Cooking is still a very useful skill. Cooking produces meals that are cheaper and healthier than the alternatives, and it can be fun, too!
Prepare in advance as much as possible. Be prepared in advance to make your cooking go smoothly. Cooking can get stressful when you’re working to deadline. Having as much prep work done as possible will save you both time and frustration!
Make sure you store all of your spices in cool and dark places. Make sure they are not over the stove. Humidity, light and heat, will cause them to lose their flavor. That will not make for a good tasting meal. Get a spice rack and store it in your pantry.
Leftover vegetable pieces shouldn’t go to waste. Broccoli tops, carrot pieces and onion peelings can be added to your vegetable, beef or chicken stock, to fill it with extra flavor. Don’t forget to add the stock to your favorite meals to enhance their flavor and appear as a great cook in front of your friends and family.
Use a heavy duty, zip-lock plastic bag to separate pan drippings. After roasting meat, pour the pan drippings into a zip-lock plastic bag. Let the fat rise to the top. Carefully snip off one of the bottom corners on the bag, and pour out the fat-free broth. The fat will stay in the plastic bag, and you will have a tasty broth as a base for gravy or a sauce.
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.
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.
Basil is one of the best things that you can add to a dish and looks great as a decoration to any type of meal. Simply add a few pieces of basil to give your meal spice and improve the overall aesthetic beauty to the dish you put on the table.
Learn some proper knife-work techniques to make your time in the kitchen safer, more productive, and more enjoyable. Proper cutting techniques not only help to ensure safety in the kitchen, but food cut properly and uniformly looks better (which of course makes it tastes better!) and cooks more evenly. Stop cutting off your fingertips and burning half of the French fries with proper cutting skills!
Beans stored for a longer period of time need to be checked for insect damage or mold. Instead of visually looking at each bean put them in a bowl of cold water. Use only the ones sinking to the bottom as those floating are either suffer from insect damage or mold.
While it is easy to just grab a spoon to scrape prepared, wet cake mix from the mixing bowl to put into pans for baking, do yourself a favor an invest in a good rubber scraper. A rubber scraper is made to be pliant, is curved on one side and straight on the other, just perfect for scraping the bowl of every last drop of cake and brownie mix. Using a rubber scraper gets all of the mix where it belongs in your baking pans and that quantity is what the baking time on boxes of mix are based upon. Too little mix in the pans leads to burnt goods when relying on the stated baking times.
When creating your next masterpiece in the kitchen, a good tip is to have all your ingredients in one place. You may want to even measure everything out ahead of time, and have all your utensils at hand, as well, so it isn’t a mad dash from one part of the kitchen to another just to find something you need or forgot.
Use butter in your cooking instead of margarine. It naturally mixes better in your recipes and contains dairy products rather than vegetable oil so contains health benefits as well. Dairy products are higher in healthy fats and will provide more flavor and natural texture to your food than margarine will.
When making simple dishes, favor fresh herbs over dried ones. If you a making a more complex dish, then using certain dried herbs such as oregano and basil is acceptable. For a simpler dish, fresh herbs are more efficient because their flavor is much stronger. Consider growing your own herb garden. You can grow many herbs in a small space and have them on hand constantly.
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.
Use a potato with thick skin to obtain a suitable shell for dishes such as twice baked potatoes. Red potatoes are not suitable, because their skin is not thick enough and the filling may break through.
If you want to use the meats and vegetables in your refrigerator before a shopping day, try using it in fried rice. You can use pre-cooked rice that is completely cooled and has been in the fridge for a day or so. If you don’t have any, be sure to use a little less water to make fresh rice for stir frying. Heat up a small amount of oil in the wok, and then add the meats and vegetables, and cook until thoroughly warmed. Next, stir in the rice and any seasonings you want to use, such as soy sauce, ginger, garlic, or other spices.
Cooking is all practice. With these tips in hand, you’re ready to get on the road toward being a better cook, and reducing your dependence on expensive and unhealthy pre-made food. Don’t keep eating out- apply what this article has taught you and soon you’ll be making your own delicious meals and saving tons of money!