Having to cook and dish up meals every day can get a little humdrum at times. Make things more interesting by acquiring new skills. Cooking is not only about preparing food, it is also about having fun and bonding with your family. To get you started, some good ideas are offered here.
You can start cooking simple meals out of a cookbook you can borrow from the library. That way you can try different meals that you can prepare and when you are done you can take it back. Pick a few simple, interesting recipes and work up to more elaborate dishes as your skills increase.
In your journey to cook more meals yourself, utilize the library or local bookstore in acquiring cookbooks. Target simple books with simple recipes that make you comfortable. Try different recipes until you come up with something that works for you.
As with many other things in life, one of the keys to making great meals for your family is preparation. First, check that you have everything you need to get started. Plan out your cooking the day before. Make sure all the necessary utensils are clean and ready to use.
Taking the time to prepare yourself will guarantee that the meal will be a success.
Make sure that all of your spices are stored away from heat and light. When they are stored in the sun, they lose shelf life because of exposure. Always keep your spices in a dark and cool location to extend their longevity. Make sure that your spices are fresh to add taste and flavor to any meal.
Spices should be stored in an area with little light and low temperatures, like a pantry. Storing them out in the light and heat will cause them to lose some of their shelf life. To keep your spices spicy and fresh, store them in an area that is cool and dark. Make sure that your spices are fresh to add taste and flavor to any meal.
When you are seasoning meat, try a small piece prior to adding seasoning to the entire thing. Certain foods like hamburgers, meatloaf and meatballs have certain kinds of seasonings. Never cook all of your meat immediately after it has been seasoned. Cook a small portion first to sample. Once you’ve done this, you can cook the rest of the meat or add additional seasoning as you see fit.
In the fall, apples are often used for cooking, but if the fruit is incorrectly stored, it will spoil very quickly. Apples need to be kept loosely in plastic bags while in your refrigerator or basement because they rot in dry, warm air. Watch out if you are storing a large number of apples, one bad apple ruins the bunch.
Apples are a popular ingredient for cooking during the cool autumn and winter months. However, if they are not stored correctly, apples can spoil very quickly. Store apples in a plastic bag in a cool, dry location to keep them fresher longer. Make sure to inspect your apples regularly, as one rotten apple means that the others are soon to follow.
Vegetables are just better all-around the faster they are cooked. Though slow cooking is popular in some cultures, the process actually eliminates important nutrients and renders the vegetables tasteless. These cooking techniques will yield vegetables that are healthier and taste great as well. Adapting the principle of faster cooking times is a crucial element in serving better quality vegetables to your family and friends.
Try lowering the amount of oil you cook with if you are trying to lose weight and eat healthier. There is a lot of unnecessary fat in butter and oil. If you want to prepare your food in essentially the same fashion, substitute a non-fat cooking spray for the oil. These sprays are non-stick, and many have the flavors of your favorite oils infused.
It works on other foods, as well as meat. Add it to seeds and nuts, or even scramble it with eggs. Everyone at the table will be asking for your recipe!
Seasoning should be applied in small amounts throughout the cooking process rather than all at once. By cooking in this way, you can help different seasonings “open up” and release their flavor into the dish without overpowering it.
This ensures that you have access to fresh fruit year-round. An added bonus is that you are going to be able to eat fruit that is not in season and is therefore unavailable elsewhere during certain periods.
When you are planning to prepare a salad for guests, leave the dressing on the side. There are many people who prefer little to no dressing on a salad. If you allow everyone to apply their dressings on their own it will allow them to have the amount they like. Your guests will also enjoy having a variety of dressings from which to choose.
Fresh garlic is ideal when preparing dishes that call for garlic. The sooner you use fresh garlic, the better and sweeter the flavor of it will be. As garlic ages it becomes bruised, shriveled and less firm.
Place any unripened fruit that you buy in a plastic bag that is perforated. When fruits ripen, they produce ethylene gas. When air is allowed to reach the fruit, the gas will not escape, thereby maintaining its flavor and freshness for a longer period of time.
Never throw away turkey leftovers. This is a meal that will freeze really well so you can enjoy it again later. Freezing can add weeks to the life of your leftovers and turkey can be pulled out as desired, and thawed for sandwiches or shredded for salads.
Put your fresh herbs together in a bunch and use kitchen shears to cut them all at once. This makes the herbs fluffier and lighter, and not wet like they would be if they were chopped.
Macaroni and cheese can take on many forms and varieties, but you’ll get the best results by simply following the instructions on the box. This allows the macaroni to come out just as delicious as it was intended to with the cheese melted perfectly over the noodles. You can eat macaroni and cheese with a spoon or fork, although it’s probably easier to scoop it up quicker with a spoon. To top off this dish, spice it up with some pepper sprinkled over the top!
