Cooking is a skill that is very valuable. Preparing flavorful and healthy meals at home is also economical.
If you keep herbs and spices handy, make sure you are keeping them in a dark, cool area. Common kitchen conditions, such as heat, light, and humidity, will destroy the flavor of herbs and spices. Ground spices, when stored correctly, can retain flavor for up to a year. Whole spices can retain flavor for about three or five years. As long as they are stored properly, they will hold onto their flavor for several years.
The prep work is a very important part of assembling a home-cooked meal for family or friends. Always have all ingredients before starting to cook. Put everything you need to cook the dish out the night before. Make sure you have all the cooking equipment and ingredients required. Having everything ready will take some of the stress off and increase the chances of your success.
Prep work can be done way ahead of time. It is essential to have all prep work finished before it’s time to begin cooking. Cooking can get stressful when you’re working to deadline. If all of the prep work is completed well before the actual cooking begins, this will help alleviate some stress later.
Keep spices in a dark and cool place. By storing them in excessive light and heat, their shelf life will decrease. When a spice is placed in a cool area with very little light, its life is extended and it will taste better. If you use fresh spices, your food will taste better.
Allow the oil to heat up in the pan before adding your food. Hot oil adds more flavor to the food, giving you the tastiest results when you’re finished.
People tend to use a lot of apples for cooking in the fall and winter months, but if they are stored incorrectly they will quickly spoil. Warm, dry air will make apples rot, so keep them in the fridge or cellar in plastic bags. Check your apples regularly. If one apple starts rotting, the whole bag will be spoiled.
Try this quick trick to salvage your efforts. In a small bowl, combine two tablespoons of water and 3 teaspoons of corn starch. Slowly add to the sauce while on simmer and your sauce will gradually thicken. The mixture needs to be added slowly so that it does not make the sauce too thick.
Use airtight containers to store baking mixes, sugar and flour. Storing food in containers that are impermeable to air helps the food last longer, and keeps insects out. These containers are easily purchased online or at your local department or even grocery stores. Wherever you get them from, the freshness of any food you intend to store in them is well worth the investment.
If you are seasoning meat, cook a little piece of it to test the seasoning before cooking it all. Different cuts and types of meat have certain spice mixtures that work best for them. Do not cook the entire thing right after you season it. Cook a small portion first to sample. Once you like the way this piece comes out, you can cook the rest.
Sauteing vegetables in a small amount of chicken broth is a healthy and delicious way to cook. The vegetables will take on the broth flavor, and reduce the oil that is used when sauteing. This method produces healthy and tasty vegetables.
Do you experience a guilty twinge when you pitch out rotten fruit? Is it possible to save the fruit by cutting the bad part out of it? Cutting off rotten bits of fruit will not make them safer. Throw the fruit away as mold can grow beyond just what the eye can see, which could end up making you sick.
Pumpkin preparation involves slicing it in half, from top to bottom. On different baking sheets, place a half face down on each one. Spray a bit of water on each baking sheet, and then put both into an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake them for about an hour.
Apples are very popular in cooking in fall and winter, but the spoilage rate is high if they are not stored correctly. To avoid rotting, store apples in open-mesh bags or baskets in a cool basement or in the produce drawer of your refrigerator. Watch out if you are storing a large number of apples, one bad apple ruins the bunch.
If you are about to serve salad to multiple guests, serve the dressing separately instead of putting it directly on the salad. Certain people prefer a larger amount of dressing on the salad than others. Because of this fact, you should allow people to pour dressing on their own. Also, give a variety of different dressings.
If you want the cooking process to be both faster and easier, prepare as much as you can ahead of time. Check the recipe you’re using to see if some preparation can be done without the partially prepared dish spoiling. It is often possible to prepare your ingredients as much as 24 hours ahead of time. This will enable you to enjoy the process of creating dishes that ordinarily would be a real task.
Never trash the leftovers after cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving or another meal. The efficient thing to do is put the turkey in a plastic container and freeze it for later. The turkey will remain fresh for several weeks so you can make delicious sandwiches or a turkey salad.
Get the freshest garlic you can when making a dish that you must add garlic to. When garlic is fresh, it has a sweeter taste. As garlic ages it becomes bruised, shriveled and less firm.
You can make meal preparation a breeze by doing part of the food prep in advance. You can cut up vegetables and onions, marinate your meat or make a sauce in the evening before you head off to sleep. This will result in less stress the next day, and you will be more than ready to begin the cooking process.
Many strongly-scented vegetables and herbs will leave an odor on your cutting board, even if you clean it. Use indelible ink to mark the cutting board so that you know which side to use for each purpose.
Try drying your own tomatoes. Drying them is easy – simply cut Roma tomatoes in half, or cut larger tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices. You should place them on cooling rack, and salt them lightly with the cut side up. Next, position a full rack on a baking sheet in an oven preheated to 190 degrees. Dry for approximately 10 hours. Put them in plastic bags for freezer storage. Zing up your dried tomatoes and conserve them at the same time by canning them in olive oil and herbs. Put your canned tomatoes in the fridge and be sure to use them in the next two weeks.
Consider creating your own stock, in order to add some customized flavor to your dishes. Make a large amount and store it in the freezer. This ensures you will have tasty, homemade stock available when you need it for soups, stews and many other dishes. Preparing your own stock in advance will reduce your need to use cheap over-salted options instead.
