effort, making dinner stress-free.

Any ground meat that you buy should be blotted prior to cooking. Before cooking ground meat it is always important to blot away moisture. Any moisture that remains there will be released during cooking. It will sizzle and dissipate. This detracts from the searing process, and instead mimics steaming.

Stay organized when you are preparing a meal to avoid kitchen catastrophes. This will increase your productivity, generating tasty foods and saving a lot of money. A lack of organization in your kitchen work areas can cause you to lose focus, among other things, and can easily result in wasted time, money, and food.

Use a generous amount of salt in your pasta water when making pasta. This is the most effective time to season pasta. Salting pasta after cooking will not be as effective in enhancing the flavor.

If you decide to take a shortcut and prepare boxed foods, follow the directions exactly. Wait until the macaroni is done to add the cheese. Let the dish sit for a few minutes so the cheese can melt and blend with the macaroni. When it comes time to serve the dish, you can use a basic slotted or solid spoon. You can add more flavor to your dish with pepper, a spoonful of mustard, or additional cheese.

When you are cooking, don’t be afraid to be creative. You need not follow a recipe exactly. Add things to flavor and shake up the recipe to make it your own. Now that is a real cook!

Include some salt in the water when you make pasta. This will help season the pasta as it cooks. Salting cooked pasta will not have the same effect.

Impress your family and friends with a simple sandwich just by carefully preparing it and presenting it in a great way. A lot of times people rush and only put mayonnaise in the center of the bread. With it evenly spread, you ensure your sandwiches are deliciously flavorful with every bite!

Take the temperature of cooking meats with a thermometer. There is a recommended minimum temperature for every type of meat; this ensures that meat is cooked well enough to be safe to eat. Bacteria thrive on meats, and unless the meat is properly and thoroughly cooked, these bacteria can remain and cause you sickness if consumed.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that every potato is like the others. There are some potatoes that are waxy and recommended for making boiled potatoes and potato salad but are not recommended for mashed potatoes, french fries or baked potatoes. Russet potatoes are often recommended for making mashed, fried or baked potato recipes because they have high starch content.

The vast varieties of potatoes do not easily substitute for each other in recipes. Some potatoes are waxy and are great for making things like boiled potatoes or potato salad but are not so good for french fries, mashed potatoes, or baked potatoes. For those applications, you want to use fluffy potatoes like Russets.

Get cooling racks that you can stack. If you don’t have one of these, a few batches of your favorite cookies might take up your entire counter. If you need more room, buy some cooling racks that can be stacked. The use of more vertical space is effective in cooling your cookies, and it gives you much more space to tackle the rest of your baking.

A new and challenging recipe won’t make a good impression if you haven’t mastered it. It is wiser to stick with the tried and true. Depending on whether it’s a boss, date or your new in-laws, you will want to make sure you cook something amazing so they are impressed. Impress these people with a meal that you already know you are good at making.

Put your ketchup right in the batter for more flavorful fried foods. You can not only dip foods in ketchup, but you can also use it to dip foods in before you coat them with breadcrumbs. Ketchup gives a surprising, tasty tang to a batter. People will want to know your secret ingredient.

Set a timer on your watch or cellphone in addition to the oven. Having the second timer on a watch insures that you’ll hear the beep even if you aren’t right in the kitchen.

Although leafy green vegetables are very nutritious, prepping them for cooking can be a bit difficult. They often have tough stems, which must be removed. The easy way to do this is to laterally fold up the leaf at the midpoint, then use the leverage to break the stem off in the middle. Alternatively, you can utilize a knife to remove the stem from the folded leaf. Either of these techniques will result in nice, stem-free leaves.

Counter Space

When you need to prepare a salad to serve later, place the layers in the bowl thoughtfully. Put the ingredients with the most juice, including tomatoes, near the bowl’s bottom. Place leafy greens and other ingredients that lose freshness quickly near the top of the bowl.

Get cooling racks that you can stack. When making several batches of yummy cookies or other treats, the finished batches can use up all your counter space while cooling. An easy and effective way to prevent this from happening is with the use of a stackable cooling rack. By cooling your cookies vertically, the air is able to circulate around them without using up all of your valuable counter space.

Microwave your citrus fruit before juicing it to get every last drop of juice. Microwave your fruit for about ten seconds. Once you take it out, roll it on your counter and then cut it to begin the juicing process.

By taking notice of some of these hints, cooking and eating meals at home can be quite simple and enjoyable. Once you improve through practice, you can see how healthy and delicious food cooked at home can be, and how much it can save you. Homemade meals also promote healthier eating habits for the entire household. As you have seen home cooked meals is worth taking the time to learn the skills necessary to cook.

Get more flavor from the milk you mash your potatoes with by heating it first. Your mashed potatoes should come out fluffy and light. This technique also minimizes lumps. Nobody really wants lumps in their mashed potatoes!

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