Everyone loves the idea of sitting down to a delicious home-cooked meal, but with today’s busy schedules, it can be harder than ever to find the time to put one together. Fortunately, help is out there. The tested advice in this article will help you put together healthy meals for your family in a surprisingly, short time.
Prepare to cook before you actually start cooking. It is essential to have all prep work finished before it’s time to begin cooking. Of course, cooking under a strict deadline can really increase stress levels. Prep work helps take the stress out of meal planning and preparing.
Do you ever hesitate to toss moldy food? Have you ever wondered if you could simply cut away the part with mold and keep the rest? Sadly, there really isn’t a healthy way to save fruit if it has begun to rot. Discard the fruit, because the mold penetrated deeper than can be seen with the naked eye, and moldy foods can cause some people to experience health problems.
Take the guesswork out of reducing liquids. When a recipe calls for you to cook until the liquid is reduced by a certain amount, dip the handle of a wooden spoon into the liquid to mark the depth. This will leave a line on the wooden spoon. Later, you can dip the spoon again to see how much the liquid has actually reduced.
You want to cook healthier meals, and one place to consider with regard to changing your menus is in sauces and dressings. Rich, creamy dressings and sauces tend to be extremely unhealthy. You do not need to eliminate these meal-toppers entirely; simply learn how to make lighter, healthier alternatives. Healthier sauces and dressings can go a long way towards making your entire diet healthier.
When cooking a meal for vegetarians and non-vegetarians, make separate sauces can be the best way to make sure everyone has enough to eat and knows what they can eat. Make rice or pasta, then let guests choose from a meatless sauce and one with meat. A dish with multiple components saves you from having to make two separate meals, and it makes both meat-eaters and vegetarians happy.
Do a little research and find out if there is a farmers’ market within shopping distance. These markets – usually held on a weekly basis – are your ticket to purchasing the very freshest ingredients available. Treat food from a farmers’ market with respect; usually, the less cooking you do to such ingredients, the better-tasting the results will be.
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.
You can avoid sticky rice by removing the starch. To do just that wash the rice several times until the water coming from the rice is crystal clear. Remove all the water, and let the rice sit for 20 minutes. Adding a few drops of lemon to the water before cooking also helps to separate the grains.
Do not keep your spices above your stove. They need to be located in a cool, dark area; if they are exposed to either warm conditions or a light source, they will not taste as good and your cooking will suffer as a result. Think about using one of the cabinets near your refrigerator as a storage space.
You should consider drying your tomatoes on your own. Cut tomatoes in thick slices or in half, depending on their size. Take a cooling rack and place the tomatoes on it. Sprinkle them with salt. Place the cooling rack on a cookie sheet and dry in a 190 degree oven for up to 10 hours. They can then be stored in plastic freezer bags in your freezer. You can also store them in jars packed with herbs and olive oil. The tomatoes will need to be refrigerated and should be consumed within a couple of weeks.
Avoid dry sandwiches by making sure the spread reaches every corner of the bread. Whether its mayonnaise or a cucumber cream cheese spread, it rids the sandwich of the dry taste of bread, meat and cheese. A quick dollop in the middle leaves only a well moisturized middle and less flavored and prepared edges.
Always blot ground meat before cooking it. It is always advisable to remove excess moisture on meat, particularly if it is ground. If you leave the moisture on the ground meat, the moisture will release as the meat cooks. This meaning, the moisture will sizzle and evaporate away. This will cause your meat to be steamed rather than seared.
Do not use oil when boiling pasta. You may hear many sources tell you that oil in your water when boiling pasta will keep it from sticking when it is drained. This may hold some truth, however, the oil can not only break the pasta down prematurely, it will also prevent your sauce from sticking to it. Use salt in the water to achieve a faster boil and rinse cooked pasta with warm water to prevent sticking.
If you make your own salad dressing, consider using yogurt as a substitute to half the mayo. By doing this, you drastically cut the fat and calories in the dressing. When you use Greek-style yogurt, you ensure your homemade dressing is just as delicious and creamy – just not as bad for you!
As you’ve seen, cooking a delicious meal for your family doesn’t have to mean spending hours slaving away in the kitchen. There are any number of recipes you can use to whip together a great meal in a short time. Just remember what you’ve learned from this article and soon your family will be enjoying the fruits of your labors.