Learning how to cook is a valuable skill and asset. If you make your meals at home, you will be creating nutritious food that is less expensive than eating out.
Olive oil is one of the most important investments that you can make during the course of your cooking career. Find a high quality brand of olive oil and add this ingredient to a variety of different foods. This oil will help bring out the taste in pasta, fish and meat.
Are you going to cook with fresh basil? If you want to keep it fresh, first place it in a glass. Then cover the stems of the basil with water. Place the glass of basil leaves on the counter in your kitchen, and watch it keep its freshness for weeks. If you change the water occasionally, the basil will even grow roots in the water. Trim or cut the basil regularly to encourage growth and you will be able to enjoy fresh basil!
Keep a few cut up, washed, and prepared vegetables in your freezer. This will reduce your prep time when you’re cooking a recipe. Onions and peppers are great to freeze. Just buy them fresh, wash and cut them when you have time, and store them in individual zip lock bags.
One of the best ways to store green vegetables so that you can increase the lifespan that they have, is to store them in a damp paper towel and place them in a plastic bag. This will keep the nutrients in them and retain the freshness that they need to remain tasty.
To discover when oil is really hot enough and ready for the food, look to its’ surface. If it is no longer completely smooth and appears to be shimmering it is hot enough. When oil is allowed to over-heat it actually starts breaking down and releasing unpleasant compounds and will begin to smoke, so know when to say when!
When cooking, make sure that you never put anything metal in the microwave, as it will cause sparks given the electromagnetic energy. Always make sure that the items you are microwaving are safe to put in there. This will help to increase your level of safety when you are in the kitchen.
You should take special care when you are preparing mushrooms to cook. Make sure you take the time to carefully clean each mushroom with a dry cloth or paper towel. You should not consider rinsing mushrooms in water as they will quickly become soaked and slimy. They will be easier to work with dry.
No matter what kind of cheese you may have in your refrigerator, be sure that air cannot enter it by wrapping it tightly. Air contributes to mold growth on cheese. If your cheese does happen to have a little bit of mold on it, you can still use it by just cutting off the part with mold.
If your family tends to eat a lot of chicken and often, remember to always brine the poultry as it will lock in flavor. Otherwise you are left with a dry piece of chicken that merely has whatever spices and herbs you chose coated on the outside rather than penetrating every bite.
Replace your spices every six months at the very least. The flavors of spices fade just a few months after opening the container. So, make sure that when you buy new spices go ahead and give half to either a friend or family member if you feel you aren’t going to use all of it soon.
It is important to cook your meat properly, so always have a meat thermometer on hand. Each meat has minimum internal temperatures that are recommended so that it is safe to eat. 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.
A great way to save money by cooking is to substitute similar items. For example, let’s say that you want steamed green beans at dinner. Fresh green beans cost about $1.50 a pound even during the season, but frozen green beans, which have much the same color and texture, cost less than a dollar a pound.
Carrots are a tasty and inexpensive staple that can be used in many ways. Raw carrots cut into strips of convenient sizes are great snacks and popular with many kids, but can also be baked in popular dishes like carrot cakes, tossed into salads, or blanched and glazed with honey.
Freeze overripe bananas. You do not have to throw out brown bananas. If they are overripe before you can eat them, just freeze them for later. Overripe bananas are still perfect for smoothies. You can even use them as an ingredient in baked goods like banana bread or muffins.
When you open a can of tomato paste for just a spoonful and are wondering what to do with the rest, place dollops on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, and stick the sheet in the freezer. When the blobs of paste are frozen solid, transfer them to a freezer bag. You can then pull out just enough tomato paste for your next few recipes, without wasting partial cans.
Buy your meat in bulk for maximum savings on your grocery bill. Larger packages are often cheaper per pound and are only marginally more inconvenient than single-pound packages. Buying in bulk allows you to divide portions for individual meals and then freeze them, pulling out only what is needed for dinner.
For more flavorful soups, mashed potatoes, and other dishes, replace the water in the recipe with stock–chicken, veggie, or beef. Adding bouillon cubes is another simple option that can be used with the recommended amount of water. Bouillon cubes will provide an added level of moisture and flavor to your dish.
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. If you cook for your family, your new-found skills can even improve all of their lifestyles. Apply these tips, and prepare delicious homemade meals today!