One of the great things about cooking is that there is always a little room for improvement. Even a cook with lots of experience can always learn something new in the kitchen to improve their skills and make it more fun. Those new to cooking can really benefit from learning the short cuts that simplify the process of cooking. You will make mistakes and that’s the best way to learn.
Find a dark, cool area in which to store herbs and spices. Humidity and heat, in addition to light, will cause spices and herbs to lose their flavor. When stored correctly, your spices can stay spicy for up to a year. Spices that are whole will retain flavor longer, closer to 3-5 years. If they are stored properly, they will stay fresh longer.
To slice meat with ease, you should place it in the freezer for a bit. This works well for Asian dishes, like Chinese or Thai. By marginally freezing meat, slicing it is made cleaner, as its fibers will not tear quite as easily. However, the meat strips should be thawed to assure even cooking.
Get a cookbook with easy recipes or a specific theme you find interesting to get you started. Try looking online or to your local library or bookstore. Try your hand at several recipes that pique your interest, and forgive yourself for any mistakes you may make along the way.
After you make sauce, pour the leftovers into ice cube trays and place them in the freezer. 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. Not to worry, it freezes well and is perfectly edible when stored this way.
If you partially freeze meat before slicing it, you will find that it is much easier to cut it into thin strips. This technique is especially useful for the meat slicing styles typically used in Asian cuisine. There’s less tearing of the semi-frozen meat as it’s cleanly sliced. To ensure that the meat cooks properly, be sure it is completely thawed before cooking.
Dry ingredients and mixes should be stored in airtight containers. You should keep your foods stored in a air tight container so they stay fresh for a long time. These containers can be bought at just about any store.
If you do any lengthy cooking process like boiling, many of the nutrients will be cooked out. Rather than boiling, quickly steam or sautÃ© your vegetables to retain nutrients. Even better, eat them raw!
Want to add more protein to your diet? Consider incorporating beans and tofu! Both can be purchased at just about any grocery store. Make a yummy meat alternative by pan frying the tofu with some seasonings. Beans boiled with herbs is a flavorful source of protein.
Freeze sauces by pouring leftovers into ice cube trays. 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. This process doesn’t cause the sauce to go bad, so reheat with confidence!
When certain recipes call for milk or water, try adding some other liquids that you would see fit to experiment with flavors. Use chicken broth, beef stock or vegetable broth instead. Instead of using milk, you can substitute yogurt, buttermilk or sour cream. Using different liquids is an easy way to make an old dish more interesting and more nutritious.
When burgers and other foods become stuck to the grill grates, it can be hard to loosen them without damaging the food. Try brushing a thin coating of vegetable oil on the grill or pan to keep food from sticking.
If you need to cook a dish with garlic, you should get the freshest garlic that is available. When garlic is fresh, it has a sweeter taste. When choosing garlic cloves, look for firm skin with no bruising or soft spots.
When making your own chicken stock, prepare more than you need up front. If you prepare a large pot of stock, it can be frozen and stored for future use. Having this delicious chicken stock on hand will be useful when you are making soups, casseroles, stews and so much more. Freeze premeasured amounts of your stock in freezer proof containers or bags when cool.
Tomatoes can be easily dried. Cut tomatoes in thick slices or in half, depending on their size. Put the sliced tomatoes onto a cooling rack, and lightly salt the cut-side. After placing the rack atop a cookie sheet, allow the tomatoes to dry for 10 hours in an oven at 190 degrees. Keep the tomatoes fresh by storing them in freezer bags. You can put the dried tomatoes with fresh herbs in a jar with olive oil to preserve them. The jar can be stored in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.
When trying to add protein to a diet, you need to remember that beans and tofu are great sources. Both of these protein-rich foods are available at most grocery stores. Try frying tofu and adding seasoning to replace meat. Likewise, beans cooked with herbs can also be a flavorful dish.
A good cook will have their utensils and ingredients well organized. If your supplies are disorganized, you will waste time running around trying to find everything. Keep certain similar tools in one area. For instance, keep your spices in a cabinet, your baking goods in another, and cooking utensils together in a drawer.
When you do this, you can enjoy your favorite fresh fruits all year. Since many fruits are not in season during certain parts of the year, doing this will allow you to enjoy them anytime.
