Cooking is a vital skill that requires time to learn, regardless of whether you have a large family, or if it’s just you. Whether you are entertaining or attempting to eat healthy or you are simply trying to reduce the money you spend on eating out, learning how to cook is a skill that will help you take charge of your lifestyle. If you are seeking a great source of information about cooking, you’ve come to the right place.
If you feel that a piece of food you are about to cook does not look right or may be rotten, always error on the side of caution and throw it away. It is better to lose a few dollars than to cost yourself the next couple of weeks from food poisoning.
Keep a potato masher in your kitchen at all times. This useful device can be used to mash more than just your typical potatoes. Try mashing carrots, cauliflower, and other root vegetables. You can mix any of these in to your usual mashed potatoes to make them more vibrant, nutritious, and interesting.
You can save a lot of money by buying potatoes for your favorite dishes in larger quantities. Make sure you store them in a cool dark place (preferably in a root cellar). Place them in a crate loosely and keep the storage temperature between 45 and 50 degrees F. Avoid storing them in the refrigerator as they become sweet.
Frozen vegetables should only be used as a last resort in home cooking. Though they are cheap and usually available year-round, they fall far short of fresh vegetables in several important areas. Frozen vegetables have lost some of their healthy vitamins and nutrients. They often have unhealthy food additives. They also tend to taste worse than their fresh counterparts.
If you are cooking pastries or foods that can get very messy, make sure that you wear an apron at all times. The last thing that you will want to do is to get food on your clothes and have to change before you eat your meal with friends or family.
If you are planning on buying fish from a supermarket or fish store, make sure that you ask the person behind the counter if you can smell the fish. The fish should be very firm and should not have any pungent odors to them. Otherwise, do not purchase it, as they are probably not fresh.
Cooking hamburgers seems to be easy, but there are some tricks to learn. Make a hole in the center of the patty before you put it on the grill. The hole prevents the meat from rising in the middle so you won’t have an uncooked middle with burnt edges any more. The whole will completely disappear during cooking so no one will notice your trick.
If you are stuck trying to figure out what to cook for dinner during the week, consider building your meals around themes. “Mexican Monday” could mean burritos or a nice taco salad. How about “Tuscan Tuesday” featuring spaghetti and meatballs or maybe meatball subs? And “Fish Friday” offers lots of options for shrimp, salmon or even tuna. Bring the whole family into the fun by letting the kids pick a theme and help plan the meal that day.
Slice garlic when you sauté it. Many people mince garlic. If you plan to sauté it in a pan, this might not be the best idea. When you sauté minced garlic it is likely to burn. If you cut the garlic into slices it cooks more thoroughly and without burning.
Avoid overcooking pasta when you boil it. Overcooked pasta loses some of its important health benefits, as well as its flavor. When you overcook pasta, the noodles absorb too much water and become swollen and limp. It is better to slightly under-cook it to retain the best texture and flavor.
If you are one of those people that does not eat a lot of vegetables so the fresh veggies you buy go bad very fast you should buy frozen vegetables. Frozen vegetables are flash frozen so they are the same as eating fresh veggies and you only have to take as much as you need from the package and return the rest to the freezer.
Don’t be afraid to play with recipes and change the ingredients you don’t like. Recipes are not the Bible; they are simply guidelines for preparing a dish. If you do not like an ingredient like oregano for example, replace it with thyme. Most of the time, the dishes flavor is preserved, and you’re happier knowing you don’t have to eat something with a flavor you dislike.
When preparing food in the kitchen, always remember to wash your hands with soap and warm water before touching food, or anytime you handle raw meat, fish or eggs. In addition, you never want to put cooked food on plates, counters or any other surface where these raw meats have been unless they have been washed with hot, soapy water.
If you are unsure of your boiling potatoes are done it would help if you stuck them with a knife. If the potato comes out of the water stuck on the knife then it means that they are not ready yet, but if they slide off easily then they are done.
Reduce the stress of cooking for a lot of people by preparing the ingredients the day before or earlier in the day. This helps prevent burning certain dishes because your attention is on preparing another dish. When you prepare the ingredients beforehand, you can focus all your attention on cooking the best meal possible.
Add a cast iron skillet to your kitchen if you do not already have one. These multipurpose pans can sear, fry, roast, bake a cake, broil a steak and more, making them essential cooking gear staples. Cast iron heats evenly and holds heat well, allowing you to use a lower burner temperature. When seasoned well, cast iron cures into a nonstick surface, too.
Having the ability to cook and make enjoyable meals for you and your family is a beneficial skill to have. Cooking can improve so many parts of your life no matter what you like making. Going to the drive-thru may be convenient here or there, but nothing is better than a home-cooked meal!