Put your fresh herbs together in a bunch and use kitchen shears to cut them all at once. Chopping herbs often makes herbs wet and wilted. Using scissors gives your herbs a light, fluffy appearance.
Let your meal sit for a while. A lot of people don’t understand the importance of letting a meal sit for a while. It can be tempting to serve a meal straight off the grill. Unfortunately, this may cause you to miss the full effect. To maximize taste and satisfaction, wait a little while before you serve your meal to friends or family.
Always follow the directions on the box when making a simple mac and cheese. This ensures your macaroni comes out perfect and that the velvety cheese is deliciously melted over your noodles. You can use a solid spoon to serve macaroni and cheese. Try sprinkling some pepper on the finished macaroni dish.
Creativity in the kitchen can be exciting. Sometimes its okay to deviate from following a recipe step-by-step. Add things to flavor and shake up the recipe to make it your own. That is really a creative cook!
You’ll find that cooking a big, complicated meal is less stressful if you handle some of the preparation ahead of time. Get all of the ingredients that you will need, measure and chop all spices or herbs and make sure that you have what the recipe requires. When the time comes to actually cook the meal, you will just have to combine the ingredients in the right order and cook them at the proper temperature for the correct amount of time.
The act of tying a turkey with a string is called trussing. By holding the legs and wings close to the body, this allows for more evenly cooked meat. If you don’t truss your bird, the smaller pieces could dry out and burn.
Impress family and friends when you make a simple sandwich just by spreading the mayonnaise evenly on the entire slice of bread. A lot of times people rush and only put mayonnaise in the center of the bread. When you spread it evenly, you offer your guests delicious sandwiches, with flavor in every bite!
Avoid overcooking or undercooking a cake. The cooking times suggested in recipes are good guidelines for an inexperienced baker, but these suggestions can be misleading; other factors, like elevation, can have an effect on how long it actually takes a cake to cook. Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake instead. If it removes cleanly, it’s done; if batter is on it, it needs longer to bake.
Buying quality knives is an important investment in your kitchen. Nobody wants to use dull knives, as they can take over twice the time to chop up ingredients, and they are more dangerous than sharp ones. Most of the accidents that happen in the kitchen are due to someone using a dull cutting utensils.
Know the right care for wood cutting boards. Wooden cutting boards can warp and split if they are exposed to heat and moisture or if they are stored in an excessively dry area. Don’t submerge your board in water to clean it. Use a sponge and warm soapy water instead. If you have a damaged cutting board, you should purchase an oil product that is designed for cutting board restoration. Store in a cool dry place until the product has completely dried.
You should always use fresh seasoning and herbs whenever the dish you are cooking is simple. Sometimes dried prepacked herbs like oregano and parsley are acceptable because the complexity of a dish allows for the lack of freshness to not be as distinguishable. However, using fresh herbs in your dish is a lot better if you can because it provides a fresher, stronger, and yummier taste. Growing your own herbs in an herb garden, is an easy way to add fresh herbs to a meal anytime.
To find out if your meat is cooked properly, measure the temperature with a meat thermometer. Meat must reach a minimum temperature to be safe. This temperature varies for each kind of meat. If the meat is not cooked thoroughly there is a chance that the bacteria living on the meat could remain and make someone sick if they eat it.
Learn a little bit about any vegetables or fruits you haven’t cooked with before. It can be a wonderful surprise to see all that you can do with a new food item. Taking the time to learn before starting to cook will leave you with a much happier experience in the kitchen.
Try to make sure you cook your cake to the proper temperature and do not over or under cook it. Box times are more of guidelines than the actual time a cake should be baked. This is due to various factors that can make a difference, such as elevation. Insert a toothpick into the cake’s middle. If it is covered in batter, your cake is not done yet. Wait until the toothpick comes out clean.
Here is a fresh take on oysters. Most people prepare raw oysters by sprinkling lemon juice, but there are alternatives. Crack open some oysters, leave them in their shells, place them on a broiling pan, and pour a little cream over them. Add some parmesan cheese and some pepper, then broil until the contents of the pan start bubbling. Oysters can also be sauteed. Lightly cover with seasoned flour then fry in some hot butter approximately two minutes or until golden. You can also bake oysters while still in their shells. Use a casserole dish to bake oysters for four or five minutes at 425 degrees, after dabbing them lightly with butter and covering them with fresh breadcrumbs. After the butter and other juices begin bubbling, serve it smoking hot along with some toasted baguettes.
Herbs and seasonings should be used when they are fresh whenever possible. If you cannot get your hands on fresh herbs, then herbs of a dried variety can still work. Fresh herbs have a stronger flavor and can improve the taste of any dish. It is possible to have an herb garden no matter where you live. The garden will allow you to have fresh herbs available at all times.
Follow these tips and you will quickly develop better cooking skills and an affinity for good home cooking. You will realize as you cook healthy and tasty food at home that you are saving money and feeling better. Your entire family will benefit from a new focus on healthy eating and good nutrition. Start implementing these tips to create delicious meals.
If you desire to enhance the flavor in your soup or mashed potatoes, replace the water you are using with beef or chicken stock. If you don’t have those on hand, bouillon added to the water will also work. Your dish will still have the required amount of moisture, but it will have a better overall flavor.