The odors of many spices and vegetables will stay on your cutting board and will be impervious to soap. This can save you from eating garlic strawberries.
You can make meal preparation a breeze by doing part of the food prep in advance. Start cutting up your ingredients the night before to gain time. You will be a much happier cook if you do not have to do as much the next day, resulting in less stress.
Instead of chopping them on a cutting board, a better way to cut herbs is to hold them in a bunch and cut them with sharp scissors. This works especially well for dill and parsley. This is preferable to chopping the herbs because they will be less moisture laden, making them lighter and fluffier.
You must keep your cooking tools in order to keep your recipes on track. Disorganization will have you rushing around the kitchen in a frenzy looking for your equipment, ingredients and utensils. Keep things that are similar in the same place. To be more specific, put peanut butter and jelly on the same shelf, since they both serve the same purpose.
As a habit when cooking, make sure you wash the dishes after you are done using them. Fill half your sink with hot water and dishwashing liquid and the other half with rinse water. Cooking bowls and tools can be quickly cleaned as needed, and ready for their next use.
An organized cooking area is where you should focus to avoid costly mistakes while cooking your meals. Your time spent cooking will also be more productive if you are organized. If you are unorganized, it is easy to lose track of things and waste your money and delicious food that you could have been eating!
Directions should be followed closely when you are making macaroni and cheese. This is the best way to get the noodles and cheese cooked to just the right consistency. Use a non-slotted spoon to serve macaroni and cheese. Use a dash of pepper to finish off the dish!
Dab your ground meat with a few paper towels before cooking it to rid of excess moisture. It is a good idea to always blot away moisture before cooking ground meat. If your meat is too moist, then it can affect how it cooks. It will steam off in the hot skillet. Searing of the meat will be inhibited and lead to steaming instead.
When you are cooking pasta, use a fair amount of salt in the water. This will allow the pasta to take on the seasoning more efficiently. When you salt your pasta after cooking, the flavor is not as full.
Use a substantial amount of salt in the water when you are cooking pasta. This is the most effective time to season pasta. If you try to salt the pasta after it is already cooked it will not hold the seasoning as well.
To find out if your meat is cooked properly, measure the temperature with a meat thermometer. Every meat has a certain internal temperature that needs to be reached in order for it to be safe to eat. There is a lot of bacteria that lives on meat, so cooking it to a high enough temperature to kill it off is important to avoid food borne illnesses.
To enhance the flavor and texture of your pasta sauce, set aside a small amount of the water that was used to cook the pasta. Save approximately 1/4 cup of water after cooking your pasta. As you begin to add your sauce to the pasta, slowly mix in the water. The water from the pasta contains starch, which can thicken your sauce.
Find a spot that is dry, cool, and dim to store herbs and spices. Exposure to light, humidity, and heat can make your spices lose their flavors quickly. This will keep them exposed to heat and other unfavorable conditions that zap all of their flavor.
Err on the side of caution by setting a watch timer, in addition to the oven timer. 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.
It’s important to spread mayonnaise on sandwiches evenly from crust to crust. Slow down and resist the tendency to just plop mayo in the center of the sandwich. When you spread mayonnaise evenly across your bread, you ensure that every bite of your sandwich is full of flavor.
A cooling rack that can stack should be used. Your whole counter top can quickly be covered when making cookies in large batches. Stacking cooling racks keep all of your finished batches confined to one small space. A vertical cooling rack will cool cookies and give you more working space.
There are number of ways that are easy to prepare a better tortilla. 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. Try placing the tortilla on the gas stove’s grill over the flame too. When you prepare tortillas using one of these methods, you can enjoy tortillas that taste better and are fresher as well.
If you want to make potato skins or twice baked potatoes, try using a potato with a thick skin. A red potato’s skin is too thin to hold together if you are using a dense filling.
Cooks with experience can learn new things about making the time they spend in the kitchen more fun and simple. People who are just learning how to cook need to learn as much as possible. Try out the tips you’ve just read and see if you can’t make your kitchen endeavors a little more enjoyable and a little more rewarding.
Always use silicon, rubber, or nylon spatulas and spoons when you cook with non-stick cookware. Utensils made from wood or metal can scratch the coating on your pans, which reduces the non-stick properties and may cause the coating to peel or flake while you cook. This doesn’t taste great, and can also be dangerous.