However, it does require skill to perfect! Regardless of the reasons you would like to start cooking, it’s always beneficial to figure out the basic steps to get started. This article provides several delicious tips that can help you become a better cook.
Prep work can be done way ahead of time. This is why it’s called prep work, because this is what you want to have done before you begin cooking. When you have a schedule as to how long you plan to be cooking, things can get a little stressful in the kitchen. If all of the prep work is completed well before the actual cooking begins, this will help alleviate some stress later.
Keep spices tucked away in cool, dry and dark areas. Putting them in a warm, lighted area can reduce their useful life, due to light and heat exposure. When a spice is placed in a cool area with very little light, its life is extended and it will taste better. Better tasting meals are the result of the ingredients you use, including the freshest spices possible.
If you are just beginning to cook more of your meals, go straight to the nearest bookstore or library to find a cookbook that has simple, fun recipes. Focus on one recipe at a time and give yourself enough time to improve your cooking.
Allow the oil to heat up in the pan before adding your food. This helps to bring out the flavor in your food.
If you messed it up, you can use this trick to fix it and no one will be the wiser. Mix together 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water. Mic the solution together and put it in the sauce to thicken it up. Be sure to add the mixed starch slowly, you don’t want the sauce to get too thick.
If you are seasoning meat, cook a little piece of it to test the seasoning before cooking it all. Certain foods like meatballs, hamburgers and meatloaf could require very careful seasoning. Avoid cooking all of it after it’s been seasoned. A better option is to season the small piece and allow it to cook. Once you see how it tastes, you can determine to either cook the remaining meat or adjust the amount of seasoning.
If you have made sauce, put the leftovers into an ice cube tray and freeze. Take them out to use on another night when you’d like a no hassle home cooked meal. Simply reheat the sauce cubes slowly in a medium pan on your stove top. No worries, because the sauce is still quite edible after being frozen in ice cube trays.
Always cook what you know whenever you are cooking for someone special. Avoid trying out new recipes or new ingredients in such a situation. This will make cooking less stressful.
Is it difficult for you to know how long your meat should stay on the grill? A well-manufactured meat thermometer, especially a precision digital model, is always a sound method of seeing to it that the inside of your meat is cooked thoroughly. Think about closing your grill’s lid to cut down on grill time any time you grill meat thicker than an inch and a half.
If burgers get stuck to the grill, it will be difficult to flip them without mangling them in the process. You should brush a thin layer of vegetable oil over the grill before you begin cooking. This will keep the food from becoming stuck to the grill surface.
When you cook a pumpkin, the first step is to slice in in half vertically. Next, set each of the two pieces on a separate baking sheet, taking care to place each one cut side down. Moisten each sheet with water, then place the pumpkin halves in a 350-degree oven for 60 minutes.
When you make chicken stock, a good piece of advice is to make it in a big quantity. Instead of making a single serving, make a whole stock pot and save the leftovers so you can freeze them. You can use that delicious chicken stock in stews, casseroles, and soups. Put the stock into freezer bags and put it in your freezer.
Freezing helps ensure fresh fruit throughout the year. In addition it will give you access to fruits that aren’t always in season.
If you wish to eat more protein, try one of the many varieties of beans or tofu available. Both can be purchased at just about any grocery store. Tofu is great meat alternative when baked, broiled, or pan-fried with seasonings. Make beans a less boring source of protein by including some herbs when you boil them.
Consider drying your very own tomatoes. Start by slicing a ripe tomato one-half inch thick, or you can cut Roma tomatoes in half lengthwise. Put the tomatoes, cut-side up, onto a cooling rack and give them a light salting. Put a cookie sheet under the rack and place in the oven for ten hours at 190 degrees. Finally, place your dried tomatoes in freezer safe bags and store in the freezer. Dried tomatoes could also be put in a jar with fresh herbs and topped up with olive oil. Kept in the refrigerator, these tomatoes will keep for a couple of weeks.
When certain recipes call for milk or water, try adding some other liquids that you would see fit to experiment with flavors. Substitute plain water with juice, broth, or the water that you cooked your vegetables in. If your favorite recipes call for milk, try substituting with buttermilk, yogurt or sour cream. You can increase the nutritional and wow factors of any dish, simply by trying different substitutions for liquids that recipes call for.
Being highly organized is necessary when you are preparing several dishes at the same time. If not, you are sure to burn or overcook something. An organized kitchen is a much more productive kitchen. Being disorganized means having difficulty finding things and quite possibly ruining an entire dish, wasting valuable time and money!
Always measure the amount of cooking oil you use. If you want to lower the fat in your home cooked meals, you need to carefully measure any oil that you are going to use rather then just guessing. This will allow you to closely monitor the exact amount of oil that you are using.
While engaged in cooking, get in the habit of cleaning dishes as you finish using them. Fill half your sink with hot water and dishwashing liquid and the other half with rinse water. Utensils and mixing bowls can wash up quickly, and you will have them ready to use again as you prepare additional courses of the meal.
