“Cooking my own meals? I just don’t have the time for that!” If you’ve ever said this to yourself, chances are very good that preparing simple, healthy meals is much easier than you think. Read below for a variety of tips and suggestions about preparing your own meals.
For those dishes that have longer cooking times, you will want to add your spices and herbs about an hour or so before eating. If these spices are cooked too long, then the resulting flavors may be too strong. In addition, it’s best to keep it simple by not using any more than three herbs or spices in any dish.
Always bake pie and tart crusts for longer than the recipe specifies for best results. Wait until the crust turns golden rather than pale blond. The darker color results when the sugar from the crust has started to caramelize and will have a much sweeter and crisper flavor.
Substitute Greek yogurt for mayonnaise in creamy salad dressings. If you are on a diet or just trying to eat healthy, you can still make creamy salad dressings with healthy ingredients. Just substitute the mayonnaise in them with a low-fat Greek-style yogurt. This will make the dressing much healthier.
Always keep a set of sharp knives in your kitchen. Dull knives can actually be dangerous to use and the certainly make chopping difficult. It is easy to cut yourself if you are using a dull knife than slicing it with a very sharp one.
Ice water can save the color of your vegetables. Dull washed out vegetables do not look as appealing to eat. If you want bright and vibrant vegetables, then you should plunge them into ice water after blanching them. Vibrantly colored vegetables look much more appetizing in salads and pasta dishes.
After you have cooked a meal for someone, never rush them into eating as you should always take your time and engage in conversation to give your body a chance to digest. Part of the meal is the smells and aromas it gives off while the other part is your actual consumption.
To take the metallic taste out of canned pumpkin pie filling, heat the filling with all of your spices first. Simply mixing your filling with the other ingredients and then baking traps the metallic taste in your finished pie. But by heating your pumpkin filling alone with the spices first, you release the metallic taste of the filling and simultaneously imbue it with the richer taste of spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger.
A coffee grinder isn’t just for coffee. A coffee grinder actually works just as well as a food processor for some jobs. This is especially true with small jobs when you don’t want the trouble of lugging out a huge processor and then having to wash all the parts. Nuts and peppercorns grind perfectly in a coffee grinder, even sugar if you need a quick substitute for powdered sugar in a recipe.
When heating oil on the stove top to use for frying, use a low setting and slowly turn the burner up to reach the desired temperature. Most foods do not require much more than 350 degrees, for the oil to fry it to a nice golden brown and not end up burnt to a crisp on the outside, while raw on the inside. If you crank the temperature setting knob to its highest point, you not only run the risk of spattering and burning yourself, as well as the food you are trying to fry, but you are also wasting time while you wait for the oil to cool down enough to use. Oil heats up quickly, but it is very slow to cool down, once it has gotten too hot.
Always continue to taste test all of your food as you cook them. Cooking a sauce, and you’re not sure if it needs more salt? Just taste it and you’ll know right away. Getting into a habit of testing all of your foods will keep you from accidentally over-spicing or under-spicing it.
Cooking is all about preparation. To take the edge of cooking, whether it is a small appetizer, simple dish, full nine course meal, or elegant dessert, prepare for your cooking a day or two ahead. Plan what you are going to make and for how many people you are going to make it for. Gather your ingredients ahead of time to ensure that you won’t have to rush.
Fresh herbs can add a great deal to most recipes. Herbs can be tricky to handle, though, because they need to be chopped so finely. Sprinkling salt over the cutting board before chopping herbs can cut down on mess. The salt encourages herbs to stick to the board instead of flying off.
When trying to cook healthy foods, it is important to cut back on the amount of oils and butters that you are using. A great alternative is using nonstick bakeware or a nonstick cooking spray. Many of the sprays have little to no calories and make foods healthy and cleanup a breeze.
Try different liquids in recipes calling for water or milk to add some new flavors to your meals. If the recipe calls for water, try using chicken or beef broth, or even the water that you used to cook your vegetables in. You can try out buttermilk, yogurt or sour cream instead of milk. Changing up the liquids in your recipes can add nutrition, while livening up a standby dish.
When you are going to purchase beef, make sure that the package does not have too much liquid in it. An excessive amount of liquid may indicate that the beef was not stored properly or that it is no longer good. Make sure you always check the expiration date as well.
Although many people think that preparing meals will be time-consuming, too hard, and stressful, the reality is often far from it! Making your own food can be an excellent way to save money while eating healthy, it’s a win-win situation! Leftovers are, after all, the original fast food!