When you purchase fruits that are not quite ripe, put them in a paper bag to ripen. As the fruits ripen, ethylene gas is produced. When you store the fruit in a perforated bag, the ethylene gas can escape so that the natural decay process slows down. This allows your produce and fruits to stay fresh longer.
Stay creative and have fun when cooking. You need not follow a recipe exactly. Change up the recipe until you perfect your own variation. Turning a simple recipe into something that is uniquely your own is the sign of a true cook.
Use a substantial amount of salt in the water when you are cooking pasta. This process will allow the salt to season your pasta while it cooks. Salting pasta after cooking will not be as effective in enhancing the flavor.
The smallest touches, such as spreading mayonnaise well from edge to edge of the bread, can mean the difference in making your food “pop” with your guests. Often people tend to hurry and the mayo ends up on only part of the sandwich. It is much more enjoyable to have mayo in every bite.
When chopping fresh herbs, try sprinkling a bit of salt over the cutting board before you begin. This adds flavor to the herbs and helps to keep them from sliding off the cutting board. Just make sure you don’t add salt to your dish afterwards as the herbs already contain it. That salt on the board adds some flavor since it sticks to the herbs.
Prior to cooking, gather everything you need. This way, you prevent yourself from using too much gas or heat when cooking, and you also provide a certain amount of safety when working with hot oil on a pan or other potential dangers when distracted.
Impress everyone in your home with an easy task like a sandwich by placing the mayonnaise evenly across the bread. A lot of times people rush and only put mayonnaise in the center of the bread. If you spread it evenly, your sandwiches are complete with overall flavor.
A charcoal grill should be prepared and the charcoal lit ahead of the time you plan to cook. You should try to have everything ready 30 minutes prior to your cook time. The coals should have an ash covering and should emit medium heat. This is the optimal temperature for grilling.
Store all spices and herbs in dry, dark and cool conditions to get the maximum amount of flavor from them. Exposure to humidity, heat and light can cause your spices to lose their flavor fast. Exposing the spices to these kinds of conditions can enable them to lose their flavor.
A meat thermometer should be used to check that the meats have been properly cooked. All kinds of meat have a minimum internal temperature that is recommended for safe consumption. Bacteria thrive on meats, and unless the meat is properly and thoroughly cooked, these bacteria can remain and cause you sickness if consumed.
Try not to overcook or undercook a cake. The time recommended on the box or in a recipe is a guide to be used with caution, because many factors, such as high altitudes, can have an effect on the actual time needed. Sticking a toothpick in the center of the cake is a time proven test for doneness. If batter sticks to the toothpick when it comes out, more baking is needed; when the toothpick stays clean after insertion, it’s time to eat!
To truss a turkey means to tie it up with string. Trussing helps to keep the legs and wings next to the body so that cooking is done evenly. If the legs and wings aren’t tied down, they tend to easily burn while the body of the bird continues to cook.
If you’re cooking for someone of importance, do not try your hand at an untested recipe, no matter how much you would like to impress your guest with a gourmet meal. 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. Make sure that the meal is a success by preparing something that you know how to cook well.
Keep your spices and herbs in a dry, cool, dark place. Flavor loss occurs when they are exposed to heat, light and humidity. Constant exposure to these elements will ruin herbs and spices.
In addition to the oven timer, set an alarm on your watch. If you wear a stopwatch on your neck or use the timer on a watch, you will make sure that the beeps are heard no matter your location.
Try to make sure you cook your cake to the proper temperature and do not over or under cook it. There are recommended cooking times, which are guidelines only. These times can be a bit misleading because there are factors, such as your elevation, that help to determine the cake’s cooking time. Instead, test the cake periodically by inserting a toothpick into the middle. If it is covered in batter, your cake is not done yet. Wait until the toothpick comes out clean.
You should always bake instead of microwave when you reheat dishes containing oil so you don’t get that greasy mess. A microwave oven causes intense heat which can cause the oil in foods, which heats first, to separate. However, if you bake the dish, it will be heated evenly, keeping its ingredients and taste intact.
Making a simple dish of fried rice is a great way to make use of the leftover meat and vegetables in the refrigerator. If you have day old rice on hand, that works best; but if not, reduce the water slightly to make it a little drier than normal. Fry your vegetables and chopped meat in vegetable oil, then throw in your rice an season with some soy sauce, ginger, garlic and other spices of your choice.
If you use these tips, cooking can become your hobby. Cooking can be as educational as it is delicious. You might even get to know yourself better, while you’re finding out what things you like to cook. As you get more and more into cooking, you will have more and more fun as well as your meals will be delicious.
When you know you have a busy day coming up, prepare your meals ahead of time, preferably the night before. By doing some vegetable chopping, or pre-assembly of dishes the night before, you’ll be a lot less stressed on cooking day.