Learning how to cook is not an easy skill to learn. You will get plenty of tips and tricks to cook some great recipes.
A cool, dark storage area will preserve your herbs freshness for the longest period of time. Warmth, humidity and light will make them stale and unflavorful. Ground spices, when stored correctly, can retain flavor for up to a year. Whole spices keep their robust flavors for up to five years. Keep spices fresh for the longest time possible by storing them correctly.
When adding seasonings to meat, test a small amount before seasoning the whole batch. Foods like meatloaf, meatballs, and even hamburgers can require careful seasoning. Spices and seasonings added when the meat is fully cooked are unlikely to stick. Instead, form a small patty and cook that first. If it tastes good, then cook it, if it needs some additional seasoning, then you can adjust your recipe before making the entire meal.
If you are just starting out with cooking, consider doing your research at your local library. There are plenty of cookbooks with simple recipes available. Experiment with a few, and be patient; remember, you’re learning new skills.
To make your French fries crispier, let the raw potatoes soak for about half an hour in cold water prior to frying. Letting sliced potatoes soak up additional cold fluids reinforces the fibers in the vegetable, so that when you deep fry them, they can better withstand the heat without breaking down completely.
Try putting some cauliflower in with your mashed potatoes to cut some calories and fat. Cauliflower blends perfectly with your potatoes without changing the taste of your mashed potatoes. Cauliflower is also the same texture and color of potatoes when mashed so it’s a great way to add more veggies, while lowering calories from classic mashed potatoes.
These seasonings work equally well on other foods. Try roasted pumpkin seeds sprinkled with the seasoning for a tasty snack or mix it in your scrambled eggs. Everyone will start to wonder about your secret ingredient and what it might be!
Dried and frozen ingredients should never be used over fresh ingredients if you want to get the most out of your cooking. Use fresh ingredients whenever possible, as they make the food more flavorful, and they may cost less over the long run.
Garlic is amazing, but comes at the cost of smelly hands. By rubbing your hands inside a stainless sink after handling pungent smelling foods. This will help get rid of the smell so that it is not transfered to the next food item that you handle.
Figuring out how long meat should be grilled can be tough. Use a meat thermometer to tell when it is cooked properly. If your meat is thicker than 1.5 inches, consider closing the grill lid to reduce grilling time.
It’s important to include beans and tofu in your diet if you’re trying to increase your protein intake. Most grocery stores stock these items. Fry up the tofu with seasonings to get a great meat alternative. To add some tasty protein to your plate, boil some beans with a touch of herbs for seasoning.
Try cooking your vegetables in chicken broth for an extra kick. The broth will add to the flavor of the vegetables and cut back on the amount of oil that is typically needed to saute them. This is an easy, delicious way to prepare veggies for you meal.
If you are going to cook a pumpkin, get it into an upright position and then split in half straight down the center. Once the pumpkin is cut, place it on a dampened baking sheet with the skin facing up. Sprinkle a little water on to your baking sheets, then you can bake your pumpkins for an hour in a 350 degree oven.
Accurately measure the amounts of cooking oil you use! This will help you lower the fat in your foods while cooking. That way there are no surprises about exactly how much oil is going into your body.
When seasoning food, add it in to the dish a little at a time instead of throwing it in there 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.
If you are making a meal that requires garlic, buy fresh garlic or grow your own. Garlic is normally sweeter when it is fresh. As garlic ages it becomes bruised, shriveled and less firm.
Always get the freshest garlic available when you have a recipe that calls for it. Generally speaking, the freshest garlic will also have the sweetest taste. Truly fresh garlic will not be bruised, shriveled or overly soft.
When serving salads to guests, it is a good idea to leave the dressing on the side of the salad rather than on it. This will allow your guests to control how much dressing they want to put on their salad. Your guests will also enjoy having a variety of dressings from which to choose.
Don’t take the bone out of a roast if you need to cook it quickly. This will speed up cooking time substantially. The bone absorbs some of the heat and distributes it inside the meat and roaster. When you are done cooking the roast cut it off the bone.
If you are often pressed for time when making dinner, try doing a little preparation work before hand, perhaps on the night before you plan to cook the dinner. Marinate your meat or cut up the vegetables ahead of time. By completing a few basic steps the day before, you can save yourself time and energy when it is time to prepare your meal after a long, hard day of work.
After Thanksgiving or any other time you cook turkey, save the leftovers. Instead, cut it into pieces, then freeze it in a Tupperware container. This will keep the turkey fresh for a month or more, and can be easily thawed to use in sandwiches, soups, and salads.
It will be very helpful to have all cooking supplies nicely organized. If you are disorganized, you won’t know where to find the cheese grater or the spatula when you need them. Consider storing similar things together. For instance, keep your spices in a cabinet, your baking goods in another, and cooking utensils together in a drawer.
Homemade stock adds lots of flavor. You can make this in large batches, and freeze some for later use in resealable freezer bags. This allows you to have savory homemade stock available that you can use for various dishes, like soup. Preparing your own stock in advance will reduce your need to use cheap over-salted options instead.