If you have a tight deadline to cook a roast, leave the bone in the piece of meat. This will allow your meat to cook faster as the bone will warm up the inside quicker. Cut the meat around the bone before serving it.
If you’d like to boost the flavors in your pasta sauce, it’s important to save the water you use to cook the pasta itself. Save around 1/4 cup of water and put it aside. The water should be added to the sauce and pasta mixture. Amalgamation will take place in your sauce when you add the pasta water. The starch will give it the “creaminess” you desire.
You can dry out your own tomatoes. You can do this by cutting ripe tomatoes into 1/2 inch thick slices, or by cutting Roma tomatoes in half lengthwise. Then put them on a rack that you might use to cool cookies and then lightly cover them with salt. Next, position a full rack on a baking sheet in an oven preheated to 190 degrees. Dry for approximately 10 hours. Store in plastic bags in the freezer. Another option is to place the tomatoes in a jar and cover them with fresh herbs and olive oil. The jar can be stored in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.
There are several ways to properly heat tortillas. For example, place the tortillas directly onto a rack in a oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees. Remove the tortillas from the oven when they are sufficiently crispy. You can also place a tortilla directly above the flame of the grill. These two methods will give you a much tastier tortilla than microwaving.
Many vegetables and herbs have a smell that has a tendency to remain on cutting boards, despite how many times you wash them. Use a permanent pen to make a mark so you know which side you are using.
In order to ensure your meats are being cooked properly, you should make use of a meat thermometer. All of the different meats require a certain internal temperature in order for it to be safe to eat. If meats are not properly cooked, any bacteria present can grow and could possibly make you very sick if not killed during the cooking process.
Spices don’t last forever; replace them every 6 months. Many times, spices are kept for too long, and they lose their flavor. If you purchase a new spice but doubt you can use it before the flavor dries up, share some of it with a fellow cook.
When you truss your bird, you tie its legs and wings together. Trussing helps to keep the legs and wings next to the body so that cooking is done evenly. In an un-trussed turkey, the legs and wings can get overdone and the tips can burn by the time the body is fully cooked.
To avoid burning your food, stay organized. Keep your kitchen in order. Also, organize your refrigerator and pantry to avoid buying unnecessary items that will eventually be thrown out.
Find a spot that is dry, cool, and dim to store herbs and spices. Spices will rapidly lose flavor if exposed to heat, light or humidity. Being so close to the heat will only cause the flavors of your spices to fade.
Fresh herbs in a meal are delicious. Bunch them together and then use a pair of scissors to snip them. The herbs can be fluffier, lighter, and drier than if you just chopped them.
Cooling racks that stack on top of one another can be a handy thing to have in your kitchen. When you make large batches of cookies, making enough area to cool them can quickly overrun your kitchen and beyond. Using cooling racks that stack will make efficient use of any space. It frees up more space for you to work in while also providing an acceptable method of cooling your baked goods.
Use a generous amount of salt in your pasta water when making pasta. This will allow the pasta to take on the seasoning more efficiently. Pasta that has been salted after cooking may not retain the flavors used in the seasoning and sauce.
Add some zing to your stews, soups, and mashed potatoes by using stock instead of water. If you don’t have prepared stock, you can a bullion cube to the water. Your food will get the moisture it needs while getting an extra boost of flavor.
The night before you cook, try to prepare as much as possible. This will aid in avoiding cooking disasters that can arise from being unprepared, including flare-ups from overheated oil or choosing the wrong temperatures for your needs.
When you are aware that you have a busy day coming up, prepare some of the dinner ingredients the night before. If you have a labor intensive meal planned, such as a stir-fry or lasagna, do a little of the preparation work beforehand to lessen the stress a little.
When you saute food, try to avoid filling the pan with oil. The extra moisture will steam the food instead of sauteing it and will not add that little bit of crispness that sauteing is good for. Do not raise the temperature too much.
One unique grilling option is fruit. Some good grill fruits are pineapple, melons, nectarines, and peaches. Then, lay them on your clean grill till you see grill marks. Finally, serve them with a slice of cake or a scoop of ice cream.
There are number of ways that are easy to prepare a better tortilla. For the first method, set your oven’s temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The tortilla is then placed directly on the oven rack until it reaches your desired crispness. You can also heat the tortillas by placing them on the grill of a gas stove. When you use these methods, your tortillas will taste crisp and fresh.
To add some interest to an ear of corn or a dinner roll, make a flavored butter. Soften the butter in the microwave, or let it soften to room temperature. Then mix in herbs, spices or sauces to add an extra burst of flavor. Try BBQ, chipotles, lemon juice or honey.
Now you are ready to put into practice your new found knowledge. Try new recipes and cook smartly. It doesn’t matter why you decided to cook; you will enjoy serving anything you make with your own hands. Your cooking will quickly improve by incorporating all the information into your repertoire. The effort requires just makes the result all the more worth it.
When you are making mashed potatoes for your dinner and are getting ready to mash them, use hot milk, not boiling, to mix into the potatoes. You will get an airier result than would be possible using chilled milk. Lumpy, thick mashed potatoes are not delectable, as you should avoid this condition at all costs.