Many vegetables and herbs emit aromas that remain in the cutting board, regardless of how many times you clean it. Use a permanent pen to make a mark so you know which side you are using.
When cooking, wash dishes and tools as soon as you’re done with them. Make it easy on yourself by filling your sink with water, while reserving a separate section for rinsing. It’s easier to wash bowls after they have just been used, and they’ll be available for you to use again if you need them.
You should discard your spices biannually and buy new ones. Often, spices that have sat upon the shelf for a long period of time lose their pungency. When you have to buy certain spices for specific dishes, be sure to give some of the spice away to a family or friend, if you do not plan on using all of it, before it will go bad.
To improve your pasta sauce, put aside some of the water used during the cooking of the pasta. Remove approximately a quarter of a cup and set it aside. When you are going to mix your pasta and sauce together, add some of the saved water. Amalgamation will help the starch in the pasta to add a creamy quality, and extra body to your sauce.
When chopping fresh herbs, try sprinkling a bit of salt over the cutting board before you begin. This keeps your herbs on the cutting board and can add a bit of flavor, as well. Don’t over-salt your foods. The salt that has been sprinkled onto the board, will also have the extra benefit of adding a little bit of extra flavor when it adheres to the herbs.
If you purchase fruit that is still green and want it to ripen quickly, put it in a plastic bag with perforations. Fruit produces ethylene gas as it ripens. Bags with holes will prevent already-ripened fruit from rotting, since the ethylene gas can escape; on the other hand, under-ripened fruit benefits from a bag without holes, since the gas that causes ripening is retained.
There are quite a few different types of potatoes. Not all potatoes can be interchanged in recipes. Waxy potatoes are good for boiling or using in potato salads, but they make poor french fries or mashed potatoes. Russet potatoes are often recommended for making mashed, fried or baked potato recipes because they have high starch content.
One great cooking tip is just be flexible and creative; do your own thing. Sometimes its okay to deviate from following a recipe step-by-step. A recipe can be greatly improved upon if you add a little of this, or take away a little of that. That is really a creative cook!
When you are preparing potato skins or twice baked potatoes, consider using a baking potato. Red potatoes can’t hold dense fillings because their skin is too thin.
If you plan to prepare food outside for a cookout, make sure the grill itself is prepped beforehand. Prepare the grill approximately half an hour prior to putting the food on. The coals should have a coating of ash and be at a medium heat. This is the right temperature to begin grilling your food.
If you’re cooking in a nonstick pan, use a spatula made from nylon, rubber, or silicone. Metal or wooden utensils will scratch nonstick coating. This not only ruins your food, but it could be a health hazard.
Try using ketchup as a secret batter ingredient for your fried foods. Just dunk everything from vegetables to meat into the ketchup before dredging them in breadcrumbs. The ketchup adds an unexpected zip to fried food, leaving everyone asking for the recipe.
Make sure that you maintain your wooden cutting board. Stressors, like heat or extremes in humidity, can warp or split a cutting board made of wood. Don’t immerse it in water. Instead, quickly wash it with soapy warm water. You can do some restoration to a damaged board by regularly oiling it with a product specifically for this purpose. Before using it again, make sure the oil is completely dry.
Try mashing potatoes using hot milk instead of boiling milk. Using hot, rather than cold, milk results in more fluffed-up and lighter mashed potatoes. Nobody really wants lumps in their mashed potatoes!
When baking a cake, be sure not to over or under cook it. The times on the recipe are great as a guide for cooking, but factors like elevation and various oven temperatures can effect the actual cooking time of cakes. A better idea is to insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it removes cleanly, it’s done; if batter is on it, it needs longer to bake.
If you are cooking a large batch of pancakes or waffles, it is important to keep the food warm until you are ready to serve. A 300 degree oven is an appropriate temperature. Put an oven-safe plate in the center of your oven. Place your cooked pancakes or waffles on this to stay warm.
Use a stackable cooling rack. If you are baking numerous batches of cookies, the ones that are cooling can soon eat up all of your work space. You can use your space more efficiently by using cooling racks that stack on each other. By using these vertical racks, your treats can cool while you have free space to do some work that needs done.
Use a fat-free broth if you want to make a fat-free soup or stew. Sticking with the low-fat goal, use lean meat and vegetables in the soup. As soon as the soup is done cooking, put it in the refrigerator to chill. Any excess fat will harden and rise to the top. Afterwards, simply scoop off this congealed fat. For each tablespoonful of fat that you discard, you will spare yourself as much as 100 calories.
As evidenced here, you can greatly improve your cooking skills by applying the pertinent techniques. Armed with this knowledge, all that is left is for you to enter the kitchen and get cooking! Now, get in there and cook some food that you and your family will enjoy!
Buy meat and fish fresh and on the bone. Store the bones in a sealed plastic bag in the freezer.